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|"When making public policy decisions about new technologies for the Government, I think one should ask oneself which technologies would best strengthen the hand of a police state. Then, do not allow the Government to deploy those technologies." --- Philip Zimmermann|
Dice Report: 81,227 job ads
2005-12-01 03:45PST (06:45EST) (11:45GMT)
Mimi Hall _Yahoo!_
USA and Canada seeking cheap, fast way to determine identities of those crossing the border
"Faced with growing opposition to a proposal requiring people to show passports or other similar IDs, the Bush administration will propose new forms of identification next spring, Homeland Security spokesman Jarrod Agen said... British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell... and Washington governor Christine Gregoire are asking President Bush to develop a border-crossing card. The passport plan, proposed in April, is part of a post-2001/09/11 effort to tighten security along the nation's vast borders. It would require U.S. citizens to show passports or similar IDs instead of just driver's licenses or birth certificates when re-entering the country from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda and the Caribbean. And it would require Canadians, who can now enter with driver's licenses, to show a passport to enter the USA. Businesses, the tourism industry and politicians have warned that the requirement would stifle cross-border travel and hurt the economy. They say passports or comparable documents are too expensive and would discourage travel. 1 in 5 Americans has a current passport. The typical cost to obtain one is $97... up to 15M tourists visit the Niagara Falls area each year... the 2001/09/11 Commission recommended a secure ID for the borders... Driver's licenses don't prove nationality, he said, and there are hundreds of variations, which make it hard for agents to recognize fakes. [So, what they want is to require not just a national ID kkkard, but a North America ID kkkard.]"
2005-12-01 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 289,629 in the week ending November 26, a decrease of 78,976 from the previous week. There were 320,690 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 1.8% during the week ending November 19, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,324,262, a decrease of 235,164 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,331,862."
2005-12-01 08:04PST (11:04EST) (16:04GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US incomes up more than spending in October
"Personal incomes increased 0.4% in October, as expected, after a 1.7% gain in September... Nominal spending increased 0.2% in October... Real (inflation-adjusted) spending increased 0.1% in October, the first increase in three months. Real spending had declined 0.4% in September. Real consumer spending 'is now on track for the weakest quarterly performance since the 1991 recession.', said Sherry Cooper, chief economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns. But Goldman Sachs chief economist Bill Dudley said he expects consumer spending to bounce back in the final 2 months of the quarter. Consumer prices rose 0.1% in October after soaring 0.9% in September. Prices have risen 3.3% in the past year, compared with a 3.7% rate in September. The core personal consumption expenditure price index increased 0.1% in October, bringing the year-over-year increase down to 1.8% from 2% in September. It's the smallest year-over-year gain since 2004 February. Fed officials have said they want core inflation to remain between 1% and 2%... Incomes from wages and salaries increased 0.6% in October, the biggest gain in three months. Proprietors' income fell 0.2% after soaring 4.8% in September. Income from assets rose 0.6%, including a 1% rise in income from dividends."
_Allentown PA Patriot-News_
Border Limits: Have immigrants apply in their own countries for admission to the USA
Kirsten Brock _Oregon Daily Emerald_
Bush Immigration Proposal Doesn't Cut It
"I was hoping President Bush had finally seen the kind of threat that open borders pose... The president's proposal... stops short of any meaningful reform... It does call for tighter security by increasing border guards, building fences and setting up cameras. However, Bush's proposal has one major flaw: It grants worker visas to illegal immigrants already in the country, which will be renewable for up to 6 years. How is this going to make our country safer? Rewarding criminals with legal status not only encourages illegal immigration, but also threatens national security. Perhaps the worst part of President Bush's bill is what's missing. The bill does nothing about illegal aliens already in the country. While increasing security is a step, we must remove the incentives for crossing the border... The problem is the Mexican government has no nationwide registry of criminals... There is no background check performed, no finger-prints taken and there is no data-base of matriculas consulares, which enables illegal aliens to simultaneously hold several cards — even under different names. This makes it difficult for the Oregon consulate to verify the applicant's identity and criminal history. Most disturbing is the fact that many states, including Oregon, accept these cards as a valid form of ID... Because of the matricula consular ID cards, terrorists could easily enter the country and settle in America without having to be processed by the government, which would enable them to travel around the country virtually undetected... illegal aliens are not citizens, nor are they law-abiding. By being here, they have already broken the law and need to be deported."
Dan Scheinman _Electronic Manufacturing Services Now_
Cisco continues to pour investment into India rather than USA
"Cisco Systems announced enormous strategic developments in India - including a US$1.1G investment in the country over the next 3 years and an agreement with the Indian government to support its National E-Governance Plan."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
It's the economy
"the number of Computer Science foreign students is down 32.5%, almost identical to the drop in domestic students... And it was specific to CS. The second-largest drop was far milder, 14.9% in the social sciences. Again, the point is that the field which took the biggest hit economically was CS."
The Legend of Zorro
John Hostettler & Lamar Smith _Washington Times_
Illegal Aliens Hurt Americans
"When there are many willing workers, employers cut wages... A report by the Center for Immigration Studies concludes that 'immigration may reduce the wages of the average native in a low-skilled occupation by... $1,915 per year.' Illegal immigrants come here to find jobs. You cannot blame them when a typical Mexican worker, for example, earns one-tenth as much as their American counterpart and when American businesses are willing to hire them. One study estimates that illegal immigrants displace 730K American workers every year. Contrary to the assertion that Americans will not take low-skilled jobs, Americans in fact do these jobs every day. Americans mow lawns, wait tables and work in virtually all other low-skilled job categories. A report by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that more citizens than non-citizens are employed in construction and maintenance, which are thought of as having mostly immigrant laborers. Some claim that illegal immigrants are doing jobs that Americans will not do. But when an illegal immigrant finds a job here, that does not mean that no American will take the job. In fact, 79% of all service workers are native-born, as are 68% of all workers in jobs requiring no more than a high-school education. Illegal immigrants make up only 17% of workers in building cleaning and maintenance occupations, 14% of private household workers, 13% of accommodation industry workers, 13% of food manufacturing industry workers, 12% of the workers in construction and extraction occupations, 11% of workers in food preparation and serving occupations and 8% of workers in production occupations. We must put citizens and legal immigrants first. Americans need these jobs: 17M adult citizens do not have a high-school degree; 1.3M are unemployed; and 6.8M have given up looking for jobs. The percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds holding jobs in the United States is now at its lowest point since 1948. American workers in building cleaning and maintenance have an 11% unemployment rate, as do 13% of [American workers] in construction and 9% of those in food preparation. Despite these facts, many U.S. law-makers and interest groups want to enact another foreign-worker program. The Borjas study concludes that proposals that increase the supply of low-skilled workers will only drive down wages further for Americans. Past experience shows that a foreign-worker program is an invitation to fraud. Individuals would set up bogus 'businesses' to petition for temporary-worker visas for friends, relatives or any other illegal immigrant willing to pay. Even terrorists could set up these fronts. Under the 1986 immigration law, up to two-thirds of the applications for Special Agricultural Worker status were fraudulent, and most were approved... Virtually all studies show that competition from cheap foreign labor displaces American workers, including legal immigrants, or depresses their wages. Rather than legalize illegal immigrants, we should enforce the laws on the books. That will reduce illegal immigration, increase wages and make these low-skilled jobs more attractive to American workers. The result of a large illegal-immigrant work-force is that the poorest Americans must compete with those illegal immigrants for jobs. Illegal immigrants deprive American citizens and legal immigrants of the same American dream. That is wrong and regrettable."
Ford May Close 5 North American Plants
"The Wall Street Journal reported that the nation's second biggest auto-maker is likely to close assembly plants in St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA; and St. Paul, MN under the plan that is still evolving and is subject to change... an engine-parts plant in Windsor, Ontario, and a truck-assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, are also slated for closure. Together, the plants employ about 7,500 workers, or 6% of Ford's North American work force."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1378
Hong Kong WTO Summit
2005-12-02 06:16PST (09:16EST) (14:16GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Greenspan urged balancing federal government budget
"'In the end, the consequences for the U.S. economy of doing nothing could be severe.', Greenspan warned in a speech prepared for delivery to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's policy forum on the federal budget outlook Friday... For all of 2005 fiscal year, the deficit was $318.5G, about 2.6% of gross domestic product. For the 2006 year, which began in October, the White House is estimating a deficit of $390G, about 3% of projected GDP."
transcript or prepared text of video-taped speech
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Don't Confuse the Job Market Hype with the Facts
"21K of those jobs were government jobs supported by [tax-victims]. There were only 194K new jobs in the private sector. Of those new jobs, 37K are in construction and only 11K are in manufacturing. The bulk of the new jobs -- 144K -- are in domestic services. Wholesale and retail trade account for 20K. Food services and drinking places (waitresses and bartenders) account for 38K. Health care and social assistance account for 27K. Professional and business services account for 29K. Financial activities gained 13K jobs. Transportation and warehousing gained 8K jobs. Very few of these jobs result in tradable services that can be exported or help to close the growing gap in the US balance of trade."
more employment data & graphs
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
November's Job Numbers: Good for Immigrants, Bad for the Rest of US (graph)
"non-farm employers added 215K workers according to the government's report on business pay-rolls [the establishment survey]... [The] survey of households reported a 52K job decline from October. More important, from our perspective, is the composition of that decline: Non-Hispanic employment fell by 183K; Hispanic employment rose by 131K... the overall Hispanic un-employment rate rose to 6.0% in November from 5.8% the prior month. The black un-employment rate increased even more -- to 10.6% from October's 9.1%. The white un-employment rate fell slightly, to 4.3% from 4.4%. The big difference, of course, was that Hispanics poured into the labor force (their labor force participation rate went up) while Blacks and whites retreated (their's went down.)... Since the start of the Bush Administration in 2001 January Hispanic employment has risen by 2.9M, or 17.8%, while non-Hispanic employment increased by 1.9M, or 1.6%."
more employment data & graphs
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
Titanic and the United States of America
"like the Titanic, this nation smashed into a piece of legislation in 1965 that was never asked for or approved by the American public. Our 'Captain' Lyndon Baines Johnson along with helmsman senator Teddy Kennedy drove America into an 'ice-berg' of massive, unrestricted immigration that opened up the flood gates with the 'Immigration Reform Act'. At first, the flow of 1M immigrants annually wasn't noticed. We offered benevolence. Our country stood large on the opportunity landscape. There was plenty of room and resources... Today in the United States, 70M immigrants later and pouring in at 2.3M annually -- both legal and illegal -- our nation shudders from San Francisco to New York and from Chicago to Miami. We rose from 200M to nearly 300M in 3 decades. What was once a benefit to our country is now a full-scale over-population and societal crisis. From stem to stern, our English language is under assault and our schools are drowning in ethnic violence, drugs and gang warfare. In California, Texas, Florida and Arizona, our hospitals suffer bankruptcies from non-paid services for 350K annual 'anchor babies'. 10M illegal immigrants displace... America's working poor [from jobs] and depress wages for many others at a cost of $133G annually in lost jobs. Leprosy, tuberculosis, Chagas Disease, hepatitis and other diseases 'pour' into our country within the bodies of illegal immigrants who avoid health screening before coming on board the United States... On the environmental front, our nation explodes toward an added 200M people that will reach 500M past the mid century... They already don't have enough water... Air pollution poisons what we breathe and massive sprawl devours our once lauded spaciousness. Species extinction accelerates as we add numbers. Much like the Titanic, our standard of living drops and our quality of life sinks with the influx of unrestricted immigration. Soon, we too, will become like the countries of Bangladesh, India and [Red China]. On the employment front, our leaders are out-sourcing and off-shoring our jobs to Third World countries while they import the Third World into our country. Our Congress created H-1B and L-1 visas that have displaced 1M high tech American workers in the past decade. America's middle class is being driven into the un-employment lines. Our schools are becoming dysfunctional towers of Babel with over 140 languages... the more we import millions of Third World immigrants, the more we manifest identical problems... Our leaders are standing in the wheelhouse totally insulated and isolated from those of us who shovel the coal, build houses, repair cars, teach our kids, drive school busses and plow roads."
Cincinnati Enquirer 80 stock index down 0.14%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks fell 0.41 points, or 0.14%, to close Friday at 290. 32 issues were up, 41 were down and seven were unchanged. Leading gainers were E.W. Scripps, up 71 cents to $47.01; Viacom, up 68 cents to $34.50; Omnicare, up 61 cents to $58.48; Atricure, up 61 cents to $13.20; International Paper, up 60 cents to $33.46. Biggest laggers were Cummins, down $1.26 to $90.06; Toyota Motor, down 94 cents to $97.82; First Franklin, down 75 cents to $15.75; Ashland, down 58 cents to $57.25; General Motors, down 53 cents to $22.08."
2005-12-02 16:24PST (2005-12-02 19:24EST) (2005-12-03 00:24GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Fears of inflation pressure prove unfounded
"unit labor costs, thought to be rising at a dangerous 4.1% year-over-year clip through the first half of the year, are really rising about 2%. And with productivity rising at more than 3% in the past year, firms can easily pay the extra labor costs without raising prices or cutting into profit margins... Instead of wages and salaries rising by $80.3G in the second quarter, the new data show a gain of just $42.4G. Government statisticians are getting head-aches trying to figure out the new patterns of compensation of high-paid individuals, who are getting more of their pay in the form of stock options and bonuses... Far from being a boost to inflationary pressures, income growth has fallen behind. In the past 12 months, real per-capita disposable incomes are down 0.1%. At the same time, corporate profits are up 16.5%."
2005-12-02 23:26PST (2005-12-03 02:26EST) (2005-12-03 07:26GMT)
Miryam Wiley _Metro West Daily News_
Madam president, what about the illegal immigrants?
"I got concerned about President Bush's ideas on immigration this week because he proposed that people will work for three years and then go home. Who is he kidding?... As I write, the people are walking through the Mexican border, and they are getting near us. I don't know them, you don't know them. Lots are friendly, some may not be. Some of us may think we can be forever like this, us and them, but that is an illusion, and we all know that. U.S. representative Tom Tancredo, R-CO, is right when he says we need tighter borders... The debt he was referring to was the usual $10K fee charged by 'businesses' that have recently been the target of government investigations in Brazil and are allegedly doing trafficking or smuggling of people into this country. Many make debts against their family homes or those of relatives."
2005-12-03 09:01PST (12:01EST) (17:01GMT)
Jasmina Kelemen _MarketWatch_
Stock markets closed the week mixed
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which jumped more than 100 points Thursday, ended down 35.06 points Friday at 10,877.51. For the week, the bench-mark index fell 0.5%. The S&P 500 Index posted a weekly loss of 0.3%. But the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5% for the week. Since the market rallied off its October lows, the Dow has gained 6.5%, the Nasdaq has climbed 10.8% and the S&P 500 has risen 6.6%."
_US State Department_
Quisling US Trade Representative Applaids G7 Statement on Trade Talks
"Portman's statement, released at the end of meetings of Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers in London, also welcomed a declaration from the group that looks toward increasing spending on aid for trade for the world's poorest countries to $4G annually... The United States submitted an agriculture proposal October 10 to substantially reduce domestic support payments to farmers and tariffs as a means to break the stalemate in the talks... 'We call for... making significant progress on services, including financial services, as liberalization in financial services is linked to increased growth; and on intellectual property rights consistent with our development objectives.'... [Quisling] Portman said the United States will continue to push for [changes] in market access in agriculture, manufacturing and services [in order to flood the USA with cheap foreign workers and thus depress the American standard of living]..."
Sarah Anderson _Global Politician_
USA immigration policy on the table at the WTO: India wants to increase the flood of guest-workers to undermine American science, tech, health-care and other professionals
"there has also been a battle brewing between developing countries and the U.S. government over immigration. Led by India, several countries are demanding expansion of U.S. visa programs for temporary professional workers. How did immigration wind up on the table at the WTO? Under the global trade body's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), governments can regulate the supply of services performed by foreigners. The technical term for this type of service trade is Mode 4. Thus far, the types of visas being discussed are those for executives and highly skilled professionals [to enter] the United States. Some developing countries are pushing for the Mode 4 talks to cover less-skilled workers as well. The wrangling over visas is just one more example of the WTO's mission creep. Global trade rules are no longer aimed merely at eliminating tariffs on goods that cross borders. The ultimate goal of GATS, for example, is to lift barriers to all manner of services by curbing national and local government controls on the entry of global banks, insurance companies, and other service providers into each country's markets. Other WTO rules limit government efforts to offer affordable generic medicines or to protect native plants and traditional handicrafts from being patented for profit by global businesses. And any domestic law, including public interest regulations, can be challenged under WTO rules as 'an unfair barrier to trade'... the White House has thus far committed only to maintaining its current level of H-1B professional visas -- 65K [basic limit plus 20K for those with advanced degrees and an unlimited number for those employed by governments, non-profit organizations and colleges & universities]. To no one's surprise, Washington is also holding steady on the L-1 program, which grants an unlimited number of visas for professionals transferring from one division to another within the same company... Powerful U.S. corporate lobbyists have sided with developing country governments in favor of expanded Mode 4 access. On the other hand, many progressives here and abroad, including WTO critics and migrant rights groups, have come down on the same side as anti-immigrant groups and some congressional Republicans... Congress, where many lawmakers in both parties feel that trade negotiators have no business meddling in immigration policy. The Constitution gives Congress the power to 'establish a uniform rule of naturalization'. The Supreme Court has interpreted this language to mean that Congress has the exclusive power to formulate policies pertaining to immigration... When Rob Portman was confirmed as the new U.S. trade representative, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner, along with John Conyers, the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee, pressured Portman to reconfirm the administration's commitment not to negotiate immigration provisions that would require changes to U.S. law. To date, no response from Portman has been made public... A bill introduced by Colorado Republican Thomas Tancredo would have prevented the trade representative from using any funds (including for staff time) to negotiate improved access for foreign business personnel... Many IT workers argue that continued use of H-1B visas is motivated not by labor shortages but by employers' desires for cheaper, more vulnerable foreign workers. The AFL-CIO contends that employers have abused the H-1B program to displace U.S. workers and exploit guest-workers. The labor confederation has been sharply critical of the lack of government oversight to verify whether claims of labor shortages are legitimate and to ensure that employers pay guest-workers prevailing wages and benefits."
Peter Romanenko _Waco Tribune_
Immigration story is largely ignored
"Each and every year the American people are kept in the dark like a bunch of mushrooms. The news media continually fail to report news that matters. Recently, U.S. senators Arlen Specter and Edward Kennedy succeeded in inserting language into the Senate budget bill that would sell over 368K American jobs a year to a combination of immigrants, foreign guest-workers and their families. The government grants permanent residency to approximately 1M immigrants each year. The proposal had failed to pass on its own merits, so a behind-the-scenes maneuver was employed. The media failed to report this legislation... The lobbyists got their way again, influencing the support of Texas senators Kay Bailey Huchison and John Cornyn, who voted for the bill. The budget bill passed by a 52-47 vote. According to the lobbyists for multinational employers, 368K American jobs had to be filled by immigrants and their families because there are not 368K qualified American workers who could fill them. The bill also provides permanent residency for the families of those imported laborers... The cost of these jobs is a mere $500 per visa [less than half what it costs to process the paper-work]. What will it take to get the journalists, editors and station managers to do their jobs – report the news?"
2005-12-03 18:32PST (2005-12-03 21:32EST) (2005-12-04 02:32GMT)
Paul Streitz _Magic City Morning Star_
Arbeiten daß die Amerikaner Wuenschen Nicht and the Big Lie Technique
"George Bush has become the master of the Big Lie in his defense of his immigration plan for the United States. The Big Lie technique in propaganda is to commandingly state a complete falsehood from an authoritative and reputedly reliable source. Here is the Big Lie in George Bush's recent speech in El Paso, TX on 2005 November 29, 'People ought to be given a tamper-proof work card, come here and do jobs Americans won't do...'
The Big Lie technique was first advocated by Adolf Hitler in _Mein Kampf_... George Bush and the corporate barons behind the Open Borders strategy of unlimited immigration know that the American public wants to believe that the President of the United States will not deliberately lie to them. Therefore, they give some credence to the lie even though they know that Americans are receiving lower wages, immigration is massive and many people they know were un-employed [replaced] by immigrants. They know that roofers, carpenters, care-takers that they know had good jobs at high wages have been replaced by illegal immigrants. Yet, there is a residual of hope that the President might not be lying to them. But he is...
[Bush] became the front man for a group of Texas millionaires that needed a front man to convince voters to support a bond issue to build a baseball stadium. George worked tirelessly at the task and the bond issue passed. Since then, he has mastered the art of the Big Lie as President.
'Guest-workers' who never go home, 'expedited removal' that excludes Mexicans and a 'comprehensive strategy' that gives permanent residence to millions of illegals are just more little Big Lies. Each one doesn't have a grain of truth, but told with utter sincerity...
the first reaction to hearing the Big Lie is to say, 'Well that's not true, let me tell you why...' That is exactly what the Big Liar expects. You are then started off on a truth finding mission that only wastes time, effort and energy. No matter many how many facts are presented, the Big Liar simply repeats the Big Lie again. Further, the Big Lie is useful because it gives ammunition to those who want to believe the Big Liar and [know] nothing about the issue. There are some that have not studied the issue and do not know the subject well enough to understand that a lie is being told...
In the new world of Open Borders we find that the country that put a man on the moon, developed atomic power and invented the internet and computer cannot get along without thousands of computer programmers coming into the country every year. 'A critical shortage of computer programmers and engineers', is the Big Lie of the H-1B visa racket. There is soon a chorus of Big Liars.
Christopher Shay in a defense of his vote for CAFTA repeated the Big Lie in a letter to those objecting to his vote. He was encouraged because he had an authoritative source to point to that said the same thing and then the confidence of numbers.
'We both can't be lying.' Another Big Lie. Of course you both can be lying and both are lying. When encountering the Big Lie absolute candor is what is needed. 'I know you are lying to me. I know you are supported by business interests that want to import cheap labor. This is a lie and you are a liar.'... [The] Big Liar... does not expect everyone to believe him, but to influence the naïve and the uninformed."
Black Engineers Ask What Happened to the Job Market: If the demand for engineers is as great as U.S. employers say it is, then why are some American engineers finding it hard to get a job?
"in an exclusive investigative report titled 'Who Needs Black Engineers?' NSBE Magazine has been published since 1986 by the National Society of Black Engineers. 'This article raises important issues about the adequacy of our technical work force data for policy decisions.', says Debra S. Knopman, vice president and director of Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment of the RAND Corporation, one of the sources cited in the article by NSBE Magazine. 'As the RAND report highlights, these issues include the need for current data on: job market conditions in various occupational categories, disciplines, and career stages; the movement from academe to industry, which hires almost 40% of the U.S. scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) doctoral graduates; the nature of STEM career paths; and the size and characteristics of the global STEM work force.' IEEE-USA's Employment & Career Services Committee chair, Jean Eason, says, 'I recognize the need to address the serious concerns raised in this article about high-tech un-employment. Economic globalization, employers' reliance on part-time and temporary workers including temporary foreign workers as well as out-sourcing and off-shoring, have hit engineers hard, most especially minorities.'... 'This article is about beginning to bridge the Reality Gap', Addison continues, 'by telling our readers what's really going on in the American work-place.'"
2005-12-04 11:07PST (14:07EST) (19:07GMT)
_Forbes_ [I recommending disabling scripts for this...jgo]
World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz says trade barriers are indefensible
"Wolfowitz spoke a week ahead of the opening in Hong Kong of the World Trade Organization meeting, which will take up the thorny agricultural protectionism issue... The World Trade Organization is to hold a ministerial conference in Hong Kong Dec 13-18 in a bid to breathe new life into the Doha Round of trade negotiations, which have foundered largely on the issue of farm subsidies in rich countries. British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown called Friday for the abolition of all European Union farm subsidies and the alignment of agricultural customs duties with other EU economic sectors."
Raphael Minder, Richard McGregor, Victor Mallet & Edward Alden _Financial Times_
Asian nations work behind the scenes
"In the 12 years since ministers completed the Uruguay round of world trade negotiations, the most important change in global commerce has arguably been [Red China's] emergence as a manufacturing power and its inclusion in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Yet as ministers prepare to travel to Hong Kong next week to try to keep on track the Doha multi-lateral trade talks -- billed as a development round -- [Red China] and most of its east Asian neighbours have been remarkably quiet in the negotiations. Instead, the round's fate probably hinges on whether the European Union, the US, Brazil and India can resolve their differences, especially over Europe's controversial offer to grant more market access to farm products... Japan, South Korea and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) have also kept a low profile... Rob Portman, the US trade representative, told reporters that the [Red Chinese] had a responsibility to play a more significant role in the negotiations, pointing out that they were 'huge beneficiaries' of the [so-called] open trading system."
MC6 key phase for completing Doha Round negotiations
"John Tsang, chairman of the Sixth Ministerial Conference (MC6) of World Trade Organization (WTO)..."
2005-12-04 04:30PST (07:30EST) (12:30GMT)
Ann McFeatters _Ocala Star-Banner_
Get ready for a messy, inconclusive immigration battle
"With estimates of illegal immigrants in the United States ranging from 8M to 11M [some estimates exceed 20M], Republican pollster Frank Luntz says Americans are boiling with anger. Americans want President Bush to stop talking about his proposal for a guest-worker program, Luntz says. 'They're furious. They're agitated about the cost of it - on schools, roads, hospitals.' Most Americans want immigrants to speak English and are frustrated that, in their own country, they can't understand many of the people they see every day. Worried about increasing violence in the smuggling of immigrants across their borders, the Democratic governors of Arizona and New Mexico have declared state emergencies in order to get federal money for tougher enforcement... In Ohio, for example, where more and more undocumented workers are flocking, there are fewer jobs for them. And in Pennsylvania, legal immigrants are the fastest-growing element of new voters. Bush's trip out West this past week was aimed at calming the furor that has erupted in his own party over his plan to let those already in the country illegally stay for 6 years as guest-workers... Bush, who wants more open trade with Mexico and Canada, ratcheted up his rhetoric to say that there has to be an enforcement program to crack down on illegal immigrants and keep them from crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders into the United States [before opening the flood-gates wider for guest-workers and permanent residents]. Some of us thought, in the post 9/11 world, that enforcement had already been tightened. We were wrong... Businesses want access to large number of workers who will work cheaply. There are those who have proposed ending the long-established practice of giving automatic citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants living in the United States [and, in turn, to their families]... the Minuteman Project... chapters want to organize border patrols consisting of volunteers who also tell authorities about businesses that employ suspected illegal immigrants."
2005-12-04 07:14PST (10:14EST) (15:14GMT)
Andrew Walker _BBC_
Trade talks high-light differences
"Six of the world's leading trade ministers have met in Geneva in an attempt to push forward WTO negotiations... The meeting on Friday and Saturday was the latest in efforts to prepare for a big conference of all the World Trade Organisation's member countries in Hong Kong in less than two weeks' time... the United States, the European Union, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia - acknowledged that they are still far apart on the central areas. On agriculture and trade in industrial goods, the current obstacles concern cutting import tariffs; on services, it's about how much to change regulation to make it easier for foreign providers... If trade barriers are lowered for all countries, the advantage conferred by preferential deals is eroded... If there is to be a deal, governments will have to bite the bullet and offer to do things that will expose at least some of their workers, farmers and businesses to more competition."
Angie Wagner _Arizona Daily Sun_
Millions of illegal aliens are difficult to ignore, but the US government somehow manages to do so
Palm Springs Desert Sun
"a guest-worker program, Briggs said, guarantees wages will never go up, and there is no way American citizens can compete with guest-workers."
Susan Taylor Martin _St. Petersburg Times_
The culture is Turkish, but they're living in Germany
"Turks have long lived in Germany. But their lack of assimilation may ultimately thwart their homeland's EU plans... nearly 3M people of Turkish origin living in Germany. Although more than a third were born here, many still consider themselves more Turkish than German. And, for better or worse, many cling to symbols and customs of their Muslim homeland... Although Turkey's EU membership is at least 10 years distant, many Europeans already worry that they will be flooded with poor, unskilled Muslims, including some with extreme views. Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said that inviting Turkey to join 'was a mistake'. Up to 75% of Germans agree... A half-century after they began arriving as "temporary" guest-workers, Turks have permanently settled in Berlin and other big cities. Most are law-abiding, thousands have their own businesses and some have risen to prominent positions in government. Yet fewer than a third of German Turks hold German citizenship. Even well-educated Turks are pressed for work; the jobless rate for those of Turkish origin is at least 40% compared to 11% for the country as a whole... This is the area known as Little Istanbul. Twenty minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, as many people speak Turkish as German."
Linda A. Johnson _Wichita Eagle_
Drug-makers rolling in huge profits, but dejected that they're not even higher
"Pharmaceutical companies cut costs, besieged by generics, legal wrangling and stagnant development. Merck & Co.'s announcement this week that it is slashing its work force by 11% and closing several plants is as much a reflection of pharmaceutical industry belt-tightening as of Merck's financial and Vioxx-related legal woes... The 5 largest U.S. drug companies -- Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Wyeth -- earned $29.5G in 2004 on sales of $160G. Analysts estimate they will earn more than $37G this year as revenues rise to $162.4G. Gross profit margins -- revenues minus the cost of producing goods -- also are still in the range of 70% to 80%, many times the 10% margins in some other industries. Job cuts are one way of keeping margins high, and they are up 150% from the first 11 months of last year. That amounts to almost 25K pink slips so far for the industry in 2005, according to John Challenger, chief executive of employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, who predicted 'we're going to continue to see increasing lay-offs'. Generic drugs, which now account for 53% of U.S. prescriptions, contribute to these pressures. Next year, drugs with $28G in annual sales lose patent protection, according to health information company IMS Health... Pfizer, the world's biggest drug company, in April said it plans to cut $4G in costs partly by closing 23 of its 93 factories. That's despite Pfizer's having one of the highest operating profits of any company, 38% in the third quarter, Butler noted."
Louis Aguilar _Detroit News_
Economic funk won't end in 2005: Michigan will see 6th straight year of job losses
"Over the past 2 years, about 308,900 jobs have vanished in Michigan and another 9,600 may disappear in 2006, the U-M economists said. State manufacturers have shed 25% of their workers since 2001, and 28K more jobs will be gone by 2007... Auto industry lay-offs throughout the nation may eventually total more than 100K in 2005, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based firm that tracks work force reductions... The private non-manufacturing sector, which will lose 5,400 jobs this year, will add 4,400 jobs in 2006, the U-M economists said. Service sector jobs will grow next year, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector will turn around by mid-2006, they said."
Anne Fisher _Fortune_
Happy holidays; you're fired
"'I found out 2 days before Thanksgiving that I'm going to have let 25% of my staff (7 people) go before year-end.'... The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 7 of the past 9 years, employers laid off more people in the final three months of the year than at any other time. This is mostly intended to give the year-end balance sheet a boost by cutting costs (including eliminating bonuses for employees who will no longer be around to collect them)... U.S. companies have dumped more than 3.5M managers in the past several years, and most of them are now classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as 'long-term un-employed' (out of work for 6 months or longer). Supposedly, people with lots of management experience are 'too expensive'. Meanwhile the people at the top (CEOs et al.) keep paying themselves millions... 'In terms of helpful advice to a manager told to lay-off his people, how about push back - instead of body language to pretend you're not a drone - how about [don't be] a drone.'... 'If the manager really wants to do something useful, he should resign in protest at having to work for a company that thinks laying off employees during the holiday season is a charitable idea.'"
Isabel P. Ball _American Ball_
Closing the borders tightly is the need of the hour
"As we know, people have [a] varying sense of perception to discern impending catastrophe, from some signs, like what I foresaw [as] the effect of uncontrolled border. But lacking the psychic power to situate an occurrence, as opinion makers, we could only express our apprehensions in the power of words and logic to influence minds. Unfortunate where those lost lives in the 9/11, and personally, though not as catastrophic, my loss was an opportunity for career growth and income irrecoverably stymied... But President Bush's timely action of instituting the Homeland Security Agency has thwarted such attacks, simultaneously [we have] made the border a bit [more] tightly watched now with the voluntary participation of the minuteman. If protests from the liberals and humanitarians have been loud against closing the borders, these days it is more cacophonous. The Mexicans, in particular, including Mr. Vicente Fox, Mexico's president, has been very critical of the current wave of anti-illegal immigration against the Mexicans into America. Closing the borders would mean economic hardship for Mexico, from where bulk of the illegal [immigration] emanates, and of their corrupt leaders benefiting greatly from transmittals sent from America by the illegal citizens of Mexico. The truth is that with or without the threat of terrorism, America is well-advised to take the immediate action of closing the border, to allow [an] orderly fashion of immigration entry into the mainland. Though America, like a machine, in constant need for fuel to run and produce, America's need for workers is reaching the point of satiation, and to continue to import workers the illegal way, would bring a different brand of problem, that is, overly taxing... social services. That, at the present, is already causing lopsiding in terms of medical services, [and] unwanted increase in population, with illegal immigrants estimated to be in the 15M mark. Illegal immigrants have little or nil contribution to the economy, as the bulk of the money is transmitted to the mother country to help the family. Equally important is that fact that illegal immigration brings in terrorists, drugs, gangs, and other criminals into the country. Time is now for politicians to stop using immigration as political winning card, as has been done in the past. Enough of the across-the-board, political and whimsical legitimization of illegal immigrants as Ronald Reagan so did in the 1980s, when he legalized en masse the more than a million illegal aliens in the country."
_Financial Express of India_
We need to re-evaluate our value proposition "If we look back 10-12 years, we can see that it all started with the concept of bodyshopping, purely because cheap labour was available here..."
Uttara Choudhury _DNA India_
Kiran Bedi inspired Sona Shah to keep fighting
2005-12-05 07:58PST (10:58EST) (15:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
ISM says services sector is weakened: Employment index up
"The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to 58.5% in November from 60% in October, the private group said... The new orders index rose to 59.5% from 58.2%, while the prices paid index fell to 74.2% from 78%... The employment index rose to 57.0% from 52.9%... On Thursday, the ISM said its manufacturing index slipped trivially to 58.1% in November from 59.1% in October."
2005-12-05 11:09PST (14:09EST) (19:09GMT)
Deb Riechmann _My Mother Lode_
Bush Defends Workers' Pensions: Encourages employers to invest sufficiently to cover obligations
Las Vegas Sun
"President Bush called on American businesses on Monday to live up to their pension promises, saying too many companies are not putting away enough money to protect the retirement benefits of their workers. 'My message to corporate America is you need to fulfill your promises.', Bush said. 'When you say to a worker, '''This is what they're going get when they retire.''', you better put enough money in the account to make sure the worker gets that what you said.'"
Ken Thomas _AP_/_Yahoo!_
IIHS top 10 safest cars
"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced a new designation, the Top Safety Pick award, based on the performance of vehicles in their crash tests... Winners of the institute's gold award included the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego with optional side air bags; the Saab 9-3; the Subaru Legacy; and the Honda Civic 4-door. The Five Hundred and Montego are corporate twins and were considered by the institute to be the same car, for award purposes... The silver award went to the Audi A6, Audi A3 and Audi A4; the Chevrolet Malibu with optional side air bags; and the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat..."
2005-12-05 05:20PST (08:20EST) (13:20GMT)
Shailendra Bhatnagar _Reuters_
Intel to invest $1G in venture capital in India
"It has already invested $700G in [India] over the past decade and provided venture funding worth more than $100M to 40 firms such as computer trainer NIIT Ltd. and telecomms software firm Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd... [Craig] Barrett, on his seventh visit to India, said $800M would be invested over the next 5 years to expand research and development at Bangalore in addition to marketing, education and community programmes. The Bangalore centre, opened in 1998, has 2,800 employees. Intel is among a long list of firms that have set up huge out-sourcing operations in India, which have become the driving force of a $17.2G software services industry... Some firms it backed, such as [Indian propaganda engine for off-shoring] Rediff.com, have gone public."
Phyllis Schlafly _Town Hall_
Congress clobbers US citizens with guest-worker visa programs
"'Why is it taking you 5 years to get through college?', I asked a student attending one of my campus lectures. 'Because I changed my major from computer science to accounting after I discovered there are almost no jobs available for computer majors.'
Of course there are plenty computer jobs, but not for Americans because big business would rather hire foreigners. It's all a matter of money; corporations use their financial clout to get Congress to import foreigners who will work for half the salary Americans used to be paid for computer work. It's called the H-1B racket, and it's very profitable for the big corporations.
This system is not the free market; it's politicians and corporations conniving to do an end run around our immigration laws in order to keep wages artificially low. The latest piece of chicanery is buried in the 817-page Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005, S1932, now going through Congress. Without any hearings, senator Arlen Specter, R-PA, got the Judiciary Committee to insert language that will raise the annual cap on H-1B visas from the current 65K to 95K, re-issue unused immigrant work visas or green cards up to a maximum of 90K, and exempt the H-1Bers' family members from the cap on employment-based immigration. This is estimated to increase permanent immigration into the United States by more than 350K immigrants a year. Senator Robert Byrd, D-WV, tried to protect U.S. jobs by deleting Specter's amendment, but the Senate rejected Byrd's motion on November 3.
This latest attack on U.S. workers comes on the heels of another back-room deal last Fall. Congress exempted from the annual H-1B visa cap 20K foreign students who get master's or doctorate degrees from U.S. universities. Then, because of what was claimed to be a mistake, the Homeland Security Department approved 10K more visa applications for high-tech and specialty workers than Congress authorized. Nobody was fired over the mistake, and only senator Charles Grassley, R-IA, lamented, 'It discourages me to hear that Congress' limit may have been ignored.'
The [rationalization] for inviting H-1B foreigners to take American jobs is an alleged labor shortage, but we never had any shortage in computer technicians, and employers are not required to look for U.S. citizens anyway. The labor-shortage claim is ridiculous because there are more than 100K un-employed high-tech American workers, and some estimate the figure at 200K. In addition, there are several hundred thousand who are under-employed or working lesser jobs outside of their field. After the dot-com bust a few years ago, tens of thousands of computer workers and engineers left Silicon Valley and took any job they could get, of course at a fraction the pay they had been receiving. At the same time, at least 463K H-1B workers are employed in the United States, and some estimate [more than] twice that number. H-1Bers who are hired by universities and other 'exempt' institutions are not in the count.
During the third quarter of last year, high tech companies in the United States laid off workers in record numbers, but they didn't lay off H-1B workers. The best research on the economics of H-1B workers has been done by professor Norm Matloff of the University of California Davis. See Eagle Forum links for more on that.
Business executives continue the pretense that American information technology workers aren't available. In a speech to the National Governors Association on February 26, Bill Gates said that India and [Red China] 'have 6 times as many graduates majoring in engineering' as the United States. The reason for this is obvious to bright college students who have discovered that Gates prefers to hire foreign computer graduates. MSFT is adding 4,400 employees this year, but more than half of that employment growth is outside the United States. MSFT has opened a research center in Bangalore, India, where it expects to hire thousands of computer science graduates of universities in India at a fraction the cost of U.S. university graduates. MSFT is also on track to out-source more than 1K jobs a year to [Red China]. According to a former MSFT vice president, MSFT promised [Red China] in 2003 that it would step up the level of its out-sourcing to [Red China] from $33M to $55M worth a year, and [Red China] is complaining that the pace isn't fast enough.
It's bad news for America's future if corporations learn to rely on foreigners for all their computer work. Americans, not foreigners, are the source of the technical innovations we need to stay ahead in the fast-moving computer industry. Of the 56 awards given by the Association for Computing Machinery for software and hardware innovation, only one recipient is an immigrant. We are told that Congress is working on immigration reform and border security. Instead, Congress is selling out American workers to please their corporate contributors."
2005-12-05 12:36PST (15:36EST) (20:36GMT)
Nicolas Mokhoff _EE Times_
Semiconductor Industry Association says USA must manufacture to stay on top
"the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is calling for the United States to take drastic action to maintain technological superiority in a murkier long-term future. Responding to a rising chorus of studies suggesting the U.S. risks losing its leadership in technology and innovation, SIA president George Scalise said in a briefing here today the U.S. needed to maintain a strong manufacturing base to remain competitive... 'It is vital to manufacture semiconductors -- and other innovation-intensive products -- in the United States.', Scalise said. Scalise said that manufacturing is a crucial part of the larger ecosystem that includes corporate and university research and development, the semiconductor equipment and materials industry, fabless companies, and integrated device manufacturers... 'It's a new world. With other countries, such as [Red China], attracting fabs building with all sort of incentives, we are ham-strung here in the U.S.A. by our federal policies that don't seem to reflect reality.', said Scalise. 'We need to change the name of the game in order to attract industry back to the U.S.A.'... In fact, there are also national security implications that result from a migration of manufacturing to off-shore locations, according to Scalise. The Defense Science Board Task Force on High Performance Microchip Supply's recent report details a number of concerns and recommends that the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security prepare a special briefing for the National Security Advisor on this concern."
Anthony N. Iannarelli _Bergen Record_
The Assault on the American Worker
"there are more people around than good-paying jobs. Now that companies freely cross borders where workers are willing to accept 'dollar a day' wages, with neither benefits nor pensions, it is no wonder we're in this situation. The assault on the American worker does not end there: With President Bush's proposal to allow additional guest-workers (those workers willing to accept the lowest of wages), companies can stay put and still get the benefit of the anti-middle class agenda."
Craig R. Barrett _Business Week_
Science grads, where are you? Under-employed
"the brilliance of their work makes my own PhD dissertation look dim in comparison... For the past 3 decades, about one-third of U.S. bachelor's degrees have been granted in science and engineering. Asian nations far out-strip that figure, with [Red China] at 59% in 2001, South Korea at 46% in 2000, and Japan at 66% in 2001. Of those degrees, the number awarded in engineering also varied greatly: In [Red China] engineering accounted for 65% of all science and engineering degrees; in South Korea for 58%; and in Japan for 29%. In the U.S. that figure is less than 5%. How did we get here? [By not hiring and retaining past science grads.]... [Intel invests only] about $100M a year in education programs."
Gene Nelson, PhD responded:
"Researchers at Duke University found that about 225,925 engineers graduate from American universities annually, [more than] 3 times the number -- 70K -- typically cited by the National Academies and the media. The academies include the NAS, NAE, the IOM, and the NRC."
"[Craig Barrett] cares sooooooooooooooo much about US technical workers, he sends $1B+ to India to grow 'em more and cheaper over there!..."
"Corporate America prefers to reward investors more than employees, prefers to cut costs to maintain stock price rather than invest in its own R&D efforts, prefers to out-source and off-shore rather than employ Americans. This generation of college students, and the ones behind them, have seen how their parents have been treated."
"It's interesting to see this message revived from time to time by an assortment of corporate heads... I see firsthand the reasons for the "decline" in US engineer production. Simply put, it isn't the most attractive career choice for bright U.S. students. There are other professions (banking, law, medicine, even sales) that hold forth the promise of greater rewards, both financially and socially, for the bright, ambitious students. The day that engineering can offer the status and pay of these other careers, you will see an enormous jump in U.S. engineering grads... When you grow up in the U.S., the examples of wealth and status that you see are generally not engineers."
"I find it humorous at best to see an Intel chairman urging American students into the sciences the same day that Intel announces it is going to invest more money in India next year ($800M) than it has in the past 10 years combined ($700M) and 8 times the amount they invest in American schools every year."
Mac Johnson _Human Events_
Illegal Alien Invasion Deadlier than War in Iraq
"When your first acts in America are to illegally sneak in, lie about your status, obtain fraudulent identification, deceive public services and solicit an itinerant job in the underground economy, people have a right to ask what sort of neighbor you might become. The illegal alien's life of deceit and struggle would seem to appeal only to those very desperate to leave their homelands. And the failed societies which inspire such desperation in their poor tend to be much more violent than the United States... If records on the homicide associated with illegal immigration exist, the obscurity in which they are shrouded is inviolate... The BJS spokesman was not very polite at all, but was knowledgeable. He explained that no one kept track of illegal alien murders and that the closest thing to such a record would be the applications to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program of the Federal Government (SCAAP). This program is designed to stop border states from organizing against illegal immigration by reimbursing them millions of dollars in costs associated with imprisoning any illegal aliens convicted of either one felony or two misdemeanors. Since the records of the program simply trigger the transfer of huge sums of Federal tax money, they are not very informative or accessible... Vermont, wonderfully isolated as always, told me about the illegal aliens in its prison system—all 49 of them. The answer from Florida was excellent and very thorough, but the data simply do not exist. No one knows the cost in lives of illegal immigration... While the murder rate among illegal aliens in America is unknown, we do have fair estimates of how many illegal migrants are here, and what countries they came from. The murder rates in most of these countries are known and published by the United Nations... Put more plainly, I assumed that 3,871,912 Mexicans in America kill at the same rate as 3,871,912 Mexicans in Mexico, then did the same for 336,717 Salvadorans, 77K Brazilians, 226,886 Chinese and 39 other categories of illegal alien -- as totaled in a Census Bureau estimate of the illegal alien population in 2000. The report's total figure was that 8.7M illegal aliens are in our country. It should be noted that this estimate would be considered low by many sources. But I tried to be as conservative as possible with all figures. My estimate is therefore low, I believe... Using the above method, I estimated that illegal aliens kill 1,480 people in America every year... If the illegal population in America is skewed toward young males, as most believe, the murder total is actually much higher. Comparing the age structure of the population of illegal aliens that applied for amnesty during the Reagan administration (according a GAO report) to the current age structure of the population of Mexico (according to the US Census Bureau), I found that people aged 22 to 45 years old were over-represented in the amnesty pool. Adjusting the murder rate using FBI homicide perpetrator age-cohort information for the United States..., the total is more likely to be 1,806 murders per year... Thus, [based on different estimates of sex ratios among illegal immigrants] I made 3 calculations, based on the population being 50% male (1,806 murders), 60% male (2,076 murders), or 75% male (2,510 murders)... illegal aliens kill between 1,806 and 2,510 people in the United States each year... In that same 32 months, there have possibly been between 4,800 and 6,700 deaths in the invasion of the United States by illegal aliens, a corrupt endeavor tolerated in a frivolous pursuit of cheap labor. Given that 16,528 murders were committed in the entire United States in 2004, this estimate -- if correct -- would mean that illegal aliens (3% of the population in the Census Bureau Estimate used in this analysis) commit between 11% and 15% of all the murders in the United States each year. The murder rate for the illegal alien population in this model, 20 to 29 homicides per year per 100K persons, would thus be 400% to 500% the rate of the combined native-born and legal immigrant populations."
Ken Koening _Fort Wayne Journal Gazette_
President's trade policies are a recipe for un-employment
"The... Freedom to Farm act has resulted in the death of the small family farm in America and promoted corporate large-scale farming with its use of pesticides and chemicals -- also, large-scale confined hog and cattle operations with their use of various 'medicinal' injections and feed additives to keep the animals 'healthy' and the associated animal waste smell and disposal problems. We are seeing the ongoing dismantling of the once-great American production capability and facilities that were once considered the envy of the world and that provided secure employment for millions of Americans. In fact, in the 1950s, a typical high school graduate could get a factory job (in the Fort Wayne area) that paid enough so that his wife could remain in their modest home to care for and raise their family. That, of course, changed radically after another Republican, President Nixon, took the country off the silver standard, which had the effect of opening the floodgates of government borrowing and ongoing devaluation of the currency (erroneously labeled inflation) that continues to this day. The result, of course, has been a debt-driven economy that has enslaved the working people of this country. They may have nice homes to live in and lots of 'possessions' but they can't really enjoy either because they have to worry constantly about making those monthly payments. And now that large corporations can use out-sourcing as a weapon to demand concessions from their workers, the once-prosperous middle class of this country, is slowly being destroyed. It is being exacerbated by the fact that no new good-paying jobs are being created in this country. And illegal aliens are taking the poor-paying ones."
Karamagi Rujumba _Toledo Blade_
Highly skilled Americans confront locked doors while flood of immigrants and guest-workers whine about costs of staying in USA
Michael Smith _Med Page Today_
,a href="http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/GeneralPsychiatry/tb/2268"> Marital Strife Can Delay Surgical Wound Healing
"Even if spouses usually get along well, the stress caused by a half-hour argument can slow healing of a surgical wound by as much as a day, researchers here reported. If they are generally hostile, the delay in wound healing can be doubled, according to Ronald Glaser, Ph.D., and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., both of Ohio State here. One implication of the finding, reported in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, is that marital stress plays an important role in recovery from surgery, Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser said... The researchers also found differences in the production of three cytokines - interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1-beta, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Both groups had increases in circulating levels of plasma IL-6 and TNF-alpha after the conflict session compared to the social support session, the researcher found. However, the high-hostile couples had greater increases. For example, low-hostile participants increased IL-6 production by about 65% to 70% over the 24 hours following either session, while IL-6 increases in high-hostile individuals jumped from 45% after the social session to 113% after the conflict session... elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines are linked to a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and type II diabetes."
Andrew Leigh _On Line Opinion Australia_/_Australian_
Labor's greatest free trader
"As a senator for Western Australia, Australia's most export-oriented state, [Peter Cook] understood intuitively the benefits of an export-oriented culture... The doctrine of comparative advantage was what prompted Labor governments under Whitlam, Hawke and Keating to reduce Australia's tariff rates. Negotiating as Australia's trade minister in the Uruguay world trade talks, Peter Cook helped bring the round home, boosting living standards worldwide... Above all, Peter Cook had a gift for never losing track of what mattered, of cutting through the arcane complexity of trade agreements to deliver a message that would reach voters ('for a politician, (if) it isn't reported in the media, you might as well not have said it', he frequently reminded me). In an era where Labor's economic credentials are often questioned, he liked to point out that trade was one issue upon which the ALP was purer than the government. As trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati has pointed out, free trading multi-lateralism is far preferable to the spaghetti bowl of preferential trade agreements that have emerged in recent years."
Tom Adelstein _LXer_
Paper Machines and Phantom Computers: Control Data vs. IBM, Open vs. MSFT
Charles J. Murray _Design News_
America's High-Tech Quandary
Rosalind McLymont _Access My LIbrary_/_Commonwealth Business Media_
Up, up and away - but how high? - Despite worries, global trade expected to keep moving up
Somerset Marine (pdf)
"'The United States already is very open to goods from other countries. Fully 70% of our imports already enter duty-free, and the average U.S. tariff rate on the remaining imports is about 3%. But according to the U.S. Trade Representative's office, American exporters face an average tariff rate of 30% abroad, 10 times as high.', said David Heuther, chief economist at the National Manufacturers Association."
Paul Sharke _Design News_
Help Wanted: So few jobs, so much time between interviews and offers
2005-12-05 21:01PST (2005-12-06 00:01EST) (2005-12-06 05:01GMT)
Herb Greenberg _MarketWatch_
Worst CEO of the year: Paul Eibeler of Take-Two Interactive
"[It's] hard to top last year's winner, Scott Livengood, formerly of Krispy Kreme... Notables include Fannie Mae's ex-chief Franklin Raines and Phil Purcell, formerly of Morgan Stanley. Heck, I can even make an argument that Livengood's temporary replacement [at] Krispy Kreme, Stephen Cooper, should be in the running. Without a doubt, however, if he were still on the job the winner would be -- hand's down -- Phillip Bennett, who was recently ousted from the top spot at Refco. Still, 'on the job' is one of the qualifications for Worst CEO of the Year, which means my #1 candidate, Tim Webster of American Italian Pasta, is out of the running. He resigned Monday morning as his company continues to endure regulatory and internal probes into the company's accounting... Eibeler is the latest in a revolving door of CEOs at the video game maker, having taken the post in January for what amounts to a second tour of duty in the company's executive suite. He left in April of 2003 for 'medical leave', only to resurface three months later as president of Acclaim North America -- a job he held for just three months. He rejoined Take-Two in 2004 April as president, before his elevation to CEO. (Acclaim, meanwhile, filed for bankruptcy liquidation in 2004 August.) Eibeler's climb to the top coincided with founder and ex-Chairman Ryan Brandt's topple by regulators to a non-executive position in the wake of accounting issues. As of fiscal 2005's proxy, filed last May, Brandt was still the company's highest-paid executive; he now runs one of the company's high profile divisions, which itself has not done tremendously well... the company's hot-selling game, Grand Theft Auto, was given the dreaded 'adult' rating by the video software industry's rating group. The company has since suffered a series of set-backs on the roll-outs of newer games..."
2005-12-06 04:59PST (07:59EST) (12:59GMT)
Dan Burrows _MarketWatch_
Weekly chain-store sales fell 3.1%
"Chain-store sales fell 3.1% for the week ended December 3, as consumers took a break from their holiday shopping after an 'extremely' promotional Thanksgiving week, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Tuesday. On a year over year basis, the week's sales pace slowed by 3.5%."
2005-12-06 09:02PST (12:02EST) (17:02GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US productivity revised upward: Unit labor compensation fell 1%
"Productivity of the U.S. non-farm business sector surged at a 4.7% annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest rate in 2 years, and revised up from the 4.1% pace estimated a month ago. Unit labor costs - a gauge of wage-push inflationary pressures - fell at a 1% annual pace in the quarter, revised lower from a 0.5% decrease. Unit labor costs are the costs paid to workers to produce one 'unit' of output... Productivity has increased 3.1% in the past year, about double the 1.6% pace that prevailed from the mid-1970s through mid-1990s. It's the best year-on-year growth in productivity since early 2004. Since 1999, productivity has averaged 3.3% annually, while unit labor costs have risen just 1%. Unit labor costs have increased 1.8% in the past year, following a large downward revision in second-quarter unit labor costs from a 1.8% increase to a 1.2% decline... Instead of growing at a 4.1% pace through the second quarter, as previously thought, unit labor costs are now growing at just 1.8%, less than half the rate of inflation. Real hourly compensation (adjusted for inflation) is up 1.2% in the past year... Although the new figures will likely show much less inflationary pressures from labor costs, that doesn't mean the Federal Reserve will change course and end its tightening campaign."
Christine Souza _California Farm Bureau_
Worker glut makes immigration reform urgent
"The Bush administration has developed a 3-part strategy that the president says would enhance homeland security through comprehensive immigration reform. Part one of the plan is to return every illegal immigrant caught crossing the Southwest border, with no exceptions. Second, the administration would work with Congress to reform immigration laws. Finally, the federal government would stop people from crossing the border illegally by increasing manpower at the border, deploying new technology and constructing physical barriers to entry. Part of the president's plan also involves working with Congress to create [yet another] guest-worker program... In recent weeks, the House Homeland Security Committee passed HR4312, the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005, introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King, R-NY... [Growers can in Imperial Valley can employ 10K workers but would like a pool of at least 30K. There are between 8M and 24M illegal aliens working in the USA.] S1438 would require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries before applying for a new temporary guestworker visa. S1033 would allow undocumented immigrants to remain, apply for new work visas and have the possibility of earning permanent legal status. Hagel's 4 proposals deal with various elements of border security, including one proposal that includes [yet another] guest-worker program."
Alan Elsner _Boston Globe_
Michigan representative wants to ensure only citizens are counted toward congressional districting: Illegal aliens influence US elections
"[Currently, both citizens and aliens -- legal and illegal -- are counted when apportioning congressional districts.] Michigan representative Candice Miller wants to change that so that both legal and illegal aliens would be excluded. 'This is about fundamental fairness and the American ideal of one man or one woman, one vote.', Miller told a hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on federalism and the census called to debate the matter. Miller's proposal comes amid a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly among Republicans in the House of Representatives. Several proposals are under consideration to toughen border controls and make it more difficult for employers to give jobs to illegal aliens. Supporters of the amendment argue that the presence of non-citizens caused 9 seats in the House of Representative) to change hands between states in 2000... "Immigration takes away representation from states composed almost entirely of U.S. citizens so that new districts can be created in states with large numbers of non-citizens," said Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors a slow-down of legal immigration and tough enforcement against illegal aliens... The most recent amendment to pass, which provided that any change in the salary of members of Congress may only take effect after the next election, was first proposed in 1789 and finally ratified in 1992."
2005-12-06 08:12PST (11:12EST) (16:12GMT)
Valley leaders are ill over illegals
"Searching for a solution. Valley leaders say illegal immigrants are flooding the area... In a regularly scheduled meeting, district one commissioner Mo Brooks files a resolution. 'Whereas illegal aliens murder and kill too many Americans in general.', he reads. 'And whereas illegal aliens hurt public education.' Ten minutes, plenty of blame, and several pages later, Brooks resolves to ask for the authority to enforce immigration laws locally [something they already have the delegated power to do]."
Steve Camarota _US News Wire_/Center for Immigration Studies
In the last 5 years the US has experienced the highest immigration in history
"As the nation considers immigration proposals from Congress and the President, an analysis of new Census Bureau data shows that the immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a new high in 2005. The data, which the Bureau has not yet analyzed, also show that 2000 - 2005 is the highest 5-year period of new immigration (legal and illegal) in American history. Almost half of new arrivals are estimated to be illegal aliens. The new report provides a detailed picture of the socio-economic status of immigrants, including estimates for illegal aliens. States with the largest increase in immigrants are California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Minnesota and Nevada. The report, 'Immigrants at Mid-Decade: A Snap-shot of American's Foreign-Born Population in 2005', is embargoed until Monday, December 12, at 10:00."
Jury clears former USF computer engineering professor Sami al-Arian of nearly half of charges of funding Islamic Jihad
"Sami al-Arian wept after hearing he had been cleared of 8 of the 17 counts, including conspiracy to murder and material support for a terrorist group. With jurors dead-locked on the other counts, he remains in custody while prosecutors consider a retrial... Co-defendants Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghassan Zayed Ballut were acquitted of all charges against them while Hatem Naji Fariz was found not guilty on 24 counts, with jurors dead-locked on the remaining 8."
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Learning to love the trade deficit, and fear the cure
"It's been about a quarter of a century since we sold more goods to foreigners than we bought from them. In the intervening months and years, our trade deficit has grown markedly. 14 years ago, it took an entire year for our monthly trade deficit to total $70G. Now we run up this much red ink in just one month. Not surprisingly, our current account deficit, the shortfall on all trade and investment income we have with everyone else, has just hit another record. It's now more than 6% of our gross domestic product -- a number that has sent shivers up some spines... Think of what would happen if we suddenly reduced our purchases of foreign goods. Growth in these countries would slow and un-employment would rise. Meanwhile, back in the United States, prices of the remaining goods would soar as domestic demand far exceeded supply. Another side effect of a swift reduction in our trade deficit would be a drop in the number of dollars foreigners would have to buy U.S. stocks and bonds. This would result in lower stock prices and higher interest rates. In my view there are 2 reasons why we have a trade deficit. The first is that we are growing faster than the rest of the world. The second is that the dollar is trading way above its intrinsic value in the foreign exchange markets."
Cathy Herholdt _Lynnwood Journal_
Living in a friendless world
"Matthew crossed his arms and furrowed his brow when he entered the house and saw the crowd of people... But Matthew became more agitated as the noise level rose in the small, crowded house... At dinner, he frowned again at the massive Thanksgiving buffet, insisting on only sliced white bread for his meal... As his cousins excitedly spread out their sleeping bags for a sleepover in the living room, Matthew again refused to participate, avoiding eye contact with the other kids when they invited him to join them... Asperger syndrome is a relatively new disorder, having been discovered by an Austrian pediatrician, Dr. Hans Asperger, in 1944, about the same time scientists were realizing there was such a thing as high-functioning autism which has many similar characteristics as Asperger syndrome. While some still disagree that theyre related, the two conditions present many of the same challenges and have seen success with similar treatments. Asperger syndrome (AS) is characterized by social withdrawal... Children with AS may appear shy and lack interest in seeking out friendships. While most are of average intelligence and have good analytical skills, they have difficulty with social interactions. People with AS make little eye contact with others, may make inappropriate facial expressions or have strange body posture or movements, often have one repetitive activity they revert to when stressed, and become agitated or irritable when they have to socialize... They are very focused on maintaining an emotionally safe, controllable environment... Children with AS can be obsessive about a single object or interest, to the exclusion of any other. Their expertise regarding their topic, high level of vocabulary and formal speech patterns are apparent in conversations. Other characteristics include repetitive routines or rituals, peculiarities in speech or language, problems with non-verbal communication and uncoordinated or clumsy movements... Dr. Becker says AS affects about one in 250 people, with 3/4 of the population being male. He believes there is a slightly higher occurrence in the Seattle area, as in the Silicon Valley in California, because of the types of high-tech/computer jobs people with AS seem to work in... People with AS often have unique talents and strengths including excellent memories, reading skills and visual-spatial skills."
2005-12-06 22:00PST (2005-12-07 01:00EST) (2005-12-07 06:00GMT)
Patrick Buchanan _World Net Daily_
No deal, Mr. President
"Why, then, has it taken 5 years for the White House to wake up to the first imperative in the immigration crisis: Fix the border, stop the flood? Why is President Bush still chattering on about a 'guest-worker' program that has nothing to do with the crisis? Since he took office in 2001, Bush said in Tucson, AZ, U.S. border agents have apprehended and sent home 4.5M illegal aliens, 'including more than 350K with criminal records'. Astonishing. That is 75K criminals a year, 200 felons a day, for the last five years, trying to break into our country to rape, rob and kill, and molest our children... what did Bush say in Tucson? I can't defend the border if you won't give me a guest-worker program... But this is preposterous. Bush is saying he cannot do his constitutional duty to protect the nation from invasion - unless we let 12M illegal aliens become guest-workers and allow greedy U.S. businesses to go over-seas and hire foreigners for jobs that U.S. workers won't take at the paltry wages they offer. But not since the "bracero" program of decades ago have we had a national guest-worker program. And never in our history have we given business carte blanche to go abroad and hire foreigners to come and take American jobs. Yet Bush says if we don't, he can't control the border. What he means is, he won't control the border... Conservatives should reject this "guest-worker" program, even if it is Bush's price tag for border protection. Far from solving the crisis, this Chamber of Commerce-LULAC scheme will mean final defeat, after decades of struggle to protect the borders. For though Bush may say, 'I oppose amnesty.', his guest-worker program is amnesty."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
A Trial Balloon?
"editorials often are written in response to visits by lobbyists to editorial boards. The proposal discussed here -- give automatic green cards to foreign students who get Master's or PhDs at U.S. universities in 'selected fields' -- is not new, but it may be an idea whose time has come. It's wrongheaded and has hidden motivations, but there are enough special interests work here that it just might get by Congress. It's certainly not needed. As I've said many times, contrary to fears expressed by special interests that we are not producing enough PhDs in science and engineering, we are producing too many, as evidenced, for example, by the fact that very few PhDs in physics ever actually get a job doing physics. The only 'need' to produce so many PhDs is to maintain the academic empires of certain faculty... The sad fact is that tons of those baby boomers wish they could get technical work now. Even if we needed more MS/PhD people in science and engineering, I and others have shown quite clearly that the remedy is obvious and classic: Raise salaries of jobs requiring these degrees. Remember, the NSF advocated bringing in more foreign scientists and engineers precisely to avoid this remedy. Even if the foreign students were needed, the proposed remedy would be absurd. Do they really think that all Master's and PhD recipients are created equal? Just about anyone can get a Master's degrees at some school somewhere in the U.S. So anyone who wants to immigrate would merely get a Master's at some 'wild chicken' school (Chinese phrase) and they're in like Flynn. Same thing at the PhD level, even from a 'good' school, and David North's research found that most foreign students getting PhDs in the U.S. were concentrated in the weaker schools. Recall, by the way, that needed or not, I've always strongly supported facilitating the immigration of 'the best and the brightest'. What this editorial writer doesn't know is that we already have a mechanism for giving green cards to that category of people, called the National Interest Waiver. No employer sponsorship is needed, as long as one can document that one IS the best and the brightest."
Dr. Matloff's archive of articles and news-letters and congressional testimony
Rajesh Mahapatra _Seattle Times_
MSFT to invest $1.7G, add 3K jobs in India
_Dayton Daily News_
Suit says cops zapped great-grand-mother
"A 68-year-old great-grand-mother has filed a federal law-suit against the city and its police department, claiming her civil rights were violated when she said an officer used a Taser gun on her multiple times in the police department lobby. Attorneys for Beverly Kidwell argue in the suit that police used excessive force and said they have a tape of the April incident to prove it, WHIOTV.com reported."
Nina Bernstein _Sarasota Herald Tribune_
Most Mexican Immigrants Gave Up Jobs to Come to USA
"The report, released Tuesday by the Pew Hispanic Center, was based on surveys of nearly 5K Mexicans, mostof them here illegally. Those surveyed were seeking identity documents at Mexican consulates in New York, Atlanta and Raleigh, NC, where recent arrivals have gravitated toward construction, hotel and restaurant jobs, and in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Fresno, CA, where they have been more likely to work in agriculture and manufacturing. Unlike the stereotype of jobless Mexicans heading north, most of the immigrants had been employed in Mexico, the report found. Once in the United States, they soon found that their illegal status was no barrier to being hired here. And though the jobs they landed, typically with help from relatives, were often unstable and their median earnings only $300 a week, that was enough to keep drawing new-comers because wages here far exceeded those in Mexico... Only 5% had been un-employed there... After a difficult transition in their first 6 months in the United States - about 15% of the respondents said they did not work during that time - the rate of un-employment plummeted, to an average of 5%. But in one of the most striking findings, 38% reported an un-employment spell lasting a month or more in the previous year, regardless of their location, legal status or length of time in the United States... Among respondents to the survey, those who settled in Atlanta and Dallas were the best off, with 56% in each city receiving a weekly wage higher than the $300-a-week median. The worst off were in Fresno, where more than half of the survey respondents worked in agriculture and 60% reported earning less than $300 a week... To some scholars of immigration, the report underlines the lack of incentives for employers to turn to a guest-worker program like the one proposed by President Bush because their needs are met cheaply by illegal workers - and all without paper-work or long-term commitment... 'You can't plausibly argue that immigrant-dominated sectors have a labor shortage.', said Robert Courtney Smith, a sociologist and author of _Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants_. Instead, he said, the report and evidence of falling wages among Mexican immigrants over time point to an over-supply of vulnerable workers competing with each other."
2005-12-07 04:50PST (07:50EST) (12:50GMT)
Jim Abrams _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Legislation to Allow More Guest-Workers Is In the Works
Johnstown PA Tribune-Democrat
"The House is to vote next week on legislation that strengthens border security and requires work-place enforcement of immigration law but does not offer a guest-worker program... House Judiciary committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, who crafted the bill, said he supports a guest-worker program, which would provide temporary visas for unskilled labor. Some guest-worker proposals would allow illegal immigrants already in the country to participate, although Sensenbrenner has not stated a position on that issue. But he said that without a clear consensus on what that program would entail, 'I believe it is wise to move cautiously.' The committee is expected to vote on the measure, which also imposes tougher penalties for both smugglers and illegal immigrants, on Thursday. The full House will take up the bill next week, committee aides said... The Sensenbrenner bill [HR4437] incorporates border security legislation sponsored by Homeland Security committee chairman Peter King, R-NY, with new penalties for violators and new requirements on employers who hire non-citizens. Among the penalties, it makes illegal presence in the United States, currently a civil offense, a criminal felony. Some immigration experts estimate that 40% of illegal immigrants enter the country legally and then overstay their visas. It places mandatory minimum sentences on smuggling convictions and attempts to re-enter the country after removal, and subjects all non-citizens, legal or illegal, to deportation if convicted of three or more drunken driving offenses. The legislation also provides reimbursement for local sheriffs in 29 border counties who transfer illegal immigrants to federal custody and would make non-citizen gang members deportable... Currently the maximum fine [for employing illegal aliens] is $2K [far less than the employers gain by under-cutting prevailing compensation rates]."
Ford to lay off 30K through 2011 (graphs)
"Up to 30K workers to be eliminated and at least 10 factories to close. Ford Motor Company executives will present a restructureing plan to the company's board of directors, today, that calls for closing at least 10 assembly and component plants and eliminating 25k to 30K hourly jobs in North America within 5 years... In meetings today and Thursday, Mark Fields, Ford's new president of the Americas division and the architect of the [blood-bath' will walk board members through the fine points, including budget projections for 2006 & 2007, capital [investment] requests and other details... Ford had 87K UAW-represented workers in North America at the end of 2004. It has about 11.6K union workers in Canada... The auto-maker already has announced plans to cut about 4K salaried jobs in the first quarter of 2006 on top of 2,750 white-collar cuts made this year."
Eric Union _Small Times_
Security plan could restrict flood of cheap foreign lab assistants
"It's no secret that the United States has grown more dependent on foreign researchers. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for example, 577 foreign under-graduate and graduate students are enrolled, and many are engaged in on-going research. The Research Foundation of the State University of New York, meanwhile, says it has 18,006 non-citizens, including researchers, employees and students, on its campuses across the state... Now, proposals by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Defense to tighten access by many of these researchers to various sensitive technologies have academic and industry officials warning that the move could endanger the nation's technological edge... The proposed regulations grew out of perceptions by some federal officials that research institutions weren't being as stringent as they should be in guarding access to technologies that could have military or other strategic applications. The Defense Department published proposed changes in the Federal Register in July, while the Commerce Department hasn't yet released to the public its proposed rule changes... Another change would be the classification of foreign researchers by country of birth instead of country of citizenship. So a Chinese native who is a citizen of Canada would be classified under more stringent regulations."
Diane M. Grassi _Frontiers of Freedom_
US Jobs in IT Development and Finance Solely Reserved for India and Guest-Workers
Magic City Morning Star
"Americans are well familiar with the down-sizing, out-sourcing and off-shoring of the U.S. manufacturing base which has seen 2/3 of its jobs lost in the past 20 years, having been traded in for third world cheap labor. And while white-collar workers have hardly been immune from off-shoring practices infiltrating boardrooms, indication this week is that the tide has changed. Both the Intel Corp., the world's largest computer chip manufacturer, as well as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., one of the world's largest financial institutions and 2nd largest in the U.S.A., are investing in creating new jobs in India over the next few years rather than in the U.S.A... With only 200 on staff in India just two years ago, in order to achieve their latest goal, J.P. Morgan will hire between 300-400 graduates a month in order to have 9K total positions in front and back-office positions by 2008... The remaining approximately 4K - 4,500 employees J.P. Morgan employs will be divided between Bournemouth, England and New York, NY... Similarly, Intel will invest $1.1G in India over the next 5 years, with $800M dedicated specifically for research and development operations and other projects including chip design, also in Bangalore, according to Chairman Craig Barrett... Cisco Systems, the world's largest maker of internet equipment, which announced in 2005 October that it would invest $1.1G in India, tripling its work force to more than 4K from 1,400 in the next 3 years... [Former] MSFT chairman Bill Gates [and current chairman Steven Ballmer are] expected to invest $400M in Hyderabad, India where he plans to hire several hundred workers... consultants such as Stefan Spohr of AT Kearney estimate that investment banks could raise their staff levels in India to as much as 20% in the next few years. Since salaries in India are 70-80% lower than in the U.S.A., with total costs about 40% lower than in the U.S.A., the trend of off-shoring will no longer exist. Rather, jobs will now originate from India and totally bypass the U.S.A... Companies are directly contributing to the supposed engineering shortage themselves by requiring that an applicant meet every item on a detailed list of qualifications. Transfer of like-skills is a long lost concept. With approximately 200 responses for every job listing, companies have the luxury to hold out until they get the perfect candidate, as job cuts in technology positions are up 20% in the past year, according to Challenger, Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The un-employment rate for computer programmers and engineers is higher than the national average..."
_Qatar Gulf Times_
India continues pushing at WTO talks to open flood-gates of off-shoring and guest-worker abuse
"India should use the Hong Kong round of global trade talks to push for more overseas work visas for software engineers in exchange for opening its booming services sector, analysts and industry groups say. With 50% of India's gross domestic product linked to services such as software, out-sourcing, retail and banking, developed countries are eager to tap the now restricted sectors. But India, a leader along with Brazil of the influential G-20 group of developing nations, wants to make sure that in return its companies that bid for lucrative services work in developed countries are able to get [an unlimited number of] work visas."
Houston debates illegal alien sanctuary policy
"Houston residents asked a divided City Council Tuesday to end an official city policy that forbids local police from rounding up undocumented immigrants for being in the country illegally."
Kyra Kyles _Chicago Tribune_
Y Generation: Want "Meaningful Work" without paying dues
"'Generation Y [like the boomers and Gen X before them, are eager to cut to the chase, to do] more meaningful work and is looking for more give-and-take from their employers.', said John Challenger, CEO of out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 'They want a lot of responsibilities and also to do work that is interesting to them.' Most researchers define Gen Y as the age group born between 1978 and 1989, making the oldest of them 27 and the youngest 16, researcher Bruce Tulgan said. Unlike previous generations, Gen Y enters the office with clear-cut goals and ambitions, according to Tulgan, who founded RainmakerThinking Inc. to study young people in the work-place... 'Generation Y's main concerns are control, timing and customization.', Tulgan said. 'They'll trade off some financial benefits for more control over where they work, who they report to and how long they work each day.' Clear career growth, increasing responsibility and ongoing performance feed-back are critical to Gen Y workers, who are accustomed to being listened to and respected by their doting parents, said Anastasia Goodstein, editor of a blog called Ypulse... 'More senior partners are more phone-oriented or face-to-face, but we prefer e-mails to voice mails.'... Gen Y resents gopher duties including making photocopies, fetching coffee or answering phones... Y's sense of entitlement often is tempered with excellent teamwork skills and a strong desire to learn from previous generations... Baby Boomers say, 'Hey, these kids have a point, but I was here 20 years before them, so I want what they want, but I deserve it first.' "
Making America Safter by Strengthening Our Borders
Minutemen to hold weekend vigil near Naco
"Civilians belonging to a border watch group will hold a vigil along portions of the Mexican border in Cochise County this weekend looking for illegal aliens crossing the border. Typically, volunteers sit in their vehicles or on lawn chairs, with binoculars and cell phones, watching for any illegal aliens trying to cross from Mexico into the United States. Any sightings are to be called in to the U.S. Border Patrol..."
Paul J. Lim _US News & World Report_
A pink slip in the stocking
Globe & Mail
"Fourth quarters are always a tough time when it comes to lay-offs. That's because companies often do last-minute cost cutting at year end to hit their budget targets and make their numbers look good. This year appears to be no different, as corporate America announced 99,279 lay-offs last month. That's up 22% from the 81,301 job cuts announced in October, according to the out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas... The auto industry was the biggest contributor to November's lay-off announcements, slashing an additional 16,870 jobs. They are also the lay-off leaders so far this year, having announced 105,886 cuts since January, which represents around 11% of all job cuts announced in 2005, according to Challenger... Lay-offs were down 5% from 2004 November's 104,530. So far in 2005, corporations have announced 964,232 job cuts, up 3.6% from the year-to-date total a year ago. Lay-offs are likely to surpass 1M for the fifth straight year. In 2004, 1.04M job reductions were announced."
Susan Kuchinskas _Datamation_
A job for the holidays
"Around 20% of job seekers take a break during the holidays, Challenger said, figuring that they'll begin another full-court press on January 2. Those who do will miss out on what the company estimates at 300K managerial and professional jobs that may be added in the closing months of the year... some managers speed up the hiring process to use up funds from the current year... the lion's share of those 30K jobs won't be in technology. There, the cuts continue. According to Challenger, technology companies announced 41,439 job cuts in the third quarter, up 4.3% from 39,720 in the second quarter. For the year, tech-job cuts totaling 140,696 were 18.8% higher than the three-quarter total of 118,427 in 2004. But Challenger saw signs that job cuts in the sector, which includes computers, telecommunications, electronics and e-commerce, may be slowing. The 41,439 job cuts announced between July and September were 24% lower than the 54,701 job cuts during the same period in 2004. In 2006, the company expects the biggest job gains to come in the financial services, technology, health care, energy and international business sectors, which together could create as many as 1.3M new jobs next year."
2005-12-07 12:41PST (15:41EST) (20:41GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Consumer debt posts historic 4% drop
"Consumer credit posted a large, unexpected drop in October, falling by a record $7.2G, or a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4%, according to the Federal Reserve. The $7.2G decline was the largest monthly drop since the Fed began keeping records in 1943... Revolving credit - generally credit cards -- fell by an annual rate of $1.6G, or 2.4%. Non-revolving credit - typically auto loans -- declined 5%, by $5.6G, also marking a record decline. September consumer credit, meanwhile, was revised upward to an annual rate of $4.1G from the previously estimated decline of $100M."
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
Visas are awarded without background checks
World Peace Herald
"Top officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acknowledged in internal e-mails that some of their employees are able to decide visa applications without being able to do full background checks, even in important national security cases... a robust debate among top leaders at USCIS, the agency charged with deciding who should get green cards or temporary work or study visas, over how to do national security checks while deciding millions of applications a year. In one situation, the acting deputy director purportedly ordered one investigative branch not to provide information to a top-level team deciding the toughest cases because of turf conflicts with another branch. Meanwhile, other adjudicators do not have the right level of access to data-bases, meaning they could miss another agency's flagged information and could let someone into the country who should be denied entry... The official said the situation has improved dramatically since September 11, including requiring an IBIS check on every application. She said the agency is so diligent about completing all checks that it faces law-suits and court orders from applicants still awaiting a final decision... 'The adjudicators are being denied the ability to do criminal background checks; they're being told not to ask questions they might not like the answers to; they are filing or throwing away criminal hits on applicants; and I understand perhaps even ignoring terrorists.', [representative John Culberson of Texas] said."
Off-Shoring Debated at ILO Meet
"The main presenter, Professor Gary Gereffi, of the Sociology Department at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA, has noted that global out-sourcing has triggered a debate about the benefits and costs of globalization, for developing as well as developed countries. Some, he has noted, claim that off-shore production in both the manufacturing and service sectors have been extremely beneficial, since it promotes economic efficiency and it spreads the gains of globalization to poorer, less developed, export-oriented countries. Others, he has however pointed out, argue that global out-sourcing has led to a 'race to the bottom', as developing countries struggle with one another, to offer trans-national companies the lowest operating costs. The wages and benefits for workers in industrialised economies, he says, are under constant downward pressure, because of the realities of global competition... Gereffi notes that off-shore out-sourcing has been gathering pace since the 1970s. Out-sourcing [has become] a standard aspect of all businesses which frequently and continually need to make the decision to 'make or buy' specific inputs and services. Meanwhile, Off-shoring refers to the decision to move the supply of goods and services from domestic to over-seas locations. The first wave of global out-sourcing began in the 1960s and 1970s with the exodus of production jobs in shoes, clothing, cheap electronics and toys. After this, routine service work, such as credit-card receipt processing, airline reservations, and the writing of basic software code began to move off-shore, Gereffi has pointed out. Today the computerisation of work, widespread access to the Internet, and high-speed private data networks have allowed a wide range of knowledge-intensive jobs to become more foot-loose, he says."
Of-Shoring Poses Crucial Challenges
"Potentially massive savings in wage and benefit costs continue to drive the global off-shoring movement, but companies are facing a wide range of people management issues both overseas and at home, according to a major study released today by The Conference Board, the global research and business membership organization. Aligning The Organization: Management and Human Resource Concerns is the third report in the series Thinking OffShoring Through: A Framework for Decision Makers... how long [will] the arbitrage opportunity...last... increases in demand for IT skills are driving up pay levels, especially in such centers as Bangalore and New Delhi in India. The study emphasizes that companies must look beyond wages to consider benefits, training and other costs before they out-source and also consider transportation, cultural and other expenses related to off-shoring... Due diligence for off-shoring companies should include a basic familiarity with local employment law, particularly the requirements and obligations surrounding termination. Companies should also know the standard contractual terms that apply, as well as the costs of hiring and firing and the procedures prospective vendors follow to screen potential employees, including background checks and references... the mere threat of moving administrative jobs over-seas [has depressed] wages and any potential increases in income at home... The number of U.S. citizens pursuing science and engineering degrees has fallen [in response to depressed compensation and employment insecurity]."
_Quad City Times_/_AP_
Maytag will pay $334,500 to settle age discrimination charges
"Maytag Corp. has agreed to pay $334,500 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of three regional sales managers who claimed they were demoted. Matthew Max, the appliance company's former regional sales manager in Chicago, and two other former managers will get back pay as a result of the settlement. Ethan Cohen, a Chicago attorney who represented the EEOC and Max in the case, said the lawsuit alleged that Maytag demoted 8 managers older than age 50 to a new position of zone manager in 1999. In some cases, new supervisors hired to replace them were younger, Cohen said Tuesday."
Maritime facility AND union will pay $625K for age discrimination
"The EEOC has announced a litigation settlement for $625,000 and comprehensive injunctive relief in an employment discrimination suit against the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (Paul Hall Center) and SeaFarers International (SIU) alleging age bias in an apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship program, which is based in Piney Point, MD, trains individuals wishing to become mariners in the US Merchant Marine. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, graduates are guaranteed jobs as unlicensed seamen on-board a SIU contracted vessel. The EEOC asserted in the law-suit that the Paul Hall Center and SIU refused to admit individuals at least 40 years old into the apprenticeship program in violation of the ADEA."
Mark Samuels _Computing_
Over-turning stereotypes will help plug the alleged IT skills gap
"Chances are that the geography of your technology workplace is dominated by one type of individual: the young, experienced male. It can be a depressing landscape. Just one in five UK technology workers is female. Computing's Skills Roadmap campaign has already highlighted the need for companies to pay more attention to women and working parents if UK plc's demand for IT is to be satisfied in the next decade... The proportion of under-25s in UK IT has fallen from 11.7% in 1995 to just 6.7% last year... calm down for a moment, and consider how the IT industry can provide a suitable career path for job-seekers."
David Pittman _V Dare_
America's Temporary Work Program: Invasion of the Job Snatchers
"we already have [a temporary work program]; it is called the American-born work-force. [In] 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' giant seed-pods were brought in and over-night [hatched out a replacement for] the real people [so, today, the legal and illegal aliens replace American workers]... Maybe, Mexican landscapers keep the giant seed pods on their gardening trucks. Illegal aliens are now so entrenched into the economy that they often constitute the majority work-force of many businesses... The vision this Administration has for the American worker is the day laborer center."
2005-12-07 21:01PST (2005-12-08 00:01EST) (2005-12-08 05:01GMT)
Peggy Noonan _Wall Street Journal_
The American Way: Waht does it mean that your first act on entering a country is breaking its laws
"I recently found out through one of her daughters that my grandmother spent her first night in America on a park bench in downtown Manhattan. She had made her way from Ireland to Ellis Island, and a cousin was to meet the ship. It was about 1920. The cousin didn't show. So Mary Dorian, age roughly 20, all alone, with no connections and no relatives interested enough to remember her arrival in the new world, spent her first night in America alone on a bench, in the dark, in a strange country. Later she found her way to Brooklyn and became a bathroom attendant at the big Abraham & Straus department store on Fulton Street. (It's now a Macy's. I buy Christmas gifts there.) Two generations after my grandmother arrived, I was in the Oval Office of the American president saying, 'I think you oughta.' And amazingly enough he was listening... I do not know the name of the ship that took Mary Dorian to America, and yet it gave me my future. I know she wore an inspection card attached to her clothing. I have such a card, encased in plastic, on a table in my home. It is the card worn by Mary Dorian's future husband's sister, who came over at the same time. It says at the top, 'To assist Inspection in New York Harbour.' It notes dates, departure points, 'Name of Immigrant'. On the side there's a row of numbers that mark each day of what appears to have been a 10-day trip. Each day was stamped by the ship's surgeon at daily inspection. You got the stamp if you appeared to be free of disease. Here is what is true of my immigrants and of the immigrants of America's past: They fought for citizenship. They earned it. They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come. They got money that was hard-earned and bought a ticket. They had to get through Ellis Island or the port of Boston or Philadelphia, get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge, and get the nod to take their first step on American soil. Then they had to find the A&S... Perhaps a million illegal immigrants come into the United States each year, joining the 10M or 20M already here -- nobody seems to know the number. Our borders are less borders than lines you cross if you want to. When you watch video-tape of some of the illegal border crossings on a show like Lou Dobbs's -- who is not a senator or congressman but a media star and probably the premier anti-illegal-immigration voice in the country -- what you absorb is a sense of anarchy, an utter collapse of authority... What does it mean that your first act on entering a country -- your first act on that soil -- is the breaking of that country's laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your law-breaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? What does that tell you? Will that make you a better future citizen, or worse? More respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less? If you assume or come to believe that that nation will not enforce its own laws for reasons that are essentially cynical, that have to do with the needs of big business or the needs of politicians, will that assumption or belief make you more or less likely to be moved by that country, proud of that country, eager to ally yourself with it emotionally, psychologically and spiritually?... What goes on in the human heart is the big picture... Our elites are lucky people. They were born in a suburb, went to Yale, and run the world from a desk. Which means this great question, immigration, is going to be decided by people who don't know what it is to sleep on a bench. Who don't know what it is to earn your space, your place. Who don't know what it is to grieve the old country and embrace the new country. Who don't know what it is to feel you're a little on the outside and have to earn your way in to the inside. Who think it was without a cost, because it was without cost for them. The problem with our elites as they make our immigration policy is not that they have compassion and open-mindedness. It is that they are unknowing and empty-headed. They don't know, most of them, what others had to earn, and how much they, and their descendents, prize it and want to protect it."
2005-12-08 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 443,165 in the week ending December 3, an increase of 152,650 from the previous week. There were 473,570 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.1% during the week ending November 26, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,714,675, an increase of 412,668 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 2,880,075."
Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
Only 1700 new Border Patrollers to be sworn in next year
"Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday that [only] 1,700 new U.S. Border Patrol agents will be assigned next year for what he called a 'key element' in the government's ongoing effort to secure the Southwest border... Last year, Border Patrol agents apprehended 1.15M foreigners trying to sneak in between U.S. land ports of entry -- more than 3,100 a day -- a 24% increase from the year before. About half of them were caught trying to cross through Arizona [diverted there by stronger security in California, and also where the Minuteman project had its most persistent effort to report border-crossers to the federal government]... Of the new Border Patrol agents, 643 will be sent to Arizona, 452 to Texas, 352 to California and 253 to New Mexico. About 10K of the agency's 11,268 agents are assigned along the 1,940-mile U.S.-Mexico border... Agents also helped identify and arrest 23K criminal suspects through a new biometrics finger-print technology that allows agents to simultaneously search CBP's Automated Biometrics Identification System and the FBI's [alleged] criminal finger-print data-base. The new system was activated late last year at all 148 Border Patrol stations throughout the country."
2005-08-08 07:49PST (10:49EST) (15:49GMT)
Craig Chamberlain _Conservative Voice_
What to do about the Border
"Forget amnesty, or guest-workers. Build the fence along the border, don't talk about it, get it done... our southern border has been wide open for decades, and neither party has been willing to do something about it, afraid of angering Mexican-Americans, or business interests that rely on illegal immigrant labor... It's time to put pressure on Mexico. Asking President Fox, or whoever is in charge, nicely doesn't seem to work. After all, why should they listen? They get to export their un-employed underclass to America where we have to deal with them. We give them medical treatment, social services basically everything an American citizen gets. Plus as a bonus the immigrants send money back home, which their relatives spend in Mexico helping their economy limp along... They are called illegal immigrants for a reason; it's because they came here illegally. Round them up and send them back."
Camille Wheeler _Austin American-Statesman_
Texas teacher recruiting program
"Round Rock's high-tech personality often draws well-educated couples, Resta explained, and sometimes one spouse is seeking a new career. Then there are high-tech lay-offs, such as those announced by Dell Inc. in October, which can force career changes, she said. The teacher recruiting program tries to tie into Round Rock's mix of urban, commercial, medical and technological sectors, because career changes come across all fields. The graduate program can be completed in 2 semesters... more than one-fifth of classroom teachers in public schools across the nation leave within 3 years, and 9% quit before finishing their first year, according to research that Resta and 2 other Texas State education faculty members cited in a 2001 higher education publication [suggesting that much improvement is needed in compensation and/or working conditions]. Right now, one-quarter of all teachers are 50 or older, meaning school districts will be flooded with retirements, and young teachers just out of school, within the next 10 years... People who had worked for a few years before entering the education field seemed to have lower attrition rates, according to the Educational Leadership article written by Resta, Leslie Huling and Nancy Rainwater... With mentors on hand, almost 89% of first-year teachers in 2002-03 returned for a second year in all the districts. The number dropped just slightly, to 84%, for the third year."
Robert Struckman _Missoulian_
Incentives to create jobs
"An unnamed company recently proposed a 400-employee call center in Missoula to Dick King, head of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corp. The entry-level jobs paid $7.20 an hour. What kind of incentives could this company expect? 'Nothing. That ain't going to happen.', King said. He refused to even engage in a conversation about such low-paying jobs. King engineered the incentive package, valued a bit short of $18M, that will bring DirecTV and 800 call center jobs paying $9.50 an hour to Missoula... Taking the incentive package at face value, King's package provides $22,500 per job at the call center. That's more than the $19,760 that one employee will make working full time at the entry-level wage... The starting hourly wage at DirecTV may be less than the county's median wage of $12.06 per hour, but the benefits are excellent, he said. The average health plan costs $7K per year. DirecTV pays $6K. The deductible is low."
Robert Anglen _Arizona Republic_
Army reservist, arrested for holding illegal aliens for police, sues
"An Army reservist arrested in April for holding 7 [illegal aliens] at gun-point is suing the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for false imprisonment, emotional distress and abuse of process. In a Maricopa County Superior Court law-suit, Patrick Haab also accused Sheriff Joe Arpaio of acting with an 'evil hand' and 'being guided by an evil mind' for disclosing Haab's military records... On April 10, a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy arrested Haab and charged him with 7 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he drew his pistol on seven immigrants at a desolate Interstate 8 rest stop. In interviews, Haab said he had stopped to relieve his dog when 7 men rushed out of the darkness, making him fear for his life. He said he followed the men to their vehicle, ordered them to lie on the ground at gun-point and called police... Attorney Andrew Thomas later dismissed charges against Haab because of a state law that allows citizens to make an arrest when a felony has been committed. According to Thomas, all seven of the immigrants were committing felonies: the smuggler in planning the operation and the 6 immigrants in 'conspiring' to illegally cross the border."
2005-12-08 13:19PST (16:19EST) (21:19GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Houses passes $56G tax-cut extension bill
"The House passed the bill on a 234-197 vote, delivering a legislative victory to President Bush, who contends the 15% rate on dividends and capital gains first enacted in 2003 have been crucial to the economic recovery... They unsuccessfully sought to substitute a provision that would have provided around $45G in tax cuts through 2010, omitting the investor-oriented tax break in favor of a provision that would shield taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which threatens to hit millions of middle-class tax-payers next year."
2005-12-08 13:45PST (16:45EST) (21:45GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US debt grew 9.1% in third quarter, fastest pace in 18 years
"Americans increased their household debt at an annual rate of 11.6% in the third quarter, the fastest growth in 18 years, the Federal Reserve said Thursday in its quarterly flow of funds report. Total outstanding debt in the household sector rose to $11T. Total debt in the economy increased at a 9.1% annual rate, one percentage point faster than in the second quarter, to $25.72T. Non-federal borrowing grew at a 10% pace, the fastest in six years. Total nonfederal debt outstanding grew to $21.13T. Net national savings fell by $120.5G at an annual rate. It was the first quarter that net savings had been negative since the Fed began tracking the data in 1952. In the household sector, borrowing was paced by real estate loans. Mortgage debt grew at a 14% pace, while credit card debt increased 5.4%. Meanwhile, household net worth increased at 10.6% annual rate to a record $51.09T on increases in the value of assets already held. Real estate assets grew by $546G. Net investments by households fell at an annual rate of $72G. Investments in directly held corporate equities fell at an annual rate of $556G."
Federal Reserve flow of funds report
2005-12-08 13:47PST (16:47EST) (21:47GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
Stocks end lower after energy futures rise: Christmas rally expected
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 55.79 points at 10,755.12; the blue-chip index began 2005 at 10,783. Earlier Thursday, the Dow was more than 30 points higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended down 5.56 points at 2,246.45, and the S&P 500 Index was off 1.53 points at 1,255.84. There were more than 1.65G shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, where falling shares out-numbered rising stocks by a ratio of 18 to 14. More than 1.93G shares traded in the Nasdaq market, with 15 declining stocks for every 14 on the rise. January natural gas soared 9.5% to close at $14.994 per MBTU, following an U.S. Energy Department report that natural-gas supplies fell 59G cubic feet for the week ended December 2. Crude futures rose in tandem, finishing above the psychologically critical $60 a barrel level, rising $1.45 to $60.66."
Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee _Hindu Business Line_
H-1B visas for those with advanced degrees are still available
"The US has approved [only] 14,281 petitions out of the additional 20K H-1B visas allotted for holders of US masters or higher degrees, and 2,417 applications were pending November-end. This takes the total number to 16,698, according to the latest data of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)."
N. Gregory Mankiw & Phillip L. Swagel _American Enterprise Institute_
The Politics and Economics of Off-Shore Out-Sourcing: A View from Inside the White House
"Work to quantify the impact of increased trade in services on domestic labor markets has lagged behind popular interest, in no small part because existing data sources make it difficult to identify [related] job changes... Indeed, gaps in the available data make it difficult to say how many jobs are being out-sourced [and how many are being off-shored] and why."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Carpenter driven out of business by illegal aliens: video
"Raymond Herrera was born, raised, and educated in Chino, California. After serving in VietNam, he went back to California and become a carpenter. Mr. Herrera, a family man with seven children, has made a living off his trade for 35 years. Recently he lost his business because construction companies decided that it was more cost effective to hire illegal aliens. Herrera explains what happened in a two part video documentary."
Llewellyn H. Rockwell
The Impossibility of Imposed Freedom
Time to end the age discrimination problem: IT must embrace diversity
"the difficulties of job hunting beyond what seems to be an ever-decreasing sell-by date in the technology profession... Some will express their fears for the future, and point to the growth in off-shore out-sourcing. Sadly, there will probably be fewer writing to state their capabilities as an age-aware IT employer... A mature industry has to have mature attitudes, and can only benefit from having mature, experienced employees working alongside young, entrepreneurial talent. It seems absurd that we hear so often about skills shortages when there is a growing body of 'older' IT professionals saying they are desperate for work."
2005-12-08 20:29PST (23:29EST) (2005-12-09 04:29GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Keeping extortion data private: IRS wants out-sourcing disclosure
"The Internal Revenue Service proposed rules Wednesday that require tax-service providers obtain taxpayers' consent before using their personal financial information for purposes other than tax preparation, and before sending tax-return information over-seas to tax-prep firms there... The proposed rules would require tax firms collect consumers' written consent before distributing data to other companies, or using it for purposes other than tax-return preparation... The rules also require tax-service firms notify subcontractors -- for instance, computer-repair companies -- that they can be held criminally liable for misuse of the personal tax information to which they might become privy in the course of their work... there was a back-lash last year, after media and consumer attention focused on the practice, and that might give some companies pause before sending information overseas now... In 2004, AICPA issued guidelines for member CPAs to follow if they out-source accounting work, including notifying clients of the practice, similar to the IRS proposal. But under the AICPA rule, the out-sourcing doesn't necessarily have to be over-seas. 'If it's out-sourced anywhere, overseas or domestically, it has to be disclosed.', Ochsenschlager said... Earlier this year, Markey proposed legislation in Congress that would beef up consumer-notification laws for a variety of financial and other transactions that take place over-seas."
Federal extortionists' press release
Shake future for USA IT professionals
"Companies employing IT workers are less likely to reward innovation and more likely to out-source their jobs over-seas, according to a poll of US-based technology professionals. As well as being more stressed in the work-place and believing their workloads are heavier than their peers, IT professionals are more likely to ditch their jobs than they were this time last year. Researchers at ISR said responses from IT practitioners... Even if workers do wish to keep their jobs, just 57% in IT believe this is possible if their performance stays the same, compared to almost 70% in non-technical roles... 'Second, by showing a clear career path and making available the training and development needed for IT workers to pursue that career.'... management's perception of IT workers might be less appealing than staff realise, and likewise; workers themselves appear less enthralled by their senior colleagues. Last year, 64% of tech professionals said their superiors would reward them for innovation or hard work, but in 2005, the number has dropped to a mediocre 46%."
David Wessel _South Coast Today_/_Dartmouth Standard-Times_
More retirees return to work-force
"experts predict many more people will work past age 65 -- for their own good and the good of the societies in which they live. This sounds logical. In the U.S., after all, more than half of today's 65-year-old men can expect to live beyond 81, and more than half of today's 65-year-old women can expect to live beyond 84. Quitting at age 65 may be unaffordable. But will they want to work? And will employers want them? The proportion of Americans over age 65 working, or looking for work, fell steadily from the end of World War II until the mid-1980s, when fewer than 1 in 10 seniors was in the labor force. Early retirement became increasingly popular. But something changed in the mid-1990s: The share of older Americans still in the work force began to climb. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' last tally found nearly 20% of men over age 65 were in the work force, back to levels not seen since 1979, and 12% of the women, the highest since the BLS began keeping track in 1948... Market-research firm Brightwork Partners LLC estimates that perhaps 7M retired Americans have returned to work at least 15 hours a week. The firm recently tapped the Harris On-line Poll to interview 1,726 of them--many of whom retired or were forced to retire before age 65 -- for Putnam Investments, the Boston money-management house... A 2003 survey by AARP, the organization for older Americans, asked un-retirees to list the major reasons they went back to work. The most common replies were 'desire to stay mentally and physically active" and "desire to remain productive and useful'. But then pollsters asked them to single out the one major factor. The most common choice was 'need money'. The second was 'need health benefits'... But in surveys, many employers suggest they prize older workers' loyalty, commitment to hard work and attendance records, but worry about their lack of flexibility or comfort with new technology. In the Putnam survey, only 40% of un-retirees said they were doing work that resembles their pre-retirement job; more than 40% said their new jobs required less skill and education than the jobs they quit."
2005-12-09 13:06PST (16:06EST) (21:06GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Natural gas and oil futures prices fell
"Natural-gas futures fell nearly 5% Friday, retreating from record levels above $15 that were brought on by winter weather, and crude prices closed at their lowest in a week ahead of OPEC's announcement on oil policy. For the week, natural-gas futures were up 2.7%, but crude made only a marginal climb, to log a 7-cent gain. January natural-gas futures closed down 68.2 cents at $14.312 per MBTUs, having earlier touched a high of $15.20, a record for a front-month contract. Prices have more than doubled from the $7.10 level they ended at last year. The contract traded as high as $15.60 on October 5 but at the time, it wasn't the lead-month contract for futures. Crude for January delivery finished down $1.27 at a one-week low of $59.39 a barrel, having earlier risen to $61.30, its highest level since November 4. Prices have climbed around 43% year to date. January heating oil shed 5.14 cents to close at $1.7318 a gallon, down 2.3% for the week. The January contract for unleaded gasoline closed down 2.17 cents at $1.6049 a gallon, down 0.4% from a week ago."
2005-12-09 13:39PST (16:39EST) (21:39GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Gold closes over $530, up 5% this week, Silver above $9 per ounce (graph)
"Gold for February delivery rose to as high as $534.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange before closing at $530.20, up $7.50 for the day, and up $23.20 for the week. The front-month contract for futures hasn't closed at levels this high since 1981 April, according to monthly charts."
Frosty Wooldridge _News with Views_
What I'd say to congress-critters
"Here is what I'd say if I could speak face to face with my Colorado senator Allard or Salazar and representative Mark Udall. You can fill in the names of your senators and representative: No thank you for so many unanswered questions and so little practical action after 2001/09/11. I would have closed the borders with Mexico the next day with troops and airplane surveillance. I would have tightened up the borders with Canada. We've got 37K troops guarding South Korea's border. That begs an answer as to why our troops aren't guarding our borders... You, Senator Allard and Salazar, chase your coattails by pretending to protect us at airports while you allow, at our borders, an invasion unprecedented in American history. Over 20M illegal aliens operating in our country -- against Federal Laws. More sobering is the fact that an untold number of them are Muslim terrorists operating in our country because of sanctuary laws, non-enforcement of immigration laws and outright fraud at the Federal level. Who in America will be the next 'Madrid train bombing' victims or 'London subway' bombing because the majority of you, save Congressman Tom Tancredo, refuse to close our borders with Mexico? No thank you senators and congressmen for ignoring Article IV Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution that demands that you protect American citizens from foreign invasion. Instead, you assist it at every turn by your silence and inaction. You are in violation of your oath of office. We've suffered 5 deaths at the hands of illegal aliens in Colorado in the past year from execution style killings of our police officers and traffic deaths by Mexican drunks... No thank you for losing California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico back to Mexico via colonization through illegal migration. Along the way, no thank you for all American citizens who have been killed, raped, burglarized, lost jobs and suffered medically from the illegal alien invasion... In Georgia, Senator Saxby Chambliss is a major player in the effort to grant amnesty and grant virtually unlimited guest-worker status. Last summer he tried to sneak an unlimited guest-worker program into an appropriations bill... Last month he spoke in favor of and supported a bill that would sell American jobs for $500.00 to H-1B (and L) visas and increase the numbers. (See:Georgia US Senator Chambliss PROPOSES selling 30K American jobs for $500.00 each). Senator Arlan Specter added a bill last week that increases our legal immigration to 1.8M annually... No thank you for collapsing our school systems across America with a horde of Third World kids who can't speak English... No thank you for destroying the American Dream not only for Americans but for legal immigrants who came here for a better life... No thank you for adding to the $7.9T debt as a legacy from you to our children... No thank you for creating in cities across America an atmosphere of arrogance by millions of illegal aliens who do not, will not and otherwise refuse to be a part of America... No thank you Mr. Mark Udall, my congressman, for helping introduce 16K cases of TB into our country by unscreened illegal aliens crossing our borders at will. No thank you for 7K new cases of leprosy in three years and spreading. No thank you for tens of thousands of cases of hepatitis 'A' now spreading among our citizens from illegal aliens operating all over our country... Congress, no thank you for the million high tech jobs taken away from our citizens as you disperse H-1B, H-2B, H-2A and L-1 visas to foreigners. Your support of out-sourcing, in-sourcing and off-shoring is a pathetic example of your ethics. No thank you for NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA and other policies that hurt American citizens. All 85 of you who voted for another 350K H-1B visas given to foreigners [and ended sanctions for dumping] in that S1932 last month shows you work more for foreigners in other countries than you work for your own citizens."
"University of Michigan [UMich] reinforced those hopes when it said its consumer sentiment index for December added 7.1 points to 88.7, topping economists' estimates for a reading of 85... The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose 0.87 points, or 0.30%, to 288.73. 43 issues were up, 31 were down and six were unchanged. Leading gainers were LCA Vision Inc., up $1.51 to $48.90; Wellpoint Health Networks Inc., up $1.16 to $79; Fifth Third Bancorp, up 97 cents to $40.01; Cummins Inc., up 72 cents to $87.35; and Lexmark International, up 61 cents to $47.39. Biggest laggers were NS Group Inc., down 98 cents to $42.49; Viacom Inc., down 65 cents to $33.83; Meridian Diagnostics Inc., down 53 cents to $18.41; Omnicare Inc., down 51 cents to $61.34; and Ashland Inc., down 49 cents to $57.20."
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis
2005-12-09 21:01PST (2005-12-10 00:01EST) (2005-12-10 05:01GMT)
Jasmina Kelemen _MarketWatch_
Stocks down: Fed talk, inflation data on the RADAR
"All the indexes finished last week lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 0.9%, the S&P 500 Index losing 0.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index off 0.7%."
Alex Armitage _Bloomberg_
Viacom's Paramount Agrees to Buy DreamWorks SKG for $1.6G
Los Angeles Times
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures agreed to buy DreamWorks SKG's for $1.6G in cash and debt, wresting the movie studio away from NBC Universal and securing the talents of Steven Spielberg. DreamWorks will almost double Los Angeles-based Paramount's slate of films for 2006 and add a library of 59 movies including Gladiator'. The price includes DreamWorks' debt, the companies said today in an e-mailed statement. The purchase is a coup for Paramount chief Brad Grey, hired this year by Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone to revive the studio. Paramount, ranked sixth at the box office this year, won DreamWorks with an 11th-hour bid that beat out General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal. DreamWorks founders Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen are handing over a business formed 11 years ago with a vision to pool their talents in film, animation and music... The company began unraveling in 2000 with the sale of its video-game and music units, abandoning its ambition of forming a conglomerate to rival media companies such as Time Warner Inc. and Walt Disney Co. A sale also enables early investors such as Paul Allen to get some money back... Katzenberg, 54, started DreamWorks in 1994 with Geffen, 62, and Spielberg, 57..."
Sharon Begley _Charlotte Sun-Herald_
What's behind alleged engineer shortage? Employers are choosy
Tom Abate _San Francisco Chronicle_
The Impact of Immigration on the California Economy
"The 64-page study, 'The Impact of Immigration on the California Economy', was commissioned by the California Economic Strategy Panel, whose members are appointed by the governor and legislative leaders. Its author, Stephen Levy of the Continuing Center of the California Economy, will present its findings at a informal study session in Sacramento on Thursday... 1 out of every 4 Californians, or 9.5M people, were born outside the United States; and that 25% of these new-comers, or 2.4M people, arrived here [illegally]. California and the United States have been in the throes of an immigration boom that began in the 1990s and has raised the percentage of foreign-born Americans to the highest levels since the 1930s... Its principal finding is that California, with its high rate of immigration, has done better than the national average over the past 15 years according to such measures as wages, job creation and un-employment [for reasons that have nothing to do with immigration]. The report noted that average wages in California have risen faster than those in the nation as a whole since 1990. In addition, job growth in the state has outpaced that of the nation since 1994. And California's un-employment rate, 3 percentage points above the national average in the early 1990s, has now drawn closer to the U.S. figure, measuring 5.2% in the most recent month versus 5% nationwide. 'There are probably other people who would have had these low-wage jobs or might have had higher wages in these low-wage occupations.'... 'California is a prosperous state.', Borjas said. 'Its prosperity masks the impact. But California is less well off than it would have otherwise been without this immigration.'"
Ruben Navarrette _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Jobs Americans Would Like To Do for Decent Pay
San Francisco Chronicle
"The minute I saw the harrowing video of the scaffold caught up in high winds and crashing into a Denver office building 12 stories above the ground – with two terrified window washers hanging on for dear life – I just knew that when the time came to get the men's statements, we'd need a translator who spoke Spanish... this episode was positive proof of two things -- that immigrants will do just about anything, and that I'm no immigrant... Something must be done about the estimated 11M [estimates range from 8M to 24M] illegal immigrants who are already here, and about the employers who thumb their noses at the law... The [window washers] told a Denver newspaper that they were offered raises if they would sign a form agreeing not to talk about the incident... Gonzalez and Estrada quit."
Frank Barnako MarketWatch
On-Line Shopping Grew 33%
"Nielsen/NetRatings (NTRT) reported the number of online shopping trips grew 33% from a year ago during the latest monitored week. The research firm counted 462M visits to sites operated by 100 on-line retailers for the week ending Dec. 4. The fastest-growing category was books/music/video, which gained 238%. Apparel ranked second for year-over-year growth; it was up 38%."
2005-12-12 03:08PST (06:08EST) (11:08GMT)
EU mulls WTO action against Red China on autos
"[Red China], the Commission charged, favors local producers, restricts investments and doesn't enforce intellectual property rights... European car-makers...need to sell their classy top-end vehicles in [Red China] to stay alive, and they're afraid of the coming invasion of cheap [Red Chinese] knock-offs in Europe. The first [Red Chinese]-made car, an SUV, hit Europe this summer. European car-makers recently reported their worst October since 1996, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Sales were down 5.8% in France, 9.6% in Spain and 10.8% in the U.K. The Commission's plan, dubbed Cars 21, also harmonizes car-safety and environmental legislation across Europe after years of complaints from car makers."
David R. Francis _Christian Science Monitor_
"Myth #1: The Social Security system faces a severe crisis. [No, the Socialist Insecurity Abomination IS the crisis, extortion racket, privacy violation and ponzi scheme rolled into one.]...
Myth #2: Immigrants, legal or illegal, take the hard jobs that native-born Americans won't do. Nonsense, says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington. If business paid them enough, he argues, native-born Americans would do the work many less-educated immigrants do. In fact, US citizens fill most dirty or dangerous jobs that pay well - unionized coal miners, city sewer workers, and risky lumberjack jobs, for example... In the 1970s and earlier, slaughterhouse workers were primarily US citizens. But since then, the pay and benefits have declined enormously in real terms. Managers, seeking low-cost labor to boost profits, now hire many immigrants... As it is, the inflow of immigrants in the past 5 years - half of them illegal - has been the highest in history, according to Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington... Baker notes that doctors and lawyers, with more political clout than low-wage workers, manage to have limits put on the number of immigrants in their occupations. Thus their professional incomes are not depressed by foreigners.
Myth #3: Women are increasingly opting out of the labor force when they have children... Heather Boushey, another CEPR economist. It's still true that women with children at home are less likely to be in the labor force than are women who don't have children. But this gap is closing. In 1984, women aged 25 to 44 with children at home were 20.7 percentage points less likely to have a paid job than women without children. In 2004, that percentage had dropped to 8.2. In other words, more mothers are opting into, rather than out of, the labor force. [Whether they 'want to' or not?]
Myth #4: US workers aren't up to the demands of today's jobs. Many lack the skills and education needed. Last month, a survey of US manufacturers found 'a widening gap between the dwindling supply of skilled workers in America and the growing technical demands of the modern manufacturing work-place', declared John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers... That concern, says Michael Handel, a sociologist at Northeastern University in Boston, has been 'a frequent refrain' in recent decades. Similar fears have been expressed about a shortage of engineers and scientists... Yet productivity in the US has been rising relatively fast. And Professor Handel points out that education levels have gradually risen. In the early 1960s, nearly half of all Americans had dropped out of high school, and nearly one-third of all young adults. Today both figures are under 15%. Moreover, 30% of young workers have completed 4 years of college today, up from 15% four decades ago. Another 20% of young workers have one or more years of college."
2005-12-12 11:30PST (14:30EST) (19:30GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US federal government deficit hit record in November
"The U.S. federal budget deficit widened as expected to $83.1G in November, the largest deficit of any November, the Treasury Department said Monday. A year ago, the deficit was $57.9G... In November, receipts rose 3.2% to $138.8G, while outlays were up 15.3% to $221.9G. For the first two months of the 2006 fiscal year, the deficit has increased about 13% to $130.2G from $115.2G at this time last year. Receipts are up 2.5% year-to-date, while outlays are up 8.3%."
treasury department report (pdf)
Michael S. Teitelbaum & Philip L. Martin _Christian Science Monitor_
No such thing as "temporary workers"
"Decades of experience with such temporary worker programs in high-wage liberal democracies worldwide show that neither the programs nor the migrants turned out to be genuinely 'temporary'. Mexico is unlikely to realize sustained benefits from exporting workers. Migrants' payments sent back to relatives wane over time, and such payments can stimulate land price inflation, conspicuous consumption of imported goods, and rising inequalities of wealth rather than stay-at-home development... universally, some temporary workers find ways to bring their families to join them, and then become substantial beneficiaries of existing government-financed programs such as public education, healthcare, and safety-net services for low-income residents. Politicians have also discovered - too late - that temporary worker programs really are labor subsidies to low-wage sectors such as garments, labor-intensive agriculture, and in-home personal services, retarding efforts to raise the level of national wages and productivity..."
Phyllis Schlafly _Town Hall_
Whether called amnesty or guest-worker, it is still immoral
"Inviting foreigners to come to America as guest-workers is like saying: You people are only fit to work the menial jobs that Americans think they are too good to work. We will let you come into the United States for a few years to work low-paid jobs, but you have no hope of rising up the economic and social ladder. The various bills differ in whether or when the guest-workers will be expelled back to the poverty they came from, but the bottom line is to create a subordinate under-class of unassimilated foreign workers, like serfs or peasants in corrupt countries. That's not the kind of economy that made America great. America welcomes immigrants who want to be American, who come to the United States legally, obey the laws and the Constitution, and learn to speak English. Most start with entry-level jobs, but they get the opportunity to rise up and realize the American dream... France and Germany have demonstrated the folly of guest-worker economies... Now, both countries host thousands of foreign residents who fail to assimilate, burden the social welfare system, and become more disgruntled and dangerous every year. Amnesty or guest-worker programs in the United States would help to perpetuate Mexico's corrupt economic system, a system which makes a few people very rich, but a system that traps most Mexicans in abject poverty... An amnesty or guest-worker plan would reward law-breakers... And employers would be exempted from punishment for hiring them... The number of illegal crossings has significantly increased since Bush began talking about his guest-worker plan. That's no surprise; the amnesty granted in 1986 quadrupled the number of illegal immigrants... Legal immigrants must be healthy to be admitted, but nobody is giving health examinations to the people smuggled across the border. Consequently, illegal immigrants are carrying in diseases that were formerly unknown in the United States. They are also reintroducing diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria and leprosy, that had been eradicated in the United States decades ago... The most moral and humanitarian thing we can do is to erect a fence and double our border agents in order to stop the drugs, the smuggling racket, the diseases, and the crimes. President Theodore Roosevelt left words that are relevant today about the folly of valuing people only for the low-paid work they do. 'Never under any condition should this nation look at an immigrant as primarily a labor unit.', he said. 'We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than 50 years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being.'"
Frederick M. Zimmerman _University of St. Thomas School of Engineering_
From Riches to Rags at a Time of Prosperity with articles from 1997-10-17 to 2005-12-12: Overhead; Treasure Lost; Real Strategies and Real Results; Planning vs. Guarantees; Disturbing Disparities; 10 Principles of Success as Director of a Manufacturing Company; Executive Pay; Rationalizing Your Way to Unethical Conduct; Genuine or Synthetic; Get Out of the Way; Fair Play Fair Pay; People with Skills, Imagination and Integrity; History Teaches What's Best
2005-12-12 16:36PST (19:36EST) (2005-12-13 00:36GMT)
Paul B. Farrell _MarketWatch_
A bear market in stocks is in the offing in 2006
"Jeremy Grantham of GMO ($135G assets): 'Everyone agrees that there are extreme imbalances in the U.S. and the global economy...' Gary Shilling, economist: 'A bursting of the housing bubble will probably be the expansion ender. Signs of the bubble's demise are accumulating, making a 2006 recession probable.' Bill Gross of Pimco ($475G assets): 'Now after 300 basis points and 17 months of tightening -- which by the way is typical of prior bear cycles as well -- it should only be logical to expect a slower economy in 2006.' Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan: Our budget position will substantially worsen in the coming years unless major deficit-reducing actions are taken.' [Ellen Beesen Zentner: Bank of Tokyo economist worries the Fed may push interest rates too high, and thinks consumer spending could slow just a bit.]"
Roy Beck _Numbers USA_
Dragon around the corner
"Everybody is aware that there is a master plan shared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Council of La Raza, President Bush, senator McCain and senator Kennedy: Once the House passes any kind of enforcement bill, the Senate can pass anything it wants about immigration and force the two bills into a joint conference committee. And the parties mentioned above plan that the Senate will approve some kind of giant amnesty, [an additional] guest-worker program and increase in green cards. The President and Senate leaders will dominate the conference committee, and House leaders will give in... Our task is to convince 51% of the House Republicans to pledge to vote against this bill if it comes back with an amnesty/guestworker plan. This could push House negotiators to insist on a bill that includes only enforcement... Having to explain during next Fall's elections why they voted for an amnesty may cause many Democrats and Republicans to be a little more sensitive to our point view."
Ron Paul _Ron Paul Library_
Don't Complicate Immigration Reform
"A sensible bill would bolster enforcement of existing immigration laws, reject any form of amnesty, and address the underlying welfare state that adds to the problem. I fear, however, that Congress will bow to the president and accept some sort of amnesty. Even worse, I fear Congress may use the immigration bill to create a national employment data-base that has nothing to do with border control and everything to do with monitoring American citizens and employers. Most Americans understandably want Congress to do something about illegal immigration, which has become a national embarrassment. One important solution is better enforcement of the laws we've got -- which plainly call for illegal immigrants to be arrested and deported. Congress can pass any law it wants, but unless federal agencies enforce those laws they are meaningless. The ultimate responsibility for our immigration mess, therefore, lies squarely with successive presidents, not Congress. For decades our chief executives simply have lacked the political will, the manpower, or the desire to police our borders and deport lawbreakers. It's been nearly impossible politically for presidents or candidates to suggest the obvious, namely that illegal immigration mocks the rule of law and creates huge social and economic problems."
2005-12-13 06:14PST (09:14EST) (14:14GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Retail sales rose 0.3% in November
"Including the upward revision to October's sales, November's total was actually a bit higher than economists' expectations of a 0.5% increase. Retail sales increased 6.3% in the past 12 months. Weekly sales at major chain increased 0.9% last week after a 3.1% decline the week before, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported in a separate report. Sales are on pace for a 3% to 3.5% year-over-year increase."
census bureau report
Rajesh Mahapatra _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Police and Protestors Clash at WTO Meeting in Hong Kong
"The confrontation occurred after thousands of protesters marched through the city against the WTO and globalization, which many of them believe benefit primarily the rich and powerful. Protesters -- mainly South Korean farmers -- punched their fists in the air, beat drums and gongs and waved signs reading 'RIP WTO' and 'World Threatening Organization'. Police said the protest, which also included Japanese, Indian, Filipino and Brazilian farmers, drew 4,500 people. Organizers put the turn-out at 5,200... The farmers fear that if their domestic agricultural markets are opened up under a new WTO treaty, they won't be able to compete -- and could lose their land and livelihood... The United States has proposed eliminating export subsidies for its farm products by 2010 and cutting domestic farm subsidies by 60% in the next 5 years."
Matthias Streitz & Charles Hawley _Spiegel_
Low Expectations in Hong Kong
"In 2001, the World Trade Organization (WTO) set a high hurdle for itself at talks in Doha, Qatar. Too high it now seems. Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz says that disagreement on agricultural subsidies may torpedo current trade negotiations in Hong Kong and both the European Union and the United States are to blame... Even WTO director General Pascal Lamy suggested supernatural powers might be required to conjure up a wide-reaching agreement on the difficult issues facing the 149-country body. Just days before the meeting began, the focus of the trade talks was already shifting away from agricultural subsidies -- a topic on which the group is hopelessly split -- toward the only slightly less fraught issue of trade development help to the world's poorest countries."
2005-12-13 06:59PST (09:59EST) (14:58GMT)
Trade battle continues in Hong Kong
"Developing countries want richer nations such as the US and EU member states to cut both subsidies for their farmers and tariffs on imported foods. Critics have singled out the EU for refusing to make further concessions, but EU officials say that without concessions from other countries they can not go no further... And some commentators say negotiations on reform to the global service sector may be put entirely on the back burner... inside the conference hall, dozens of protesters forced WTO boss Pascal Lamy to raise his voice to be heard as they chanted: 'Development yes, Doha no', while unveiling a banner saying 'No deal is better than a bad dea.', in a number of languages... violence was said to fall far short of the levels seen during previous WTO meetings in Cancun and Seattle... Poorer nations want the richer countries to drop subsidies because they say their producers cannot compete against the [artificially] lower, subsidised prices. They also want a reduction in the tariffs put on the goods they sell to richer countries. In a change of tactics, the WTO has now said that it will focus the negotiations during the crucial week in Hong Kong on agriculture and the lowering tariffs for manufactured goods, where talks are also dead-locked, leaving the more complicated negotiations on the service sector for later... If service sector negotiations do not succeed, then the main expected benefit of the trade deal for industrialised countries will disappear."
Jane Larson _Arizona Republic_
High-tech executives lobby for more visas
"High-tech employers are lobbying Congress to raise a cap on visas for specialty workers and allow an additional 30K [to 350K] such workers into the United States each year... Business organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers, high-tech trade association AeA and Compete America are lobbying for the increase. [Corrupt] high-tech companies including Intel Corp., Motorola Inc. and MSFT Corp. are supporters... Some 5,918 immigrants came to Arizona on H-1B visas in fiscal 2004. They included engineers, nurses, athletes and others with specialized skills, according to U.S. Customs and Immigration Service statistics. The number has hovered around 5K since rebounding from a low of 3,717 in fiscal 1999. Spouses and children of temporary workers totaled 1,731 in fiscal 2004, compared to 1,376 five years earlier... businesses seek out H-1B visa holders because they can pay them substantially less than American workers."
2005-12-13 11:21PST (14:21EST) (19:21GMT)
Malcolm Foster _San Diego Union-Tribune_
WTO meeting in Hong Kong opens with protestors and police scuffling
"Protesters clashed with police as a World Trade Organization meeting opened Tuesday, and delegates said divisions between rich and poor nations over agricultural trade make major breakthroughs in the global talks unlikely. Pascal Lamy, the WTO's director-general, officially opened the 6-day meeting by urging the nearly 6K delegates from the Geneva-based trade body's 149 member countries to be 'bold, open-minded and prepared to take some risks'. The Hong Kong meeting originally was meant to draw up an outline for a global treaty by the end of 2006 to lower or eliminate trade barriers in agriculture, manufacturing and services. But negotiations got off to a rocky start as delegates from poorer countries accused the European Union, the United States, Japan and other wealthy countries of offering insufficient cuts to their agricultural tariffs and farm subsidies... Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the EU won't change its offer of an average 46% cut in farm tariffs unless developing nations offer substantive reductions in their trade barriers on manufactured goods and services. But...Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said in Paris on Tuesday that France will not accept any EU budget accord that forces Europe to reform agricultural policy before 2013. The United States has offered to eliminate government export subsidies for U.S. farm products by 2010 and to reduce by 60% the amount of trade-distorting domestic support the government provides U.S. farmers over the next 5 years... Developing countries say they need rich-world aid so they can strengthen their ports, roads, schools and bridges. It would also help them implement new WTO rules, which are often expensive, and help compensate for the loss of the preferential trade access of their products into rich world markets. The EU said it would boost its annual contribution for so-called 'Aid-for-Trade' by $1.2G by the year 2010, bringing its total to $2.4G a year... The United States contributed $1.3G in fiscal year 2005, and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman [is] to unveil additional [concessions] Wednesday."
National Farmers' Union Concerned by US Government Insistence on WTO Concessions
"While at talks, NFU President Dave Frederickson called the proposal 'risky'. He said it would virtually eliminate the United States' ability to provide a safety net for American farmers and ranchers... NFU believes farmers get very little in return for what they give up in trade accords, a point substantiated by the reversal and decline of the U.S. agricultural balance of trade under the present Uruguay Round Agreement of WTO. 'When countries talk about market access, they take aim at the United States because it's such a rich market. We're being forced to import more but, at the same time, our exports of agricultural goods haven't improved.', said Frederickson."
Louise Gray _Scotsman_
Common cold may trigger childhood cancer
"A study led by Newcastle University suggested the cold and other minor ailments such as mild flu or a respiratory virus may be a key trigger in leukaemia and brain tumours. The study of childhood cancers over 45 years found the disease repeatedly occurred at similar times and geographical locations... Instead infections trigger cancer in individuals who are already genetically susceptible... Dr. Richard McNally, who led the study, studied recorded cases of childhood cancers in the Manchester area between 1954 and 1998... 'These could be minor, common illnesses that are not even reported to the GP, such as a cold, mild flu or a respiratory virus. However, this would only lead to cancer in individuals who already carry mutant cells in their body. The virus would hit this mutant cell and cause a second mutation, prompting the onset of cancers like leukaemia or brain tumours.'"
2005-12-13 11:50PST (14:50EST) (19:50GMT)
Hans Greimel _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Honda's latest robot can serve tea, push snail carts, and run at twice its previous pace
"The 51-inch talking, bubble-headed robot named Asimo has already shown it can jog, walk up stairs, wave, avoid obstacles and carry on simple conversations. But in a demonstration Monday at Honda's Tokyo head office, a new version of the robot showed off new skills its maker hopes will make the robot more handy around the office. Honda illustrated how Asimo might serve as a receptionist of the future. Equipped with a sensor that can read [RFID] microchips in identification cards, the robot recognized a woman approaching from behind, and turned to greet her by name."
Steven A. Camarota _Front Page_
History's Highest Immigration Levels
"An analysis of Census Bureau data shows that the nation's foreign-born or immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a new record of more than 35M in March of 2005. The data also indicate that the first half of this decade has been the highest 5-year period of immigration in American history... The 35.2M immigrants (legal and illegal) living in the country in 2005 March is the highest number ever recorded -- two and a half times the 13.5M during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910. Between 2000 January and 2005 March, 7.9M new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country, making it the highest 5-year period of immigration in American history. Nearly half of post-2000 arrivals (3.7M) are estimated to be illegal aliens. Immigrants account for 12.1% of the total population, the highest percentage in eight decades. If current trends continue, within a decade it will surpass the high of 14.7% reached in 1910. Of adult immigrants, 31% have not completed high school, 3-and-a-half times the rate for natives. Since 1990, immigration has increased the number of such workers by 25%, while increasing the supply of all other workers by 6%... even immigrants who have lived in the United States for 14 or 15 years still have dramatically higher rates of poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use than natives... 13% of natives and 11% of immigrants [are] self-employed."
Bob Kemper _Oxford Press_/_Cox News Service_
Saxby Chambliss to introduce bill, today, to greatly expand farm guest-worker and illegal alien amnesty program
"would grant legal immigrants temporary work visas and allow currently illegal immigrants to work for two years for American farms and other agricultural-related businesses... Under the bill, they could remain for two years if their employers paid $3K for each worker to the federal government to cover documentation and other costs [less than a tenth of the cost to do a thorough background check and process the paper-work]... Chambliss' legislation would authorize state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws. And it would address border security by directing the Department of Homeland Security to draft a new plan to protect the border, establish 30 new border check-points, hire 1,250 border agents between 2007 and 2011 and establish 20 new detention centers with room for 200K people arrested on immigration charges [less than a sixth of the number of illegal aliens entering the USA each year]."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Dragon around the corner
"As all of you that get this newsletter know, the Senate passed a major increase in the number of employment based visas by adding an amendment to the omnibus spending bill. Increases include 30K H-1Bs and 115K green cards per year. The battle over the increase shifted to the House... Unfortunately the possibility of an increase in visas won't end if the House rejects the Senate bill."
Roxana Tiron _The Hill_
Rules panel likely to reject guest-worker increase
"Bush's proposed guest-worker program, championed by business lobbyists on K Street, would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country temporarily to fill jobs that supporters say are unwanted by Americans... Many on Capitol Hill do not think the Kolbe-Berman measure will clear the Rules Committee, which is convening today and deciding on which amendments to accept for a floor vote... Tancredo sent a letter to the House leadership last week outlining 30 provisions intended to strengthen the immigration bill. Among them are building a border fence, making an employee-verification system mandatory and ending birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to illegal immigrants... The #1 issue of concern [to the executives' lobbyists] is the provision in the immigration bill that would require all employers in the country to participate in a system under which the government can check whether an employee or an applicant is in the country legally... [The business execuvites' lobbyists are] considering key voting either on the entire bill or on specific amendments, several lobbyists indicated... [The business executives' lobbyists are] worried that the employee-verification program could be expanded from a pilot program to encompass all employers in the United States [thus essentially completely putting a stop to hiring of illegal aliens]. The provision also requires employers to check their existing employees versus only new applicants. Under the Sensenbrenner bill, the program would encompass 145M workers, according to industry officials... The provision also enforces 'massive increases in civil penalties.', [said one lobbyist for business executives]."
Amy Yee _Financial Times_
USA still ahead in engineers per capita
"On a per capita basis, the US graduates more than 750 engineers per million of population, while India and [Red China] graduates only 200 and 500 engineers per million, respectively, according to a study released on Tuesday by Duke University's engineering school... numbers from [Red China] and India are misleading because they include less rigorous 3 year-training programmes and diploma holders, whereas US numbers are based on degrees from accredited 4-year engineering courses. The [Red Chinese] ministry of education states that 644,106 engineers graduated last year, 351,537 of which received bachelor's degrees and 292,569 of which graduated from 2 or 3-year programmes. NASSCOM estimates there were 215K engineering graduates last year, of which 103K received 3-year degrees. The study also breaks down engineers between those it describes as 'dynamic' with specialised skills who are able to lead innovation and 'transactional engineers', those typically responsible for repetitive tasks in the work-force who tend to receive associate, technician or diploma awards rather than a bachelor's degree. The USA still leads in numbers of 'dynamic engineers'... Almost one-third of the world's science and engineering researchers are employed by the USA. 35% of science and engineering articles are published within the USA and the USA accounts for 40% of the world's research and development expenditure."
Dana Rohrabacher _Washington Times_
Immigration-enforcement bill is over-due
"The House is about to debate -- and hopefully pass -- an immigration enforcement bill, HR4437. It's about time... There are no jobs Americans won't do. No matter how physically difficult, intellectually challenging or personally dangerous an occupation might be, Americans will do the job that needs to be done -- provided the compensation is right. We used to understand that dirty, dangerous jobs deserved good pay, even if the job did not require much education... Now, with the huge influx of illegal alien laborers, the job is being relegated to low wages and few benefits. Home ownership, along with other upwardly mobile middle-class expectations, is being left behind. With decent wages and health benefits big, medium and small businesses can find plenty of citizens or legal immigrants to take almost any job. But that isn't necessarily in the interests of the current captains of American industry. Elite business executives pay themselves enormous salaries and stock options, even when they fail. The ratio between what is paid employees and what is channeled into the pockets of top executives is totally out of sync with past pay differentials in our country. Yet these very same patronizing executives, who pay themselves colossal sums, say they can't afford to pay their employees a living wage and thus import foreigners to do the work on the cheap. And if foreigners aren't around sometimes they are brought in either legally, through the H-1B [or H-1A, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, E-3, L-1, etc. visa programs], or even illegally... Some employers, of course, claim a shortage of educated or trained Americans to fill available tech related jobs... A shortage of educated labor doesn't mean we need to bring in more foreigners, it means we need to educate, train and motivate our kids [together with current employees, the un-employed and the under-employed]. Bringing in foreigners depresses the pay level for such tech jobs and that is certainly no way to encourage young people to study science, engineering or mathematics, rather than become lawyers."
George Avalos _Contra Costa Times_
Low-income wage increases out-pace others in SF Bay Area after tech bust
"In 1979, the Bay Area's high-wage employees made 2.2 times as much as low-wage workers in the 9-county region. By 2004, high-wage workers made three times as much. High-wage workers are defined as those in the 80th percentile of all employees, or people who earn an average wage of $34.62 an hour, or $72,000 a year. Low-wage workers are [defined as those] in the 20th percentile [bottom quintile in annual income] and make an average $11.50 an hour, or $23,920 a year... From 2000 through 2004, the Bay Area's low-income employees enjoyed an average gain of 4% in their wages. At the same time, high-income employees in the region managed only a 2.6% gain. The wage changes were adjusted for inflation... Still, the gains of recent years stand in sharp contrast to the trend from 1979 through 2004. When inflation is factored in, wages for low-income workers slumped 4.6%, while wages for high-income employees jumped 30.5%, the budget project report found... The East Bay lost about 19% of its tech jobs from 2000 through 2004. San Francisco County lost 51% of its tech jobs and San Mateo County shed 44% of its tech employment. Santa Clara County lost 30% of its tech jobs... Wages in the Bay Area tend to be about 20 percent higher than the remainder of the state. But the high cost of living in this area tends to offset some of the wage gains... About 9% of Bay Area residents had family incomes below the federal poverty level in 2004, compared with 14.4% in the rest of California..."
T.N. Srinivasan _'Truth' about Trade & Technology_
Don't Give Up on Doha
"Non-agricultural market access is already mostly liberal, with low tariff barriers in industrialized countries. However, barriers to trade in textiles and apparel are still high, even after the phase-out of the Multifiber Arrangement. Higher barriers in some developing countries affect other developing countries. An agreement -- with industrialized countries committing to eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers in a reasonable time, and developing countries reducing tariffs -- should be possible to reach... Fortunately, with the U.S. and EU having offered to reduce significantly both tariffs and subsidies on agriculture, the prospect is brighter for them to reduce their differences in favor of maximum liberalization, with Japan and Korea following their lead... The potential for modest success at Hong Kong would, therefore not be realized unless: (1) rich countries commit to serious reform in agriculture; (2) emerging market economies liberalize non-agricultural market access; and (3) other developing countries moderate their demand for Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) -- which, in essence, amounts to their being exempted from the rules and disciplines of the WTO in not having to reciprocate the market-opening actions of developed countries, and in receiving tariff preferences for some of their exports to developed countries' markets."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-NewsLetter_
A non-lawyer's careful look at H-1B visa requirements
2005-12-13 22:00PST (2005-12-14 01:00EST) (2005-12-14 06:00GMT)
David Kupelian _World Net Daily_
How the Marketing of Evil Works
"I grew up just a few miles from here -- in Montgomery county MD. I remember walking home from school and watching 'The Lone Ranger' and 'The Mickey Mouse Club' on a little black-and-white TV. I liked pop songs like 'The Battle of New Orleans' and 'The One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater'... All my friends seemed to have both a mother and a father in the home. Even school was OK. We pledged allegiance to the flag every day... no one taught me that Columbus was actually a genocidal murderer, or that the Pilgrims abused the Indians, or that America was a racist, oppressive, evil nation. I thought America was the best country on earth. In fact, back then, everyone just knew America was the greatest and noblest of nations... What a difference 50 years -- plus a few really wickedly brilliant marketing campaigns -- can make in transforming a nation... what we are dealing with [is] the packaging and perfuming and gift-wrapping of destructive philosophies and behaviors and selling them to the American people as though they had great value... I lost a dozens of family members in the Turkish genocide of the Armenians -- perhaps over a hundred -- including my grand-father, who was a doctor. The cruelty and evil that was inflicted on these innocent people was unimaginable... barbarism and sadistic brutality that claimed 1.5M of their countrymen. And they managed to get on a ship and make the long ocean voyage to the one country that welcomed them and offered them the opportunity for a new life -- America... It was hard here, very hard... But, Dad and Grandmom persevered and went to college and built lives for themselves... my father became, basically, a rocket scientist, working to defend this nation. I remember as a kid seeing his business card, which said 'U.S. Army Chief Scientist for Ballistic Missile Defense'. I didn't know exactly what that meant, but it sounded really cool... everything in the restroom [at JFK airport] was so clean and shiny and modern, how there was hot and cold running water, how everything worked perfectly -- so absolutely different from where we had just been...
In our absurdly expensive colleges, teaching contempt for America is absurdly normal... The [Washington Post] didn't see fit to mention that ANSWER is just a front group for the ultra-leftist Workers World Party, which enthusiastically supports North Korea and other dangerous, wacko regimes, and even worse – supports the courageous 'Iraqi resistance' who are killing our troops in Iraq... Marketers today... target our feelings, our emotions -- in fact they target our weaknesses -- not our reason... How does child molesting become 'man-boy love'? How does crushing a baby's skull and sucking out her brains become a 'constitutional right'? How does quoting the Bible become 'hate speech'?... I started off my book with 'gay rights', because the marketers of that agenda, more than any other, were so incredibly clear and detailed and brazen in explaining how to manipulate Americans' attitudes... Basically, desensitization means if you repeat something outrageous -- even something outrageously false -- over and over and over again, people will gradually become less and less outraged and eventually accept it... Jamming has been called 'psychological terrorism'... Today 'jamming' literally means silencing your critics or opponents by attacking and intimidating them. Fair, unfair, it doesn't matter -- you attack the other side any way you can to get him to shut up. American policy debate is full of jamming... No real debate is tolerated. Criticize the government for astronomical spending on social programs, and senator Kennedy will excoriate you for being uncaring, mean-spirited, and for hating old people on fixed incomes -- and very likely being a racist, too. That's jamming... Ever wonder why we don't seem to hear the world 'illegal' anymore with regard to illegal aliens? And where did this word 'undocumented' come from? Have you noticed how the phrase 'illegal aliens' has morphed into 'illegal immigrants', then 'undocumented immigrants', then 'undocumented workers', even 'guest-workers'? My gosh, 'undocumented guest-workers' – that phrase is so positive, it makes me feel like moving out of my house and letting them just move in. Poor 'undocumented guest-workers' -- undocumented must mean they lost their documents, and they're our guests, and they're working hard -- I mean, what could be better than that? This is big-time desensitization. We're losing our sense of outrage over having 10M to 15M illegal aliens basically invading our country. We're being desensitized to the fact that illegal immigration is illegal -- it's a crime, remember? People who, for whatever reasons, don't want our immigration laws to be enforced, use the word 'undocumented' instead of illegal. [This also promotes the false 'solution' that everything will be fine if only the illegal aliens are 'documented'.] And -- this is critical -- the news media complete the sales job by picking up the label and using it on us day in and day out... how do you know they were all 'workers'? They were still at the border and didn't all have time to land jobs. Maybe some were 'undocumented terrorists'... Change the meaning of words and you change reality. Abortion is legal in America because of a single word: choice. The early abortion marketers figured out that it would be much easier to defend an abstract, positive-sounding principle like 'choice' than the unrestricted slaughter of unborn babies. The news media bought the label and the 'pro-choice' battle was basically won almost before it started... Intimidation is a powerful force, and most of us don't know how to deal with it without giving in one way or the other... it's essential when you're involved with the marketing of evil. It's called lying. To make bad stuff look good, you have to lie about it... Nathanson today admits he and his abortion colleagues lied left and right. They fabricated statistics and poll results and fed them to a willing news media... 'Women are dying.' It just seems to trump all other points. In the years before Roe v. Wade, we always heard that 5K to 10K women were dying every year in the U.S. from illegal, botched abortions. This is what Nathanson and his abortion marketer cohorts were claiming. But it wasn't true -- not even close -- and they knew it... Do you know how many women actually died from illegal, botched abortions in 1972, the last full year before Roe v. Wade? According to the CDC, it wasn't 5K or 10K, it wasn't even 1K -- it was 39... They hold focus groups, they send out 'culture spies'... to pretend to befriend and care about teens, so they can study them – to figure out how best to separate them from their parents' money. They engage in 'buzz marketing' (that's where undercover agents disguised as 'one of the crowd' talk up a new product). They hire shills to interact with your kids in Internet chat rooms. IOW, they bring the entire machinery of modern market research and consumer psychology to bear on studying this gold mine of a market – your children. Do you have any idea how many beautiful children have herpes and Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases that they may never get over, all because they listened to some evil marketer who sold them on easy sex?... Alfred C. Kinsey was a bona fide sexual psychopath, as any of his several recent biographies will prove... Two of the 'researchers' he relied on most were serial pedophile Rex King and convicted Nazi criminal Fritz von Balluseck... The entire edifice of the sexual revolution in all its forms -- rampant promiscuity, gay rights, abortion, pornography, and so on -- including the latest liberation movement, coming soon, the mainstreaming of adult-child sex – you heard it here first, trust me – all stems from Kinsey and his research, on which these movements still rely for their scientific justification... These 'marketers of evil'... prevail... by confusing and intimidating us into losing our bearings, into doubting what we once knew was right, and following them. To counter this, we just need to develop grace under pressure that wonderful, lighthearted ability to look someone straight in the eye, even if they're lying to us, and not to be intimidated or confused or upset by them... everything that counter-balances the entrenched secular left media entities... are a great awakening influence in America."
Richard Cassin _Financial Times_
US bribery law poses a threat to corrupt foreign firms
"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)... applies directly to more than 50 of [Red China's] best-known [government-business partnerships], including CNOOC, ASAT Holdings, China Telecom, China Life Insurance and Shanda Interactive, because those companies have stock traded on US exchanges. Actions of these [Red Chinese] [operations] - even in [Red China] or third countries - may violate FCPA provisions."
2005-12-14 07:45PST (10:45EST) (15:45GMT)
Pascal Lamy _UPI_
Pascal Lamy's WTO web log
"Pascal Lamy, the French Socialist who was the European Union's Trade Commissioner and now holds the hot seat as secretary general of the World Trade Organization at this week's Hong Kong summit, is writing a daily diary as a web log, which UPI republishes here: G20... Their main worry is to ensure cuts to agricultural subsidies which distort trade... I spot a boat with a big 'For when trade justice?' painted on the sails... Two-thirds of the delegates inside the building want a more open trade in agriculture while the many farmers protesting in the streets and grabbing news headlines demand exactly the contrary: a closure of the markets to agricultural products... a petition signed by almost 18 million citizens in favor of fair trade. I'm certainly impressed by the petition and by Oxfam's work to get people thinking about trade."
2005-12-14 08:11PST (10:11CST) (11:11EST) (16:11GMT)
Foster Klug _Houston Chronicle_
WTO talks are stalled
NY News Day
"'Unless the EU moves on market access, I don't see anyone else moving.', U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman told reporters on the sidelines of the WTO gathering. The EU's refusal to further cut its farm subsidies and import tariffs has been blamed by many delegates for the current deadlock in the WTO's so-called Doha round of trade negotiations. Poor nations say trade barriers [and subsidies by governments] protecting the agricultural markets in the EU, U.S. and other wealthy nations block their exports and stunt their economic growth."
Malcolm Moore _London Telegraph_
Europe and USA governments at loggerheads at WTO
"Europe's 5-point plan to help the world's poorest countries to boost their trade has been stalled by stubborn opposition from the United States... The 'jewel in the crown' of the 5-point plan is a proposal to allow the world's poorest countries to export as many goods as they wish without having to pay duty. The other parts of the plan involve radical changes to the way rich countries subsidise their cotton farmers, and money to help poor countries build the roads and ports they need to get their goods to market. The US has agreed on the last part, but is steadfast that endless goods from poor countries are unwelcome in its market, and insists that the $4G it pays to its cotton farmers in subsidies is sacrosanct... The US, for its part, said it saw no way forward unless agriculture was resolved first. It also responded angrily to accusations that it uses its food aid scheme to prop up its farmers. A US representative said the world food aid system would collapse if the US scaled down its programme, and that he was sorry that 'people with no expertise at all in food assistance or famine relief are making decisions at this trade round'."
Warren Giles _Bloomberg_/_Orlando Sentinel_
WTO seeks pact to open markets
"A breakthrough in trade talks that opened Tuesday in Hong Kong will require the world's richest and poorest nations to give up protection for their goods with no guarantee they will gain in the end... The WTO is seeking an agreement to open markets that may eventually be worth $60G..."
Claudia Blume _Men's News Daily_
Anti-WTO activists protest and stage "alternative events", most kept well away from the conference by the Red Chinese government
"Walden Bello of the Bangkok research group Focus on the Global South says the WTO can be replaced. 'We would be promoting regional alternatives, regional blocks, regional associations.', he said. 'The importance is not to structure alternatives around free trade but free trade should be subordinated to development and development should be in fact the central mechanism.'"
Jean York _Weymouth News_
Jumping from one bad idea to another
"President Bush suddenly realized that there is bad news at the borders. It seems he was the last person to know. So he took the opportunity to travel to places like Arizona and make a major speech. Not about fixing the problem, per se, but to hype his plan for a 'Guest-Workers Program' for illegal aliens. This plan is economic insanity for the American blue collar worker already bogged down with problems of out-sourcing, down-sizing by corporate America, and uneven trade agreements with countries like [Red China]. Further, President Bush's program would be a bureaucratic nightmare to administer, and the cost would be prohibitive for the [tax-victims]... the thrust of the 'Guest-Workers Program' is cheap labor for American corporations with no fringe benefits such as health care. [These guest-worker plans have been bringing] down the overall wages of working Americans. There is no way to fix the problem of [tens of] millions of [illegal] aliens hiding out in this country, working under the table for less than the federal minimum wage... exploited and protected by unscrupulous American companies who hire them. So far, the administration has shown no interest in cracking down on companies which hire illegal aliens at slave wages... How about an American Workers Program... with realistic wages?"
Debbie McGoldrick _Irish Abroad_/_Irish Voice_
Huge support greets new lobbying group
"A pent-up demand for Irish American action on the critical issue of immigration reform was unleashed last Friday night at the inaugural meeting of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), the new lobby group created by the Irish Voice that will advocate on behalf of the estimated 20K-30K Irish [illegal aliens] in the U.S... The meeting was chaired by Irish Voice founding publisher Niall O'Dowd and addressed by 2 influential members of the pro-[illegal] immigration lobby, former congressman Bruce Morrison, who created the visa program bearing his name that granted 48K green cards to Irish citizens in the early 1990s, and Esther Olavarria, general counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration... 'It's getting harder and harder.', said one who stood up to speak. 'We can't get driver's licenses, we can't do anything, and people are going home... They just can't take the pressure of being here anymore.'"
B.G. Johnson _Camden County Tribune & Georgian_
Illegal immigration must be stopped
"some politicians, big business and government employees feel that they are 'above the law', or 'the law does not apply to them' or they can 'flaunt the law with impunity'... Illegal immigration costs the American taxpayer $10G a year! (This will increase to $29G [or more] if the 11M to 20M now in the U.S. are granted amnesty.)... An internal investigation revealed that (government) employees of the Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency that processes immigration, face 2,500 misconduct charges, including 'bribery; exchanging immigration benefits for sex and being influenced by foreign governments' (The Washington Times 2005 October 3). Big business violates the law by hiring illegal aliens, thereby displacing Americans willing and needing to work."
2005-12-15 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 389,130 in the week ending December 10, a decrease of 55,244 from the previous week. There were 370,604 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 2.0% during the week ending December 3, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,553,677, a decrease of 142,264 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.1% and the volume was 2,684,337."
2005-12-15 03:29PST (06:29EST) (11:29GMT)
Steve Schifferes _BBC_
Clash looms in WTO on services
2005-12-15 06:18PST (09:18EST) (14:18GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Industrial output was up
"Industrial output rose 0.7% in November and a revised 1.3% in October, erasing the 1.6% drop in September... Capacity utilization rose to 80.2% in November from a revised 79.8%. This is the highest level since August... Production of high-tech goods jumped 2.6% in November after a 1.1% gain in the previous month. Semiconductor production increased 3.3% in the month."
Federal Reserve board report
2005-12-15 08:51PST (11:51EST) (16:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Consumer prices dipped 0.6% in November: Core rate up 0.2%
"Energy prices fell a record 8% in November, [not quite] reversing a spectacular 12% gain in September. Still, energy prices are up 18.3% in the past 12 months."
Pascal Lamy _UPI_
Engine turns slowly
" The only magic, in the WTO, is the rare moment of consensus... The setting for this Conference is closer to science fiction. Delegates seem to glide through the air from one level to another in this gigantic capsule of glass and steel, gazing out at a harbor filled with every conceivable form of vessel -- cargos, tankers, cruisers, fishing boats -- all somehow related to trade. The view from my office into the harbor and the constant transit of ships is fantastic -- it's as if I was constantly reminded of the concreteness of these negotiations. If there is ever to be a monument to the benefits [and costs] of trade, it will surely be raised in Hong Kong... The evening plenary gave us good cause to reflect on the particular plight of some of our developing and poorest members. They talked to us about the importance of cotton and bananas for their economies... The WTO is about much more than trade -- in fact, it is trade that has to do with much more than tariffs and formulae: It connects with people. What those countries were really saying, when they talked about cotton and bananas, is that we MUST deal with their concerns as part of any effort to make trade fair."
USA under attack at fractious trade talks
"Developing countries slammed Washington and Tokyo at the Hong Kong meeting for baulking at allowing their goods in free of duties and quotas, saying that after years of prescribing trade liberalisation for others it was time they 'swallowed their own medicine'. The United States also came under fire from West African cotton producers over the subsidies enjoyed by its farmers, but it sought to turn the spotlight back onto the EU's refusal to lower import tariffs for farm goods from developing countries... 'In the three days the meetings have taken so far, the rich countries have transferred more than $US2G ($NZ2.86G) to their farmers in various forms of support.', World Bank Vice President Danny Leipziger said in a statement. 'In the same period, the 300M poorest people in Africa have earned less than $US1G between them.'... The Hong Kong meeting was initially intended to approve a draft trade treaty freeing up business in farm and industrial goods and services, known in the jargon as the Doha round. That plan was abandoned because of differences between rich and poor -- particularly the EU's refusal to lower farm import tariffs without offers of greater access to developing nations' markets for goods and services -- though the 149 WTO member states still hope to reach a deal by the end of 2006... Saddled with its farm trade impasse, the WTO had hoped to come away from Hong Kong with at least a duty-free and quota-free deal for the 49 poorest nations and their 700M people. But the United States has been reluctant to allow poor exporters [complete and immediate] free access to sensitive areas such as textiles, sugar and cotton, and Japan does not want to open up its rice market... 'Developing countries, forced to liberalise by developed countries, have always been told that liberalisation will deliver gains... It is not too late for developed countries to swallow their own medicine.', he said in a statement."
Foster Klug _AP_/_abc_
US Trade Representative Rob Portman claims deal to slash tariffs and subsidies would ease US trade deficit
"The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that the [US trade deficit] rose by 4.4% to $68.9G in October, an all-time high, surpassing the old record of $66G set in September. Some experts say the ballooning trade gap is evidence that U.S. efforts to strike free trade agreements that cut trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas have exposed the United States to unfair competition and a flood of imports from low-wage nations that have ended up costing American jobs... Joseph Mayer, president of the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, said 'it would be absurd to consider weakening U.S. trade laws during the WTO rules negotiations. If anything, they should be strengthened.' He said that 'stripping the very safe-guards that ensure fair competition... is like asking American companies to compete with one hand tied behind their backs.' Portman, however, said he was confident a WTO deal lowering trade protections 'will be good for our exports'. He pointed out that the U.S. economy is 'extremely open to trade right now', with U.S. farm tariffs averaging 12%, as opposed to a global average of 62%. U.S. industrial tariffs, he said, averaged 3%, compared to 30% worldwide."
Jagdish Bhagwati _International Herald Tribune_
Winners and losers of "free" trade
"if we do not move forward significantly, a roll-back into new protectionism is equally unlikely... bilateral agreements are already proceeding at full speed anyway. More than 300 have been notified to the WTO; and many more are on their way. The Big 3 of Asia - Japan, [Red China] and India -- have finally joined the U.S.A. and the European Union in promoting bilateral and regional agreements in a tit-for-tat strategy... most LDCs are importers of food and agriculture. Therefore, any reduction in rich-country subsidies will raise the world prices of these imported items and hence adversely affect them. This would be avoided only if the rise in prices leads to a massive response which turns these LDCs into exporters... But Peter Mandelson is right to say that it is time now for the bigger developing countries such as India and Brazil to make their offers in industrial products and services, which they are doing. The protection of these countries can be argued, as much as EU agricultural protection, as a stumbling block now to a successful conclusion in this blame game... Also, the French are in the company of Germany and the United States in their protectionist attitudes. Germany shares very high un-employment with France, which always makes forward moves in trade more difficult. But the United States, which has little protection, is steadily succumbing to blanket protectionism, fed by fearful unions just as in France and in Germany, which has decimated support for freeing trade, as witnessed by the razor-thin majorities of one and two in recent trade votes in the U.S. Congress."
Aneesh Raman _CNN_
For Iraqis, vote is about life and death
"more people had come to vote in the parliamentary elections than in October's constitutional referendum... it's expected [the constitution for Iraq] will be put forth for another vote next year. So this is the first election where Iraqis are electing a government that has no excuse in getting the security situation better and to get basic services -- water, electricity [which are private sector business matters, not government] -- guaranteed. Iraqis see the importance in that, and this 4-year government is important to them because it's not transitional or interim... There was a 64% turn-out for the constitutional referendum, but how much above that we'll see, we'll have to wait... Everyone has to walk. Some people had to walk about an hour to get to the polling stations because there are no cars allowed on the roads except for medical vehicles or other emergency services... borders have been shut... airport has been closed [in order to prevent car-bomb attacks of polling places]... At one station there were 30 Iraqi army soldiers and police officers... [The ballot] has hundreds of lists of candidates on it, and the counting is going to be an arduous process. It's not an electronic thing; it's a hand count so that will take awhile... It's similar to voting in the United States, where you come in, you check in with the registrar, you're crossed off the list, you get your ballot, you go behind this sort of cardboard box creation, you mark your ballot, you fold it up, and they have a big plastic container. And then they dip one of your fingers in ink. Pretty much everyone has made up their mind about who they are going to vote for before they enter, and even though there are many names on it, there are only a handful of lists -- that are national lists -- that people have to look at, and then the others are more small ethnically specific lists. So they don't have to spend much time looking over it [at the polls] because they've already gone over who they are going to vote for."
Linda A. Johnson _AP_/_Indianapolis Star_
In 2003-2004 flu killed a few children quickly
"One-third of the 153 American children killed by the flu during the 2003-04 season were dead within 3 days of getting sick, and many of the youngsters were perfectly healthy before they were stricken, government researchers reported. 5% of the victims died within a day, 31% died before getting medical care and 10% died in the emergency room, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its first detailed report on flu deaths among children."
Kim L. Hooper _Indianapolis Star_
ISTEP math scores up slightly
"Indiana students made steady gains in math but showed little improvement in reading this year on the state's mandatory test used to measure achievement and determine whether schools met their academic goals."
_Daily News & Analysis India_
H-1B visas: US executive lobbies push to help India, hurt US citizens
"...there is a groundswell of support from powerful American business groups and economists for multiplying the annual quota of H-1B visas many..."
Amanda B. Carpenter _Human Events_
senator Allen is squisky on immigration
"Potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate senator George Allen (VA) declined Wednesday to support the idea of a fence separating the United States and Mexico, but said he would back [an additional] guest-worker plan as envisioned by President Bush...' if there are more effective ways of doing it other than a fence, whether it's with surveillance and more personnel, and surveillance... I think a virtual fence would be much less costly to the [tax-victims]... The key point is to make sure we have [an additional] workable, legal, guest-worker system in this country [to open the flood-gates even wider and drive down compensation to an ever wider range of US citizens] not rewarding illegal behavior... first you have to secure your borders.' [And then he kept chanting his talking point that 'illegal behavior' should be discouraged, but that the borders should the ripped apart to let in millions more per year.]"
Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
That's a big evil grin on corrupt CIO's face
"Virtually all of the surveyed CIOs say their companies out-source, and nearly 2 in 5 see their out-sourcing budgets growing."
Owen Thomas _CNN_/_Money_/_Business 2.0_
GM, while dumping tens of thousands of workers is betting another $15G on tech
"chiefs of the world's tech [bodyshops are] dreaming of plum out-sourcing contracts from General Motors, which in the weeks to come will dole out a five-year technology budget of $15G. It will be the largest batch of technology contracts ever awarded at the same time... Ralph Szygenda, GM's CIO...plans to award 40 contracts covering everythign from desk-top PeeeCeee support to real-time manufacturing systems... GM has out-sourced its IT for decades, dating back to the days it owned EDS... [Most of the contracts are expected to go to the usual cast of dishonest, corrupt, low-quality firms.]"
Demir Barlas _Line56_
Do IT yourself
"Jewelry Television is a throw-back to an earlier time, that of the horizontal business model. The company is bucking many of today's trends by handling its own processes (including producing and broadcasting its own television shows), remaining regional rather than global (most employees are based in eastern Tennessee), and building almost of its own software. It's been working so far. The company had 1,400 employees in 2005 January, and is finishing the year close to 2K, reveals Chris Meystrik, Director of Software Engineering for Jewelry TV."
Tichakorn Hill _Feral Times_
New laws filled with small, weak anti-out-sourcing measures
"Out-sourcing opponents successfully included measures in several spending bills designed to frustrate the Bush administration's effort to subject more federal work to [international] contractor bidding. The latest and most significant of these measures lies in the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and Judiciary spending bill, which became law November 30. The bill allows groups of 10 federal employees or more that are subject to a job competition with a contractor to form competitive teams known as Most Efficient Organizations (MEO). MEOs strengthen the hand of federal employees in a job competition because they can propose more efficient ways to accomplish work than the traditional way. Before, only groups of 65 federal employees or greater could form MEOs. Some agencies such as the Interior and Homeland Security departments already had allowed MEOs for competitions involving fewer than 65 employees. The measure also bars agencies from awarding more than 10 federal jobs to a contractor unless the contractor's bid is cheaper by $10M or 10% -- whichever is lower... The Homeland Security bill, which became law October 18, bars the agency from holding job competitions for immigration information officers. The Agriculture bill, which became law November 10, prohibits job competitions for rural development work or farm loan programs without budget approval from Congress. The Interior bill, which became law August 2, limits spending for job competitions to $3.45M and requires Interior to seek Congress' approval if it wants to spend more. The same bill also restricts spending on job competitions at the Agriculture Department's Forest Service to $3M... The House passed its version in June with the MEO and $10M-10% rules. It wouldn't allow contractors who provide employees less favorable health care coverage than federal employees receive to gain any price advantage in a competition for federal work. The Senate passed its version in October with the same provisions. Out-sourcing proponents, however, were able to add a contractor-friendly measure to the Defense authorization bill that would repeal the health care provision in effect at Defense since last fiscal year."
Andy McCue _Silicon_
The 2006 CIO shopping list
"IT governance and compliance have replaced security as the number one item on the technology shopping list for IT bosses in 2006, according to silicon.com's second annual CIO Agenda survey... they will be focusing on IT governance in the next 12 months, highlighting the increased pressure on CIOs to benchmark and measure whether IT projects really are delivering value for money. Compliance was the second most important area and now appears to have become a routine fixture on the IT chief's list of responsibilities... Almost half of respondents said they will be doing some out-sourcing in 2006 and a quarter will be off-shoring IT work. But one CIO said... bringing an out-sourced function back in-house... has emerged as a new trend this year will also be on the agenda for 2006... RFID also continues to be over-hyped for most IT bosses and just one of the CIO Agenda respondents plans to spend on the controversial tracking tags next year. Other over-hyped technologies in the last 12 months included mobile computing, service oriented architecture (SOA), grid computing and voice over IP (VoIP) -- although half of respondents said they will be focusing on VoIP in 2006. Mobile video, utility computing and WiMax round out the list of technologies CIOs believe will be most over-hyped in 2006. CIOs also say mass-market consumer technologies from the iPod to Google are having some impact on enterprise IT decision-makers [who call them] new disruptive technologies..."
Diebold's optical-scan voting system can be hacked, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho said
"[The following is a composite:] Ion Sancho said tests by 2 computer experts showed an insider could secretly change election results and the number of ballots cast on Diebold's optical-scan machines. The tests caused Sancho this week to scrap Leon's Diebold machines for a system made by Election Systems and Software, 'due to contractual non-performance and security design issues.'... Sancho said the tests on optical machines that scan paper ballots, conducted for his office, [Black Box Voting, and Florida Fair Elections Coalition director Susan Pynchon], also indicated the machines can be manipulated without leaving any evidence of tampering... Diebold supplies optical-scan voting systems to 29 Florida counties and touch-screen machines to 1... the primary individuals who could hack the system are not likely to be outside hackers, but crooked election officials or staff, a computer contractor or possibly Diebold's own on-site support staff. Mann also noted, and Sancho acknowledged, that all attempts to hack into the system from the outside failed. Sancho, however, said the tests show the certification process is flawed and that the Department of State refused to act when initial tests earlier this year showed the machines' memory cards could be hacked. He was unable then, however, to test if altered results on the cards could be uploaded into his mainframe computer because he was afraid it might be contaminated. He said he performed the upload this week only after county commissioners approved his request to buy a new optical-scan system from another company. The hacked results transferred into the mainframe, although Diebold had contended its software would prevent that, Sancho said... One test was conducted for Sancho's office and the non-profit election-monitoring group BlackBoxVoting.org by Herbert Thompson, a computer-science professor and strategist at Security Innovation, which tests software for companies such as Google and MSFT. The machine that tabulates the overall count asked for a user name and password, but didn't require it, he said. Another test was done by Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti. The memory card, which retains voting results, is used in transferring the votes to the Global Election Management System central tabulator. After Hursti doctored the outcome of the simulated test, the GEMS central tabulator was unable to recognize that a security breach had occurred. Accu-Vote and Global Elections Systems were bought by Diebold over the last few years. After BlackBox and Sancho announced the results in May, Diebold's senior lawyer, Michael Lindroos, sent a letter to Sancho that questioned the results and called the test 'a very foolish and irresponsible act' that may have violated licensing agreements. Volusia county elections supervisor Ann McFall... said, 'He's a maverick.' [for having conducted the tests..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Comments on BusinessWeek op-ed by Intel's Craig Barrett
"Craig Barrett is currently Intel's Chairman, and before that was CEO. He speaks out a lot on issues like this. It's amazing that he can write such a column. Consider:
George Avalos _Contra Costa Times_
In-sourcing adds new economic dimension
"In-sourcing is defined as jobs created by U.S.-based subsidiaries of corporations based in other countries... The Golden State has the most 'in-sourced' workers of any state in the country, with 561K [but are those in-sourced workers American citizens or not?]... The United States has about 5.25M in-sourced employees, according to the report, which the [Organization for International Investment] compiled from data supplied by the [National] Bureau of Economic Analysis... In-sourced jobs grew 15% over the past 5 years, the seventh-fastest growth in the nation. Only Maryland, Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Missouri and New York had faster rates of growth... During the year with the most recently available data, 2003, in-sourced jobs dwindled in the United States and California. California's in-sourced job base shrank 9% in 1 year. The 5.25M in-sourced jobs in the United States slipped about 3%... Matloff cited the current job listings posted on the web site of one major Silicon Valley company, Hewlett-Packard. A search for engineer openings Wednesday found 335 jobs posted for engineers, of which 35, or 10%, were in the Bay Area; 41% were in the United States; and 59 percent were available outside the United States. The primary foreign destinations were India, [Red China] and Singapore, according to a cursory survey of the postings... The average salary for an insourced worker in 2003 was $60,527, up 7% from the year before. About 32% of the in-sourced jobs are in manufacturing nationwide, and 24% in California."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
In-Sourcing: Comments on George Avalos article
"when you select 'Engineering' in HP's search engine, you get a lot of non-engineering jobs, e.g. Administrative Assistant, End-User Sales Representative, Buyer/Procurement Specialist, etc... Since I am interested in computer science graduates, who usually (though not always) get jobs in software rather than hardware, I've restricted attention to job titles like Software Engineer, System Administrator, Database Administrator, and so on. These figures shouldn't be counted as exact, since sometimes the job title was vague (or in a foreign language), but they are basically accurate. Here is what I found:
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Trouble Brewing in the US House of Representatives
"'The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005' (HR4437) is being debated, and there are over 50 amendments being proposed. Many of the amendments are designed to either gut the bill, or to allow guest-workers and amnesty [for illegal aliens]... On Friday the House will debate representative J.D. Hayworth's (R-AZ) amendment that will boost the number of employment based Green Cards from 140K a year to 205K. Hayworth's bill would be a huge boost to countries like India and Mexico that have pushing for more Green Cards... his only concern is that illegal immigration stops. He made it very clear at a recent immigration conference in Scottsdale, Arizona that he supports [additional and expanded] guest-worker programs... Hayworth is a member of the US-Mexico Congressional Caucus chaired by congressman Dave Drier and Charlie Stenholm. The agenda of this caucus is to promote Mexican interests over Americans... Hayworth is also a member of the India Caucus [pdf], which I have written about extensively [pdf]."
Numbers USA coverage of HR4437
Edwin Rubenstein _V Dare_
Immigration and Compensation: Conflating Causes, Effects, and Correlations
"Yes, immigrants must eat. They must have housing. And such capital investments inevitably increase GDP. But all capital investments are not created equal. Those that are undertaken in response to increases in the foreign born labor force are of the 'capital widening' variety. They are good for GDP, good for owners of capital, but do nothing to increase income of ordinary American workers. Only increases in capital per worker -- what economists call 'capital deepening' -- increases worker productivity, thereby enabling employers to pay higher wages without raising prices. If the supply of foreign workers were to dry up (by, say, enforcing the immigration laws), two things would happen: wages of unskilled natives would increase, and employers would look for ways to substitute capital for these suddenly more expensive native workers. Labor scarcity would lead to labor saving technology -- capital deepening -- and the resulting increase in labor productivity would push up wages of unskilled natives."
2005-12-15 16:39PST (19:39EST) (2005-12-16 00:39GMT)
Robert Powell _MarketWatch_
The work-place of tomorrow will be filled with older workers, but only if many changes occur
"Indeed, recent reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), AARP and Putnam Investments all seem to suggest that much has to change before there's a happy ending to the story of the graying of the American work force... Many Americans plan to keep working -- either full time or part time -- in retirement. Some will need to work, while others will choose to keep working. Some will need to work to support their life-style, to get health insurance and to finance a longer life expectancy, while others will work to pursue their life's passions and avocations... Some 7M Americans have recently retired only to return to the work force, says the Putnam study... Professional and related occupations, which include lawyers, teachers and scientists, in particular will employ the largest number of older workers... And most of those older workers will live in a state of paranoia. Indeed, many older workers fear age discrimination and declining technology skills as the top reasons for not leaving the work force today. (Of course, some of that fear may be based in reality. Employers view some older workers are resistant to new technology and resistant to change, says the GAO quoting studies on the subject.)... most employers are not yet willing... The GAO suggests, for instance, that employers could attract and retain older workers by responding to their work and life-style preferences... And employers could help their older employees learn new skills by investing more in training, and strengthen internal policies to address concerns about age discrimination."
Anti-Off-Shoring Legislation Remains Hot
"Rescue American Jobs has a legislation tracker on its web site, and says its mission is to build the 'largest American work-force mobilization in history' as a response to out-sourcing and off-shoring. The group contends that off-shoring is a consequence of executive greed. Bills that would severely limit off-shoring were introduced this year in almost all 50 states as well as in the U.S. Congress... Most of the bills that have become law seem to lack teeth and in some cases have had negative consequences... But lobbying efforts [on both sides] appear to be intensifying... the Technology CEO Council, a group of I.T. companies, including Dell, Intel , IBM and Motorola... more than 112 [measures have been proposed] in at least 40 states in the first quarter of the year. Most bills have been referred to committees, some are stalled, some have been killed and only a handful have passed."
Rhys Blakely _London Times_
US BlackBerry service faces shut-down
San Jose Mercury News
"This week, NTP, a small firm that holds a crucial patent that allows e-mail [messages] to be sent to mobile devices, announced a licence agreement with Visto Corp - an arch-rival of Research In Motion (RIM), the company that created the BlackBerry. The announcement could put further pressure on RIM to settle a patent claim from NTP which could be worth up to $1G (£565M), or face having its service shut down altogether... Visto has also [taken] out a legal writ against MSFT, accusing the company of infringing patents. Visto said it is seeking a permanent injunction to stop MSFT from misappropriating technology developed nearly 10 years ago by Visto and its co-founder... A federal jury in Richmond backed NTP's patent claim in 2002. Since then, RIM's appeals have failed and a $450M settlement has unravelled. RIM is now relying on separate proceedings by the US patent office, which has preliminarily rejected the patents at issue, but is awaiting a court decision."
2005-12-16 05:31PST (08:31EST) (13:31GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US current account deficit narrowed slightly again in Q3
"The U.S. current account deficit narrowed by 1.0% to $195.8G in the third quarter, as companies collected payments from foreign insurance companies for hurricane-related damage, the Commerce Department reported Friday. This is the second straight quarter of a narrowing deficit after the current account reached a record $198.7G in the first quarter. The deficit amounted to 6.2% of gross domestic product, down from 6.4% in the second quarter... The goods and services deficit widened to $182.8G in the third quarter from $173.6G in the prior three month period. The goods-only deficit widened to $197.9G in the third quarter from $186.9G in the April through June period, while the services surplus widened to $15.1G from $13.3G. Foreign official assets in the United States rose by $38.4G in the third quarter. This follows an increase of $82.6 in the second quarter. U.S.-owned assets abroad rose $124G in the third quarter after increasing by $225.2G in the second quarter, while foreign-owned assets in the United States rose $396.9G in the third quarter after rising $375.8G in the second quarter. Net foreign purchases of U.S. Treasurys rose to $40.9G in the third quarter from $9.9G in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department data. Foreign purchases of U.S. equities rose to a record $160.7G from $114.1G, while purchases of corporate bonds rose to $99.5G from $80G. Purchases of agency bonds rose to $34.5G from $20.4G."
Finance and Foriegn Commerce
WTO talks in peril
"The Group of 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, many of whose populations are subsistence farmers relying on crops such as sugar, cotton and bananas, demanded safeguards for commodity growers and continued preferential access to European markets... The European Union's system of tariffs and quotas favours Caribbean and African banana producers over large-scale growers in Latin America, preferential treatment the WTO has ruled violates world trade rules."
Tim Colebatch _The Age_
Doha Round sinks into mire as talks founder
"A serious dispute has emerged on plans to force developing countries to negotiate on services, adding to others already threatening to block an agreement. With countries widening rather than narrowing their differences in negotiations on agriculture, manufacturing and services, trade veteran Martin Khor of the Third World Network said the conference 'seems on the verge of unravelling'... Australian officials remain outwardly optimistic about their hopes for the meeting, although conceding that there has been little progress other than in the negotiations for developed countries to remove tariffs and quotas on at least 99% of imports from developing countries... The European Union, Japan and Korea, backed by food-importing developing countries, remain sharply at odds with the US, Australia, Brazil, India, [Red China] and developing-country food exporters... Of these, perhaps the most serious threat is over the services negotiations, which strongly resembles the dispute that caused the collapse of the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun, when the developed countries tried to insist on negotiations on investment and competition policy... Honduras has threatened to lead a walk-out of Latin American banana republics over a recent EU move to double tariffs on their bananas."
Katharine Murphy: Not trading, drowning
"Australia has much to gain from trade liberalisation, particularly in agriculture. We exported $14.7G worth of wheat, wool, rice, beef and other goods to Asia last financial year. If trade barriers come down, new markets could be worth billions more. Europe's agriculture markets are heavily fortified with high tariffs and the US subsidises its farmers with billions each year. Japan aggressively protects its rice farmers and beef producers with tariffs and quotas. [Red China] maintains high trade barriers, too, including red-tape hurdles. According to a much-quoted 2004 study by the World Bank, dismantling barriers in farm trade alone would create economic benefits worth $US248G ($AUS332G) a year. Both the developed and developing world would benefit: rich countries would gain by $US106G and poor countries by $US142G... The G20 has a developing-country bias, favouring protection for emerging markets and differential liberalisation time-tables: the rich cut tariffs and subsidies hard and fast, while the poor come in more slowly. As groups such as Oxfam say, there is no point in dismantling trade barriers to encourage poor countries to export more goods and services if there are no roads to truck crops to port and no transparent market-based systems to support a manufacturing industry. There is no point in putting a rich-world economic rationalist construction on countries that struggle to feed their people. But Oxley utterly rejects this analysis. He says the newly found organisational skill of developing countries, assisted by non-government organisations such as Oxfam, has given rich countries cover to argue against dismantling their own trade protections. Europe, he says, has latched on ruthlessly to the developing nations agenda to resist making concessions and to argue for special exclusions and exemptions."
EU says WTO talks are going backwards
"While the United States is pressing for a 55% - 90% cut in agricultural import tariffs, the European Union has offered reductions in a range of 35% to 60%. On farm support, Washington has said it is prepared to cut trade-distorting subsidies by 60% over five years, matched by an EU offer to make a 70% reduction in such assistance."
Frosty Wooldridge _News with Views_
An Growing Flood of Immigrants
"We must build 'counter critical mass' to move against the flood of legal and illegal immigrants breaking over our national borders [as] the levees broke on New Orleans... Bush's... plan could allow 10M, 20M, 30M or 50M guest-workers. The U.S. immigration service is already back- logged 4.8M cases for legal immigrants right now... The whole time, while Bush lives behind gated walls and body-guards, we must suffer from the invasion so he can make sure we have enough Third World slaves..."
Econony has been hurt by growing trade deficit
"As America's trade deficit sets a new record, an increasing number of main-stream economists grudgingly admit 'free' trade is killing American jobs... 'Elite academics and Wall Street wizards are finally beginning to see what the great majority of middle Americans have known all along: America can not be prosperous and independent if we rely on foreign countries for our food, our clothing and our manufactured goods.', says Jack Davis, Erie County industrialist and chairman of the Save American Jobs Association. The $4T trade deficit is financed in large part by the central banks of [Red China], Japan and other Asian countries. A currency strategist at Bank of America predicted that foreigners would own about 30% of America's GDP by the end of 2006..."
Randy Johnson _Boston Patriot Ledger_
Penalizing employers to negate their ill-gotten gains will end illegal immigration
"Guest-worker programs... so illegals can potentially partake of the American dream, while feckless border-based employers can use and abuse same, thereby providing a slice of the American nightmare instead... grand-fathering illegals for work/legalized-slavery (no citizenship, please!)... huge border barriers with complements of lots of manned, high-tech gadgetry and bigger holding lock-ups for amassing tomorrow's deportees... in the realm of dealing with border-crossing illegal aliens, does this sound like progress?... White House initiative on border enforcement does little to address the source of our illegal-immigration problem: the honey (jobs) that attracts the bees (risk-taking illegals). Penalties exist for hiring illegals, but rarely are they enforced; the honey's still there, so they keep right on coming. Any approach toward rectifying this out-sourcing/labor-subsidizing predicament needs to focus on removing the incentive for the illicit behavior, which should include staking out any known areas where illegals eventually congregate to secure their tenuous employment positions, as well as effectively penalizing patronizing employers with fines and imprisonments for hiring undocumented laborers. A 'no more jobs' message travels fast, and would translate into few willing to risk death or deportation for no pay-off."
Eamon Javers _Business Week_
Doug Bandow, an economics columnist for libertarian think-tank Cato Institute, says he accepted payments for articles favorable to clients
"A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on December 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing op-ed articles favorable to the positions of some of Abramoff's clients. Doug Bandow, who writes a syndicated column for Copley News Service, told BusinessWeek Online that he had accepted money from Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 articles over a period of years, beginning in the mid-1990s... Cato Communications Director Jamie Dettmer said the think-tank determined that Bandow "engaged in what we consider to be inappropriate behavior and he considers to be a lapse in judgment" and accepted his resignation... A former Abramoff associate says Bandow and at least one other think-tank expert were typically paid $2K per column to address specific topics of interest to Abramoff's clients. Bandow's standing as a columnist and think-tank analyst provided a seemingly independent validation of the arguments the Abramoff team were using to try to sway Congressional action. Bandow confirms that he received $2K for some pieces, but says it was 'usually less than that amount'. He says he wrote all the pieces himself, though with topics and information provided by Abramoff. He adds that he wouldn't write about subjects that didn't interest him... Bandow wrote a column earlier this year -- well after the disclosure that Abramoff was under federal investigation -- saying that wealthy Indian tribes had become yet another 'well-funded special interest seeking political favors'... Bandow said his views of Indian gambling have shifted over the years. 'It's gone well beyond what it once was.', he said... Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, says he, too, took money from Abramoff to write op-ed pieces boosting the lobbyist's clients. 'I do that all the time.',Ferrara says. 'I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future.' Ferrara, who has been an influential conservative voice on Social Security reform, among other issues, says he doesn't see a conflict of interest in taking undisclosed money to write op-ed pieces because his columns never violated his ideological principles. 'It's a matter of general support.', Ferrara says. 'These are my views, and if you want to support them, then that's good.'"
Intel India to be given chance at redemption after Xeon disaster
Knowledge Transfer Out of the USA is Rampant
Cincinnati Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.31%
"Friday was one of the year's 4 'triple-witching days', so called because 3 kinds of options contracts expire. Historically, the days have meant higher than usual volume as investors cash in or renew their contracts; in 10 of the last 13 triple witching days, the Dow Jones industrial average has closed higher, according to the 'Stock Trader's Almanac'. Lower oil prices also lightened the mood on Wall Street. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $59.25, down 74 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.34, or 0.23%, to 10,907.01, at 11:45. The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks was up 0.91 points, or 0.31%, to 290.51. 48 issues were up, 29 were down and three were unchanged. Leading gainers were Cummins Inc., up $2.03 to $90.43; Toyota Motor Co., up $1.29 to $98.44; Johnson & Johnson, up $1.01 to $61.17; Sara Lee Corp., up 76 cents to $19.02; and NBT&F Corp., up 66 cents to $20.91. Biggest laggers were First Franklin Corp., down 97 cents to $16.03; Cintas Corp., down 61 cents to $42.41; Federated Department Stores, down 50 cents to $64.80; Dillard's Inc., down 44 cents to $24.44; and Chemed Corp., down 31 cents to $51.80. Broader stock indicators were narrowly mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose .19, or 0.01%, to 1,271.13, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 3.21, or 0.14%, to 2,257.42. Bonds prices rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.44% from 4.47% late Wednesday. The U.S. dollar was lower against other major currencies in European trading. Gold prices also declined."
2005-12-16 13:30PST (16:30EST) (21:30GMT)
|10-year US T-Bond||4.45%||-0.022|
2005-12-17 11:36PST (14:36EST) (19:36GMT)
Jonathan H. Adler _National Review_
On Doug Bandow
"When I was working at CEI, I was offered cash payments to write op-eds on particular topics by PR firms, lobbyists or corporations several times. The offered $1K or more for an op-ed saying things I agree with anyway was a big deal given the salary structure at a small free-market non-profit. I turned down such proposals every time nonetheless. Send me good information, I would tell them, and if the information checks out, and the story is that good (as it often was), I'll write about it on my own... I also found they would often rather cut me a check (that they could turn around and bill to their client, with an overage) than provide me useful information."
2005-12-17 12:33PST (15:33EST) (21:33GMT)
Mark Krikorian _National Review_
"The House passed Jim Sensenbrenner's immigration-control bill Friday night, representing a milestone on the road to ending immigration anarchy. This the first time either house has voted for mandatory electronic verification of new hires, which they should have done 19 years ago when they banned the employment of illegals. The House also strengthened the bill with several important amendments, each getting a significant number of Democrat votes (Pelosi told her members they could vote for immigration control if they thought their rube constituents cared about that sort of thing). One added provision enhances cooperation between immigration authories and state and local cops; another mandates extension of the Israeli-style border fence; yet another requires that all security checks be completed before an alien is given a green card (so, you thought that already happened?). My personal favorite is an amendment putting the citizenship oath in statute and requiring State and DHS to inform embassies that their former citizens are now Americans and thus no longer their concern (I actually thought that one up). Finally, the House voted almost 2-1 to kill the ridiculous Visa Lottery, the first time in generations that a legal immigration category was eliminated."
John William Templeton _IEEE*USA Today's Engineer_
Tech Career Dreams Deferred
"Imagine going into low-income neighborhoods across the nation and creating one million new high-tech jobs for people who had never even seen computers before. The widely respected Hudson Institute called for just such an ambitious jobs creation initiative in its Work-force 2000 report, published in 1987. Nearly 20 years later, much of the nation is mired in a prolonged jobless recovery. Many of the new jobs that are being created are located in India, [Red China] and other lower cost, overseas locations. For far too many Americans, the dream of economic prosperity that comes with growing numbers of high-skilled, high-wage jobs has been postponed or abandoned. The African-American community has been particularly hard hit. New business opportunities for people like John Henry Thompson, the Harlem native who created Lingo, the scripting language that powered the Internet in the 1980s, and Philip Emeagwali, a 1989 IEEE Gordon Bell Prize winner, seem few and far between. The nation's increasing reliance on 'temporary' guest-worker programs coupled with off-shore out-sourcing have further reduced job opportunities for African-American technology workers... high-tech employers are no longer recruiting graduates from historically black colleges and universities the way they used to... A recent analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, for example, indicates that only 211K (5.5%) of the 3.8M Americans who work for high-tech employers are African-Americans... In the high-tech sector itself, the highest percentage of African-Americans work in computer systems design, where 115K blacks account for seven percent of the 1.6M member work-force. In science and technology management and consulting occupations, 58K blacks account for 5.6% of the 1.03M member work-force."
Joe Garner _Rocky Mountain News_
Radical leftist arsonists had their eco-terrorist roots in high school
Verne Kopytoff _San Francisco CA Chronicle_
Google blamed for slght glimmerings of future recovery in STEM job markets and compensation: rivals point to deep pockets, zeal to hire cheap, young, pliant labor with questionable ethics
Foster Klug _AP_/_Yahoo!_
WTO OKs Deal to End Farm Trade Subsidies in Wealthier Nations
"The agreement, which also calls for modest reductions in other trade barriers, brings a binding treaty to further open up global trade one step closer... The agreement was 'not enough to make it a success, but enough to save it from failure.', said the European Union's trade chief, Peter Mandelson, whose delegation came under heavy pressure during the gathering to open up Europe's farming market. Since the WTO works by consensus, objections from even one member can hold up any deal... Poor nations had pushed for the farm subsidies to end by 2010, while the EU held out for 2013... Although the agreement didn't include cuts in import tariffs on industrial goods, it seeks to move those negotiations forward by meeting a demand from poor nations that the issue be dealt with in tandem with efforts to give developing countries flexibility in setting market-opening policies. It also links talks on agricultural trade with those in industrial goods... rich countries agreed to eliminate all export subsidies on cotton in 2006... The agreement also calls on wealthy nations to allow, by 2008, duty-free and quota-free trade privileges for at least 97% of products exported by the least developed countries, those with per capita incomes of less than $750 a year... The new agreement says market opening measures for services will not be mandatory and will be aimed at promoting economic development in developing countries. Least developed countries are not asked to make any new commitments."
John Chalmers, Kim Coghill, Richard Waddington, Doug Palmer, William Schomberg, Sophie Walker, John Ruwitch & Tan Ee Lyn _Swiss Info_
World trade deal survives stormy meeting in Hong Kong
"Ministers from 149 states saved long-running global trade talks from collapse on Sunday with an interim deal to end farm export subsidies by 2013 and open rich-country markets a bit wider to the world's poorest nations... The agreement came after 6 round-the-clock days of fractious talks between ministers and a string of anti-globalisation protests that erupted into vicious street battles outside their harbour-side convention centre. World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy told weary ministers they had injected new impetus into the Doha round, a so-far hapless drive to boost global economic growth and lift millions out of poverty by bringing down barriers to trade... Big-hitters among developing nations, led by Brazil and India, gave their nod to the draft but voiced their frustration over the EU's refusal to agree on 2010 as the cut-off date for export subsidies... The agreement will bring the elimination of export subsidies for cotton in 2006... The accord fell short of U.S. and European hopes for greater access to poor nations' markets for manufactured goods. But developing nations [claim] they were the ones short-changed... one key element of Sunday's deal -- duty-free and quota-free access for imports from the 49 poorest nations of the world -- was watered down because of U.S. and Japanese reluctance to accept unbridled trade in goods such as textiles and rice... the 25-nation EU's refusal to open its long-protected agriculture markets any further."
Mary Jacobs _Dallas Morning News_
Americans already displaced by current excessive visa limits
"Diane Collier says the IT job market is tough already: 'It's hard for me to imagine that we can't find people here.' The proposal, part of the Senate Judiciary Committee's submission for budget reconciliation, would raise the current cap of 65K visas to 95K in fiscal 2006 [actually from 85K to 115K, counting the 20K H-1B visas for those with advanced degrees]... Opponents say it gives away jobs that should go to U.S. workers and ultimately sends experienced talent back to competing businesses in other countries. Meanwhile, some detractors say H-1Bs are being abused -- that companies aren't paying prevailing wages to foreign workers, as the law requires... IEEE-USA Spokesman Chris McManes points out that temporary employees get inside knowledge of U.S. firms, then take it back to competitors in their home countries when the H-1B visa expires, usually after 6 years. He cited Department of Labor statistics showing a decline of 221K employed U.S. tech workers in 6 major computer and engineering job classifications from 2000 to 2004. 'When you look at the fact that there are fewer jobs in engineering every year, and yet we're bringing in almost 100K guest-workers -- those numbers don't add up.', said Jean Eason, a Fort Worth electrical engineer who chairs IEEE-USA's Employment and Career Services Committee."
Mark Schwanhausser _San Jose Mercury News_
Betting on a Boom
Contra Costa Times
"Bay Area residents struggle with widespread job insecurity and sky-high real estate prices. Resiliency, risk-taking and riches co-exist with frustration, uncertainty and financial hardship. The yin and yang of life here explain why 87% of residents say they are satisfied with the Bay Area as a place to live while 41% would pack up and leave if they could find a comparable job elsewhere... Most people think another economic boom is just years away, yet many worry that might not be soon enough, especially the have-nots... American workers -- tech and non-tech alike -- have reason to feel they're under assault. From General Motors on down, companies are whittling away health care benefits, shedding pension obligations and forcing concessions from unions. They're hiring more temporary workers, importing engineers with H-1B visas and off-shoring other jobs. All the while, employers are running lean and demanding greater productivity... In the [nearly 6] years since the Nasdaq stock market peaked on 2000 March 10, shares in Silicon Valley's public companies lost two-thirds of their value -- that's $2T gone. Since 2000, 42% of the region's workers have endured at least one month of un-employment or settled for a job that pays less or requires fewer skills. Of those who lost a job, nearly one-third were out of work for 6 months to 2 years... 'It used to be you'd send out a résumé and get 10 calls, and you'd choose to go on 4 interviews, and there would be competing offers.', said Brown, who, like 85% of those surveyed, has lived in the Bay Area throughout the 5-year period. 'It isn't like that now. They don't even post jobs because they're so snowed under with résumés.'... About 49% of non-retired residents say nothing matters more to them than work... Though the Bay Area ranks among the nation's most affluent areas -- with a median household income of more than $75K in Santa Clara Country -- there remains a deep financial divide between the haves and have-nots and those who have secure jobs and those who don't... More than 1 of 3 residents has burned up all or most of his or her savings during the past 5 years. Even among the securely employed who held jobs throughout the previous 5-years, 20% say they'd last no more than a month before suffering a significant financial hardship if they lost their jobs. The financial buffer would last only a week for a comparable percentage of under-employed workers."
Steve Sailer _V Dare_
"Human Directionals": The Cheap Worker/Expensive Land Economy Personified
"America's proud history as a middle class country rests fundamentally on two advantages of settling a mostly empty continent: a small supply of labor and a large supply of land. This meant relatively high wages and low land prices, so Americans could afford to buy their own farms and homes. In turn, this virtuous cycle encouraged Americans to invent labor-saving devices like the reaper, the washing machine, the assembly line, and the semiconductor. Which made Americans even richer and more independent... a common weekend sight is people who are paid to stand on corners and try to catch your eye by randomly wiggling brightly colored directional arrows, typically pointing to real estate open houses. It's the 21st Century equivalent of the Depression-era advertising practice of hiring un-employed men to walk around wearing sandwich board signs saying 'Eat at Joe's'. And it's just as depressing... Susan Abram of the Los Angeles Daily News reported on Friday: '...Harold Kassarjian, professor of marketing at California State University, Northridge... Human directionals possibly came to Southern California from Mexico, where the practice flourishes, Kassarjian said.'"
Freedom for everyone but us?
"There must be limits to what we sacrifice in the name of protecting our borders. On Friday, perhaps not coincidentally, two stories raised the stakes in the running liberty vs. security battle... the Bush administration's decision to allow the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens starting in 2002, without court-ordered warrants. E-mails, phone conversations - it's all fair game for the feds, apparently. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of Americans, have been targets of snoops, and for all we know, they are still snooping. Previously, according to the Associated Press, the NSA limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained orders for such investigations through a confidential surveillance court. Hours after the story broke, the Senate wisely rejected a proposal to re-authorize and make permanent troubling elements of the Patriot Act that vastly expanded government power over individuals following the 2001 September 11 attacks. As we try to coax Iraq onto the path of freedom, are we so willing to suspend our own constitutional liberties at home?... We and most Americans support investigating terror suspects using whatever means necessary - as long as we remain true to our democratic ideals and allow some type of oversight beyond the president's supreme say-so. But Friday's news of unprecedented federal spying on ordinary Americans - with virtually no judicial oversight - exposed the lengths to which some will go to use fear to rationalize more intrusion on the lives of Americans, and drew fire from both sides of the political aisle."
Company translates broadly
"just 5 of the 35 employees at Marsan's translation company - Newmarket Translations LLC - work from its Morristown head-quarters. The remainder are spread between Beijing - where they translate Asian languages - and Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they handle Western languages for clients in the Americas and Europe. Besides doing translations, the company - which opened in April - provides marketing, graphic, cultural and other help to companies seeking to pitch their products in a new country or culture. It can tap 6K translators worldwide. Among them, they speak more than 30 languages. The most sought tongues are French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese, Marsan said. But Chinese is coming up fast, hence the location of the Asian office."
David S. Broder _Miami Herald_
Mis-guided "brain-power bill" a 2006 priority?: Doing the wrong thing
"They all recite similar warning signs that America's current healthy economy conceals significant long-term threats to our prosperity. There has been a steady erosion in investment in the kind of brainpower that keeps a nation competitive -- and a consequent decline in American inventiveness... Frank Wolf of Virginia, Vern Ehlers of Michigan and Sherwood Boehlert of New York -- sponsored an 'innovation summit' last week that brought university presidents and corporate CEOs to the Commerce Department to promote [the worst possible] action on this challenge."
_The Community at Large_
DHS monitoring library & book-store requests
2005-12-19 07:23PST (10:23EST) (15:23GMT)
Alan Bjerga _AirCraft Maintenance Technology_
Aviation Work Expanding in Red China
"near the Strait of Taiwan. The 20-year-old works as a structural engineer, converting 747s from passenger jets to 'freighters' for a growing company, Taikoo (Xiamen) AirCraft Engineering Company, better known as TAECO. She makes about $500 a month -- less than one-tenth what a Wichita engineer makes... She spent one month in Wichita in 2000, learning her job from Kansans. One year later, Boeing announced it was closing its commercial modification cente rin Wichita, saying there wasn't enough freighter conversion work for it to continue. The center, which had employed 1K, closed the next year... the USA is losing good jobs and know-how over-seas. They want to stem that tide, if not reverse it. If that doesn't happen, Wichita and America will face tough times as [Red China] rises, said Bob Wood, a 20-year Cessna worker turned Machinists' union representative... Andy Wei spent 18 years in the People's Liberation Army Air Force. He now heads the Beijing office of Goodrich, which works on Boeing and Airbus products in [Red China]... America has more advanced technology and better-skilled workers to use it, Wei said... Investors get richer and working-class Americans grow poorer when blue-collar jobs disappear and remaining jobs become less secure... [TAECO's] greatest contribution to [Red China] is the workers it trains, Yun said... overall Boeing employment in Wichita (including Spirit workers) has dropped from more than 17K in 2001 to about 13K today. [As the Red Chinese government copies Boeing and Airbus designs, those figures will worsen.]"
"Success" does not equal "Happiness"
"a review of 225 studies in the current issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), lead author Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside found that chronically happy people are in general more successful across many life domains than less happy people and their happiness is in large part a consequence of their positive emotions rather than vice versa. Happy people are more likely to achieve favorable life circumstances, said Dr. Lyubomirsky, and 'this may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions.' Lyubomirsky and co-authors Laura King, Ph.D., of University of Missouri, Columbia and Ed Diener, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The Gallup Organization examined studies involving 3 different types of evidence -- cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental designs -- to determine how happiness and positive affect are related to culturally-valued success... happiness does lead to behaviors that often produce further success in work, relationships and health, and these successes result in part from a person's positive affect. Furthermore, evidence from the cross-sectional studies confirm that a person's well-being is associated with positive perceptions of self and others, sociability, creativity, prosocial behavior, a strong immune system, and effective coping skills. The authors also note that happy people are capable of experiencing sadness and negative emotions in response to negative events, which is a healthy and appropriate response. Much of the previous research on happiness presupposed that happiness followed from success and accomplishments in life..."
APA release (pdf)
John Moore _ZD Net_/_Channel Insider_
Echoes of dot-com boom in India
"The off-shoring surge has placed India-based IT services firms on a fast growth track. Companies battle each other to win business, but they also compete to attract and retain talent. India's National Association of Software and Service Companies [NASSCOM] has reported attrition rates among business process out-sourcing companies of 25% to 40%... education programs stand as perhaps the biggest benefit... Cohen said the School of Leadership will concentrate on the top 1,500 leaders in the organization and the next 1,500 'fast-track' employees, who will become the company's leaders. The school will open in January, but its official home, a facility to be built in Hyderabad, won't be ready until mid 2006. The school will have a neighboring 300-room executive residence for Satyam's leadership students. Such learning centers have been a part of U.S.-based services firms for quite some time. Andersen Consulting, the precursor company to Accenture [best known for participation in the Enron fraud], was noted for its St. Charles, IL, training center..."
Chris Chmura _Richmond Times-Dispatch_
International education tests give conflicting pictures: Editorial sponsored by Richmond Chamber of Commerce
"The U.S. economy has historically excelled because of the skills and innovation of its work force, which comes from a well-educated populace... Math literacy scores for 15-year-old students in the United States in 2003 were lower than for students in countries such as [Red China], Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic, according to the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Students in more economically established countries such as Japan, Canada, Germany and Sweden also outscored us. Finland had the highest literacy of the 41 countries in the 2003 study. The next PISA test will be in 2006; the first test took place in 2000. Unfortunately, U.S. scores were better (493) in 2000 than in 2003 (483). In 2000, 15-year-olds in the U.S. scored better than their counterparts in Germany, Hungary and Poland. [Red China] did not participate that year... Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for 30 countries indicate that the U.S. spent more per student from public and private sources ($20,358 for post-secondary and $7,397 for elementary and secondary) in 2000 than any of the other 30 countries reporting."
Abbie Reese _Journal-Standard_
Over 100 workers to return to work at DURA Automotive plant
"DURA plans to launch a variety of seating products at the Stockton facility over the next 24 months, said Sean McGuire, marketing director at DURA's corporate offices in Rochester Hills, MI. The new work will create 114 new hourly jobs in 2006 and 55 additional jobs in 2007... One new program will be a 'venture' with 8 operators making a limited production 'loading platform' that extends 30 inches outside an SUV. Cole said the contracting company wants to try it out on the Jeep Liberty. Other programs include: a stadium slide, unique to the North American market, Cole said, that would allow easier access to third row seats; and a recliner mechanism, the first recliner program awarded to DURA."
Mike Freeman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Sluggish tech job market shows little life
"over the past 4 years, technology employment has been stuck in neutral, according to statistics from the California Employment Development Department. Jobs at biotech, software and electronics companies are down 8% from 2002 January through 2005 October.While electronics manufacturing has been hardest hit -- dropping 2,600 jobs -- it's not alone in dragging down local tech employment. Software publishers employ 700 fewer workers. Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing has dipped by 1,040 jobs... Technology was a savior of the region's economy after the defense and aerospace bust of the early 1990s, creating many of the county's new jobs and now accounting for 10% of the region's total employment... construction, real estate, tourism and retail have created most of the county's new jobs... For every Qualcomm, which has 500 openings, there is a Kyocera, which cut 900 jobs in San Diego this year. For every ViaSat, which has about 60 openings in Carlsbad, there is an Intel, which moved 169 jobs from San Diego to Portland, Ore., in June. For every Invitrogen, which has more than 110 position available in California, there is a Merck, which eliminated 109 jobs at its La Jolla facility last summer... In addition to out-sourcing, many technology companies expect permanent programmers, engineers and scientists to do more and have higher skills than was the case during the dot-com boom years."
Nicole C. Wong _Wichita Eagle_
Working their way back up
Biloxi Sun Herald
St. Paul Pioneer Press
"nearly one in 10 Bay Area workers who are under-employed. This often-ignored segment of the work-force includes a broad swath of ages and races in a wide range of jobs. But all within it share this in common: Their work underutilizes their skills or pays them less than what they once made because these are the best jobs they can find. In a first-of-its-kind examination of under-employment in the Bay Area, a Mercury News/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that under-employment has dragged down people across all walks of life and, in some ways, left them just as bad off as those who are out of work. The survey, conducted from August 2 to September 11, found the under-employed more pessimistic about the near-term future than the rest of the work-force and more willing to ditch the Bay Area as they sink into debt and their savings disappear... Workers of all races have fallen into the pit of under-employment, but minorities are over-represented -- especially Hispanics. While only 17% of the Bay Area's work-force is Hispanic, they represent nearly half of the under-employed... The forces behind the career erosion of the under-employed are diverse, ranging from the dot-com crash to the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks to out-sourcing and corporate cost-cutting. But what's common among the under-employed is a desperate struggle to hold their lives together while trying to build a brighter future. Some have stopped saving for their children's educations. Others have sacrificed their retirement nest eggs. Many aren't sure they can get back on track. 2 out of 5 under-employed people are less confident about their opportunities for career advancement than they were five years ago... Under-employment is one reason the local un-employment rate has dropped from 6.0% to 5.0% over the past 4 years. In Silicon Valley, which has been struggling with the lowest 5-year job growth rate in the country, some out-of-work residents have accepted any kind of work, surrendering to disappointment, desperation and deepening piles of un-paid bills... It's unclear how the Bay Area's 9% under-employment rate stacks up against other regions' because comparable data doesn't exist. The government only releases national under-employment data based on the number of people working part time, and those numbers don't screen out people working fewer hours by choice. The Mercury News/Kaiser survey, in contrast, tallied part-time workers who wanted to work full time, as well as full-time workers holding jobs that paid significantly less or required significantly fewer skills, less experience or a lower education level than their previous jobs. To be counted as under-employed, they had to prefer a better job... Almost half of the Bay Area's under-employed are working part time, and three-fourths of them are looking for full-time jobs. 60% of the under-employed here hold jobs less challenging than their previous ones... Silicon Valley would be more likely to have residents working in jobs beneath their abilities because its highly skilled and educated work-force has been competing for fewer jobs since the dot-com bubble burst. But the survey suggests higher education helps protect workers from under-employment. About 40% of Silicon Valley's work-force hold bachelor's degrees, yet only 23% of the under-employed are college graduates... One-third [of the under-employed] live in households where the total family income, before taxes, was under $30K last year. 1 in 5 say if they lost their jobs, they could make do for only a week before experiencing serious financial hardship. And more than one-third think it's likely they'll be standing in the un-employment line in the next 12 months."
Russ Connors _Santa Maria Times_
Red China's dangerous currency ploy
"For some time, [Red China] [artificially] fixed its yuan at 8.27 to the dollar, despite the fact that the yuan was estimated to be worth between 5 and 6 to the dollar. Recently, it 'raised' its value to 8.08 yuan per dollar, claiming to cooperate with complaints by our government. That was only a 2% adjustment and, oddly, it was praised as a step forward by [US] Treasury Secretary Snow, speaking for a strangely acquiescent Bush administration. Several years ago, with America's backing, [Red China] was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the major cooperative whose rules call for all currencies to 'float' on world markets and not be falsely tied a major currency as [Red China] has done. In the face of huge trade deficits, domestic job loss and ominous labor outsourcing to [Red China's] cheap labor pool, our government has remained permissive with [Red China's] deceit. This year, we will spend $250G more for Chinese products than they will spend on ours. Our worldwide trade deficit is estimated to reach $800G this year. Many of those dollars will return from [Red China] for the financing of our fiscal deficit, the $2G a day that we must borrow by issuing Treasury bills and bonds. In effect, [Red China] is selling its products as well as its labor at a deep discount of about 30%, permitting our dollar to buy 8.08 yuan instead of, say, about 5.5 yuan. We are getting goods and services cheap at [Red China's] expense."
Web-Based Out-Sourcing: Body shopping by any other name smells as bad
Robert Evans _Boston Globe_
WTO deal said to betray the poor
Herald News Daily
"'India and Brazil have led the developing countries down the garden path in exchange for some market access in agriculture for Brazil, and services out-sourcing for India.', said the grouping's spokesperson Aileen Kwa."
Gali Weinreb _Israel Globes_
Kicking the habit from within: For "only" $5M, start-up Modus developed a treatment for quitting smoking
"Modus Biological Membranes hopes to make initial sales of its product, Libertal, in 2006. The product is designed to treat the physical symptoms of withdrawal from smoking, although it is not exactly a drug. It is expected to be included in a fairly new US Food and Drug Administration category -- 'neutraceuticals'. Libertal is not foreign to the human body, but in large quantities, or taken in a certain way, it has a uniquely desirable effect, equivalent to that of a drug..."
_PR News Wire_
Compensation Committees Must Examine Company Relations
"The report, entitled Dealing in Good Faith: The Evolving Role of the Compensation Committee and its Relations with Consultants, says that, at a minimum, the committee must control all aspects of the committee-consultant relationship, including consultant retention, the scope of work, oversight and monitoring of work, and, if necessary, dismissal of the consultant(s)... In choosing which corporate governance practices they will implement, directors have to consider certain 'base line' laws and regulations such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 and the rules of the national stock exchanges, as well as the desires of increasingly vocal share-holders. In addition, directors need to follow the precedents established by the courts, especially the courts in Delaware, where nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 corporations are incorporated. Taken together, the string of recent decisions by the Delaware courts have become a guide for 'best practices' which directors should follow as they make certain they are acting according to their fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and good faith."
John Boudreau _San Jose Mercury News_
Head-quarters here, workers in Asia
"There's a new breed of start-up in Silicon Valley: the mini-multinational, launched from the get-go as a global business. The upstarts, often in tech, set up headquarters in Silicon Valley to take advantage of funding, ideas, management and the prestige. But they have major operations in places like Bangalore or Shanghai, [Red China], giving them access to over-seas markets, a cheaper but increasingly innovative pool of talent and ever-faster product development by a round-the-clock work-force [as though the USA hasn't had an around-the-clock work-force for a century]... Communication among... colleagues, more complicated than mere cubicle chatter, is carefully choreographed to avoid work-flow hiccups that can cause days of delay. There is the critical nightly handoff of software code-in-progress to engineers across the Pacific Ocean. Quick cell phone conversations at all hours. Weekend e-mail exchanges... In the past 3 years, venture capitalists have invested more than $400M in U.S.-based start-ups operating in India, according to TSJ Media, a VC tracking firm in Chennai, India. The model was used in Israel 5 or 6 years ago, said Ash Lilani, head of global markets for Silicon Valley Bank, which has an office in Bangalore, the southern Indian city that is the pre-eminent tech center in the country. In the past 15 months, Silicon Valley Bank [and other financiers have driven] as many as 50 valley start-ups [to] set up offices in India, he said... Global innovation also requires more than virtual communications. 'There is nothing in the world that can replace a hand-shake.', [Ron] Victor said... Workers in India and the valley have trained themselves to speak slowly and clearly, so information isn't lost in accents."
The following topics are from Norm Matloff, PhD
Innovation will not solve the problem
off-shoring hazards (pdf)
corrupt venture capital operations have been demanding off-shoring
Erica Werner _Ely Times & County_
H-1B Abusers Lose Budget Round
Sydney Morning Herald
Los Angeles Times
AFL-CIO department of Professional Employees
San Jose Mercury News
"A Senate-passed measure to add [30K] more visas for foreign workers in high-tech and specialty fields was dropped from a budget bill that passed the House early Monday... The Senate language also would have allowed 90K [to 350K] more employment-based green cards that offer permanent residency to skilled workers, and added fees for those... Critics contend the visas give foreigners high-level jobs that should go to American workers. House and Senate negotiators left it out of the final version of a $39.7G federal budget bill that passed the House 212-206 and is expected to get a Senate vote later today... In addition, the House-passed L1 visa fee increase was also dropped. This action is a huge success for opponents of expanding the H-1B program and a major defeat for the army of lobbyists representing big business, high tech, the immigration bar, the Indian lobby and so many others... [but it might be reversed] During Senate committee and floor deliberations on the House-passed... HR4437 (likely to be considered by the Senate early next year, and separate, Bush-supported expansion of the low-skilled guest-worker visas..."
_US Conference of Mayors_
Hunger & Homelessness Survey (pdf)
Ron Paul _Ron Paul Library_
Small Steps Toward Immigration Reform
2005-12-19 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Sheila Riley _EE Times_/_Embedded_
US Engineering Education Is Fine
"A controversial Duke University study contradicts that perception, pointing out that engineers are defined differently in different places. Those differences give the impression that foreign colleges are graduating more engineers, as measured by U.S. standards, than they really are. In addition to blurring the definition of the term, schools in India and China may not be graduating engineers of the same caliber as those in the United States. And their graduates may not be competitive in a global sense for a variety of reasons, including language issues and job locations."
John Miano _Center for Immigration Studies_/_Programmers Guild_
The Bottom of the Pay Scale: Wages for H-1B Computer Programmers
"[I compared] wages in approved Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) for H-1B workers in computer programming occupations to wage levels of U.S. workers in the same occupation and location. The analysis demonstrates that, despite the H-1B prevailing-wage requirement, actual pay rates reported by employers of H-1B workers were significantly lower than those of American workers... On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13K less than Americans in the same occupation and state... Wages on LCAs for 85% of H-1B workers were for less than the median U.S. wage in the same occupations and state. Applications for 47% of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers... Applications for only 4% of H-1B workers were among the top 25% of wages for U.S. workers in the same state and occupation... Employers making applications for more than 100 H-1B workers had wages averaging $9K less than employers of 1 to 10 H-1B workers... This complicated visa allocation scheme reflects the political struggles that have surrounded the H-1B program since 1994... Before the temporary increases in the H-1B visa quota, nearly half of all H-1B visas went to people born in India. During the periods of increased H-1B quotas, the percentage of H-1B visas issued to people born in [India and Red China] decreased... Under the plain text of the law, the prevailing wage is supposed to be the prevailing wage for the occupation and is not supposed to take experience into account. As described in more detail later, until 2004 the Department of Labor's on-line wage library gave one prevailing wage for experienced workers and one for entry-level workers. The 2004 changes to the H-1B program direct the Department of Labor to make four prevailing wage levels available to employers that take into account 'experience, education, and the level of supervision'. This is the only authorization for a prevailing wage source to take into account anything other than occupation and location... Program critics cite a number of problems and apparent abuses of the H-1B program, including: The practice of 'bodyshopping', or 'contracting out' workers on H-1B visas. Employers using the H-1B program to replace Americans. H-1B's role in off-shoring work to other countries. Use of the H-1B program for back-door immigration. The lack of employer monitoring. Statutory provisions intended to prevent enforcement of the law. Allegations that the H-1B program is used to depress wages... Most of [the largest users of the H-1B program] are known as 'bodyshops'. This term refers to [hiring on a contingent basis people who] then perform IT or back-office tasks for U.S. companies on a contract basis. The H-1B worker will get his paycheck from the bodyshop but will work in the contracting company's facility and will have every outward sign of being an employee of the contracting company. Often the contract worker is performing tasks that were once done by a regular U.S. employee. The increasingly common practice of body-shopping seems to have [both driven the expansion of guest-worker programs, and, in turn, been driven as a] result of the availability of H-1B workers as a low-cost alternative to U.S. workers. Body shops [sponsor] numbers of H-1B workers who have no actual assignment when they arrive in the country... The largest suppliers of off-shore programming services are also among the largest users of H-1B visas. The off-shoring companies use the H-1B program to train their employees in U.S. business practices [and tools and technologies] and to provide local support for operations moved over-seas..."
Frank Barnako _MarketWatch_
"Nielsen/NetRatings Inc. said Vonage Holdings Corp. and LowerMyBills.com, were the biggest, laying out $31M and $11.6M. The balance of the list included BellSouth Corp., General Mills Inc., Dell Inc., Scotttrade Inc., Verizon Communications and General Motors. Together, these 6 spent nearly $52M."
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Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Housing starts rebounded in November
"Construction of new homes rose 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.123M units... October's housing starts were revised slightly higher to 2.02M from 2.01M. Building permits -- which foreshadow future activity -- increased 2.5% to 2.16M annual units."
Lance Travis _AMR Research_
US House of Representatives Hinders Off-Shore Services
"The U.S. House of Representatives dropped a provision to raise the number of H1-B visas by 30K from a budget bill that was approved this week. Under current law, the number of H1-B visas is capped at [85K] (between 2001 and 2003, the limit was temporarily raised to 195K)... The H1-B visa is used by the off-shore IT industry to bring temporary workers into the United States as the on-shore component of their on-shore/off-shore global delivery models... Most of the off-shore firms anticipating problems with the visa cap have begun to hire more U.S. workers for providing on site services."
Meredith Hobbs _Fulton County Daily_/_Law.com_
Supremes to hear RICO suit regarding abuse of illegal alien labor to drive down compensation
"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week to hear Mohawk Industries Inc.'s contention that it shouldn't face a civil racketeering suit could resolve disagreements about how courts handle similar suits by workers complaining that their employers drive down wages by hiring illegal immigrants willing to work cheap. This is the claim made by former and current hourly employees of the Calhoun, GA-based carpet giant in their 2004 class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The employees' case already has survived Mohawk's challenges in the district court and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals... The Supreme Court lawyer for the Mohawk employees, Howard W. Foster, has brought cases against chicken processor Tyson Foods Inc. and fruit producer Zirkle Fruit Co. He also is representing an Idaho county bringing what he says is the first case of a local government using RICO statutes to sue employers of illegal workers. At issue in the Mohawk case is whether its relationship with outside labor recruiters constitutes a racketeering enterprise as defined under RICO -- the question the high court justices on Dec. 12 agreed to hear... If the 11th Circuit's decision is upheld, he warned, corporations could be held liable under RICO for a 'broad range of routine corporate conduct'... The conspiracy between Mohawk and the temp agencies [bodyshops] to 'violate federal immigration laws, destroy documentation and harbor illegal workers' readily fits the bill, he argued."
No shortage of engineers in USA
"assessments depend on how one defines 'engineers', the Christian Science Monitor reported. Some studies only include those with at least 4 years of college training, while some also include 2-year graduates of technical schools and others, as in [Red China], even count auto mechanics. 'A comparison of like-to-like data suggests that the U.S. produces a highly significant number of engineers, computer scientists and information technology specialists, and remains competitive in global markets.', a recent Duke University study concluded. 'Business groups have been very smart about trying to change the subject from out-sourcing and off-shoring to the supposed short-fall in U.S. engineers.', Ron Hira, of the Rochester Institute of Technology told the Monitor. 'There's really no serious shortage of engineers in this country.'"
Love the ad that popped up today. "Incredible India". That's true; the Indian government is not to be believed.
Jack Schofield _Guardian_
Banned by Google
"The Lone Ronin blog poses a not-so-hyothetical question about what would happen if you showed you could parse the results from a search engine, e.g. Google, and provide a much better answer for the top 3 sites. A fat cheque? Venture capital backing? According to the Lone Ronin, what actually happens is that you get Banned by Google."
H-1B Abusers Lost Budget Round
"An effort to increase the number of high-tech visas available to U.S. employers failed Wednesday (December 21) when Congress dropped the provision from a massive spending bill... [Most detractors of the guest-worker programs would agree with] Sandra Boyd, VP of the National Association of Manufacturers and chairwoman of the lobbying group Compete America [that] 'The system is broken and must be fixed.' [but their solutions are diametrically opposite.]"
Chris Nisan _Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder_
Activists demand enforcement of St. Paul hiring laws
"Audits may be more effective than individual complaints... The NAACP's audit is a part of renewed efforts by a number of the city's civil rights and social justice organizations to force the city's government to enforce affirmative action and civil rights laws and regulations that are currently on the books. 'The key word is enforcement.', said Katie Royce of the Community Stabilization Project, a social justice organization headquartered in St. Paul's Selby/Dale neighborhood... [Sam Grant] also discussed the impact of the economic crisis today and how in this context, when working people face growing layoffs, increased housing costs, and cutbacks in education, affirmative action takes on added importance. 'Unemployment spells are longer than they used to be -- this is truer for people of color and women. Spells of under-employment are longer than they used to be -- this is also truer for people of color and women.', said Grant."
Lauen Spiers Hunter _Lawn and Landscape_
H-1B cap reached: House passed unfavorable immigration bill
"As explained by ANLA, HR4437 would require that all employers verify the authenticity their new workers' Social Security numbers and/or alien authorization documents, either by telephone or over the Internet. A pilot program is underway for the verification system, which would have employers key in workers' Social Security numbers and then match the number to U.S. Government files. Failure to verify documents could yield fines from $5K to $25K per worker, depending on the size of the employer and whether the employer had prior violations. Moreover, after 6 years, employers would be required to verify documents for all of their workers who had not been previously electronically verified. Workers whose documents don't match up would have to be terminated."
Tamina Vahidy _line56_
H-1B visas flat
"The U.S. House of Representatives has decided not to raise the number of H1-B visa holders. Consequently, the H1-B dispensation will remain capped at [85K] and not go up to [115K]... As AMR Research Analyst Lance Travis notes, H1-B visas are 'used by the off-shore IT industry to bring temporary workers into the United States as the on-shore component of their on-shore/off-shore global delivery models'... While this is bad news for off-shore providers, it is good news to IT/BPO out-sourcing companies based in low-cost [locations] in the United States. It is also good news to U.S. workers who may now be more attractive hires for off-shore companies looking to shore up their on-shore presence."
Greg Priddy _TPM Cafe_
VA Senate Race: Harris Miller vs. George Allen?
"Over the last couple of days, there have been very stong rumors that Democratic party insiders have begun to coalesce around Northern Virginia lobbyist Harris N. Miller as their preferred candidate to run against George Allen for his Virginia senate seat in 2006. The 2 main individuals who have indicated publicly that they are seriously considering running are Miller and former Reagan administration Secretary of the Navy James Webb, who has switched parties due to his differences with the Bush administration... I don't know what's inside their heads, obviously, but that strikes me as the likely reason for the apparent turn toward Harris Miller -- they don't expect to win, and he's a safe candidate who will stick to the script and not make any waves. I think they're wrong, however. I don't have anything against Miller personally, but in just a half-hour of 'oppo research' on the web, I was able to home in on an issue that may have been overlooked -- as a lobbyist for the high-tech industry, he's been representing the interests of the bosses, not the workers, in some very important ways which have weakened high tech workers' salaries and bargaining power. As head of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), Harris has lobbied relentlessly since the 1990s for expansion of the H1-B visa program, which is very controversial among tech-sector workers since, by introducing a supply of much cheaper labor into the U.S. labor market, it tends to weaken American programmers' and engineers' bargaining power via-a-vis their employers. Needless to say, that would likely give Miller a head start on fund-raising among those who inhabit the top-floor offices along the Dulles Toll Road, but it very well might not endear him to the many tens of thousands of tech workers (and Northern Virginia voters) who inhabit the cubicles below. Miller also has been a strong proponent of outsourcing many more Federal Government jobs, a position that, needless to say, wouldn't exactly endear him to another huge very-Democratic-leaning constituency in Northern Virginia. Of course, George Allen would support the ITAA on these issues as well, but these issues are going to get a lot of airplay, and they're not going to help Miller achieve the sort of turn-out in Northern Virignia which he would need to beat Allen. Anyway, my point in all this is to under-line the fact that Harris Miller isn't a 'safe' candidate."
more on Miller at Channeling Reality
Programmers Guild on Miller
Harris Miller is on Zazona skunks list
How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor Shortages of Scientists and High-Tech Workers
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 357,876 in the week ending December 17, a decrease of 33,915 from the previous week. There were 374,749 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending December 10, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,716,799, an increase of 171,922 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,820,965."
Nate Anderson _Ars Technica_
EU threatens MSFT with another fine for continuing anti-trust violations
San Diego Union-Tribune
Silicon Valley/San Jose Mercury News
"Just when MSFT thought its anti-trust problems were winding down, they seem to be ramping up again, first in South Korea and now in Europe, where MSFT is facing further EU fines of €2M ($2.37M) per day for non-compliance... On the basis of the Trustee's report, the EU has given MSFT 5 weeks to bring itself into compliance, with the penalty for failure being a €2M daily fine -- one that would be back-dated to 2005 December 15. After coughing up €500M ($613M) already, MSFT is in no mood to pony up more cash. [MSFT is obviously worried that some kid in a garage will develop a variant of Windoze that works reasonably well.]"
Why smooth dancers are considered attractive by many
"Researchers from Rutgers University used motion-capture cameras to record dancers' moves, but not their looks. The study, [led by Dr. William Brown and published] in Nature, shows that the most symmetrical movers were considered to be the best dancers... The US team studied 183 dancers in Jamaica... The motion-capture videos - which show movement but not facial appearance or body images - were then shown to 155 people. Symmetrical dancers were rated more positively than non-symmetrical ones, especially by women... Dr. George Fieldman, a psychologist at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College who specialises in research into sexual attraction, said: 'It's certainly true that people look for symmetry in a mate.'"
Michael Comeau _The Street_
10 Tech Trends to Look for in 2006
"Out-sourcing and music phones should explode... [Well, it would improve the gene pool, but I don't believe things have gotten so bad as to require such extreme measures.] Dell could embrace AMD, and video games could be the next big thing... these days, most big tech companies simply aren't growing very quickly -- to me, that means we'll see an awful lot of M&A activity... a lot of deals, and that means a lot of big fat fees for Wall Street firms... Slow growth..."
Pam Baker _CIO Today_
Procter & Gamble CIO Filippo Passerini
"'The I.T. environment is completely different today' as opposed to 5 years ago, said Filippo Passerini. 'Much more exciting! I think it's a much more dynamic area than it once was because I.T. is no longer just about technology and innovation. Increasingly, it's about business strategies, goals, and needs.' [Showing that this B-school bozo has a twisted notion of whether invention and producing new products better is more or less interesting than executive suite intrigues.]... SAP...has allowed us to integrate nearly all key aspects of how we run the business -- from finance and accounting to making products to paying employees... We are working closely with end-user computing tools as it can advance our goal of providing seamless integration and connectivity for our employees... [Sounds nefarious, to me.]... our strategic partners Hewlett-Packard and IBM... [Yep. They've definitely turned to the dark side.]"
Marjory Raymer _Flint Michigan Journal_
Worried auto-makers testify via internet
"These are voices of Delphi Corp. and General Motors workers and retirees... About 100 people from Michigan have participated... The dead-line for submissions recently was extended to December 31... the House Education and Work-Force Committee... The testimony is raw and real... A common thread in the testimony is concern over pensions the workers had been promised for years, often decades."
submit testimony by e-mail autocrisis @ mail.house.gov
Bernd Debusmann _Reuters_
US law-suit may put dent in global war contracting
"An unprecedented law-suit stemming from the gruesome killing of 4 American civilians in Iraq is slowly making its way through the U.S. legal system, closely watched by companies estimated to field up to 100K contractors alongside the U.S. military. Lawyers and military experts say the case highlights legal gray zones, a lack of regulation and little oversight of a booming global industry believed to bring in more than $150G annually. Civilian military contractors now perform scores of functions once restricted to regular troops, and a trend toward 'privatizing war' has been accelerating steadily. The suit was brought by the families of four civilian contractors shot last year by Iraqi insurgents, who burned their bodies and hung the charred remains from a bridge across the Euphrates river in the city of Falluja. The 4 -- Stephen Helveston, Mike Teague, Jerko Zovko and Wesley Batalona -- worked for Blackwater Security Consulting LLC, one of the companies fielding armed civilians in Iraq under contract with the Pentagon. All 4 had military experience and signed contracts assuming all risks and waiving their right to sue. The suit against Blackwater says the company broke explicit terms of its contract with the men by sending them to escort a food convoy in unarmored cars, without heavy machine guns, proper briefings, advance notice or pre-mission reconnaissance, in teams that were understaffed and lacked even a map."
_Black Enterprise_/_PR News Wire_
Out-Sourcing Summit Being Held in Beijing
"This summit was sponsored by the National Software Export Center, the joint association of the BUAA Science Park and Zhongguancun Science Park [and Zhongguancun Software Association]. The summit was also supported by the Department of High and New Technology Development and Industrialization of the Ministry of Science and Technology of PRC, UN Industrial Sub-Contract Center in Beijing and Administration Committee of the Z-Park... [Red China] lacks senior software talents. Many senior talents just stayed abroad. The talents cultivated by the domestic universities failed to meet the needs of the work."
Jan Wagner _IPE_
Dresdner bank prepares to dodge €1.8G in pension obligations by moving pension management to a separate corporate entity
"The bank, part of [protection racket] giant Allianz, confirmed that it would create a CTA [contractual trust arrangement] for €1.8G in pension liabilities which stem from 43K current and former employees as well as retirees at start of next year."
_Cincinnati Post Times Star_
Essential strengths and weaknesses
"Over the past several years the Midwest -- particularly Ohio and Michigan -- have been rocked by the loss of manufacturing jobs, mostly because of out-sourcing to low-wage countries and the relentless march of labor-saving technologies. The bleeding may well get worse. General Motors recently announced plans to cut 17% of its work-force. Ford is expected to make a similar announcement soon. Delphi, the nation's largest auto parts manufacturer (head-quartered near Dayton, OH), is operating under bankruptcy court protection. In Northern Kentucky, however, manufacturing appears to be holding its own... Last year's economic profile by the Tri-Ed and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce listed 375 separate manufacturing firms in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties. According to Ed Hughes, president and CEO of Gateway Community and Technical College, manufacturing accounts for nearly 30 percent of Northern Kentucky's economic activity. And over the next 10 years, he says, analysts expect between 17% and 20% of the current manufacturing work-force to retire. This is all part of the rationale behind Gateway's effort to convince the Kentucky General Assembly to provide money to build and operate a $36.5M Center for Advanced Manufacturing Competitiveness at its Boone County campus..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
ITAA lobbyist Harris Miller may run to US senate
"Miller first developed his contacts as a Capitol Hill staff, then ran his own lobbying firm, as well lobbying for the Fragomen immigration law firm, the largest in the nation. As The New Republic, 1987-10-19, reported, Miller is unapologetic about his role as a Beltway insider: '''I believe in interest groups...'' a former aide to Kentucky Democrat Romano Mazzoli's House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration... Miller's first big client was the National Council of Agricultural Employers, a group of large growers who use migrant and illegal alien workers.' Lobbyists tend to be very aggressive, and Miller has consistently used tactics which most people would consider under-handed...
In 1997, the ITAA prepared a report which alleged [a severe shortage and need to double] the H-1B program in 1998. One of the major thrusts of the report was that the 'shortage' was due to a lack of interest in university computer science majors. But a researcher from the Computing Research Association [CRA] was at that meeting, and informed Miller and Vickers that there had been a 40% increase in CS majors that year, and that enrollment had been increasing since 1995... they did not include this information about the sharp increase in computer science enrollment in the final version of the report, apparently because it undermined their argument. In fact, ITAA continued to claim enrollment was declining (e.g. see the San Francisco Chronicle 1998-01-08), even after ITAA's suppression of the 1995 reversal trend was brought up in an interview with ITAA by the Electronic Engineering Times (1997-09-29), until forced to stop when even the Department of Commerce found ITAA's claim to be untrue.
In early 1998, Miller got the Dept. of Commerce to co-host a national conference at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley on the alleged 'labor shortage'. Under pressure from a congressional oversight committee, DoC then in turn pressured Miller to include in the conference speakers who were critical of his claim of a labor shortage. He complied, technically, but scheduled a competing event a couple of miles away on the UC Berkeley campus at the same time as the critics' speaking session. Since the competing event included participation by the Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, the Deputy Assistant to president Clinton for Technology and Economic Policy and other biggies, the press naturally attended the competing event, so most did not hear the presentations of the critics. (San Francisco Chronicle 1998-01-22.)... he has certainly not been a civil discussant..."
Henry K. Lee _San Francisco Chronicle_
Jury awards $172M to WM employees denied lunch breaks
San Francisco Chronicle
"An Alameda County jury awarded $172M today to thousands of current and former WM employees who claimed the retail giant illegally deprived them of lunch breaks. WM must pay $57 in general damages and $115M in punitive damages to about 116K employees, the jury ruled after a 4-month trial in a class-action law-suit. The jury found that the world's largest retailer violated a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, un-paid lunch breaks to employees who work at least 6 hours."
Danny Forinash _WV State Journal_
Many Tech Workers Strive to Find Work in WV
"According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for information technology and computer science jobs in the state is $50,130. 'All of them had at least a 3.5 grade-point average.', he said. 'They were very articulate. They were very smart. They were at the top of the class. All had promising opportunities outside of West Virginia, but they don't want to leave the state. The jobs just aren't available right now.' the average salary for those kinds of the jobs in the state is $50,130. The national average is $70,908. Neighboring states compare favorably. Maryland's average salary, for instance, is $71,883. Ohio's is $61,113. Virginia's is $75,030. The average salary in North Carolina, to which many West Virginians migrate, is $64,646... Technology jobs in West Virginia mostly involve engineering and support, Estep said."
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US personal incomes and spending up an average of 0.3% in November
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
The stupid American? Think again
"the mean literacy test score for USA adults (272) was 2 points above the mean for all adults in the 20 country survey (270)... Larger, statistically significant, literacy gaps between us and them unfold when you separate immigrant from native-born test takers, as is done in 17 high income countries surveyed by ETS. USA natives scored 8 points above the average native of the 17 high income countries. USA immigrants scored 16 points below the average immigrant in the 17 countries."
Enquirer 80 stocks up 0.41%
"The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.17, or 0.32%, to 10,867.90 at 11:30. The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose 1.19 points, or 0.41%, to 289.17. 42 issues were up, 32 were down and five were unchanged. Leading gainers were Humana Inc., up $5.09 to $53.41; Harris Corp., up $1.33 to $43.39; Kendle International, up $1 to $25.86; Cummins Inc., up 99 cents to $89.42; and Emerson Electric, up 87 cents to $76.41. Biggest laggers were Cintas Corp., down $1.15 to $41.72; Clear Channel Communications, down 86 cents to $31.43; Pinnacle Entertainment, down 40 cents to $24.30; Lexmark International, down 34 cents to $45.69; and General Motors Co., down 30 cents to $18.75. Broader stock indicators also were higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.13, or 0.25%, to 1,265.92, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 7.28, or 0.33%, to 2,238.94. Bonds moved higher after two previous down sessions, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.44% from 4.49% late Wednesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices moved higher. Crude-oil futures fell slightly, with a barrel of light crude quoted at $58.45, down 11 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Synergy amongst bodyshopping, guest-worker visas and off-shoring: Driving careers, compensation and US standard of living downward
"the mere fact that industry would rather bring the workers here than have the work done off-shore, in spite of the wage differential, shows that off-shoring doesn't work well... to the extent that work is off-shored, H-1Bs and L-1s play a central orle. In other words, the H-1B and L-1 programs are actually used to facilitate off-shoring, not to prevent it. This is because the model used for off-shoring operations is a 1::2 hybrid, with one H-1B or L-1 working on the project from the U.S. location to every two workers working on the project abroad. The on-shore workers are in the U.S. either as liaisons between the 2 locations, or for training, but in any case the salient point is that off-shoring depends on the H-1B and L-1 programs... This has been noted in formal studies, such as:
Lydia Chavez _Centre Daily_
Let immigration policy reflect reality
Salt Lake Tribune
"Nearly 20 years ago, President Reagan signed landmark immigration legislation and made una promesa (a promise): Future generations would be grateful for Washington's efforts to 'regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value' of American citizenship. Reagan's Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 offered amnesty to people already here and employer sanctions to prevent more from coming. In the end, amnesty made 2.7M residents legal, and many are now citizens. But employer sanctions were never enforced, and the demand for workers surged. Nearly 11M [estimates range from 8M to 24M illegal aliens] -- enough to fill a country nearly twice the size of Israel -- now live in the United States, from the border states to New York, from Georgia to Wisconsin... There is no shortage of get-tough talk for people who cross the border illegally and people who employ them, and yet illegal immigrants have always been as easy to find as the fields and factories where they work. Still, they aren't being rounded up into temporary-worker programs or deported en masse... As long as Mexico produces more than half a million surplus workers a year, one way or another some will make it to El Norte... They aren't going to volunteer to become 'legal' guest-workers in the United States, and even if they do, the country's experience with guest-worker programs demonstrates that the guests stay. Moreover, in most communities, the undocumented don't live deep in 'the shadows'. We accommodate them. They are our next-door neighbors, our school-mates... In 1998, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, Mexico's former ambassador to the United Nations, [said] 'Mexico is in the United States...'"
Marc Kashinsky _Long Beach Press Telegram_
"Just how will a guest-worker program stop the overwhelming of our public services? Will employers be required to pay decent wages and provide health insurance coverage to these guest-workers? I don't think so, or else businesses would simply hire the millions of Americans who are willing to work, just not at the slave wages typically offered to illegal immigrant or guest-workers. Does anyone really think that a guest-worker program will reduce the number of people crossing the border seeking work? It might reduce the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border, but only by the number that will be allowed to cross legally. And who will enforce returning these guest-workers to Mexico, or where ever they came from, once their 6 years are up? Allowing more to come in, legally or illegally, will only overwhelm our social structure even more. It will create an even greater burden on our law enforcement agencies, who will then be less able to 'focus on the truly dangerous people crossing our borders'. Ultimately this program will only continue to erode the quality of life in the U.S. The only beneficiaries of a quest-worker program will be big business, who will be assured of a never-ending supply of cheap labor, further boosting their profits, and creating a bigger divide between the haves and the have-nots."
Susan Strother Clarke _Orlando Sentinel_
Florida gets slice of in-sourcing pie
"The Guv and Enterprise Florida are crowing about the latest report, which found that 248,900 folks in the state get their paychecks signed an ocean or 2 away... The number of jobs at foreign companies increased by nearly one-third since 2000, according to the Organization for International Investment [which lobbies for more off-shoring]... Many of the jobs in Florida and throughout the country reflect positions that were acquired when a U.S. plant was purchased. That doesn't juice up the economy anywhere near as much as a brand-new job would. Nationally, 5.3M folks work at foreign firms, earning an average of about $60K a year, the report found. California, New York, Texas and Illinois were ahead of Florida in the top 5... The Florida Venture Capital Conference, which for the past 3 years has been held in Orlando, will be in Ponte Vedra Beach next month. Organizer Robin Kovaleski..."
Larry Greenemeier _Information Week_
Justice Department violates privacy by posting socialist insecurity numbers on web
"A document on the Justice Department Executive Office for Immigration Review's site listed the name and Social Security number of a woman involved in a 2003 immigration review case. Other searches of the site yielded more Social Security numbers and identifying information... It's [an especially] discomforting discovery at a time when identity theft and fraud are on the rise. the Justice Department had been notified of the error more than a month ago. The source, a systems security manager at a California bank, said he saw the information on the site and sent an e-mail on November 12 alerting the Justice Department. The security manager followed up with the Justice Department via E-mail on December 4 and was notified on December 6 by the site's web-master that his e-mail had been forwarded to the 'responsible component within the Department'. The systems security manager contacted InformationWeek on December 19 when he noticed that the person's name and Social Security number still could be found on the Justice Department's web site. In the nearly 70 years that the U.S. government has been issuing Social Security numbers, their use has grown from being strictly for government record-keeping to becoming attached to nearly every important document in a person's life, including bank accounts, medical records, and employment files... More than 51M Americans have had their personal information compromised since 2005 February through a variety of means, including software programs that monitor key-strokes to acquire passwords, phishing, and low-tech techniques such as eavesdropping and dumpster diving, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit consumer watchdog organization... Bills in both the House and Senate would [promote privacy violation by imposing] a less-stringent standard for notification and pre-empt state laws."
"Wall Street executives are expecting a bonus bonanza this year. Commodities traders and investment bankers are among those likely to get a compensation increase of 30% or more, profiting handsomely from the busiest year for mergers and acquisitions since 2000, among other factors. Ed Crane talks with Wall Street compensation consultant Alan Johnson."
Mary Umberger _Chicago Tribune_
Some see moderating pressure on real estate
"And M, the newly minted real estate agent, is hanging on to his tech job for JPMorgan Chase while he works nights and weekends for Prudential Preferred Properties at its Lincoln Square office... One of the more than 20K people in Illinois who have obtained brokers' or sales agents' licenses since 2001 (there are more than 83K licensees), M is not worried about a significant shift in Chicago real estate, where an estimated 110K resale single-family home and condo transactions will have occurred this year."
Michael Paige _MarketWatch_
NBC Universal buys back control of MSFTNBC: GE subsidiary has option to take 100% stake
"NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., and MSFT will continue their equal partnership in on-line news venture, MSFTNBC.com, they said. [Crooks in a loving embrace.] MSFTNBC, which launched in 1996, has seen its ratings lag as a distant third to those of all-news cable rivals Time Warner Inc.'s CNN and News Corp.'s Fox News Channel."
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
US stocks closed flat after thin trading
"a raised $4.2G bid from European steel-maker Arcelor for Canada's Dofasco and Apax Partners' $1.6G agreement to buy Tommy Hilfiger. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 6.17 points at 10,883.27. The S&P 500 ended up 0.54 point at 1,268.66 and the Nasdaq Composite up 2.93 points at 2,249.42. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 both gained 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.1%. Volume was unusually light ahead of the Christmas/Chanukah weekend; about 938M shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, contrasting with average daily volume for the year through November of 1.6G shares a day. The lowest volume session of 2005 for the NYSE took place on November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, when just 545M shares were traded in a half-day session. There were 20 rising shares for every 11 falling stocks on the NYSE Friday. In the Nasdaq market, more than 989M shares were traded, with 15 advancing stocks for every 14 declining shares."
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|10-year US T-Bond||4.38%|
Daniel Gonzalez _Arizona Republic_
visa over-stayers often blend in
"Kathleen Chouinor got up from the sofa and returned from her bedroom clutching an Arizona driver's license and a [Socialist Insecurity] card. Both documents were forgeries, Chouinor said, purchased on the black market in Phoenix for $150."
Source Watch on ITAA
Source Watch on Compete America
2006 will be delayed by a leap second
San Francisco Chronicle
"A leap second will be inserted in the world's clocks just before midnight - Greenwich mean time - on New Year's Eve, the U.S. Naval Observatory reported Friday... This will be the 23rd leap second that has been inserted since 1972 when an international time-keep ing agreement was signed, according to the Observatory. The last one was inserted 7 years ago."
Beth Fitzgerald _Newark Star-Ledger_
Experts cast hopeful by wary eye on New Jersey economy
"Consider Par Pharmaceutical Chief Executive Scott Tarriff's reaction to Merck's decision to shed hundreds of New Jersey employees... Sure, the economy is expanding, but so slowly it scarcely feels like an expansion at all -- this is not a rising tide that lifts all boats... And 2 economic reports from Rutgers University also struck a disturbing tone in recent weeks. One revealed that New Jersey has lost 14% of its high-paid, high-tech jobs since 2000, while the other predicted the state's 4M-strong work force will grow only about 44K jobs a year through 2010, well below the roughly 70K jobs gained annually in previous economic expansions."
Paul Nowell _Winston-Salem Journal_
Business 2006: Bio-tech research is a symbol of the changing NC economy
"Giant yellow cranes are slowly tearing down the 5.8M-square-foot Pillowtex Plant #1 -- preparing to remake the site as a planned $1G, 350-acre biotechnology research campus... Now, California billionaire David Murdock -- who owned what was then called Cannon Mills in the 1980s, during its long slide toward the 2003 demise of successor firm Pillowtex -- wants to make the 'City of Looms' the base camp in a campaign to wrench North Carolina's economy from its agricultural and manufacturing roots into a global, 21st century market of biotech and genetic research. Murdock's block-buster unveiling of his plans for a Kannapolis makeover was the state's top business story of 2005, eclipsing the continued record profitability of Charlotte's [corrupt] big banks and the on-going financial, regulatory and legal mess at Winston-Salem doughnut-maker Krispy Kreme. Murdock, owner of privately held Dole Food Co., expects the North Carolina Research Campus -- now in its first stage of construction -- to attract $1G of investment, draw in 100 or more biotechnology firms and create as many as 35K jobs in a part of the state still suffering from the loss of traditional manufacturing jobs, with their steady pay and good benefits... Murdock will invest about $700M in the site and establish a $100M fund to help entrepreneurs get started. In addition, the University of North Carolina system plans to invest $16M in the project and to seek about $25M annually in state funds for ongoing research work at the center."
Joe Guy Collier & Kortney Stringer _Detroit Free Press_
How the auto industry lost a generation
"Known by generations of workers for providing high wages and good benefits, Detroit's auto-makers and parts supplier companies still employ 223K Michiganders, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that's down 79K, or 26%, from what those companies employed just 10 years ago. An entire generation of Michiganders has grown up knowing nothing but the decline of the traditional American auto companies -- and the pain that has inflicted on family and friends. They had their moms laid off. They know the frustration and rejection suffered just to find a job that often paid less than the one that had been lost. They've commiserated with stressed-out buddies whose dads were bounced from office to office or plant to plant in a never-ending struggle to hang on to a job and pay the bills. They've seen the humiliation of a favorite uncle being turned into a contract worker with lower pay, fewer benefits and no job security. Many want no part of that -- and expect the Detroit car companies want no part of them. That's a major reason U.S. Census Bureau numbers show far more young, college-educated singles are leaving Michigan than moving in -- 42,600 vs. 26,600 from 1995 to 2000 -- reducing the state's population of that economically crucial group by 16K, more than in any other state except Pennsylvania... these are the smart, creative workers they desperately need to survive and keep Detroit as the auto capital of world."
Neil Mahoney _South Carolina State_
Midlands' programs ready workers for good-paying jobs
"As the mayor correctly points out, this will help solve the 2 serious problems of under-employment and low-paying jobs, which plague our community and our state... There are job opportunities right now in industries that pay good wages, where employers are frantically seeking workers -- trained or trainable workers -- who can do the well-paying, secure jobs just waiting to be done. These jobs are in the manufacturing and the commercial building industries -- positions where skilled workers and workers who are willing to gain those skills can be assured of rewarding careers -- not just today, but tomorrow and well into the future. There are many positive, effective, on-the-job training programs being offered by these industries, Midlands Tech and the Midlands Education and Business Alliance."
R' Yaakov Kleiman _Aish_
"Based on the DNA of today's Kohanim, the geneticists have dated their [Most Recent Common Ancestor] to 106 generations ago, approximately 3,300 years before the present... the CMH-the Cohen Modal Haplotype -- a haplotype of the MED (J) haplogroup -- is not exclusive to Kohanim, and not unique to Jews. It is also found in significant percentages among other Middle Eastern populations, and to a lesser extent, among southern Mediterranean groups."
2005-12-26 18:28PST (21:28EST) (2005-12-27 02:28GMT)
Holiday spending up 8.7% from 2004
"SpendingPulse data covers the period from Friday, November 25, through Saturday, December 24, a 30-day shopping season this year compared with only 29 days in 2004, The Journal said... The National Retail Federation, an industry group, had predicted a 6% rise in overall holiday spending... In 2004 MasterCard projected an 8.1% gain in holiday retail sales, and in 2005 January, the Commerce Department reported an 8.7% increase in December sales, The Journal said. The NRF forecast a 4.5% gain in 2004 holiday sales and in 2005 January reported a 5.7% rise..."
Pete Engardio _Business Week_
Is the USA really falling behind in engineering?
"Top Silicon Valley executives, U.S. think-tanks, industry associations, and university deans have all pointed out dropping enrollment in American science and tech programs and warn of a brewing problem. And in a November survey of 4K U.S. engineers, 64% said [off-shore] out-sourcing makes them worry about the profession's future, while less than 10% feel sure America will maintain its leadership in technology... Because of fuzzy definitions of 'engineering graduate', estimates of Indian and Chinese numbers can be wildly exaggerated, while America's are understated. Just look at the numbers using consistent criteria. If one counts people who study computer science and information technology as engineers -- as India does -- then the U.S. grants 134K four-year engineering degrees annually. Indeed, the U.S. is producing far more engineers per capita than either of Asia's emerging super-powers. Indian schools grants only 122K four-year engineering degrees (and almost as many three-year degrees), while [Red China] generates 351K. But [Red China's] statistics may still be inflated because the definition of an engineer can vary widely from province to province. In some cases, auto mechanics are included... The bottom line is that America's engineering crisis is a myth, Wadhwa argues... India and [Red China] are using inflated engineering numbers because they want to draw more foreign investment, while fearmongers in the U.S. use dubious data either to support their case for protectionism, to lobby for greater government spending on higher education and research, or to justify their off-shore investments... Wadhwa describes it as a gap between 'transactional' engineers and 'dynamic' ones. The former are good at fundamentals but have a hard time applying their knowledge to broader problems. Dynamic engineers are more capable of abstract thinking, work well in teams, and can lead innovation."
Barry Schweid _Kansas City Star_
US State Department sanctions 9 firms for selling military materials to Iran
San Diego Union-Tribune
News & Observer
"The Bush administration is punishing 9 foreign companies, 6 of them in [Red China], for selling missile goods and chemical arms material to Iran... Two of the companies are Indian and the other is Austrian... the United States will not provide export licenses to the companies for doing business here and will ban U.S. government purchases from the companies. The action was taken under the Iran Nonproliferation Act, which Congress passed in 2000 to deter international support for Iran's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and for missile-delivery systems... The [Red Chinese] companies named by Ereli are China Aerotechnology Import Export Corp., the missile exporter China North Industries Corp., Zibo Chemet Equipment Co., the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, Ounion International Economic and Technical Cooperative Ltd., and the Limmt Metallurgy and Minerals Co. The two sanctioned Indian companies are Sabero Organics Chemical and Sandhya Organics Chemical. The Austrian firm is Steyr-Mannlicher, which makes assault weapons."
Grant Gross _IDG_/_IT World_
Congress has a full plate of tech issues in 2006
"The possibility of a data-breach notification law and a broadband-focused revamp of a decade-old telecommunications law made headlines in 2005, but tech vendors and trade groups are also pushing a range of other proposals, including work-force training programs and patent reform... Jack Krumholtz, MSFT Corp.'s managing director of federal [lobbying]... The House passed two spyware bills in May. On ebill would outlaw keystroke logging, taking over a computer without the permission of the owner, and diverting a web browser without the owners' permission. The bill, called the Spy Act, would allow fines of up to US$3 million for spyware-like activity. The second House bill, the I-Spy Act, would set jail terms of up to five years for a person who uses spyware to access a computer without authorization and uses the computer to commit another federal crime... The [Senate] Spyblock Act would prohibit hackers from remotely taking over a computer and prohibit programs that hijack web browsers... Groups such as the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) want Congress to improve the patent-granting process by allowing more groups to review patent applications, and limit judges from issuing injunctions against products that may include a patent violation. The injunctions can stop tech vendors from selling a product in which one small part may violate a patent, said Ralph Hellman, ITI's vice president of government relations... Most tech groups call for increased federal spending on IT research and development and new programs to encourage U.S. students to enter math and science fields. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has pushed for passage of the Technology Retraining and Investment Now (TRAIN) Act, which would a tax credit of up to $5K for individuals or businesses paying for computer-related training programs... Others, including MSFT, are calling on Congress to increase the number of H-1B visas allowing foreign workers into the [U.S.A. and thus continue to drive down compensation in the field]. A Senate proposal to 'recapture' unused H-1B visas from past years was taken out of a budget bill during negotiations with the House this month... An extension and expansion of a research and development tax credit for businesses. Incentives for health-care providers to switch to electronic health records and other IT services. A bill to define the 'fair use' rights of users of digital content."
Troopers charge 10 as illegal aliens in connection with wreck
"State police said they charged 10 people as illegal aliens Monday night after investigating a one-vehicle accident on Route 12."
Border security focuses on del Rio, TX
"The effort led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection will focus on foreigners who enter the country illegally through high-traffic areas along the 205-mile Rio Grande corridor dividing the sector from Mexico, reports The Washington Times."
Drew Robb _Datamation_
From Russia with Love: Russia is Growing off-shoring site
"While India gets all the attention in off-shore out-sourcing, Russia has expanded steadily over the last few years and is rapidly becoming a major destination for American off-shore software development business. Analysts predict that the country will capture a 5% share of North American and Western European offshore development dollars by 2007. 'The Russian market size for exported IT approached almost $500M in 2004 and is growing at a rate in excess of 25% per year.', said Stan Lepeak, an analyst at Gartner... RUSSOFT, Russia's trade association of software development and IT services companies... Dell, for example, with the help of LUXOFT recently established two centers with more than 1500 staff -- over 90% with bachelor degrees and 61% with advanced degrees in technology and science."
Therese Poletti _Grand Forks Herald_
Analog Electronics Engineers Are More Immune to Off-Shoring
"Analog engineers do the old-fashioned, almost artistic work of putting real-world information, such as sound, voltage or temperature, into digital form -- the zeroes and ones that computers recognize. With digital engineers outnumbering analog ones by an estimated 200-to-1... Globalization and the rise of a tech economy worldwide often lead to images of Silicon Valley engineers and software developers being out-sourced or off-shored. But the analog engineer, long in high demand, is enjoying even more of a heyday as the world goes digital. They're largely immune from off-shoring... So the demand for many types of analog chips in the $32G-a-year analog market continues to grow. So does demand for these specialized designers... Analog chip design is highly collaborative -- passed down from generation to generation, like artisans learning from master tradesmen. The collaborative nature of analog design makes it an unlikely field to be outsourced anytime soon to new engineering centers in India or [Red China]... a small number of universities in the U.S. with an analog circuit design curriculum."
Ron Paul _Lew Rockwell_
Domestic Surveillance and the Unpatriotic Act
Jon Dougherty _World Net Daily_
Foreigners depressing American wages & benefits
"A new [yet another] report says foreigners granted temporary visas to work in the United States are paid far less than their American counterparts, despite a federal law requiring employers to provide them with fair compensation... 'The fact is that many, many of our jobs are being taken by illegal immigrants or by people who are here legally but are willing to work for less than an American citizen would work for.', Tancredo says. At the same time, Republicans are being pressured by 'the people who have business interests, to avoid doing anything that might impede the flow of low-cost employees, low-wage, low-skilled people...' 'Corporations are providing a glass ceiling for American workers in a trap of virtual servitude for low paying, overworked H1-B employees," adds representative Bill Pascrell, D-NJ. 'My friends, that is not an exaggeration, that is not hyperbole, I found this through research to be the truth.' Other critics of the program say several former employees of American high-tech firms suffered the ultimate indignation when they were forced by their companies to train their H1-B replacements -- then were laid off... 'Limit the number of H-1B visas that an employer can obtain each year based on the number of U.S. employees the company has.', [John Miano] wrote, in addition to requiring employers "to use a standard wage source produced by the federal government when making prevailing wage claims for [applicants].' He also advised setting a higher standard employers must use to compensate H1-B workers rather than prevailing wage, 'such as the 75th percentile... to prevent widespread use of H-1B workers from depressing U.S. salary levels.' Miano also recommended closer monitoring of employers using H1-B workers."
James F. Aldridge & George Kirkman _Greenville News_
Immigration plans do not solve the problem
"Our self-serving Congress is presently conniving to do another end run around our immigration laws in order to keep wages artificially low for corporations. As Ms. Roche and Mr. Thies said in their December 8 column, all but one of the various immigration 'guest-worker plans' introduced are amnesties on lay-away for illegal aliens, which will only exacerbate an already bad problem. But, amazingly, the White House, Congress and our president refuse to control our borders and continue in their attempts to import high-tech workers and slip through Congress amnesties for illegal aliens. Even though we have thousands of American high-tech workers unemployed, and have lost 1M jobs from H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visas to foreigners and their families, on November 11, the Senate passed pork-laden Senate bill S1932 with a 'cheap labor' increased visa attachment... The Senate Judiciary Committee added a provision to the Senate Budget Reconciliation bill to give an additional 350K visas each year to foreign laborers seeking to live and work permanently in America. This is at a time when the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase of only 46K jobs in the private sector for the month of October. Senator Robert Byrd, D-WV, introduced an amendment to eliminate those additional 350K visas. It was defeated. Both South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham and senator Jim DeMint voted against the Byrd Amendment. Not only do these foreign workers take jobs away from American citizens but they also push down wages. Our government makes low-cost loans available to encourage students to go into debt to get an education, instead of working or saving more. And then that same government floods the job market with foreign workers who come here and are willing to work for less. It makes it harder for these graduates to repay their student loans, keeps them in debt longer and lowers their quality of life."
Eileen Alt Powell _AP_/_Yahoo!_
US Consumer Confidence Up
"Consumer confidence surged in December as declining gasoline prices and improving job opportunities buoyed spirits, boding well for spending in the new year. The Conference Board said Wednesday that its Consumer Confidence Index advanced to 103.6 this month after recovering to 98.3 in November."
more from the Conference Board
Kortney Stringer _Detroit Free Press_
Degrees in hand, factory workers' children go south in search of employment
"[It used to be that] workers from across the nation flocked to Michigan for good-paying jobs in the auto industry. But more than 42K single, college-educated people age 25 to 39 left the state between 1995 and 2000, seeking careers far from the state's biggest industry, according to the US census bureau. Places such as Georgia, Arizona, Oregon and Florida, meanwhile, have enjoyed hefty population gains among that group... Milken Institute, a Santa Monica, CA, independent economic think tank, last year ranked northwest Arkansas' Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area seventh in its best-performing cities index, which evaluates U.S. metro areas based on their ability to create and sustain jobs."
2005-12-28 15:22PST (18:22EST) (23:22GMT)
Jeff Jelter _MarketWatch_
Enron's Richard Causey pled guilty
"Richard Causey's plea bargain, made in U.S. District Court in Houston before Judge Sim Lake, can't be welcome news for Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the 2 top ex-Enron executives federal investigators claim were kingpins in one of the biggest scandals ever to rock corporate America. All 3 Enron officers were set to stand trial January 17, facing dozens of charges ranging from security fraud to conspiracy. By entering a plea bargain, Causey, 44, admits guilt in one count of securities fraud, facing now five to seven years behind bars instead of the 35 to 40 years he might have served if convicted on all counts by a jury. He also agreed to forfeit $1.25M to the government and drop any claims to deferred compensation from Enron."
Daneen G. Peterson _Michigan News_
Government Aids and Abets Illegal Aliens
"The miscellaneous governmental insanities, found in this research paper, will provide additional proof about how the Council on Foreign Relation's (CFR's) global elites are working over-time to erase our borders and dismantle our sovereignty... During the 2006 election cycle American citizens must demand that the military be placed on our borders and that our immigration laws be enforced! Mexico is busy waging a one-sided war against America by sending a migrant army of some 20M of its poorest citizens to colonize and reconquista America."
2005-12-28 11:00PST (14:00EST) (19:00GMT)
_Monsters & Critics_
Many US job hunters lack confidence
"Out-placement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said a survey reveals that, on a scale of 1 to 10, callers to its national job-search advice call-in rated their confidence that they would find a job in the next three months at an average of 5. The firm said 27% of callers gave a low job search confidence rating of 1 to 3, while 23% rated their confidence between 8 and 10."
John Kheit _Mac Observer_
Spotlight keeps too much meta-data and has a user-hostile interface
"the management of metadata, who owns it and who controls it, is an area rife with serious security concerns."
2005-12-28 22:28PST (2005-12-29 01:28EST) (2005-12-29 06:28GMT)
Young Indian author dislikes out-sourcing, but is making a bundle off of it
"He could, however, easily be any of the hundreds of thousands of faceless Indians who take on western names and fake accents to provide client services to millions of foreign customers, mostly in the United States. English-speaking young people like Mehra form the backbone of India's rapidly expanding outsourcing industry which adds $17G to the economy and employs 700K people. And just like the country's outsourcing services, which are much in demand, _One Night at the Call Center_ by Chetan Bhagat is flying off the shelves. In a month since its release in October, the book has sold more than 100K copies -- an impressive feat in a country where 5K copies of a book can ensure it a place in the best-sellers' list... The book traces the story of 6 call center 'agents' whose difficult boss, unreasonable customers, and low self-esteem take such a huge toll on them that only a phone call from God can bail them out of the crisis... When a customer [verbally responds to the] abuse down the phone, he gets a mouthful of invectives back, but only after the phone is put on mute, before the 'agent' starts faking cringing politeness again [which adds to the anger because he is all to aware that it is insincere]... But Bhagat insists that these jobs waste the full potential of bright, young people, who take them up out of financial compulsion."
2005-12-29 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 428,201 in the week ending December 24, an increase of 69,112 from the previous week. There were 446,699 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending December 17, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,701,600, a decrease of 7,593 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.1% and the volume was 2,712,542."
2005-12-29 07:07PST (10:07EST) (15:07GMT)<
Jeffry Bartash _MarketWatch_
US existing home sales down 1.7% in November
"a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.97M, the lowest since March, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday... Inventories of homes on the market rose 1.2% to 2.90M, the most since 1986 April. Median prices were up 13.2% year over year to $215K."
John Miano _Front Page Magazine_
The H-1B Rip-Off
"average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13K less than Americans in the same occupation and state... Wages on LCAs for 85% of H-1B workers were for less than the median U.S. wage in the same occupations and state. Applications for 47% of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers. Applications for only 4% of H-1B workers were among the top 25% of wages for U.S. workers in the same state and occupation. Employers making applications for more than 100 H-1B workers had wages averaging $9K less than employers of 1 to 10 H-1B workers...
_WBNS TV Columbus, OH_
Dead-line looms for 1986 immigration amnesty
"Saturday is the final day immigrants can apply for green cards under a government amnesty program. Lawyers estimate as many as 100-thousand immigrants may be eligible under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The legislation said people who left the U-S between 1982 and 1987 could not be granted residency. About a quarter of a million people had their applications rejected. But many of them stayed in the U-S anyway. Two class-action law-suits challenged their disqualifications, and last year the cases were settled. Those immigrants have been allowed to apply for residency since May of last year."
Red China to abolish 2600 year old agriculture tax
"[Red China's] leaders announced in 2004 plans to eliminate many basic taxes within five years and to subsidize grain output. The government earlier estimated that the tax roll-back would save farmers $580M annually... The lack of security prevents farm families from using their land as collateral for bank loans. And it makes many reluctant to invest much in land that could be seized at any time by local officials keen to sell the land use rights."
Wall Street Journal blows it, again, on illegal immigration
"'We have a supply and a demand problem. The supply problem is coming across the border. We are in this bill doing something very specific about that with the inclusion of the amendment, with the passage of the amendment, to build some barrier along at least 700 miles of our southern border. I hope we continue with that, by the way, along the entire border, to the extent it is feasible, and the northern border we could start next.', [said representative] Tom Tancredo (R-CO)... You can always count on the Wall Street Journal to come through with a radical globalist approach to the subject of national sovereignty."
Brian Hoops _Prairie Star_
Large supply of corn hangs over market
"The last USDA supply/demand report estimated the corn crop at 11.032G bushels, easily a record large crop, with carry-over stocks at the start of next year's harvest at 2.319Gb. Usage also remains at a record large 10.835Gb, however the huge supply of corn will continue to hang over the market the entire winter."
2005-12-29 05:13PST (08:13EST) (13:13GMT)
Jay Dougherty _Monsters & Critics_
Technology predictions for 2006: IT job market seen firming
"Information tech workers have been holding their collective breaths for years, as down-sizing and off-shoring have been the order of the day. Off-shoring won't go away, but a stabilising world economy and an up-turn in the cycle of technology-based corporate purchases and initiatives will solidify the IT job market in developed nations and even create labour shortages in some areas. U.S.-based IT research firm Gartner Group says, however, that the IT specialist will be less in demand than the person who can wear many hats within an information technology organisation. IT labour shortages will also force companies to raise salaries and engage retention strategies that have been abandoned in previous years, according to U.S.-based Foote Partners."
Kevin G. Hall _Philadelphia Inquirer_
Estimates vary on how many jobs are at risk of being shipped over-seas
"In November, 142.6M Americans had jobs, so the off-shoring projections are a relatively small share of the U.S. economy... Asked why they off-shored, 97% of the companies cited lower costs, 71% cited competitive pressures, and 70% said their reason was greater access to qualified personnel. The survey found that 21% of the jobs that were offshored involved information technology, 32% were in product development, 22% were administrative tasks, and 16% were in call centers."
Kevin G. Hall _Philadelphia Inquirer_
Off-Shoring affects more professions
"The practice of transferring American jobs to lower-cost countries, called off-shoring, [continues] moving up the food chain. It's no longer just software programming and help desks that are being sent to India and elsewhere in Asia... architecture, accounting, law, publishing, finance and insurance... India's Cactus Communications Pvt. Ltd. seeks someone in Asia to edit complex English-language research papers on topics in nuclear physics, astrophysics and particle physics for U.S. and other foreign clients... Broadly defined, the services sector now employs 8 of every 10 American workers... 'Labor has always been a commodity, but it has never been so fungible, so easy to move.', said Clyde Prestowitz, the director of the Economic Strategy Institute, which challenges free-trade assumptions, and the author of the recent book _Three Billion New Capitalists_. It concludes that [Red China] and India will threaten U.S. job security. When the American Institute of Architects surveyed its members last year, it found that 11% had shipped some design work over-seas and an additional 14% were considering it... A poll published December 1 by the American Lawyer magazine found that 77% of the top 200 U.S. law firms use contract lawyers on a temporary basis, with 6% contracting to lawyers off-shore."
Nicole Formosa _Summit Daily News_
International workers finding Summit a tough place to settle
"He pictured himself renting a condominium or an apartment with 3 or 4 other seasonal workers to call home while he was on break from college in Argentina. But since Saionz arrived in Breckenridge on Dec. 19, he's whiled away his hours lugging his bags between hostels and motels and pouring through the newspaper looking for a place to live, instead of enjoying Summit County's laid-back life-style. The 22-year-old Argentinean signed up for a work exchange program through the Chicago-based Spirit Cultural Exchange that would allow him a four-month working visa in the United States with an extra month tacked on for travel... For about $2K, the 2 university students received the 5-month visa, purchased plane tickets and paid their program dues... They organized jobs at Beaver Run Resort before they flew to Colorado... Most of the resort's international workers are in the U.S. on the H-2B visa, which guarantees the person will only work for one company while in the country and will be around until the season is over, DeFord said. Alternatively, Chebi, Saionz and Sa are all using the J-1 visa, which often expires in January or February when the resorts still need help."
Brian Schwarz _American Thinker_
On Engineer Shortage Propaganda
David B. Silliman _Bothell Herald_
We must control borders for safety
"Mexican President Vincente Fox has stated that the proposed fence/wall to be erected on the 700 miles of the Mexico-U.S. border is 'shameful' and that Mexico would not allow it and it is a 'stupid' thing. I can think of no better argument in favor of such a fence/wall than this statement! I would go one step further to add that it be supported by a total commitment of National Guardsmen, Border Patrol, and even citizen militia groups if necessary! The enormous expenditures in public education for bilingual education, welfare, medical benefits, prison, jail incarcerations, and even citizenship to those born in the United States to illegal aliens are mind boggling."
Richard Prince _Metro West Daily News_
Anger at illegal immigration
"The anti-illegal alien message was largely ignored at its outset. Those who were in a position to take corrective measures naively hoped it would disappear if they ignored it. But, worse yet, by ignoring it they only added fuel to the flame... The present frustrations continue because of the inability, or the unwillingness, of some to distinguish that today's illegal aliens are breaking the law and are thereby different from today's legal immigrants and from yesterday's legal immigrants who, in addition, faced the rigors of Ellis Island and from whom, in Mr. Alvarez's words, the decent American citizens of today are descended. To put it somewhat bluntly, the illegal aliens don't belong here and the legal immigrants do."
2005-12-29 21:00PST (2005-12-30 00:00EST) (2005-12-30 05:00GMT)
MacSpeech's Final Draft ScriptPak Let's Screen-Writers Dictate Scripts
2005-12-29 21:01PST (2005-12-30 00:01EST) (2005-12-30 05:01GMT)
Alistair Barr _MarketWatch_
Goldman Sachs Group topped tech deal-makers in 2005
"Goldman was an adviser on 29 technology M&A deals worth more than $32G through Dec. 29. That's up from less than $25G worth of deals in 2004, when Goldman also led all other deal-makers. Morgan Stanley came in second place this year, after advising on 22 deals worth almost $31G, while Citigroup Inc. was third, Thomson Financial data shows (See table at the bottom of this story)."
2005-12-30 06:41PST (09:41EST) (14:41GMT)
Angela Moore _MarketWatch_
Happy holidays for on-line retailers: Still insecure by design, but sales up 30%
"On-line spending in the U.S. from October 29 through December 23, rose 30% from the same period in 2004 to reach $30.1G, according to a report by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive, which surveyed 8600 shoppers in the USA. On-line spending made up 27% of total spending during the holidays, up from 16% 4 years ago. Brick-and-mortar shops attracted 68% of holiday spending this year, down from 72% last year. On-line shoppers spent the most on clothing, $5.3G, up 42% from last year. This was a good season for computer hardware and peripherals, with on-line sales in the sector growing 126% to $4.8G in spending. Consumer electronics rang up $4.8G in on-line spending, up 109% from last year. Books, toys and video games were also among the top categories. Book sales jumped 66%, but sales of toys and video games fell 9% from last year."
Marylou Doehrman _Colorado Springs Business Journal_
2005 tech advances
"According to a Cyberstates 2005 summary, Colorado has the highest concentration of high-tech workers in the United States, with 91 of every 1K private sector workers classified as high-tech. Colorado ranks fourth nationwide in high-tech exports, which represent more than 61% of the state's total exports. Colorado is #12 in the nation for the most number of high-tech establishments – more than 10K. Fast Company magazine ranked Colorado Springs 10th on its list of the '10 Fastest Cities in America'. The magazine recognized the top-10 cities for 'finding new and innovative ways to attract top creative talent', including the cultural class, scientists, engineers, artists, managers, professionals and engineers."
2005-12-30 10:15PST (13:15EST) (18:15GMT)
John Kheit _Mac Observer_
Apple Applies for MetaData Management Patents
2005-12-30 10:30PST (13:30EST) (18:30GMT)
William Spain _MarketWatch_
Restaurants business was up in November, expect 2006 to be a good year
"The National Restaurant Association said that its November index of restaurant activity was 101.5 in November, unchanged from the previous month. November was the 31st consecutive month the figure exceeded 100, a level the group said represents expansion in eight key indicators. Just more than half -- 51% -- of restaurant operators reported increases in same-store sales on the period, while 31% were down 18% reported no change."
2005-12-30 11:18PST (14:18EST) (19:18GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
R&D tax credit left hanging
"It's unlikely that the research-and-development tax credit will fall permanently by the way-side, but the still-to-be resolved congressional battle over a package of as much as $70G worth of tax cuts through 2010 leaves questions about what any extension will look like, according to analysts."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Pascrell vs. Griswold debate
"The MSFTNBC debate between representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Daniel T. Griswold, an economist with the libertarian Cato Institute was excellent... The debate centers around the fact that the Senate tried and failed to slip an increase in the number of H-1B visas into the 2005 Omnibus Spending bill. Pascrell calls that a 'victory for American workers' while Griswold decries this as a 'blow to American business'..."
Nick Turner _Investor's Business Daily_
A year of Google, iPods and Lagging Tech Jobs
"It was a year of contradictions and reversals for tech companies. The lay-offs continued for many big firms, and an air of caution lingered -- 5 years after the dot-com bust crippled the industry. Fearing that customer spending wouldn't rebound soon, companies scrambled to find merger partners... Tech lay-offs continue. HP wasn't alone in announcing big staff reductions last year. IBM said it would trim some 13K jobs -- mainly in Europe. And almost all of the tech industry's myriad mergers in 2005 resulted in staff cuts. In fact, tech layoffs grew in the first 9 months of 2005 vs. the same period of 2004 -- despite signs of an improving economy. U.S. tech firms trimmed more than 140K jobs, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That was up from 118K in the year-ago period... Two camps touting different technologies -- Blu-ray and HD DVD -- failed to come to a compromise... Both technologies have the same basic goal: switching the red laser on current digital video disc players with a blue laser. That helps the discs handle higher-definition video and other features... Blu-ray's backers include Sony, Samsung, Philips Electronics, Apple and Dell... The Blu-ray movement is expected to get a jump on its rival this month, when Panasonic unveils a Blu-ray player at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."
2005-12-30 11:17PST (14:17EST) (19:17GMT)
Angela Moore _MarketWatch_
"The industry bench-mark S&P Retail Index was down 2.08 points at 457.6 in midday trading, indicating the index would end the year lower than its close last year at 461.99... A flurry of reports this week said retail sales rose during the holiday season, as retailers used aggressive promotions to lure shoppers. This move may enhance sales, but eat into profits."
Enquirer 80 stock index down 0.4%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks fell 1.15 points, or 0.40% to close the year at 287.33. The index rose 6.48% for the year and 0.86% for the last quarter of the year. 20 issues were up today, 58 were down and two were unchanged. Leading gainers were Multi-Color, up $3.25 to $27.75; Toyota Motor, up 98 cents to $104.62; Midland Co., up 45 cents to $36.04; General Motors, up 41 cents to $19.42; and Kendle International, up 38 cents to $25.74. Biggest laggers were Cummins Inc. down $1.85 to $89.73; LCA-Vision, down $1.15 to $47.51; Emerson Electric, down 73 cents to $74.70; Humana, down 71 cents to $54.33; and Omnicare, down 68 cents to $57.22."
2005-12-30 13:42PST (16:42EST) (21:42GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _MarketWatch_
Dow suffers first annual loss since 2002: S&P 500 and Nasdaq post small gains
"The Dow lost 88.37 points in December to close down 65.51 points, or 0.6% on the year at 10,717.50. The blue chip barometer had gained 29.3% over the previous two years. Of the Dow's 30 components, 16 lost ground for the year... The Nasdaq fell 1.2% in December, but managed to eke out a 1.4% gain in 2005 to 2,205.32. The index has now advanced 65% during its 3-year winning streak... The S&P 500 Index fell 0.1% in December, but managed a 3% gain for the year to 1,248.29. The index has added 42% over the last 3 years. The U.S. year-to-date performance pales in comparison with its major over-seas counter-parts, as the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 17%, Germany's DAX 30 climbed 27% and Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 40%... Within commodities, February crude futures closed at $61.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or 40% above the front-month contract's 2004 close of $43.45 a barrel. February gold futures settled at $518.90 an ounce on NYMEX, $80.50, or 18% above the front-month contract's 2004 closing price of $438.40 an ounce. The U.S. dollar staged a turnaround in 2005, rising 13% against the euro to $1.1841 and 13% vs. the yen to 117.90 to halt 3-year losing streaks for both currency pairs."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.39%|
2005-12-30 16:00PST (19:00EST) (2005-12-31 00:00GMT)
Nick Turner _Yahoo!_
A Range of Industry Groups Could Thrive in 2006
"Few would have predicted that at the end of 2005, the best performing industry index would be computer manufacturers. Six months ago that group, which includes Apple Computer... ranked 135th out of IBD's 197 industry groups. Today it's #1. And the current #2 group -- gold and silver -- ranked a lowly 139th six months ago... Computer Manufacturers... Medical Software... Medical Equipment... Foreign Banks... Investment Brokerages... 'M&A is highly profitable for investment bankers.', Rotblut said... Enterprise Software [a sub-category of privacy violation tools]... Internet Content... Internet E-Commerce... Chipmakers... Biotechnology... Oil And Gas..."
John W. Lillpop _American Daily_
War on Terror Begins at USA-Mexico Border
2005-12-31 02:15PST (05:15EST) (10:15GMT)
Tom Knudson _Sacramento Bee_
Rialto congress-critter is seeking hearings on working conditions of the pineros
"Angered by the dangerous working conditions, excessive payroll deductions and primitive living arrangements endured by the migrant work force, California representative Joe Baca, D-Rialto, said this week that he plans to request a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee soon after law-makers return from their winter break... Last month, another California congressman, George Miller, D-Martinez, called for hearings to examine the involvement of the U.S. Forest Service, which hires firms that employ Latino forest workers -- known as pineros -- but defers on enforcement of wage, safety and other work-place laws to the Labor Department... Baca's concerns first emerged during a Dec. 7 House Agriculture Committee hearing on a bill -- HR4200 -- aimed at speeding up the recovery of federal lands damaged by wild-fire and other catastrophic events... In its 9-month investigation, The Bee found that the legal foreign workers often were treated just as harshly as [illegal alien] laborers. On Forest Service and private land, they were exposed to dangerous conditions, hurt on the job and compelled to live in squalid conditions while often working for contractors with histories of violating federal laws... The Bee found that H2B workers toil amid legal risk, too. Unlike H2A guest laborers who work in agriculture, non-farm guest workers cannot legally seek the counsel of a federally funded legal aid lawyer."
Mark Motz _Smooth Operator_
Dell Computers ponders "PCs for the homeless" marketing strategy (satire)
"The Dell Computer Corp, one of a growing number of notorious U.S. companies engaged in the out-sourcing of nearly 700K stateside jobs over-seas, unveils plans to 'seize the climate of the day that we helped create' by offering low cost PC's to the homeless. Dell spokeswoman Eliza Kruinkshank explains: 'Directly due to employment lost to out-sourcing of jobs, and the deluge of cheap, foreign made goods into America, many U.S. citizens are finding themselves unemployed and indigent. We recognize this new demographic group as a potential market, and are creating a new line of PCs directed at their needs.'"
Leah Beth Ward _Yakima Herald-Republic_
Farm bodyshopper losing license
"State officials took steps Friday to revoke the farm-labor contractor license of Global Horizons, the California company that has brought Thai workers to the Yakima Valley for the past 2 seasons... The violations include failing to fully pay taxes and not paying workers in a timely manner."
Christopher DeMuth _American Enterprise_
"The emergence of 24/7/52 legislating is one of many ways in which modern American government has become much busier and more businesslike than it used to be. While busyness is a virtue in most of life, the men who founded our nation would not have considered it advantageous to government. They carefully contrived a state that would be cumbersome and inefficient at getting its act together, with divided and contending powers both inside Washington and between Washington and the states, and a profusion of checks and balances throughout. They wanted government to be robust and decisive in a limited sphere, but also considered government a threat to freedom and happiness, and worried it would engross private society, property, commerce, and culture."
Off-Shoring Legal Services to India
"Currently, legal services offshoring from India generates $61 million in revenues; this is expected to grow nearly 10 times to reach $605M by 2010 and cross $1G by 2015. Around 2001, GE [long a booster of off-shoring to India] began off-shoring legal sevices to its captive center and has been accruing huge savings since then."
_Iowa Work-Force Development Community Work-Force Research & Development Unit_
Labor Availability in the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Laborshed (pdf)
"The under-employed are composed of individuals who are working fewer than 35 hours per week but desire more hours (1.3%); working at wages equal to or less than the national poverty level (1.3%); and/or who are working in positions that do not meet their skill or education levels or worked for higher wages during previous employment (3.6%)."
Compare to 2003 report.
Brian K. Collins, Aman Khan & Brian Cannon _Lubbock Economic Development Administration_
Lubbock Regional Under-Employment Survey
"We estimate that there are 50,555 under-employed individuals in the region. About 75% of the under-employed have at least some college education. The under-employed work-force currently holds stable, full-time employment, but they would likely change jobs if more suitable employment were available. Wage expectations for the under-employed vary significantly, but 32% expect hourly wages ranging from $10 to $19.99. About 35% of the under-employed expect hourly wages in the range of $20 to $29.99... We define under-employment as a situation in which an individual is working full-time or part-time and believes that his or her current occupation requires less skill, education, or experience than he or she possesses... The average under-employed individual has been employed in his or her current position for 8.6 years, commutes 20.2 miles to work, and works about 45 hours a week... almost 80% of the under-employed work in education, public service, health/social care, agriculture, and wholesale/retail trade. More importantly, almost 83% of the under-employed are working in full-time positions... One of the most important factors contributing to under-employment is being over-educated for an occupation. According to the survey, 39.1 percent of the under-employed work-force thinks that their education qualifies them for better jobs. This comports with the 39.5 percent of the under-employed work-force who have more education than their current occupations require. Figure 2 shows the distribution of educational levels, which demonstrates that a remarkable 75 percent of the under-employed work-force has at least some college education. The under-employed most commonly hold degrees in business-related fields, education, natural sciences, and nursing..."
|skill||level||years of experience|
|working with others in teams||8.2||15.8|
|writing & speaking on the job||7.4||14.9|
|managing equipment, facilities, & materials||6.4||13.0|
|using basic computer applications||5.9||10.2|
|using math and the scientific method on the job||5.7||16.1|
|operations & quality control||5.6||11.4|
|equipment installation & maintenance||4.9||13.2|
|software or systems analysis||3.4||7.9|
Martha Fineman & Terence Doughterty _Cornell University Press_
_Feminism Confronts Homo Economicus_
"recent employer tactics in the United States include increased contingent employment arrangements. Although the growth in the contingent work-force may be related to increasing employer profits, it functions, most powerfully, to expand employer control... There is consensus... that the rate of contingent employment increased dramatically during the 1990s, although there was some slowing of the growth of contingent employment in the latter part of the past decade."
Ron Hira & Anil Hira _Out-Sourcing America_
"Off-shore out-sourcing [today] is not a natural result of market forces; it has been helped by US immigration and tax laws; foreign governments explicitly targeting US jobs; and US companies and management consultants who have actively promoted out-sourcing. [pg7]. many of the Americans displaced by out-sourcing excelled at their jobs and have graduate degrees in computer science or engineering [or physics or biology or chemistry] from the very best schools. With record levels of unemployment for [STEM workers], the economy is not absorbing the ones we have, so there is no point in graduating more. [pg27]. In the auto and other heavy industries, domestic out-sourcing was chosen in part because supplier companies, which were generally smaller, were less likely to be unionized and often paid lower salaries and benefits. In other large businesses, the motivation was to introduce competition to in-house departments and employees to dive produtivity gains. [pg72]. In the words of congress-man Peter Defazio (D-OR), 'We've seen a number of companies contract out work [domestically] to pay lower wages' and those contract fims pay lower or no benefits. [pg73; citing Jeff Kosseff 2004-06-15 _The Oregonian_ 'Not All That's Out-Sourced Has Gone Abroad: Some Analysts Fear that Domestic Out-Sourcing Poses as Big a Threat to US Jobs as Off-Shoring, A View Reflected in Unemployment Data']. It is ironic that CFO Magazine, which is targeted at top financial mangers, conducted a poll of 275 finance executives and found that only 11% of the people Donohue represents agree with his job growth theory. A majority (61%) of those surveyed thought that off-shoring will lead to a net reduction in jobs in the USA. only 13% of the financial executives perceived publish back-lash as a risk to their [domestic and off-shore] out-sourcing plans. [pg77; citing Dan Durfee & Kate O'Sullivan 2004-06-01 'Off-Shoring by the Numbers']. During the decade[s] of the [1980s and] 1990s, multiple major technological paradign shifts hit at about the same time. The paradigm shifts included a move from main-frames to [micro-computer-based] client-server system architectures, functional-based programming languages ([Fortran, Pascal, Ada,] C) to object-oriented (C++ and Java and [Objective-C]), the Y2K [management planning failure], and [abusive] ERP software. And of course, the biggest change was the [increasing] adoption of the Internet. [pg84]. Major [companies' executives] view India, and especially [Red China], as critical future markets. They believe that if they do not have a presence in [Red China], they may miss out on the coming consumer boom. While they market may be relatively small now, it is growing... the [Red Chinese] government has been skillful in leveraging acces to its [markets] by requiring foreign companies to set up production facilities in [Red China]. [pg85]. in the words of George Mason university president Alan Merten: 'For the most part, companies are now unwilling to make serious, long-term investment in their employees.'. corporate executives [whom] we've met... are happy if their employees are training as long as it's on their own time and dime [and continue to work 16-hour days]. [pg112; citing Steven Pearlstein 2004-03-12 _Washington DC Post_ 'Still Short of the Off-Shoring Ideal']. Foote Partners LLC... determined that off-shoring had eroded IT salaries by 8%-23% for various specialties. [pg128 citing Marilyn Geewax 2003-10-21 _Atlanta GA Journal Constitution_ 'Pay Cuts May Reverse Tech Job Loss, Expert Says', David E. Gumpert 2003-12-04 _BusinessWeek_ 'US Programmers at Over-Seas Salaries', Lisa Vaas 2004-01-13 _eWeek_ 'Off-Shoring Eats Away at IT Pay, Study Shows', 2004-07-30 _CNN_/_Money_ 'Back to Wok for Less: Survey: 57% Who Lost Full-Time Jobs 2001-2003 and Found Full-Time Work Again Are Earning Less']. The costs and benefits are mal-distributed, with some parties, like corporate executives, reaping large benefit at almost no cost, and others, like displaced US workers, bearing most of the costs with meager benefits as consumers. [pg174]"
Villainy: An Analysis of the Nature of Evil
"Crucial to a villain's success is the sanction of his victims. Evil men must cloak themselves in a veneer of righteousness, they must seek the moral approval of the producers they exploit. The communists argue that it is man's moral duty to serve the people; the Nazis proclaim that there is a superior race whose rightful place is mastery; Saddam Hussein stated that Kuwait is properly part of Iraq, that the two were unjustly partitioned by the British; even a common criminal says that he has been victimized by 'legit' society and is only taking back what is rightfully his. An evil man needs a moral code in order to extort the sanction of his victim. Since he survives only as a parasite on the productive activities of honest men, he must circumvent their opposition to him. If they identify his monstrous nature, they will cut off dealing with him. They will refuse to support him and will oppose him. Honest men are scrupulously conscientious in striving to be moral. A villain must deceive them into believing that he is, too. In the face of opposition, an evil man pours out an endless litany of grievances, complaints and injustices perpetrated against him, protestations of the righteousness of his course, etc. He seeks to disarm his victims of their moral certainty, he seeks to undermine their belief in the justice of their fight. He seeks to appropriate the moral high ground."
_California State University Chico_
Companies that recruited
|"The absence of [visual] cues sometimes leads to 'flame wars' in which intemperate messages, like ballistic missiles, light the cyber-skies with their nuclear detonations." --- Vinton Cerf (_Telecommunications_ 1995 January pg23)|
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