2008 January

1st month of the 1st quarter of the 19th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

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updated: 2015-12-29

  "Fortunate is the man who trusts HaShem, and turns not to the arrogant." --- Tehillim/Psalms 40:5  

2008 January
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  "There is something inherently strong and at the same time weak about belief.   OT1H, it is a tremendous motivator that can make a person's entire life meaningful.   OTOH, when a belief is not correct, it can mislead a person causing tremendous destruction, and be the hardest thing to change.   Since most people identify with their beliefs, the unraveling of the latter often feels like the undoing of the former.   We are not born with beliefs (babies think they can fly), but we grow into them.   We grow up in societies that have a built-up system of beliefs, and as we continue to grow in that society, we tend to look at reality in the same manner as our teachers.   If we don't know that other beliefs exist in the world, then we can easily come to accept the ones to which we are subjugated to be absolute.   Adam HaRishon grew up in the world of Ayin.   He was created right into it." --- R. Pinchas Winston Torah.org  




captain William Scott's flag for the Republic of Texas.

2008 January

1st month of the 1st quarter of the 9th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression



John Miano _Washington Post_
Opening the Door to More Skilled Americans
"the Blue Card that Mr. Barrett said would mean that the 'next Silicon Valley will not be in the United States' does not even exist.   It is just a proposal by the E.U. bureaucracy.   Because this proposal would require the approval of all E.U. members, it is unlikely ever to become reality.   Mr. Barrett went on to assert that E.U. leaders recognize that foreign graduates can 'reinvigorate European industry'.   In reality, there is widespread, high-level opposition to the proposal.   At a December meeting to discuss the idea, Germany's employment minister said there is no need for it.   Leaders from Britain, the Czech Republic, Austria and the Netherlands have been among those to criticize it.   We can only hope that U.S. immigration policy will not be influenced by hysteria from those seeing mere phantoms in Europe."
Jan Touma
"Perhaps Craig Barrett, chairman of the multi-national company Intel Corp., could rely on the L-1 visa, in addition to H-1Bs [described in 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)], since presumably his company is suffering so from a shortage of foreign labor.   The L-1 allows for intracompany transfers, so Mr. Barrett could transfer employees around the world to the United States for up to 5 or 7 years, depending on the type of worker.   As a bonus, the company wouldn't have to go through all those pesky and inconvenient motions of trying to show that Americans aren't being displaced and wages aren't being depressed.   Although Mr. Barrett's open-borders brethren in Europe and the United States are experiencing some grief from us national-sovereignty types, the open-borders set far out-guns the rest of us and will no doubt be able to conduct business as usual via such stealth guest-worker and Blue Card proposals."

Joseph D'Aniello _Albany Times Union_
Influx of foreign workers lowers wages and forces bright, knowledgeable, innovative, industrious Americans out of work
I am an information technology professional and have had several experiences that suggest a shortage of foreign workers is exactly where America wants [and needs] to be.
Companies had trouble filling IT slots in the late 1990s as Y2K challenges abounded.   This shortage was real.   I was a lead IT consultant at the time and found myself interviewing college graduates not the norm for clients looking to hire experienced IT professionals, but companies needed bodies.   As a result, the government tripled the number of H-1B visas, and an influx of foreign workers came to America.
After Y2K, the need for IT personnel declined, but the foreigners stayed and thousands of Americans couldn't find work.   I had never been out of work from the time I graduated from college in 1977 through 2000.
But in 2001, 2002 and 2003, I spent a total of 39 weeks unemployed, and I was far from unlucky.   Many of my contemporaries had more than 12 consecutive months of unemployment and left the field in frustration.
I consulted at one company, and although it was one of the biggest abusers of foreign workers around, it wasn't the only one.   It forced their managers to hire foreign workers over Americans who had superior skills and brought in H-1B workers who were supposed to be fully qualified but were not and required training, sometimes by Americans who had to train their eventual replacements.
Although foreign workers are supposed to be paid the "prevailing wage", in truth the "prevailing wage" ends up being the lowest wage a company can pay somebody.   When supply exceeds demand, desperation sets in.   The low pay scale of foreign workers forced American workers to accept lower wages to find work.
Between 2000 and 2003, I saw consulting fees of my skill level drop from $55 to $40 an hour.   I still make less now than I made in 1999.
Additionally, there were many rogue foreign bodyshops that doctored the resumes of foreign workers to fit the requirements of their American clients.
The main purpose of the H-1B program is [allegedly] to bring in workers and talent that can't be found in United States.   Certainly there are highly skilled foreigners the United States should open its arms to, but there is a fine line between need and want.   If left unchecked, companies can use and have used foreign workers to promote lower wages and unemployment for Americans.
If you can raise the salaries of IT, engineers and other personnel adversely affected by the influx of foreign workers (and [off-shore] out-sourcing), then the foreigners working here will truly be here out of necessity and the companies won't have difficulty finding American workers with acceptable skills.   If you pay them, they will come.

Steve Sailer _V Dare_
Real Drop-Out Rate... and why some students should drop out

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
How the Police Create Crimes

Peter Brimelow _Washington Times_
Immigration Insights
V Dare

Cristopher Hope _Daily Telegraph_
Body shopping, off-shoring making big waves among EU professionals
"The proposed removal of the Resident Labour Market Test for high-end vacancies has prompted fears that it could trigger an influx of white collar immigrants coming to work in the UK, under-cutting British graduates.   Companies could ditch their training schemes and scour the developing world to pick up highly-qualified IT technicians, lawyers or accountants on the cheap, pushing out qualified British workers.   The news comes just days after Richard Lambert, the head of the Confederation of British Industry, warned that employers are increasingly looking to hire staff from over-seas because of the [alleged] poor quality of home-grown graduates.   Under the Resident Labour Market Test, companies currently have to advertise all of their jobs within the EU for a set period of weeks before offering them to people from outside the EU...   Recent figures showed that more than half of the 1.6M jobs created since Labour came to power in 1997 have gone to foreigners...   James Clappison, the Tory MP who uncovered the plans, said: 'This plan allows employers to bypass British workers.   The question the Government must answer is, how does this help British workers to get British jobs?'"


James Carlini _Midwest Business_
It's Time to Ask Candidates Tough Questions
Instead of focusing on candidate religious preferences, hair-cuts and banging away at the same "Roe vs. Wade" issue, journalists should be asking tough issues and getting answers for:

  1. Illegal immigration and real solutions (including the deportation of criminals and other undesirables as well as protecting the borders).

  2. The lagging behind on network infrastructure to a point of crippling the future competitiveness of the American market.   Lobbyists are killing the global competitiveness of this country in the name of protecting obsolete business models and stifling competition within the network infrastructure area.   This should be a major campaign issue.

  3. Establishing realistic goals for American citizens to get a good education that translates into a good job instead of importing cheap labor in programs like H-1B.

  4. An over-haul for education that's not just throwing more money at it but weeding out all the deadwood and aimless leadership who aren't addressing a competitive global approach to education.   How did some states create funding for illegal immigrants to get college grants and payments?

  5. Cutting the waste in government expenditures on education, entitlement programs and anything else that keeps demanding more funding yet seems to always fall short of accountability.

Until candidates have a solid answer and solution for these issues, they are just pandering to whatever audience they get in front of to speak.   Just like a 1950s manufacturing strategy can't work in today's market, a 1960s, 1970s or even 1990s political campaign strategy can't work either.
Unfortunately, many voters are stuck in the past unless they have faced a crisis in their family where jobs were lost and underemployment was the only way out.   Watch out for those voters because they will be leaving their traditional party affiliations.   It's too bad there's not a viable third-party candidate.
Ross Perot created a lot of worry in the two parties and actually got both candidates to address issues that never would have been discussed.   We really need that today.   More people have become independent and don't believe either party represents their views.   Issues that need to be addressed in detail include:
  1. We need a real solution for illegal immigration.   This issue impacts many government, education and health care agencies that must provide services that aren't "free".

  3. Eliminating the extension of H-1B visas.   These damage the American middle-class economy.   This isn't 1999 any more.   Companies have systematically cut out a lot of higher-priced American labor in favor of cheaper labor to a point where these former employees can't afford some of the products these companies are making.

  4. Waste in all government agencies and initiatives.

  5. A real plan to be globally competitive in the 21st century.


_Youngstown Vindicator_
Ohio Secretary of State Brunner says the most defective election machines could be replaced by November for $31M
"Based on a $1.9M study of electronic voting machines, Brunner said she is convinced they are unreliable and can easily be tampered.   'I don't have a lot of confidence in these machines, but I'm stuck with them [for the March primaries].', she told The Vindicator on Wednesday.   'We have substandard technology.'"

_Youngstown Vindicator_
Delphi production workers object to $8.3M pay-day for Executive Chair Steve Miller in wake of bankruptcy

_Youngstown Vindicator_
Working-age people cite economy as key issue
"Unemployment was 10.2% among Ohioans ages 20-24 and 5.7% for those ages 25-34 in 2006 compared with 8.2% and 4.7%, respectively, for the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.   'The employment situation continues to be bad and it's taking longer and longer for people to get jobs.', said John Russo, a labor studies professor at Youngstown State University.   'At the same time, they're getting jobs below their educational level.   Because of the economy, older people are working longer.   As a result of that, younger people aren't getting jobs as quickly as they did before.'"

Steve Doughty _Daily Mail_
England is the most crowded country in Europe
"They show that in England in 2005 there were 387 people for every square kilometre, and this rose to 390 per square kilometre in 2006.   This is around 620 per square mile [over-crowded by over a hundred times].   At that rate England will now have overtaken the most crowded major country in Europe, Holland, which had 393 people for every square kilometre in 2005.   Its population is growing at a much slower rate than Britain because of the higher immigration levels in this country.   By 2031, the ONS forecasts, England will have 464 people per square kilometre.   Around 70% of population growth is a result of immigration, and much of the rest is accounted for by higher birth rates among recent immigrants."

2008-01-02 (5768 Teves 24)
Walter E. Williams _Town Hall_
Greed, Need and Money
Creators Syndicate
Human Events
George Mason University
Jewish World Review

John Stossel _Creators Syndicate_
interview of Ron Paul on immigration

2008-01-02 (5768 Teves 24)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Santa Claus politics
"Anyone who believes that the government can give the country presents has fallen for the oldest political illusion of all -- the illusion of something for nothing."


2008-01-03 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 510,652 in the week ending Dec. 29, an increase of 54,681 from the previous week.   There were 499,979 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending Dec. 22, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,819,269, an increase of 3,918 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.0% and the volume was 2,654,693.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Dec. 15."

_Miami Herald_
Brazilian illegal aliens are leaving Florida to return home
"Thousands of Brazilian immigrants who in the 1990s came to the United States on tourist visas and stayed to live illegally in Florida and other states are now choosing to return to their country.   Among the reasons: this summer's failure in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually have legalized millions of [illegal aliens, or, on the flip side the success of millions of US citizens in blocking the amnesty].   Also, lacking proof of legal U.S. status, the undocumented migrants cannot obtain driver's licenses.   According to projections by the Brazilian Consulate in Miami, hundreds of families this year have been returning to their homeland.   The consulate has observed an uptick in the number of requests for passports and identification documents, proof of residency abroad and permits for extensions on the payment of taxes, for those with one-way departure tickets."

Stephen Huebl, Steve Campbell, Patrick McGee et al. _CEP_
lay-off announcements were down from 73,140 last month to 44,416
Kansas City Star
Stuff NZ
Manchester Guardian
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Riverside Press Enterprise
Composite: "U.S. job lay-offs in December only fell 18.5% to the second-lowest monthly total for 2007 according to data released Thursday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   2007 December lay-offs dropped 39.3% to 44,416 for December from 73,140 in November, and were down 18.7 % from a year ago, making December the second-lowest job-cut total in the year, behind July's 42,897.   The figure for total planned job cuts last year was 8.5% lower than in 2006, the Challenger report said.   The year total was 768,264, down from 839,822 in 2006, Challenger said.   The financial sector ended the year with 153,105 announced job cuts, which was 31% greater than the previous annual record of 116,515 set in 2001, the report said, probably a result of the fall-out from sub-prime loans.   78,880 were laid off from the automotive sector, 51,036 from retail, 43,862 from industrials, 40,251 from consumer products firms.   2007 Q4 saw the fewest announced lay-offs of the year, which has only happened in 1994 and 1999 since CG&C started tracking.   Employers in Texas announced about 47,500 job cuts last year, according to the report, up 47% from the 32,300 cuts announced in 2006."
CompanyLocationJob cuts
Accenture L.L.P.Austin600
Aegis MortgageHouston1,000
Anadarko PetroleumHouston500
Cadbury SchweppesPlano470
CVS CaremarkFort Worth394
Dean FoodsDallas700
Freescale SemiconductorAustin2,400
Goodyear TireTyler662
Nortel NetworksRichardson2,900
PerlosFort Worth4,000
Perot SystemsPlano650
Pier 1 ImportsFort Worth1,000
RaytheonFort Bliss405
Southwest AirlinesDallas8,700
Texas InstrumentsDallas500
86,126Mortgage 2007
12,874Mortgage 2006
95,050New York

Anne Broach _Ziff Davis_
Tech Voters' Guide to Ron Paul

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Democrat congress-critters are attacking free speech

Theodore Dalrymple _City Journal_
mind Forg'd Manacles: The Left's belief in helplessness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy


Beryl Lieff Benderly _Science_
The conspicuous anomaly of the glut of scientists and reports of shortage
"Numerous labor-market experts have found no such shortage, but the highly publicized perception of a dearth persists...   Dozens of employers asked to compare American engineers to their much-vaunted colleagues from India and [Red China] agreed that 'in education, training, quality of work, you name it, in every which way, Americans are better'.   Even the best schools in those countries 'don't hold a candle to our best schools.', he continues.   Newly hired American university graduates 'become productive within 30 days or so.   If you hire a graduate of an Indian university, it takes between 3 and 6 months for them to become productive.'   The image of shortage arises from 'emotion versus fact' and 'misinformation that feeds on itself', Wadhwa says....   Teitelbaum says. The 'energetic re-assertions of the Conventional Portrait of shortages, short-falls, failures of K-12 science and math teaching' are 'expressions of interests by interest groups and their lobbyists', he testified at a November Congressional hearing.   Interest groups include employers seeking 'an ample pool of qualified hires, without need to raise wages and benefits;... some universities and university associations [needing] graduate student enrollment and postdocs to conduct funded lab research;... some funding agencies [seeking] increased funding; [and]... some immigration lawyers and their associations [wanting]... high-volume visas, with legal fees paid by employers.'...   Some faculty members... confirm his analysis and say they are 'very worried' about the situation.   But they find it 'very hard to say this in their departments or to their colleagues' he says, 'because it's very threatening to the structure by which research is done'..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
There's a lot of good material here, and in the earlier companion article.   I urge you to read them both.
I do take issue with this passage, though:

So, is the shortage argument simply a cover for cheap labor, as some in the IT community believe?   Tietelbaum doesn't think so.   The reports claiming shortage are the work of "respected people who are stating a point of view that they believe", he says.   "I don't think they're simply telling a falsehood in order to get cheaper workers."   But senior figures such as university presidents are "not out recruiting students.   They're hearing from their faculty who were not getting enough people applying to graduate school."   Many scientists, he adds, "feel trapped in this situation they can't change".

The "not a deliberate falsehood" assertion must be looked at carefully.
First of all, who is Teitelbaum referring to?   To my knowledge, there has not been a single study showing a shortage of tech/science people, other than studies sponsored by the industry and others with vested interests, such as the immigration lawyers.   Even the PISA and TIMSS studies on math and science education do not say we have a shortage.
Second, concerning applicants for grad school (with the implication that foreign students make up the deficit): Are the university presidents really that naive?   Do they really fail to understand that if only graduate stipends were higher and PhD career prospects were better (in the science fields, those prospects are really dismal), these doctoral program would get tons of U.S. applicants?   I doubt that they are that ignorant.   But you don't become a university president -- and you don't retain your position as such -- by rocking the boat.   So, they go along with the "shortage" claims, knowing that the claims are misleading.   That's a deliberate falsehood in my book.

Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Stupidest idea of 2008 award goes to Diana Furchtgott-Roth
I was just waiting for somebody to come up with the first stupid idea of 2008.   The prize goes to: Ms. Furchtgott-Roth who was a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Roth's idea in a nut-shell is to give the Labor Department the authority to determine the national demand for foreign labor, and to adjust immigration levels accordingly.
So, is her idea truly stupid?   Well, it depends on what side of the fence you stand on.   In my opinion anytime you subvert the Constitution and destroy American jobs, it's stupid.   Let's examine what she wants to do from both sides of the fence:
#1 The Stupid Side of the Fence -- Allowing the Dept. of Labor to determine the number of H-1B visas to be issued is probably unconstitutional because Congress is supposed to set immigration policy.   Assuming the Secretary of Labor could be given the power to set visa limits, it's a bad idea at least for American workers.   Take our current Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as an example -- she has said many times that she thinks H-1B should have no limits.   Under Bill Clinton Secretary Robert Reich was no better.   Considering every major presidential candidate has voiced support for increasing the H-1B cap, the odds are very poor that the next Labor Secretary would hold the line on H-1B.
#2 The Smart Side of the Fence -- Allowing the Dept. of Labor to determine the number of H-1B visas to be issued takes away Constitutional authority from Congress and gives it to the President, who appoints the Labor Secretary.   If your purpose is to get as many H-1B visas as the market wants it's much easier to influence one person like the Labor Secretary than an entire Congress who has to deal with angry unemployed workers.   Assuming that the federal courts wouldn't shoot down Roth's plan, this would be an ideal way for Congress to wash their hands of the H-1B issue.   It would also be a smart PR move, since many people are gullible enough to think that the DoL cares about the welfare of US workers.
This isn't the first time Furchtgott-Roth has written dumb things -- she has done even worse.   Check out this contradiction from one of her papers for the Hudson Institute.   At one point she says that increasing immigration is necessary to force wages down (she used the [spin] word "ameliorate"), and then several paragraphs later she says that immigrants raise the wages of Americans.   This is such a blatant logical error it's quite shocking that an organization like the Hudson Institute signed their name to her paper.   Apparently the Hudson Institute doesn't proof-read stuff before they put it on-line.   Tsk!Tsk!
And earlier this week, unit labor costs jumped at an annual rate of 6.6% in the fourth quarter, adding to pressures in certain occupations that more immigrants would ameliorate.
Most economic studies show that in the long run, immigrants don't lower Americans' wages, they raise them.
Oh, and of course she uses a coded form of the old cliche' "jobs Americans don't want".   She broadens it to include jobs that require lower or higher skills.   Hmmmmmm, don't you just wonder what jobs are left if low and high skilled jobs are taken out of the equation?   If Roth were honest she would just come clean and say that she thinks Americans don't want jobs any jobs -- whether it's picking fruit or getting PhDs!

"TaTa, an Indian-based car company, has acquired 2 of the most recognized names in the car industry -- Jaguar and Land Rover.   What does the sale mean for the struggling Ford Motor Co.?"

Thomas Brewton/Betsy McCaughey _View from 1776_
Health Insurance, making everyone equally poor

Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Oil would cost $30 per barrel if we had sound money instead of scrip

Phyllis Schlafly _World Net Daily_
World Trade Outrage

2008-01-04 08:15PST (11:15EST) (16:15GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Ron Paul campaign's "no anchor babies" ad met with controversy
"'Ron Paul wants border security now.', his new campaign ad asserts.   'Physically secure the border.   No amnesty.   No welfare to illegal aliens.   End birth-right citizenship.   No more student visas from terrorist nations.'...   Others agree with Paul's proposals, including Homeland Security officials, who say the U.S. policy of birth-right citizenship is a major incentive for illegal immigration...   A senior DHS official in Washington says birthright citizenship is a vestige of the 1800s and has outlived its original charter and purpose of assimilating former slaves into U.S. society after Emancipation.   'A major pet peeve of mine is the bastardization of the 14th Amendment, the principle of Jus Solis, an act to accommodate slaves.', he said.   'We now permit anyone having a child born in the United States or under the rules of international boundaries to attain United States citizenship under this principle.   It is wrong.'   According to the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, more than 570K U.S.-born children under the age of 18 have at least 1 parent born in the Middle East.   That number is expected to grow to 950K by 2010."

Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
National Data: White-washing the excessive immigration problem

Susanna De Baca _Expert Business Source_
Americans worked an average of 42.5 hours per week in 2006
"Americans are putting in more hours at work, about 42.5 hours in 2006, compared to about 37.5 hours in 2003, according to a 2008 January 2, Pittsburgh Tribune Review article by Joe Nashua, which cites time-use surveys by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.   Workers in small businesses were among those who regularly put in a work week in excess of 40 hours, the survey reported...   The average work week differs for men and women, with men skewing the numbers upward.   In 2003, the average workweek for men was 40 hours; in 2006, the average increased to about 45 hours.   While women worked an average of 35.1 hours in 2003, 2006 saw an increase to slightly more than 40 hours in 2006...   According to 'Working Time around the World' study released in June by the International Labor Organization in Geneva, a global research organization, 18% of American workers put in more than 48 hours a week, the fifth-highest percentage among developed countries."

James Carlini _Wisconsin Technology Network_
2008 predictions: Is this any way to select a president?
"I have been unimpressed with how all these people, supposedly 'in the know', do not ask tough questions or raise issues about the American economy...
journalists should be asking about tough issues and getting answers for:

Unfortunately, many voters are stuck in the past unless they have faced a crisis in their family where jobs were lost, and underemployment was the only way out.   Watch out for those voters because they will be leaving their traditional party affiliations...
Issues that need to be addressed in detail are: the primary issue around here is the economy and more importantly personal survivability in a questionable job market...   only performance is reality."

Gary Galles _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Cicero on Justice, Law and Liberty
Index of articles on mises.org

S&P 5001,411.63
10-year US T-Bond3.85%
crude oil$97.91/barrel

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Futures Movers" and "Metals Stocks" columns (and BigCharts and FT Interactive).

Employment/Un-Employment Data Released Today: See the Graphs


1914-01-05: Ford announced Five Dollar Day plan
The Henry Ford; average employee finances
American Heritage
Novel Guide
Jimbo Wales's WikiPedia
Cyber Essays
Bryant college
Pay was divided in half -- one half wages and one-half profit sharing.   In order for a worker to be eligible to receive his share of the company's profits he 'must show himself to be sober, saving, steady, industrious and must satisfy the... staff that his money will not be wasted in riotous living.'   Men would have to live in Detroit and work at the plant for 6 months before they could earn the full amount.   (Women were not eligible until 1916.)   The company's profits doubled from $30M in 1914 to $60M in 1916 to $78M in 1921.   'The payment of five dollars a day for an 8-hour day was one of the finest cost-cutting moves we ever made.', Ford said."

  "Shlomo HaMelech tells us that the Torah's ways are ways of pleasantness.   This being the case, how can learning Torah lead to vehement disputes?   One of the qualities of a Jew is that he does not accept anything that is not absolute truth.   Indeed, it is forbidden to accept teachings as Torah unless one is convinced that they are absolutely true.   When two people study Torah together, since they are both working towards the same goal -- both are battling to arrive at the truth -- it is inevitable that when they finally agree upon the truth, pleasantness will reign between them.   Although two people learning Torah may at first be enemies, by the time they together arrive at the truth they will be the closest of friends...   For one who avidly seeks the truth, a refutation of his words is much more valuable than a proof to support his viewpoint.   So much so that our Sages often tried to refute their own opinions" --- R. Daniel Travis Torah.org  



Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
The importance of Cicero to liberty

Frosty Wooldridge _Border Fire Report_
Wish List for Saving USA in 2008
News with Views
American Chronicle

Randall Burns _V Dare_
Ron Paul plays immigration card in NH
"This week, Ron Paul has started running 'get tough' ads on NH television.   These are some of the most frank ads relating to immigration we’ve ever seen from a major presidential candidate.   Now, I wish Paul luck in his New Hampshire race.   I feel Paul clearly has the best immigration record of the current GOP line-up.   However, I can't help but wondering if Paul is emphasizing the wrong aspects of the immigration issue to win in NH.   NH is a state with quite a bit of tech employment.   I suspect the jobs of many folks in NH are more threatened by programs like H-1b than by illegal immigration.   Now, Paul's record on resisting expansion of H-1b is better than any other major GOP candidate.   (Kucinich is the only Democrat with a better record on resisting expansion of guest worker visas.)   Still, the anchor baby issue is very, very real.   Someone I know well used to work in a birth center at UC San Francisco.   They had a steady stream of women who would fly out from Asia near the end of their pregnancies specifically so their child would be a US citizen.   Those women were generally part of Asia's middle class-and would enter the US legally on a tourist visa.   I applaud Dr. Paul's courage in bringing this issue up.   What is interesting here, is that Paul's ads in NH just may be starting to work.   In the latest Rasmussen Poll, Paul was coming in 3rd at 14%.   That is a huge change from past polls-and a better performance than Paul had in Iowa."


2008-01-07 05:45PST (08:45EST) (13:45GMT)
Glen Johnson, Nedra Pickler, Liz Sidoti, Charles Babington, Beth Fouhy, Libby Quaid, Holly Ramer & Philip Elliott _Auburn Public Citizen_/_AP_
Presidential Horse Race Update
"Romney's first stop was the entrance of [body shop] BAE Systems North America, where he found reporters and camera crews far outnumbered arriving workers...   A new survey showed Obama opening a wide lead over Clinton, while the Republican race remained a statistical dead heat.   Obama had 41%, up from 32% in mid-December, in a new USA Today/Gallup poll.   Clinton was at 28%, down from 32%.   Former North Carolina senator John Edwards had 19%, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson had 6%, and no other candidate had 3%.   On the Republican side, McCain had 34%, up from 27% in mid-December, while Romney had 30%, down from 34%.   Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was third with 13%, while representative Ron Paul of Texas and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani were tied at 8%.   No other candidate, including former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who conceded Sunday he was focusing on South Carolina rather than New Hampshire, was above 3%."

2008-01-07 12:06PST (15:06EST) (20:06GMT)
_PhysOrg_/_McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health_
Red China expects scientists educated in the USA to create booming biotech industry

K. Daniel Glover _BeltWay Blog-Roll_
Blogging that Makes Me Want to Cry
"First, the big news of the day: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cried like a baby on the campaign trail -- only she so obviously didn't.   As far as I can tell, Clinton shed nary a tear in the episode hyped by the Drudge Report and psychoanalyzed around the blogosphere...   A blogger at RedState accused Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter of 'angrily proclaiming that ''I got a delegate in Wyoming!'' several times' when he interrupted the taping of a Fox talk show.   Never happened.   Hunter wasn't close to angry.   He didn't even emphatically proclaim his victory, and he didn't say it several times...   The breathless headline at Americablog, meanwhile, had me convinced that supporters of Republican candidate Ron Paul 'chased' another Fox talker, Sean Hannity, all across New York City.   'Hannity must have been wetting himself.', John Aravosis chortled.   Another ridiculous exaggeration.   Yes, Paul's supporters were obnoxious and they badgered Hannity because his network had banned Paul from a debate last night.   But their pursuit of and chanting at Hannity was nothing more than a harmless exercise in free speech -- and I seriously doubt that Hannity was anything but annoyed.   He just might have been amused by the democracy of it all.   I'm pretty sure I saw a smile the only time his face was visible."

Ron Pauls's exclusion by Fox makes bias clear
"They own the media outlet.', said Don Zimmerman, a Ron Paul supporter.   'It's a constitutional right.   They can decide to knock him out.   I just think it's a mistake on their part.   I think it's going to back-fire on them.'...   In the Iowa caucus, however, he pulled in 10 percent of the votes, more than double Giuliani.   In the latest New Hampshire polls, he is neck and neck with Giuliani and well above Fred Thompson...   It is not just Paul supporters complaining about the media in this election.   FAIR, a media watch-dog group, said it has tracked numerous instances of media bias...   Macdonald said the FOX debates are just the tip of the ice-berg...   A head-line from NBC [owned by MSFT and GE] reads, 'Facebook chooses Huckabee'.   Yet underneath the head-line, Huckabee is shown to have 25% of the vote while Paul has 43%."

Steve Sailer _V Dare_
Perhaps immigration has propped up crime rates

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
No Jobs for the New Economy or the Old
"A very small percentage of 2007's new jobs required a college education.   Since there are so few jobs for university graduates, how is 'education the answer'?...   the benefit is confined to a few highly paid executives who receive multi-million dollar bonuses...   The rest of the big money went to Wall street crooks..."

_Free Market News_
Non-Intervention Needs Consideration
"Looking back over the political campaign last year, and trying to figure out what were the wisest words spoken, I have no problem determining that they came from Republican Libertarian candidate Ron Paul...   I think his wisdom is something we might attend to at our own gain...   The feisty Paul, who never minces words, answered with unusual clarity, even for him.   'I am not an isolationist.', he responded.   'I am a non-interventionist.'   He went on to say that he believed passionately in all kinds of exchanges, conferences and meetings with the rest of the world; he believed in employing the 'soft power' of education and the rich exchange of ideas that the United States so excels at, but he did not believe in America's intervening in other people's affairs."

Brian Doherty _Reason_
Scenes from the Ron Paul rEVOLution
"During the broadcast, host Jay Leno respectfully attended to Paul's calls for hard money, withdrawal from Iraq, and a flat income tax of zero.   Off-stage, Leno got Paul to autograph his copy of the congressman's recent book, _A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship_...   Johnny Rotten...   Paul, watching the broadcast with supporters at a Hollywood Hills fund-raiser that evening, shook his head at the aging punk's antics, noting, well, we do promote tolerance...   As of press time, in the fourth quarter of 2007, Paul had collected $10.7M, generally in amounts well below the legal $2,300 maximum for individual donations...   Paul himself is not news.   He's been pushing his libertarian values, derived from his love of the U.S. Constitution and the Austrian school of free market economics, through all of his 10 terms in Congress and in between.   (He has served in Congress three times: from 1976 to 1977, from 1979 to 1983, and from 1997 to the present.   He ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988.)   What's news is the self-styled Ron Paul Revolution—his mass of self-coordinating supporters."


2008-01-07 17:13:22PST (2008-01-07 20:13:22EST) (2008-01-08 01:13:22GMT)
Rhonda Erskine _WCSH_
Presidential Horse-Race Snap-Shot
"the latest CNN-WMUR survey conducted by UNH...   [Obama, Clinton] John Edwards is third at 16%, followed by governor Bill Richardson at 7% and congressman Dennis Kucinich at 1%.   For the republicans, senator McCain is holding onto his lead at 32%, with former governor Mitt Romney in second at 26%.   The Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee is in third at 14%, followed by Rudi Giuliani at 11%, Ron Paul at 10% and Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter at 1% each."

2008-01-07 15:43PST (2008-01-07 18:43EST) (2008-01-08 00:43GMT)
Mike Sunnucks _Phoenix Business Journal_
Illegal aliens depressed wages by about $1.6G in Arizona in 2006
"Illegal immigrants depressed wages in Arizona to the tune of $1.4G in 2006 and dipped lower-skilled legal workers' pay by 4.7%...   The study said illegal immigrants primarily impact wages and jobs held by legal workers with lower education levels.   Borjas said that illegals make up 10% of all state workers and decrease all wages by 1.5%...   A University of Arizona study published in October concluded that illegal immigrants had a net fiscal benefit of $940M to $1G.   The UA study found that illegals paid about $2.4G in various taxes but cost the state about $1.4G in services."

Brad Friedman
Fox should be ashamed
"Ron Paul says his exclusion from last night's debate on Fox 'News' has an 'awful embarrassment' for the Republican propaganda outlet.   The Republican Presidential candidate points out, during an interview this morning on CNN, that he received 10% of the vote in Iowa, where he finished well ahead of Rudy Giuliani -- who was allowed to participate in the Fox debate -- and that he's beating him '2 to 1' currently in New Hampshire.   As well, Paul points out that his campaign has 'raised more money than any other Republican candidate in the last quarter'."

2008-01-08 04:00PST (07:00EST) (12:00GMT)
Anne Broache & Declan McCullagh _CNET_
How tech savvy are people in New Hampshire?
"Granite State voters are not exactly preoccupied with political skirmishes over rewriting patent law, increasing H-1B visas [described in 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)], and, of course, the throughly pressing concern of broadband regulation...   For MC, what actually matters are what he calls hot button issues like health care, education and jobs.   Even the obscure topic of prison reform is far more pressing to him than, say, worrying about web sites being blocked by AT&T...   Illegal immigration and terrorism were among [KP's] top concerns for the next president to confront...   One is SC, 37, who recently moved to Canterbury, NH.   We caught up to him after a Ron Paul speech in Nashua, where he volunteered that Internet and technology policy issues are 'really important' in his choice for the next president.   'Net neutrality is almost certainly going to continue to be an issue.', said Cohn, a web developer who's been on-line for well over a decade and even has a Usenet news-group devoted to him (yes, it's alt.fan.seth-cohn).   'It's all part of a bigger picture for me.', he added.   'If they're going to regulate the Internet, they're going to take over free speech.'   Also high on his list of priority issues is how to handle copyright and digital rights management technology.   We offered to send him a link to this article when it's published, but Cohn said not to worry: he has his own Google News alert set up for precisely this kind of situation.   They don't call Ron Paul the Internet's favorite candidate for nothing."

2008-01-08 12:09PST (15:09EST) (20:09GMT)
_Trans World News_
RFID implants linked to cancer tumors
News Target
"So far, 2K people have been implanted with VeriChip's RFID chips.   The company has identified is target market in the United States as 45M people, starting with Alzheimer's and diabetes patients."

2008-01-08 (5768 Shevat 01)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
What does it mean?
Town Hall

S&P 5001,390.19
10-year US T-Bond3.84%
crude oil$96.33/barrel

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Futures Movers" and "Metals Stocks" columns (and BigCharts and FT Interactive).


Jahfre Fire Eater _Nolan Chart_
Can Ron Paul's platform overcome the damage done by obnoxious fans?
"I will never understand how people who claim Dr. Paul's message is important to them can refuse to take their own behavior and its consequences seriously.   They think this is a game.   It is NOT.   Our liberty is at stake and these fools think that making public spectacles, shouting fear mongering slogans through a bull horn and chasing talk show hosts in the street is the way to protect our liberty?   How did people come to believe such inane tactics are productive?"

James Ostrowski _Lew Rockwell_
The good news from New Hampshire

2008-01-09 (5768 Shevat 02)
Rabbi Avi Shafran _Jewish World Review_
TMI: Information Over-Load

Paul Joseph Watson _InfoWars_
Some NH voters question why their votes for Ron Paul were not counted
"Diebold voting machines also did Congressman Paul no favors last night -- compared to hand counted ballots Giuliani gained just short of 0.5% from electronic voting whereas Paul lost over 2%, which was the difference between finishing 4th and 5th...   Mitt Romney profited the most from the Diebold swing, he received 7% more votes compared to hand counted ballots...   Zogby polling numbers had Obama leading Clinton by a whopping 42%/29%, yet Clinton eventually took the primary by 3%."

2008-01-09 (5768 Shevat 02)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Have black colleges out-lived their usefulness?

2008-01-09 (5768 Shevat 02)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Myths of 1968
"In reality, the Tet offensive was one in which the Communist guerilla movement was not only defeated in battle but was virtually annihilated as a major military force.   From there on, the job of attacking South VietNam was a job for the North VietNam army...   Think about it: More than 50K Americans gave their lives to win victories on the battle-fields of VietNam that were thrown away back in the United States by the media, by politicians and by rioters in the streets and on campuses...   the biggest losers from the 1968 riots were the black communities in which they occurred.   Many of those communities have never recovered to this day from the massive loss of businesses and jobs...   the assassin of Robert Kennedy was not an American, but an Iranian...   campus riots flourished where the authorities failed to use their authority to preserve order.   Instead, academics sought to cleverly finesse the issues with negotiations, concessions and mealy-mouthed expressions of 'understanding' of the concerns raised by campus rioters.   Many academics congratulated themselves on the eventual restoration of calm to campuses in the 1970s.   But it was the calm of surrender.   The terms of surrender included creation of whole departments devoted to ideological indoctrination."


2008-01-03 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 522,392 in the week ending Jan. 5, an increase of 10,888 from the previous week.   There were 506,059 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending Dec. 29, an increase of 0.4 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,290,775, an increase of 478,540 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 3,007,436.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Dec. 22."


2008-01-11 04:41PST (08:41EST) (13:41GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US import prices unchanged in December

2008-01-11 06:58PST (09:58EST) (14:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Trade deficit increased to $63.1G in November
BEA report

Big Bank Losses
"American stocks continue to drop, affecting the nation's largest banks.   Just today [Bank of India, formerly known as Bank of America] bought the country's biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial.   While the move makes Bank of America both the country's largest consumer bank and mortgage lender, other big banks are in trouble.   Where will it end? ABC's Betsy Stark reports."
Alistair Barr & Steve Goldstein _MarketWatch_
Bank of India to buy Countrywide for $4G in stock

_VietNam Net_
IT prosperity stifled by labor shortage, VietNam's executives claim
"Five international groups, including Intel, Renesas, Campal, Samsung and Foxcon, have decided to invest nearly US$10G in designing and manufacturing chipsets, computers, cell phones and telecom equipment in VietNam.   By 2010, the total revenue from these groups alone is expected to hit $30G...   According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Banh Tien Long, investors' biggest worry is seeking enough qualified staff in VietNam at low enough prices."

Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Favoring illegal aliens may keep candidates out of White House

S&P 5001,401.02
10-year US T-Bond3.81%
crude oil$92.90/barrel

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Futures Movers" and "Metals Stocks" columns (and BigCharts and FT Interactive).


Ron Hira _Information Week_/_CMP_/_Rochester Institute of Technology_
Employers game the system and misrepresent the key market indicators to make unfounded skills shortage claims

Monobina Gupta _Telegraph_
Joe Guzzardi _Lodi News-Sentinel_
None of the above are acceptable on immigration
"In a not-so-amazing coincidence during 2007, Obama and Clinton each cast 7 pro-amnesty [for illegal aliens] votes, supported the Dream Act and endorsed senator Dianne Feinstein's proposal that a new 'orange card' be created that would allow certain aliens to qualify for permanent residency.   In 2006, on 6 separate Senate floor actions on amendments or bills that would create amnesty, Obama and Clinton voted 'yea' for each and every one.   When it comes to importing more foreign workers, Obama and Clinton cast 11 votes during 2006-07 for measures that either would have created more permanent and temporary work visas and against a requirement that the Department of Homeland Security verify that a job shortage exists before a visa could be issued...   And Clinton has repeatedly called for an expanded H-1B program for more foreign-born workers saying last summer at the Indian Institute of Technology Conference in Santa Clara that they 'contribute greatly to our U.S. technology development'...   as far as jobs and the American worker are concerned, Obama and Clinton are the avowed enemy."

David Madland _Twin Cities Daily Planet_
American workers saw new lows at the year's end
"The increase in the unemployment rate to 5.0% in 2007 December from 4.7% in 2007 November is also the biggest one-month jump since 2001 October.   And during 2007, unemployment increased 5.0% from 4.4%, the biggest yearly increase in unemployment since 2001 December, when unemployment increased by 1.8%.   During 2007, the economy added a meager 1.3M jobs, and job growth was less than 1%.   By contrast, the economy in the late 1990s was adding 3M jobs per year and job growth was over 2.5%.   Even in 2006, also a relatively weak year for employment, job growth was 1.7%, the economy added 2.3M jobs, and unemployment decreased 0.4%."

  "No matter how difficult they may be, the good times are right now.   These moments will never pass our way again.   We must grasp them, elevate them, sanctify them and store them away forever." --- R. Naftali Reich Torah.org  



2008-01-13 09:14PST (12:14EST) (17:14GMT)
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
New ideas may test voters
"Electronic systems are still controlversial...   Just issue elections or every decision...   Convenient, but would [voting centers] work here?...   Technological barriers in rural counties would make it all but impossible for vote centers to communicate with each other.   In 2004, election officials in more than a third of Kentucky counties did not have a personal computer.   Voters want to cast ballots in a 24/7 world...   Brunner's proposal would use vote centers to expand early voting to dozens of locations around the county: 80 vote centers in Hamilton County, 35 in Butler, 19 in Clermont and 18 in Warren.   Those 4 counties now have 5 times as many voting locations.   Brunner's vote centers would be open every day for the 15 days before an election -- 07:00 to 19:00 Monday through Saturday and noon to 19:00 on Sundays...   Internet and same-day registration...   An end to [easy] straight-ticket voting...   Elections experts suspect Internet voting is in our future, but it's hard to know when."
CountyStateNumber of PrecinctsTypeVendor
HamiltonOH880paper + optical scanHart Intercivic
ClermontOH200paper + optical scanElection Systems & Software
ButlerOH166paper + optical scanDiebold
BooneKY58electronicGuardian / Hart Intercivic
KentonKY108electronicGuardian / Hart Intercivic
CampbellKY66electronicGuardian / Hart Intercivic



_New America Media_/_Korea Daily_
Koreans Want E-3 Visas
"The South Korean government is pushing the United States to create the E-3 Visa category for Korean professionals, reported the Korea Daily.   It has begun lobbying the U.S. Congress to secure an annual quota of 15K to 20K E-3 Visas.   The E-3 is a new visa category created after the ratification of Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).   It is currently available only to the citizens of Australia going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a specialty occupation.   The E-3 Visa is similar in many respects to the H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa that permits U.S. employers to seek temporary help from skilled foreigners with at least a bachelor's degree.   However, E-3 visa may allow spouses of its holders to work in U.S. with no restrictions and can be renewed indefinitely."

Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Works! Worker Displacement Down!
"From 2007 August through December Hispanics either gained jobs at lower rates, or lost jobs at greater rates, than non-Hispanics.   Over this period: National employment rose by 458K (+0.3%); Hispanic employment fell by 61K (-0.3%); non-Hispanic employment rose by 519K (+0.4%).   The past 4 months marked the longest stretch of declining native displacement in 7 years -- as seen in our VDAWDI graphic...   Although fewer than 100 of the arrestees were employers, ICE obtained more than $30M in fines, restitutions, and civil judgments against them in just the first 3 quarters of FY2007. (In FY2005 these fines totaled a laughable $6,500.)"

Robert Reich & Sona Shah _CNNFN_/_YouTube_ The Retraining Panacea: Our Kids' Future Job Opportunities Are Heading to Red China/India


Rob Sanchez _Youngstown Ohio Vindicator_
Claims that U.S. future depends on immigrants puts the "con" in Silicon Valley
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
This scare-mongering is a smoke-screen to hide Barrett's desire to increase the labor supply, thereby slashing labor costs.
High-tech industries such as Intel routinely make false claims that there are shortages of qualified Americans.   Anecdotal claims of shortages are touted in order to make the corporate case for increasing the number of H-1B visas.   Recent studies, such as one by the Urban Institute, show the United States is creating fewer high-tech jobs than the number of qualified people who are entering the workforce.
Dubious claims
Intel's claim that it can't find enough talented workers is dubious, given that Intel is eliminating thousands of jobs in locations such as New Mexico, California and Oregon.   If Intel is having such a tough time finding qualified workers, why are they firing so many workers already in their employ?
Barrett asks us to take a leap of faith when he warns that worldwide shortages of high-tech workers are endemic.   He furthers his argument by saying that Europe will win the competition to attract scarce talent when the European Union institutes a new visa called the "blue card".   Like the H-1B visa in the United States, the blue card would be a temporary guest-worker visa that indentures each worker to the employer.   Other similarities between the H-1B visa and the blue card include their not-so-subtle purpose of under-cutting and replacing more expensive domestic work-forces.   Both the blue card and H-1B visa offer temporary employment and after a set number of years a path to citizenship.
If passed, Europe would not be able to use blue cards to drain our human capital because both continents have worker gluts, not shortages.   There is an even more obvious reason none of this is likely to happen -- Europe doesn't have a blue card program yet, and it's just as likely that it never will.
European labor groups have been resisting the blue card because they don't want a fiasco like the H-1B program foisted upon them.   They argue that blue cards, like H-1Bs, would accelerate the unemployment of their own domestic high-tech work-force.   "We have 3.5M unemployed and that means that companies can find workers within Germany.", said Olaf Scholz, Germany's employment minister.   He implored employers to hire their own people instead of using blue cards to import foreign workers.
Here and there
Socially responsible attitudes prevalent in Europe are sadly absent in the United States, where public policy is driven by corporate agendas.   Scholz stands in stark contrast to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who justified the expansion of the H-1B program in a Parade Magazine article by blaming American workers for having lousy attitudes and saying they need anger management.
EU policy-makers face many obstacles before the blue card becomes reality.   One of the toughest is negotiating a uniform salary level among members who have large wage disparities.   As currently proposed, visa holders would be required to earn at least three times the minimum salary of each host nation.   That would work out to be about $4 an hour in Lithuania and $30 in Ireland.
Intel does not hesitate to use the corporate cliche that more employment-based visas are necessary to attract the "best and brightest" into the United States.   If Intel were sincere, its CEO wouldn't be so worried about competing with Europe for $4 per hour computer programmers.

Frederic J. Frommer _AP_/_Yahoo_
Design flaw of gusset plates was probable cause of I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis

_Ziff Davis_/_Reuters_
EMI to cut 2K jobs
"Guy Hands, previously best known for investment in waste management and pubs, on Tuesday unveiled his plan to make [EMI] more artist-driven after it was hit by online piracy, falling CD sales and a poor release schedule... recorded music division, which has some 4,500 staff of a group total of around 5,500... Terra Firma bought EMI last year..."

Chuck Baldwin _V Dare_
Ron Paul's Israel Problem
"Ron Paul is anything but a pacifist.   He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, for goodness' sake.   He believes in Ronald Reagan's 'Peace Through Strength' philosophy.   He believes in a strong military.   He believes in defending the United States.   That is not in question.   Obviously, however, Ron Paul rejects nation-building, empire-building, preemptive war, and globalism."

The inevitable collapse of the dollar

Ron Paul Predicts Total Collapse of US Dollar

Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Most H-1B visas go to Indian nationals
IT World
"[Red China] ranked a distant second, at 9%, among H-1B recipients.   The next largest group of countries, all with 3% each, were Canada, South Korea and the Philippines, the report said.   Authored by the National Science Board (NSB), which oversees the National Science Foundation, the 588-page Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 report examines the state of science and engineering training as well as the ability of the U.S. to compete globally, and includes an analysis of H-1B visa trends...   Regarding the H-1B program, this study said 51% of the approximately 110K H-1B visa recipients in 2006 were employed in computer-related occupations.   In 2002, about 25% were employed in computer-related occupations, a shift that may be indicative of the rise of off-shore out-sourcing in the U.S.   Off-shore firms are the largest users of the H-1B.   In the 2006 fiscal year, the top 3 employers of H-1B holders were India-based Infosys Technologies Ltd., at 4,908 visas; Wipro Ltd., at 4,002; and Tata Consultancy Services, at 3,046, according to data released by U.S. senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) last year...   U.S. output per worker 'increased more steeply' over the past 20 years 'than that of any other economy'...   4% of those receiving [H-1B] visas in 2006 holding a master's degree...   The starting salary for both bachelor's and master's degree holders [with H-1Bs] was [only] approximately $56K, according to the report."
from the report
"From 1994 to 2004, U.S. firms increased the number of people they employed in R&D jobs outside the United States by 76% and employment within the United States by 31%, while U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms increased their U.S. R&D employment by 18%."
class action against Tata
Tata median salaries by city
Wipro median salaries by city
Infosys median salaries by city

Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Leftists implicitly acknowledge that the so-called budget-balancing of the Clinton era was based on subterfuge and outright lie

2008-01-15 (5768 Shevat 08)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Green "Disparate Impact": Applied Economics, thinking beyond stage one
"Prior to 1970, California housing prices were very similar to housing prices in the rest of the country.   In more recent times, it has not been uncommon for California homes to cost 3 times what homes cost nationwide.   What happened in the 1970s was that severe government restrictions on building became common in coastal California.   With supply restricted and demand not restricted, it was inevitable that prices would soar beyond many people's ability to pay."


2008-01-15 17:00PST (2008-01-15 20:00EST) (2008-01-16 01:00GMT)
Vivek Wadhwa _Business Week_
High-Tech Hiring: Youth Matters
"One of the staunchest opponents of foreign worker visas is Norm Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who says careers in the programming profession are notoriously short-lived.   His research (flip to page 5 of the linked PDF) into attrition rates revealed that 5 years after finishing college, only 57% of computer science graduates were working as programmers; at 15 years the figure dropped to 34%, and at 20 years—when most were still only age 42—it was down to 19%.   This was in sharp contrast to civil engineering, where careers lasted much longer.   Matloff says age discrimination is rampant in the tech industry and the importation of foreign workers into the U.S. facilitates this.   I know from my days as a [bodyshopper] that finding good engineering talent in the U.S. is always difficult...   Some can only afford to hire young, inexperienced workers, while others can pick and choose.   But age is still the issue."

Larry Dignan _Ziff Davis_
Rogue Monsters to Marry: Privacy opponent Oracle buying body shop BEA Sysems for $8.5G

Larry Dignan _Ziff Davis_
Privacy opponent Sun is acquiring MySQL AB for $800M in cash & $200M in options

Nich Heath _Ziff Davis_/_Silicon.com_
FBI tries to sell biometric privacy violation scheme in the UK
"the FBI is spending $1G to develop the world's largest centralized biometrics data-base...   U.S. defense company Northrop Grumman, which built the Ident1 system, also confirmed it had spoken to the FBI about the server-in-the-sky data-base."

Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Poking holes in the whacko veteran myth

James Carlini _Midwest Business Technology News_
Predictions for 2008 Economy
Wisconsin Technology Network
"Leading-edge organizations do not maintain their position using trailing-edge technology...   People are losing good jobs in America.   That's a fact.   Good jobs that require degrees and technical background are being lost to other countries' cheaper labor...   These are not jobs that 'no one wants'.   These jobs were good-paying careers.   So where are these jobs going?   Why are we -- the United States of America -- giving away knowledge and technology that would keep many people gainfully employed?   There is also evidence that some universities are shifting their focus on preparing foreign students instead of American students...   In a government security meeting back in 2001, Michael Pillsbury of the National Defense University addressed the U.S. China Security Review Commission and pointed out: 'We have very few people who can read Chinese who work on Chinese security matters and close to none who can actually read a newspaper or an article published by the [Red Chinese] military or a [Red Chinese] government think tank.   We have almost no one in our government and almost no one in the university sector who can do that...   it's the heart of Deng Xiaoping theory.   It is that science and technology from the outside is the prime force of production, the prime way out for [Red China] of its poverty and its weakness.   Now, the National Science Foundation and other parts of the U.S. government have 13 agreements where we essentially provide science and technology almost for free to the [Red Chinese] scientific community.'...   Economists have to examine the whole concept of under-employment rather than just unemployment in the U.S.A.   Unemployment numbers are meaningless and not reflective of buying power and household sustainability.   The true measure of what's taking place is the amount of people who have slipped in salaries from between $80K and $120K to between $30K and $45K due to down-sizing, out-sourcing and lay-offs.   One IT person who is contracting today says he is making 20% less than on his previous contract in 2007.   Another commented: 'At least you have a contract.'   Plus, oil has doubled in a year and the devaluation of the dollar is around 40%...   The whole concept that there's a shortage of IT professionals is completely wrong.   From an economic standpoint, if there was a real shortage wouldn't wages for IT people be sky-rocketing up and not spinning down?   That, of course, is the law of supply and demand.   If there was a real shortage, software developers, data-base administrators and others would be well into a 6-figure range of salaries comparable to doctors and getting a lot of perks instead of bargaining for cheap hourly rates with no benefits.   The reality is that we have had labor dumping in the U.S.A.   Many high-tech jobs with decent salaries have been diluted because thousands of people have been imported into the U.S.A.   They have not gone home after the NASDAQ crash.   Instead, companies increased the cheap labor and replaced more highly paid American workers with them.   Other professions are starting to see job erosion as more H-1B and L-1 visas are being allotted."

Alexi Mostrous & David Brown _Times of London_
M$ is seeking a patent for system to spy on employees
"The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism.   The system would allow managers to monitor employees' performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure.   Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer's assessment of their physiological state."
Privacy links

Lou Dobbs _You Tube_/_Oxonian Society_/_FORA.tv_
Problems with the US immigration system and trade

2008-01-16 (5768 Shevat 09)
Andrew Silow-Carroll _Jewish World Review_
Ms. magazine and facts about the Middle East
"You'd have to see the ad to understand how innocuous it is.   It features head shots of the speaker of the Knesset, the minister of Foreign Affairs, and the president of the Supreme Court, women all, and three simple words: 'This is Israel.'   Ms. rejected the ad..."

2008-01-16 (5768 Shevat 09)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Tyranny Update


2008-01-17 04:53PST (07:53EST) (12:53GMT)
Jeanna Bryner _LiveScience_
Desire for violence is wired into mammalian rewards system
"The new study, detailed online this week in the journal Psychopharmacology, reveals the same clusters of brain cells involved in other rewards are also behind the craving for violence...   Craig Kennedy, professor of special education and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee [said]'We have found that the reward pathway in the brain becomes engaged in response to an aggressive event and that dopamine is involved...   an individual will intentionally seek out an aggressive encounter solely because they experience a rewarding sensation from it.'...   'Aggression is highly conserved in vertebrates in general and particularly in mammals.', Kennedy told LiveScience.   'Almost all mammals are aggressive in some way or another.'   He added, 'It serves a really useful evolutionary role probably, which is you defend territory; you defend your mate; if you're a female, you defend your off-spring.'"

2008-01-17 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 547,637 in the week ending Jan. 12, an increase of 26,357 from the previous week.   There were 506,709 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% during the week ending Jan. 5, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,513,647, an increase of 243,790 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,122,227.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Dec. 29."

Angeline J. Taylor _Tallahassee Demagogue & Cage-Liner_/_Gannett_
Felonious State University considering laying off 218 faculty and staff

_West Coast Program on Science & Engineering Workers_
The H-1B Program and Labor Certification: Attestation and PERM
"This seminar focuses on the current processes by which both temporary workers and immigrants are admitted to fill US jobs in science and engineering.   The H-1B program uses an 'attestation' admissions process, meaning employers [make assertions] about wages and working conditions.   With such attestations, approval for hiring H-1B workers is almost automatic [actually being carried out by software with no investigation], provided visas are available.   By contrast, securing an employment-related immigration visa usually requires 'labor certification', which generally requires evidence of [going through the motions] to recruit US workers [USA citizens &/or green-card grantees].   PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) is a relatively new and expedited labor certification process.   The background paper will review attestation and certification and focus on recent changes and current issues.   The government participants will explore the impacts of recent changes, and representative Zoe Lofgren will explain the status of legislation that would change the H-1B program.   The researchers panel will explore the impacts of these processes on immigrants and US workers, and the industry panel will address employer and worker concerns."

Nick Carey _Reuters_
wealthy are given an out when foreclosure looms
"Unlike sub-prime borrowers, however, wealthy home owners are more likely to try to cut a deal with their lender, rather than end up in foreclosure.   The alternative solution available to them is to opt for a short sale.   Under a short sale agreement, the borrower sells below the mortgage value and the lender writes off the difference.   The lender gets less than originally anticipated, but is not stuck with a foreclosed property.   The borrower's credit rating is damaged, but not as badly as if they had lost the home.   'You won't see many foreclosed homes here because that would involve public embarrassment.', Prudential Homelife Realty's Sodikoff said.   'But they will call their realtor and get them to quietly broker a deal to get out of their homes.'"

Jane Chastain _World Net Daily_
Have candidates and voters lost their minds?

2008-01-17 12:31PST (15:31EST) (20:31GMT)
Mike Allen _Politico_
reporter challenges Romney over lobbyists on his campaign team
"'I don't have lobbyists running my campaign.', Romney said. 'I don't have lobbyists that are tied to my...'   Glen Johnson, an Associated Press reporter who was sitting on the floor as he typed on his lap-top computer, interrupted to point out that Ron Kaufman, one of Romney's top advisers, is a lobbyist...   Kaufman, a long-time friend of the Romney family, is chairman of the executive committee of Dutko Worldwide, a well-connected lobbying and public affairs firm.   He is the Republican National Committeeman for Massachusetts and was White House personnel and political director under President George H.W. Bush."
Romney counts lobbyists among fund-raisers
Two other lobbyists working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign
Two other lobbyists working on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are Al Cardenas, a partner at the Tew Cardenas law firm, and Eric Tanenblatt, senior managing director for McKenna Long & Aldridge.

_University of South Carolina Daily Gamecock_
Ron Paul's broad appeal sets him above rivals
"The doctor-turned-congressman is a political maverick, but with the country mired in a war and trillions of dollars in debt, a maverick might be just what the doctor ordered.   We chose Ron Paul for his broad appeal to both liberals and conservatives, his convictions and the tenacity with which he holds them and his immense following among young people, which, despite his age, is unmatched by any other Republican candidate.This is Paul's second run at the White House; in 1988 he ran as a Libertarian, coming in third in the popular vote behind George H.W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis.   Since then, as ABC's Charlie Gibson said at a Jan. 5 debate, 'The only thing [he's] changed is [his] party.'...   Paul has been shockingly consistent.   He has never voted to raise taxes, nor has he voted for an unbalanced budget.   It's also important to note that Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party who voted against authorizing the use of force in Iraq."

today in history
"In 1893, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, died in Fremont, Ohio, at age 70.   In 1893, Hawaii's monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.   In 1917, the United States paid Denmark $25M for the Virgin Islands.   In 1945, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.   In 1961, in his farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the rise of 'the military-industrial complex'.   In 1966, a U.S. Air Force B-52 carrying 4 unarmed hydrogen bombs crashed on the Spanish coast.   (Three of the bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth wasn't recovered until April.)   In 1994, a 6.7 magnitude earth-quake struck Southern California, killing at least 72 people.   In 1995, more than 6K people were killed when an earth-quake with a magnitude of 7.2 devastated the city of Kobe, Japan."

2008-01-17 (5768 Shevat 10)
Jeff Jacoby _Jewish World Review_
Death of the Bush Doctrine


Phyllis Schlafly _World Net Daily_
It's still the economy
Bend Weekly
Town Hall
Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Bulletin

Colleen Slevin _AP_/_Longmont Times Call_
County elections clerks want all-mail ballot after machine problems were found
Pueblo Chieftain
Colorado Springs Gazette
"Most of the state's machines were decertified last month by Secretary of State Mike Coffman because of security and accuracy issues, although law-makers have fast-tracked a bill that would allow him to retest the machines after they under-go software upgrades and other fixes."

2008-01-18 08:13PST (11:13EST) (16:13GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
Conference Board's leading economic indicators for USA show widespread weakness

2008-01-18 08:36PST (11:36EST) (16:36GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 75.5 in December to 80.5 in mid-January
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis

David Brooks _Nashua Telegraph_
Election officials shrug off criticisms of voting machines
"'I am not saying any fraud occurred, I'm just saying that we don't know... because our votes are counted in secret by a private corporation and nobody can trust the system.   We cannot believe the outcome.', said Nancy Tobi, of Milford, who has been raising concerns about the machines for several years as part of a group called the New Hampshire Fair Elections Committee.   'Citizen oversight and checks and balances are completely missing in the current system.', Tobi said.   '81% of (the state's) votes are counted by a private corporation in secret.   That's the problem, that's the issue which needs to be changed.'   The issue flared up last week when, soon after the Jan. 8 primary, an online poster at www.checkthevotes.com analyzed results and found that senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, did several percentage points better in communities that used AccuVote machines than in communities that counted ballots by hand."

2008-01-18 10:22PST (13:22EST) (18:22GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _MarketWatch_
Sprint Nextel lost 683K customers, to cut 4K jobs

2008-01-18 10:55PST (13:55EST) (18:55GMT)
William L. Watts & Lisa Twaronite _MarketWatch_
the euro was at $1.4618, down from $1.4670 Thursday but off a session low of $1.4602. Against the yen, the dollar was at 106.79, down from 107.02 yen on Thursday. Overnight, the dollar fell as low as 106.43 yen.

Greg Schultz _Ziff Davis_/_Tech Republic_
How to convert an internal disk drive into an exernal drive

Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
1971 Redux
"Recessions occur when production in excess of [or, in the case of mal-investment, skew from] real under-lying demand can no longer be floated on excess money availability.   When that happens, businesses find themselves with costs out of line with what the market will pay for their goods.   Prices of goods have to be cut (witness the sharp declines in prices of new and old homes) in order to clear out excess inventories.   To bring costs down low enough to make a profit at the new lower market prices, businesses have to lay off excess workers and cut wages and other costs."

2008-01-18 (5768 Shevat 11)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Primary dilemmas
"What is wrong with this year's candidates?   The short answer is that most of the Republicans are questionable and all 3 leading Democrats are dangerous...   While Barack Obama and John Edwards have been irresponsible demagogues, the Clintons have a record of lawless and ruthless corruption that goes back not only to their White House days in the 1990s but even back to their time in the governors' mansion in Arkansas.   Nor is this simply a matter of domestic politics.   It was Bill Clinton who ignored the advice of military and intelligence officials when he gave [Red China] the technology that can be used to enable their nuclear missiles to hit American cities.   It was Bill Clinton who gave the North Koreans help on their nuclear program in exchange for promises that have -- predictably -- proved worthless.   This was just one of the dangerous problems that he swept under the rug and left for his successor.   People like this are not to be trusted with the highest office in the land in an era when Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons that can easily be turned over to international terrorists."

S&P 5001,325.19
10-year US T-Bond3.65%
crude oil$90.57/barrel

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Futures Movers" and "Metals Stocks" columns (and BigCharts and FT Interactive).


  "Though we all crave security and a sense of an assured tomorrow there really is no sure way to achieve that." --- R. Berel Wein Torah.org  



Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Sloan West Coast Program on STEM Workers
A new program, the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers, held its first conference yesterday with a focus on H-1B at my campus, UC Davis.   The organizer was Phil Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at UCD who has done extensive research on immigration for many years.   It was a very interesting and enjoyable day.
You can see a list of speakers.   In most cases, links are provided to the speakers' presentations.   But of course the interaction of the speakers and attendees was the most interesting portion, and I'll give a summary here of what I regard as the high points.
The morning began with a welcome address by Barry M. Klein, Vice Chancellor for Research at UCD.   Not surprisingly, Klein gave a spirited "It's a flat world after all" speech.   He even claimed that the venture capitalists prefer to fund immigrant entrepreneurs, as the latter are thriftier with their money. :-)
That was followed by 3 presentations on employer violations of H-1B law.   As many readers of this e-news-letter know, this area is less interesting to me, as actual violation of the law is quite rare, with the real problem being massive employer usage of major loop-holes in the law.   But the talks were good, including one by the author of the oft-cited 2006 GAO report, which found (to no one's surprise) that violation of the law is indeed rare.   (See my commentary on that report.)
It was my turn next.   Other than reviewing some earlier studies, my main focus was on the industry lobbyists' claim that most H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest" engineers and programmers needed to keep America innovative.
First I extended John Miano's LCA analysis in his 2007 CIS paper.   He had shown that among the LCAs, the applications submitted by employers seeking permission to hire an H-1B, the vast majority were for the lower 2 of the 4 wage/experience levels defined by DOL.
My analysis was on the PERM data, which differs in various ways from LCAs.   In the LCA data, each record typically corresponds to a real worker, but it may not.   By contrast, in PERM, the data for the labor certification process involved in employer-sponsored green cards, each record is definitely for a particular worker.   As I've explained before, statistically speaking, this is not really an issue, but since this technical point has been stressed by the industry in its critique of John's LCA analysis, it was important to show similar patterns exist in PERM, and I did show this.
In addition, the PERM data show the nationality of the worker, which turns out to be of significance.
Here are the points I made:

  1. The vast majority of workers, 70% or so (somewhat more for some occupations, somewhat less for others) are in either Level I (defined by DOL as "routine tasks... limited if any exercise of judgment") or Level II ("modestly complex tasks requiring limited judgment"). Clearly, MOST ARE NOT HIRED AS INNOVATORS.

  3. Contrary to the industry's claim that they import workers from Asia because "Johnny can't do math", the only countries with large percentages of Level IV workers -- the real experts -- are Canada and the UK.

Of course, the fact that most of the workers are at the two lowest levels also means that they are cheap.   A couple of the people in the audience (one was the immigration lawyer who spoke later, and the other was a researcher who generally takes a pro-industry point of view) didn't understand this.   They said, "Well, many of the H-1Bs are hired from U.S. university campuses, so naturally they're young.   That's normal."
Of course, they had it exactly backwards -- it's not that the industry wants students, who happen to be young, but rather that the industry wants the young (thus cheap), who happen to be students.
Then I addressed the question of "the best and the brightest" directly, by looking at the ratio of actual wage paid to the prevailing wage.   After all, if the industry's claims are true -- that the H-1Bs are mostly outstanding talents and they are paid market wages -- then their wages should be way above prevailing wage, right?
So, I looked at the median of these ratios.   Remember, a ratio of 1.00 means that the employers are not paying above prevailing wage at all, i.e. no "genius premium" whatsoever.   The results were rather striking:
  1. The median over the entire PERM set was 1.02.   IOW, most employers are paying either prevailing wage or only a tiny bit above it.   These workers ain't geniuses, folks.
  2. Broken down by occupation, the corresponding values for software engineers and programmers were 1.02 and 1.01.   Again, this demolishes the industry's "best and brightest" claim.   The value for electrical engineers, 1.10, is a bit higher, but still not indicating that most of these people are Einsteins.
  3. I broke things down by country here too, and again it turned out that Canada and the UK -- not India and [Red China] -- are the ones sending us the people of above-average talent (though not Einsteins there either).

It's interesting that the immigration lawyer, Lisa Spiegel (see below), who of course greatly extolled the virtues of the H-1B program, actually seemed to accept my analysis debunking the "best and brightest" myth.   She said several times, both when I spoke and later in her own talk, "OK, let's forget about best and brightest.   But we need these people."
After lunch, Jack Trumpbour of Harvard SEWP gave an interesting and entertaining talk on former H-1Bs who have returned to India or [Red China].
One interesting point he made was that it's a lot easier for the Indians to go home than the Chinese, if kids are involved.   The Chinese kids just don't have the skills in written Chinese needed to survive in school back in [Red China], so the parents are very reluctant to return.
One interesting point of contention arose when Jack quoted managers of U.S. firms operating in [Red China] as saying that while the Chinese workers would take advantage of training courses offered by the firms, their American workers were rarely interested.   Well, there it is again, that old "American slacker" canard (not Messenger Jack's fault, of course).
Kim Berry of the Programmer's Guild vigorously disputed this, saying that he had always grabbed the chance to get training, and everyone he knew did the same.   After some discussion, it turned out that those U.S. managers in [Red China] and Kim were talking about different things, with Kim saying he always took advantage of technical training, say in the C# programming language, while the managers Jack quoted were talking about courses in project management skills such as Six Sigma.
(I myself think Six Sigma and the like have little value.   OTOH, I don't think formal course training in programming languages is needed either; a good programmer can learn on his own, as long as he has someone to consult regarding the "gotchas" when they arise occasionally.)
Then Lindsay Lowell gave a two-part talk, first on his recent study for the Urban Institute (see my postings on that excellent work: article 1 and article 2), and then on a regression analysis he did on foreign worker data.   I'm not sure what to make of that latter one, as it found only a weak relationship (R-squared of 0.09) and likely has a hyper-aggregation issue.   Hopefully he will come out with a full paper on this work and I'll be able to comment more.
Lisa Spiegel, the immigration lawyer, gave a presentation consisting almost entirely of Stuart Anderson's talking points.   As I've mentioned about Anderson before:
Anderson has been Mr. H-1B for years.   In 1997 Fall he wrote the pivotal report for the ITAA which that lobbying group used to convince Congress to enact the first major H-1B increase in 1998.   In 2000 he then became a staffer for then-Senator Spencer Abraham, and in that position Anderson authored the second major H-1B expansion enacted by Congress.   When Abraham's bid for re-election failed that year (in part because of Abraham's support of H-1B), Anderson then went to a top position in the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Anderson is constantly cited by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and its foundation, AILF, and presumably gets his funding from them and/or from the industry, as he did with the ITAA lobbying group.   I've shown before why Anderson's various claims are incorrect or misleading, and thus won't go into it here.
I asked Lisa about her point that [one-quarter] of high-tech start-ups are founded by immigrants.   Since there are so many immigrants in the field, it should be no surprise that there are a lot of immigrant entrepreneurs, but the per-capita rates of entrepreneurships are almost identical for immigrants and natives.   (The native rate is slightly higher.)   I noted that 30% of America's small motels are owned by Indian immigrants, but that that certainly doesn't mean that without Indians we wouldn't have motels.   Her reply was, "Well, where did YOUR family come from?"
Jeff Wheeler, the guy from Intel, had an odd speaking style, and seemed to be evading questions, quite a disappointment though not such a surprise.
Kim Berry of the Programmer's Guild gave a really outstanding talk.   I had seen his slides earlier, and they were fine, but his delivery greatly enhanced the content.   Here was a real victim, speaking calmly yet with contained anger at the fact that all our respected institutions -- both major political parties, the business community and academia -- are complicit in maintaining that sham known as H-1B.   His account of hiring decision meetings in which he participated, in which qualified American applicants were repeatedly rejected in favor of H-1Bs, ought to have been video-taped; his speech would have been just as effective as the Cohen & Grigsby [seminar which was posted on YouTube].
Stan Sorscher wrapped it up with some dramatic graphs and some excellent food for thought concerning the growing divergence between investors and the public, between the upper 5% income class and the middle class (and the lower 5%) and so on.
Representative Zoe Lofgren was a no-show.   I had been skeptical from the moment I learned she was on the agenda as to whether she'd actually show up, as I'd seen her weasel out before.   Once she was supposed to be on a PBS TV broadcast on H-1B.   At first she enthusiastically accepted the producer's invitation, but the producer told me that when she learned the next day that I would be on the panel with her, she told him, "Then I can't participate."   When the producer asked why, she replied, "Because we don't think he's credible" -- an odd, and of course transparent, excuse to give.   Yes, there was a snow-storm in the East yesterday, and that could have been the real obstacle (Lofgren was coming from Des Moines, but the entire air travel system was probably affected).   But I really don't think she ever intended to show up.
All in all, it was very good conference, and I look forward to the future events in the series.
Kim Berry's account of the event

Mary Ellen Slayter _Washington Post_
Dreams of academe? First, a course in reality
"U.S. universities may be bursting at the seams with students, but budget-conscious administrations are filling out their payrolls with often poorly paid adjuncts and instructors -- not the relatively well-paid, tenured jobs that once characterized the profession and to which many intellectuals aspire. 'Going to graduate school to become a college professor is much more of a crapshoot.', said Blinde, 31, who earned a doctorate in English in 2006 from the University of California at Los Angeles. She applied for 50 jobs and went through 10 interviews before landing the Randolph-Macon position, which was her only offer."

Steve Sailer _V Dare_
Main-Stream Media Refuse To Ask Obama the Tough Questions They Ask Others
"My suggestion: the candidate should be challenged to sit down for a televised 90-minute interview with Shelby Steele."

Justin Pope _AP_/_WRAL NC_
Universities Over-Produce PhDs
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Michigan Live
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Centre PA Daily Times
San Diego Union-Tribune
San Jose Mercury News
"In its report last month, a 30-member commission called for New York's state (SUNY) and city (CUNY) systems to alleviate the over reliance on adjuncts by hiring 2K more full-time faculty for their 87 campuses.   But just one page away, the report also called for adding at least 4K new doctoral students...   In many fields, there are already too many Ph.Ds awarded for the full-time academic posts available, creating a surplus of likely job-seekers.   That pool becomes adjuncts, who command wages and benefits so low that universities find them irresistible hires.   'It's not uncommon to have a disconnect like this in higher education, in which people are both concerned about the difficult career prospects being faced by recent Ph.D. graduates and concerned there aren't enough Ph.D. students.', said Michael Teitelbaum, of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation...   The national average for full-time assistant professors is about $60K, and $100K once they get tenure...   Teitelbaum testified to Congress last year, there is no evidence of a shortage of scientists and engineers -- particularly on the Ph.D. track.   In the life sciences, the U.S. is awarding twice as many doctorates as 2 decades ago, but has no more faculty jobs, according to one recent study that prompted the journal Nature to editorialize that 'too many graduate schools may be preparing too many students'.   A 1998 National Research Council made much the same warning...   The latest federal data show about 45,600 Ph.Ds were awarded in 2005-2006, 5.1% higher than the year before...   Faculty like having graduate students around...   But funding usually leads to more slots for graduate students, not for professors.   That's why the percentage of science Ph.D.s moving on to 'post-docs' (temporary university posts where they do research while continuing to apply for faculty jobs) is surging -- from 43% to 70% in physics, for instance, in just a few years."

Melanie K. Wooten _View from 1776_
The Fallacy of Aztlan


Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Mal-Adjusted Managed Economies

Brian Athey, PhD & Lesley Stone, JD _Scientists & Engineers for America_
SEA's Tools Engage Scientists and Engineers in Elections and Public Policy

Susie Madrak _Suburban Guerrilla_
Highly Skilled and Out of Work

Keith Lockitch _Ayn Rand Institute_
Poor countries don't need "climate change" welfare, they need capitalism

2008-01-21 (5768 Shevat 14)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
The Almost-Poor


Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Why Trying to Use Tax Rebates to Break Out of Recession Is Delusional

2008-01-22 06:35PST (09:35EST) (14:35GMT)
Michael A. Fletcher _Dallas Morning News_
Experienced and white collar workers are likely to remain unemployed for a long time as the Clinton-Bush economic depression stretches on
"In November, almost 1.4M people -- about 1 in 5 of those unemployed -- had been jobless for at least 27 weeks, when unemployment benefits end for most recipients.   That is about twice the level of long-term unemployment before the 2001 recession.   The long-term unemployment is growing most rapidly among white-collar and college-educated workers with long work experience, studies have found...   A 2004 study found that workers who lost a job in 2001 to 2003 took an average pay cut of 17% in their new jobs, more than double the average cut of those displaced in the late 1990s."

Chad Perrin _Ziff Davis_/_Tech Republic_
How to spoof a media access control address

2008-01-22 10:17PST (13:17EST) (18:17GMT)
Geoff Colvin _Fortune_
Global Depression
"As long as [US citizens'] home equity looked like a piggy bank and their pay-checks looked solid, they just kept buying, and America's economic engine just kept turning...   With the home-equity ATM closed and pay-checks looking iffy [after nearly 3 decades of massive lay-offs and the shift to bodyshopping], it seems consumers have finally been forced to put the credit cards back in their wallets...   For a majority of Americans, the most significant fact of globalization is the advent of a large-scale global labor market.   Millions of people around the world can now compete for millions of U.S. jobs.   Never mind that the number of jobs that actually get out-sourced is relatively small.   What matters is the mere presence of those lower-priced workers.   They hold down the pay of high-priced Americans and constantly entice employers everywhere to create new jobs over there rather than here.   Thus, the problem isn't so much jobs being sent abroad but jobs that never show up here at all."

Tom Espiner _Ziff Davis_
CIA said that a cyber-attack caused black-out in multiple cities

Leslie Thatcher _truthout_
What Was Actually Happening While You Led a Life
"And Baker makes clear it was not 'The Market', but government policy in trade, immigration, macroeconomic policy, labor-management rules, regulation of communications, and other industries that effectively weakened the earning power and the economic security of workers in the middle and the bottom ranks, with an unquestionable cumulative impact of massively redistributing income to the top, without any conclusive increase in economic efficiency."

Justin Fielding _Ziff Davis_/_Tech Republic_
Utility companies are too well connected

2008-01-22 (5768 Shevat 15)
Rabbi Avi Shafran _Jewish World Review_
Lions in winter

2008-01-22 (5768 Shevat 15)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Dangerous Demagoguery: Let's do what the politicians hope that we will never do -- stop and think
"The time is long over-due for voters to demand specifics instead of rhetoric that turns their emotions on and their minds off."


Charles Cooper _Ziff Davis_/_CNET_
Take your tech depression and stuff it said Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
"over 70% of our product goes international.   We're not seeing a lot of slow-down anywhere international, either in Asia or Europe, which are both very strong for us...   I've got to blame myself.   I took a real hard look after last March and I cut.   I stopped all hiring, I started cutting programs... I put a lot of churn in the organization that basically spent 3 months doing stuff that we didn't even use.   Then the whole industry turned and was doing a lot better and we had to do a lot of scrambling.   But it wasn't like our engineers got dumb.   Maybe I got dumb...   The power in a note-book -- the storage is less than 10% of the total power used.   So you can't make a lot of power savings with the solid state or hybrid, and in fact we can make within a minute or 2 with a hybrid the same power usage.   We can cache the operating system to a hybrid, to a solid-state chip on the drive, and we can get the boot-up time fairly close to what you could get with a solid state...   Our biggest issue, or one of the big issues, is the H-1B and this whole immigration thing, about getting green cards to people who will get Ph.D.s from our universities.   My frustration with the Republican party is they've been so focused on the immigration issue as relates to the border, with Mexico, that we're hurting ourselves in training these Ph.D.s.   I mean, 60% of our Ph.D.s last year were foreign-born; we train them and we send them all back home [and fully employ only about half of US citizens with PhDs].   The problem I have with that is that we're out-sourcing our most important talent."

_Ziff Davis_/_CNET_/_Reuters_
Apple senior executives get bonuses, Steve Jobs paid a total $1
"'In fiscal year 2007, Mr. Jobs' entire compensation consisted of his $1 annual salary.', Apple said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.   'Because Mr. Jobs' continued leadership is critical to the company, the Compensation Committee is considering additional compensation arrangements for him.', the maker of the iPod said...   For 2007, salaries for Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer were unchanged from the year before, at about $700K and $600K, respectively, but both got bonuses equal to their pay...   Jobs, whose annual base salary has been $1 since 1997, currently holds about 5.5M shares of Apple common stock."

Lisa Napoli & Kai Ryssdal _National Socialist Television_
All the work, none of the benefits: Body shopping
"Cathy Ruckelshaus of the National Employment Law Project: 'There's huge savings that employers enjoy by constructing these structures.   They save a lot on health insurance.   They can also save on worker's comp insurance.   They can save on unemployment insurance.   They can save on a lot of work-place protection and benefits laws that only pertain to employees.'...   Something similar happened at M$.   Late in the year 2000 the software giant agreed to pay $97M to settle a class action law-suit brought by thousands of workers employed as 'permatemps'.   They were angry they didn't get benefits that staffers received.   Marcus Courtney of the Washington Alliance of Technical Workers (WashTech): 'The workers that worked and built the buildings at M$ had better benefits than the contractors that were making the products.'   That's Marcus Courtney with WashTech, an alliance formed a decade ago by M$ contract workers.   He says since the M$ case the number of permalancers has grown.   Marcus Courtney: 'It's not illegal.   It's for companies to hire permalancers and pay them lower wages and fewer benefits than a direct employee.'   Courtney says to stay within the letter of the law many companies lay off permalancers every so often to show they aren't full-time employees.   Sara Horowitz founded the FreeLancers Union.   It's an advocacy group for independent workers that lets them buy insurance that they can't get at their jobs.   Over the past 5 years her membership has grown."

Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Private Philanthropy Is Bad for Socialism

2008-01-23 (5768 Shevat 16)
Frank J. Gaffney _Jewish World Review_

2008-01-23 (5768 Shevat 16)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Sub-Prime Bail-Out

2008-01-23 (5768 Shevat 16)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Dangerous Demagoguery part 2
"The University of Michigan Panel Survey on Income Dynamics showed that, among people who were in the bottom 20% income bracket in 1975, only 5% were still in that category in 1991.   Nearly 6 times as many of them were now in the top 20% in 1991."


2008-01-24 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 408,333 in the week ending Jan. 19, a decrease of 141,509 from the previous week.   There were 367,583 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending Jan. 12, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,276,089, a decrease of 231,990 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,925,963.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Jan. 5."

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
M$ lets the cat out of the bag on the age issue
[Concerning] Vivek Wadhwa's latest column [in Business Week], on the difficulty that older (i.e. 40+) programmers and engineers have in getting work in their field.   (I'll refer to this as age discrimination below, but as you'll see, it's just as much a price issue as it is fear of the gray-beards.)   As he says, it is a subject on which I feel strongly, as I have always stressed the point that H-1B is really about AGE.   The employers want to hire the younger, i.e. cheaper, H-1Bs instead of the older, i.e. more expensive, Americans.
For whatever reason -- and I have no idea what it is -- my point about age often simply doesn't register.   Just last Friday, for instance, at the Sloan conference on H-1B, an official with the California state employment office said to me, "I don't know why you're saying your students aren't getting jobs.   My daughter's fiance', a new graduate, got a really nice job offer."   I replied, "I made no statements about new graduates in my talk.   On the contrary, if you'll recall, what I kept saying repeatedly was that the core of the H-1B issue is that the visa is used as a tool for age discrimination, that young H-1Bs are being hired in lieu of older Americans."   Well, I can hardly blame that state bureaucrat for not getting it, when a lot of the programmer/engineer activists against H-1B don't understand the role of age either.
I put M$ in the Subject line of this message, and I'll get to that presently.   But first, I want to address that well-worn excuse given by the industry lobbyists, that the reason older programmers and engineers can't get work is that their skills are out of date.   Of course, this is in fact true in some cases, but it is patently false in general.
I go into the skills issue in great detail, a dozen pages or so, in University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform article (pdf), showing that the skills issue is just a pretext for avoiding the older workers.   But if you want a sound bite answer, try this: Just look at the numerous instances in which firms, some of them well-known ones like the [Bank of India], have admitted that they laid off Americans and replaced them with H-1Bs or L-1s -- and then forced the Americans to TRAIN their foreign replacements.   It should be clear to anyone that it was the H-1Bs/L-1s who lacked the skill sets, not the Americans.
Here is a better answer, not a sound bit but one that sheds much more light:   Even if the 40-year-old programmer does have the latest skills, he is too expensive, period.   Here's an example from another article of mine, linked to by Vivek's piece [in Business Week], referring the mother of all "shortage studies", the 1997 ITAA report:
In fact, the industry's claim that the older workers' problems were due to skills deficits can be seen to be disingenuous in other ways.   Consider a report by the Information Technology Association of America [ITAA], one of the leading organizations lobbying for H-1B increases.   The report complained that, while older programmers and engineers could be retrained, this made them flight risks:
"You take a $45K asset, spend some time and money training him, and suddenly he's turned into an $80K asset.", says Mary Kay Cosmetics CIO Trey Bradley...[the problem being that the retrained workers] become highly marketable individuals... attractive to other employers.
It is clear that Bradley was not willing to pay the salaries paid by other firms.   The real issue was money, not skills.

Jim Bennett, the person in Vivek's article, got another job after retraining, but he's the exception, and by the way, note that the job he got in the end was basically in sales and marketing, not in engineering.   Good for Jim Bennett, but Pete Bennett in the Bay Area could not even get that.
Jim Bennett works for M$ (and may well have been suggested by them as an example for the article, as their poster boy for the industry claim that the older people would get jobs if only they kept their skills up to date).   That brings me to the title of my posting here, "M$ lets the cat out of the bag on the age issue."
Here is the key passage:
M$ is known for the high quality of its hires [and the low quality of its products].   Senior Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer David Vaskevitch...acknowledges that the vast majority of M$ hires are young, but that is because older workers tend to go into more senior jobs and there are fewer of those positions to begin with.
Vaskevitch didn't know it, but he has now revealed the dirty little secret -- careers in software development are short.   "THERE ARE FEWER OF THOSE POSITIONS TO BEGIN WITH."   That's it in a nut-shell, folks!   The industry just doesn't have many jobs for the 40-year-olds.   The industry has devolved into a situation in which the industry PLANS [industry executives plan] to squeeze the older software developers out of the business, by having a very narrow jobs funnel at the Senior Software Engineer level.
And what ENABLES the employers to do this?   The answer: H-1B.   This is what underlies all the shortage shouting.   The employers want to have a large supply of young workers, who are 40% cheaper on average.   (That figure is for young Americans; young H-1Bs are even cheaper still.)   BCIS data show that the computer-related H-1Bs in general have a median age of 27.4.
And for those of you who might say, "Well, isn't this true in general, that there aren't many jobs for people after age 40 in most professions?", just look at my civil engineering example that Vivek cites.   The fact is that in the old days software developers had longer careers too.   But then India decided that its niche would be software, exporting programmers to the U.S. [and using those guest-workers to funnel the work back to India], and the rest is history.   If India had decided to go for the civil engineering labor market, then we'd see the impact there too.
Ann All: IT Business Edge: interview with Norm Matloff on Tech industry, H-1B visas and age discrimination

Thomas Brewton & Bill Wilby _View from 1776_
A Money Manager Views the Fed and the Dollar

Jane Chastain _World Net Daily_
Candidates as Barbie-dolls and GI Joe dolls

"Margaret" _Seattle Metaphysical Library_/_Programmers Guild_
Well, it depends on what you mean by "qualified".
If you mean someone who has spent thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for training, and has been working in the field for exactly 2-5 years, and knows ALL of the various platforms your business uses, and also has subject-matter experience in your line of business, and is willing to work 80 hours a week for $55K, then, yes, I can see why you might have a difficult time finding someone who can start next week and save your short-sighted butt.
If you mean one of the tens of thousands of experienced, older programmers who have been replaced by cheap, foreign labor, but who have been in the field for twenty years, and have been through several changes already, and who expects to earn a professional salary, then I question that "shortage".
Everyone who's worked in the field understands that it takes several years to become truly productive in a new development environment, and the current business practice of using contract labor, that cycles in and out in 6 months to two years, cannot be sustained on a long-term basis.
I feel like this "shortage" is the result of 2 decades of out-sourcing employees, both to off-shore production facilities, and to local contract agencies, as well as importing cheap labor to under-cut domestic workers.
I've noticed that M$ announced a $2G training and R & D development facility in India, that all major computer companies have announced the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in setting up training facilities in Asia, while American students are being asked to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that will do them good until they are maybe 35 or 40, and who will then have to get a degree in law or real estate if they want to keep earning money until they retire, 25 or 30 [or 50] years later.   The only other option for training for Americans are technical conferences which are always held in 5-star resorts that cost thousands of dollars to attend.
Talk about crying crocodile tears!   I can never tell if business reporters are shills for the race-to-the-bottom corporate greedsters, or just naïve scribes, mindlessly reporting what they've been told, by people with a (not so) hidden agenda.
You think the corporate and political leaders were ignorant of what the effects of firing tens of thousands of seasoned pros would do to the career decisions of students?   You think this is an unexpected result?
The only response is to bring in millions of guest workers, deeply in debt to the contracting agency who paid their travel expenses, and who will be tied to their employer -- right?
By the way, those imported guest workers are not paying into the Social Security system, nor the state unemployment system, which gives them a 20% cost advantage right there, but which severely threatens the fiscal health of our economy.   Those high-tech jobs were supposed to save our economy after we lost the manufacturing sector.

Bruce Schneier _Wired_
Security and Privacy Are Not Opposites
"By the same token, many of the anti-privacy 'security' measures we're seeing -- national ID cards, warrantless eaves-dropping, massive data mining and so on -- do little to improve, and in some cases harm, security.   And government claims of their success are either wrong, or against fake threats.   The debate isn't security versus privacy.   It's liberty versus control."


Thomas Brewton & George Melloan _View from 1776_
Lunch Is Still Not Free

Patrick Thibodeau _IDG_/_Computer World_
SIIA wants Congress to raise the annual cap on H-1B visas and give permanent residency to foreign nationals who graduate from U.S. colleges
InfoWold Netherlands/CMP
Network World/CMP
"But on the issue of math and science training, the Urban Institute, a non-partisan policy research and analysis group in Washington, concluded in a report released in November that 'the U.S.A. is not at any particular disadvantage compared with most nations, and the supply of qualified [science and engineering] graduates is large and ranks among the best internationally' [and, in fact, produces several times as many science and tech professionals as are employed in these fields].   Ron Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, called the SIIA's report 'a defensive document' in an e-mail response to questions about it.   Hira said he thinks that a better comparison than measuring the U.S. software industry against other sectors is to look at the growth rates of the large off-shore out-sourcing companies vs. the growth of software jobs in the U.S.A.   'I think everyone will be taken aback.', he wrote.   'The growth of IT labor demand in the U.S.A. is a pittance compared to the explosive growth in India.'"

Arthur B. Laffer _Wall Street Journal_
The Government Extortion Threat to Prosperity
"But missing from the discussion are the huge differences in how the top 1% of income earners respond to changes in tax rates versus, say, the bottom 75% or 80% of [tax-victims] -- the so-called middle class and lowest income groups.   The 'rich', quite simply, are not like the rest of us...   if you look at [an extortion] schedule, it's obvious that people with the highest [extortable] income also pay taxes in every other tax bracket.   These lower tax rates are 'inframarginal' and don't affect behavior.   From the stand-point of the rich alone, a cut in these lower [extortion] rates reduces [government extortion] revenues.   Some 99% of all [tax-victims] paid [extortion] at the 10% rate in 2005, for example.   Yet only 25% of all [tax-victims] had 10% as their marginal [extortion] rate.   Thus a cut in the 10% [extortion] rate would have a supply-side impact on a relatively small portion of all those who pay the 10% rate -- while for the rest who pay the 10% rate, [an extortion] cut would result in a dead-weight revenue loss.   On these grounds alone one should expect a greater supply-side response with a change in the highest tax rate than any other tax rate...   low-income earners have a lot less flexibility to change the form, timing and location of their income -- and the avenues open to them to reduce their tax liabilities are far fewer.   The avenues open to higher-income and highest-income earners include 401(k)s, IRAs, Keogh plans, itemized deductions, life-time gifts, charitable gifts, all sorts of deferred income compensation plans, trusts, [extortion] free bonds, etc...   Since 1980, statutory marginal [extortion] rates have fallen dramatically.   The highest marginal income [extortion] rate in 1980 was 70%.   Today it is 35%.   In the year Ronald Reagan took office (1981) the top 1% of income earners paid 17.58% of all federal income [extortions].   Twenty-five years later, in 2005, the top 1% paid 39.38% of all income [extortions]...   In 1981, the total [extortions] paid in 2005 dollars by the top 1% of income earners was $94.84G.   In 2005 it was $368.13G.   In 2000 this teeny, tiny group -- 1% of all [tax-victims] -- actually paid income [extortions] equal to 3.75% of GDP, which is why President Clinton had a budget surplus.   Much of this huge surge in [extortion] payments by the top 1% of tax filers resulted from the huge increase in realized capital gains resulting from President Clinton's capital gains [extortion] rate cut to 20% from 28% in 1997...   In the 1920s, the highest federal marginal income [extortion] rate fell to 24% from 78%.   Those people who earned over $100K had their share of total taxes paid rise -- from 29.9% in 1920 to 48.8% in 1925, and then to 62.2% in 1929.   There was no inflation over this period [well, not compared to the last few decades, but compared to prior decades, there was].   With the Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s, when the highest [extortion] rate fell from to 70% from 91%, the story was the same.   When you cut the highest [extortion] rates on the highest-income earners, government gets more money from them, and when you cut tax rates on the middle and lower income earners, the government gets less money from them."

2008-01-25 06:38:41PST (09:38:41EST) (14:38:41GMT)
"horizonr" _My Direct Democracy_
"Punjab", Revisited
"When the prominent Sikh-American supporter and donor who was hosting the event at his Potomac, MD, home introduced Clinton, to the 80 or so other Sikh-American donors gathered, as the Senator from New York -- and from Punjab, too -- Clinton responded that 'I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily.'   In fact -- and this is previously unreported -- Clinton and this same supporter appear to have improvised the original joke, complete with the opening line about her being the Senator from New York and Punjab, during an earlier Sikh-American event, which took place in 2005 May.   In that original version of the joke, Hillary Clinton responded: 'I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab, as well as from New York.'...   According to Aziz Haniffa, whose report of the event appeared as an article in the 2006 March 17, issue of the New York-based India Abroad (the oldest and largest-circulating South Asian newspaper in North America -- and the largest outside of India):   'At the fund-raiser...   Clinton began by joking that ''I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily.'', after being introduced by Singh as the Senator not only from New York but also Punjab.'   It is clear, from context, that Singh coined 'Senator from Punjab' (or words to that effect) as a term of endearment, and that Clinton took it as such and reciprocated in kind."
Hillary Clinton Lauds Role of Sikhs
Panthic Weekly: Sikhs embraced at Capitol Hill

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
The Dollar's Reserve Currency Roll May Be Coming To an End

2008-01-25 (5768 Shevat 18)
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg _Jewish World Review_
Between 10 and 7: A Spiritual Distinction

2008-01-25 (5768 Shevat 18)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Hamas border take-over was about a lot more than rowdy Arabs

S&P 5001,330.61
10-year US T-Bond3.58%
crude oil$90.71/barrel

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Futures Movers" and "Metals Stocks" columns (and BigCharts and FT Interactive).


2008-01-25 21:01PST (2008-01-26 00:01EST) (2008-01-26 05:01GMT)
Michael Kitchen _MarketWatch_
The great stimulus package of 1929

  "Together, the two studies strongly suggest an eruption date of somewhere between 1660 and 1600BC, another hundred years earlier.   Instead of Egypt, these civilizations were probably interacting with the Canaanites, the people who occupied the Levant, the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, which today includes Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and western Syria.   It could also explain some anomalies that have long puzzled historians.   For example, it's been speculated that there is a connection between Anat, a virgin goddess of war worshipped in the Levant, and Athena, one of the most important goddesses in Greek culture." --- Fox  



Tim Swanson _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Where does most of that money go?
Index of articles on mises.org


_Work Permit_
USA leads in numbers of foreign students
"The United States leads in attracting foreign students, even after seeing a dip in student visas after September 11th, 2001.   22% of global foreign students were educated in the USA in 2004, followed by 11% in the United Kingdom, 10% in Germany, and 9% in France."

Lauren Scheffers _Nolan Chart_
Ron Paul and the eBay Effect
"The difference in goals for the eBay sellers vs. the buyers can be used to explain the stark contrast between the statements being made by the American corporate world (sellers) about the state of the economy vs. the daily experiences of the American consumers (buyers).   The sellers realized they could make more money by lowering the labor costs to make their products...   For the sellers, the immediate impact was record profits translated into increasing stock values and the obvious across-the-board stock market records.   Their economy is in great shape.   Unfortunately for the buyers, the use of cheap foreign labor has been catastrophic.   If the buyers haven't lost their jobs entirely after having been required to train their foreign replacements, their employee salaries have stagnated or their consulting rates have dropped dramatically.   The buyers are in disastrous financial condition.   To continue the eBay analogy, the buyers have been forced to drop out of the market due to little or no discretionary income.   Currently, the chasm between the view-points of the corporate world and the experiences of the American public is so large that it is difficult to believe they are describing the same country.   When financial reports continue to express worries about inflation at the same time that the consumers are losing their homes, it appears that the term 'inflation' has now been erroneously equated simply to rising prices.   However, there is a major economic difference between prices rising due to rising incomes bidding up the prices vs. prices rising due to increasing costs of production.   The eBay Effect clearly demonstrates that buyers need to have income levels that include some level of discretionary income beyond the bare minimum basics.   The developing financial disaster for Americans is due to the fact that they are encountering increasing prices for everything they buy at the same time that their real income levels are dropping or stopping entirely.   If the government and the financial sector refuse to acknowledge the fact that there are two critically different scenarios for higher prices that require two totally different treatment plans, they are no longer credible.   The global markets have recently come to the same conclusion.   Unless that critical problem of income levels is addressed, not only will the American economy implode, but it will bring the economies of the rest of the world with it as has been clearly demonstrated in recent days.   Instead of our elected officials addressing the issue of low salaries and job losses, aren't the tax rebates being discussed exactly the same thing as giving $1K to each person?   If I could understand that issue as a child, why is representative Ron Paul the only candidate for President who understands that issue?"

Matthew Ladner _Town Hall_
My notion of a rational higher education policy
"In the Carnegie Foundation's publication Change, Paul Barton wrote that the notion that the U.S.A. has a dire need for an ever increasing number of college graduates is a myth.   'Confusion about the demand for college graduates runs throughout discussions of national work-force needs.', Barton wrote.   According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, only 29% of all jobs actually required a degree in 2004.   The Bureau projects that of the top 10 occupations with the largest growth from 2004 to 2014, 70% won't require a college education.   Interestingly, the U.S. Department of Education's National Education Longitudinal Study reports that 40% of its sample attained a 1- or 4-year degree or higher.   Therefore, many people with college degrees have jobs that don't require them.   So it really might be true when your cabbie says he has a Ph.D."

Luke Mullins _US News & World Report_
1st Bank Failure of 2008: Douglass National
Kansas City Star
Composite: "Federal regulators on Friday shuttered Douglass National Bank, an African-American-owned bank with $59M in assets that was named in honor of the 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass.   The bank, which has roots stretching back to the 1940s, had struggled of late, losing $1.3M in 2007 and $4.3M in 2006.   Liberty Bank and Trust Company of New Orleans agreed to purchase $55.7M of Douglass' assets at book value, less a discount of $6.1M.   The FDIC said it would retain approximately $2.8M in assets.   The FDIC said it expects the failure to cost the Deposit Insurance Fund about $5.6M.   The 3 area offices of Douglass National Bank reopened this morning as Liberty branches.   Douglass, which had a glut of bad loans and less than $1.5M of Tier 1 capital, was also the first nationally chartered bank to fail since Guaranty National Bank of Tallahassee failed in 2004 March with $74M in assets.   Mortgage problems were cited in 2 of last year's failures: the $2.5G-asset NetBank in Alpharetta, GA, in September, and the $86.7M-asset Miami Valley Bank of Lakeview, Ohio, in October."

_University of Central Florida Future_
Ron Paul would be a fresh start for Republicans
"In a Republican Party that has seemingly lost its way after eight years of holding the presidential office, Texas Senator Ron Paul is a much-needed breath of fresh air.   Take a look at his stance on the main, important issues to see that he is not a 'normal' modern Republican.   In the past, the Republican Party stood for being fiscally responsible.   They were the party of small government.   Government had no role in the lives of everyday Americans, and it did not belong in big business either.   Paul is a candidate who has the potential to bring these things back to the Republican Party.   The majority of his solutions surround a libertarian mind-set.   This goes hand in hand with the Republican Party's once-strong belief in a small government.   One could say that Paul is a consolidation of all that is 'old' republicanism.   The country is in the midst of a $9T debt, due in part to the war in Iraq.   Fortunately, Paul offers solutions for these growing problems.   Some of these economic solutions are very rational and could potentially bolster the economy, however, to get there, Paul recommends some drastic measures that we wish were not so.   An example would be his promise to abolish and dismantle the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve.   While something like that should, and really cannot happen, the larger philosophy of lowering taxes and getting rid of excess government is a vital Republican issue.   Easily one of the most refreshing sides to Paul's campaign is his unwavering support of free rights and pure constitutionalism.   He bases nearly all of his decisions on that important document.   His voting record shows proof of this.   He has voted down amendments to make burning the American flag illegal, a decision that could have alienated him from the conservative support that usually comes along with the status of being a Republican...   These are examples of how he has stuck with his convictions, no matter the political mud-slinging that is bound to ensue because of it.   Flag burning and net-neutrality are nothing if you look at the risk he took with the Iraq War.   Ever since the day the war began, Paul has opposed any actions by the U.S. in Iraq.   He has vowed to not use U.S. military forces in any preemptive strike.   This is a good line of policy for the Republican Party, who is currently being viewed as the source of our current bogging down in Iraq.   For a Republican to say he would not use the military irresponsibly, not to mention saying he would not use it without the approval of Congress, seems all but absurd in today's political environment.   His firm standing ideal that the government does not belong in the lives of everyday people is something he sticks with, even when it may bring him scorn on both sides of the aisle.   Paul refused to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would let the government prevent gay marriage on a large scale.   This puts him on the firing range for evangelical Republicans.   He also has not supported any legislation that would formally rename the title of marriage so it would be open for same-sex couples.   He stuck by his guns, saying that he would not support it because, again, it was the government stepping in and regulating something that society should be deciding.   This, of course, puts him at odds with many on the left, who are large supporters of legalizing same-sex marriage on the federal government scale.   In a party that seems to have lost its way, he is a candidate who has the ability to get things back on the right track, even if he must do so by pushing ideals and policies that have long since been dead within the Republican Party.   Because of these reasons, the Central Florida Future formally endorses Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination."


Chuck Baldwin _V Dare_
Why Ron Paul's supporters are so angry about media bias


Phil Manger _Nolan Chart_
H-1B abuse and allegedly libertarian organizations which support their expansion

2008-01-30 09:31PST (12:31EST) (17:31GMT)
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Tata buying Clermont county building for $13M
"Tata America International has purchased a 196K square foot office building for $13M [from Milford Partners LLC] to use as its North American delivery head-quarters, according to Colliers Turley Martin Tucker...   In October, Mumbai, India-based Tata received a $2.5M grant from Ohio [tax-victims] to help it acquire and improve the building and purchase about 220 acres of surrounding property."
class action against Tata

Leslie Church _University at Buffalo Spectrum_
Executives prefer cheap, easily brow-beaten foreign students
"'Companies are very welcoming to international students because they can pay them less money than the local workers, even if their ability is equal.', said Ping Lu, a sophomore management major from [Red China], who plans on staying in the USA to work after she graduates."

Michael Cutler _Family Security Matters_
Northern Border Security Should Not Be Neglected

K.J. Cummings _JAMA_
Contingent Workers and Contingent Health: Risks
"Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as employers sought more flexibility, contingent employment arrangements became more common in the United States..."

Mary Catherine Sinclair _Conference Board_
Help-Wanted On-Line Advertising

2008-01-30 (5768 Shevat 23)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
A "Stimulus Package"?

2008-01-30 (5768 Shevat 23)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
"Stimulus Package" Non-Sense


2008-01-31 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 366,891 in the week ending Jan. 26, a decrease of 48,258 from the previous week.   There were 359,959 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4% during the week ending Jan. 19, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,256,984, a decrease of 15,016 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,103,449.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Jan. 12."

Internet failure hit 2 continents
"Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems...   Du, a state-owned Dubai telecom provider, attributed the outage to an under-sea cable cut between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN."

2008-01-31 14:00PST (17:00EST) (22:00GMT)
Moira Herbst _Business Week_
H-1B grantees are getting bilked: Over-seas companies are accused of under-paying foreigners on work visas -- and hurting U.S. wages
"A number of the most active users of the work-visa program, for what are known as H-1B visas, have been accused of under-paying or otherwise mistreating workers.   Last year, Patni paid $2.4M to 607 H-1B visa workers after a Labor Dept. investigation uncovered systematic under-payment of wages.   'I highly suspect that these employment practices are widespread among the tech-out-sourcing firms.', says Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, who will testify as an expert witness in the Goel case.   The Goel law-suit is one of the first filed in U.S. courts by a visa worker against his employer, perhaps because of the murky legal status of such workers.   The estimated 500K people in the U.S.A. on H-1Bs are by definition citizens of other nations, and they're usually beholden to employers that can transfer them home at will...   Out-placement specialist Challenger, Gray & Christmas says the insurer has let go 10K workers nationwide since 1995, though Luedke says only one quarter of those were 'involuntary severances'.   He says Patni employees have not replaced staffers and the insurer's own IT staff has risen from 5,500 in 1995 to 5,900 in 2007."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Off-point BusinessWeek article

I've been contacted by many readers of this e-news-letter concerning an article currently in BusinessWeek titled "Are H-1Bs Getting Bilked?", by Moira Herbst.   Though I rely mostly on readers for leads, much appreciated, this particular article is highly misleading.   Even though it would seem sympathetic to critics of H-1B like me, I consider it worse than the [articles planted by the executives' lobbyists] we see so often.
Accordingly, I chose not to review it here.   I have a back-log of at least 7 or 8 good ones I wish to post with my comments, so I have even less time for the poor ones.   But since I keep hearing from programmers and engineers about this "wonderful" BW article, I must at least mention the piece.
Herbst focuses on a recent case in which a firm named Patni was fined for paying an H-1B programmer only $23K instead of the promised $44K.   Herbst implies that this is commonplace, which it is definitely not.   The vast majority of H-1B employers comply with the letter of the law, as was confirmed by the GAO [while still abusing the guest-workers].
The key phrase in my last statement above is "the letter of the law".   The law is full of loop-holes, which enable the employers to under-pay H-1Bs yet still be legally compliant.   In short, the employers don't have to cheat to get cheap labor, because the law itself allows them to do so.   (And for that reason, the GAO audit was a waste of time, as it addressed a question whose answer was already known by those who work in this field.)
What the article should have focused on was that that $44K salary the firm claimed to pay the H-1B was ITSELF way below market wages.   The quote of senator Grassley does use the word "loop-hole", as it should, but no reader will notice that.   Readers will take away from the article that the main cure for H-1B problems is proper enforcement of the law, rather than a complete overhaul of the law itself.
That's why the industry lobbyists love articles like this, because they use it to "prove" that "the system is working".   They love this, because it diverts attention from the fact that the SYSTEM ITSELF is the problem.   For the same reason, I regard such articles to be harmful.
In 2005 November, there was another firm, Computech, on which the DoL imposed a big fine for violation of H-1B law.   I predicted at the time that the industry lobbyists would then use this case in their favor, again to argue that "the system is working".   Sure enough, 2 months later the industry's Randall Johnson did exactly that in a debate on CNBC with representative Bill Pascrell, an H-1B critic.   It was clear that Johnson planned ahead of time to spring this on Pascrell during the debate, and poor Pascrell was caught flat-footed.
Herbst interviewed me for this article, as well as her last one on H-1B.   The latter was poor too, so when she contacted me this time I hinted that I really didn't want to be interviewed again.   It's difficult to arrange these things, as I have a complex schedule, and I do have a day job, after all.   Yet she still wanted to talk to me, so I agreed.   She and I discussed the above point, i.e. that enforcement is NOT the issue in H-1B, at length.   Yet she ignored it anyway.   I don't mind not being quoted, of course, but I do regret wasting my time.   I will not do so again.
I should mention, though, that BusinessWeek has had excellent coverage of H-1B over the years, very balanced.


Jane Sasseen _Business Week_
Economists having reservations about "free" trade
"Economists are, however, noting that their ideas can't explain the disturbing stagnation in income that much of the middle class is experiencing.   They also fear a protectionist back-lash unless more is done to help those who are losing out...   According to estimates by the Peterson Institute and others, trade and investment liberalization over the past decades have added $500G to $1T to [aggregate] annual income in the U.S.A...   For the vast majority of Americans, Dartmouth's Slaughter points out, income growth has all but disappeared in recent years.   And it's not just the low-skilled who are getting slammed.   Inflation-adjusted earnings have fallen in every educational category other than the 4% who hold doctorates or professional degrees.   Such numbers, Slaughter argues, suggest the share of Americans who aren't included in the gains from trade may be very big."

Emily Brandon _US News & World Report_
Tech Workers Are Nervouse
"Silicon Valley companies have lobbied Congress to increase the number of H-1B visas granted to foreign high-tech professionals, often from India and other Asian countries...   But un-employed or under-employed tech workers contend there are enough talented American workers ready to fill those slots.   Americans may also be unwilling to accept low wages in an area with a high cost of living [median home price $852,500].   Over half of H-1B jobs are classified by employers as entry level, which means $50K in pay.   That's good coin in many parts of the United States but not here, where the median household brings in [$80,638] a year versus $48,451 nationally.   Yet even high incomes and low unemployment haven't made people in the place that birthed the new economy immune to worries about America's future."

Tyler Watts _Lew Rockwell_
Open letter to conservatives on behalf of Ron Paul

Patrick J. Buchanan _V Dare_
Tapped Out Nation
"It was to be the year of change, of new ideas, a new politics.   Yet, as of today, it appears the Republican Party will be led into the future by a Beltway favorite of the media and Washington insider who has spent the last quarter of a century on Capitol Hill.   And the Democratic Party appears about to build a bridge to the past by nominating the spouse of the last Democratic president who has herself been a Washington insider for almost 20 years.   With two-thirds of the nation saying the country is on the wrong course, the two parties are offering candidates both of whom played major roles in setting that course.   And neither probable nominee has advanced ideas to deal with the crises America faces, nor even shown any great awareness that the country is in crisis.   The first crisis is fiscal, with the [Socialist Insecurity], Medicare and Medicaid costs about to break the bank as the baby boomers reach early retirement [and have been having difficulty staying employed, anyway].   Add the other entitlement programs, defense and interest on the debt, and this consumes perhaps 90% of the budget."

Esther H. Steinhauer, PhD, JD _Scientists & Engineers for America_
Where Immigration Issues Intersect with Science

2008-01-31 (5768 Shevat 24)
John Stossel _Jewish World Review_
Who's Afraid of Prosperity?
"Tabarrok takes this a step further: 'Amazingly, there are only about 6M scientists and engineers in the entire world, nearly a quarter of whom are in the U.S.A.   Poverty means that millions of potentially world-class scientists today spend their lives trying to eke out a subsistence living, rather than leading mankind's charge into the future.   But if the world as a whole were as wealthy as the U.S.A. and were devoting the same share of population to research and development, there would be more than 5 times as many scientists and engineers worldwide.'"

  "Human endeavors that remain in conceptual terms are not the way to success.   It is practice of what one learns that brings results." --- R. Raymond Beyda Torah.org  


2008 January
Robert B.K. Dewar, PhD & Edmond Schonberg, PhD _Crosstalk: The Journal of Defense Software Engineering_
Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow?

2008 January
Richard G. Weingardt _Go Structural_
Elections 2008: Engineers Can Profoundly Shape the Coming Decade... or not

2008 January
Gene Nelson, PhD
The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit (pdf)

Kkilo-thousand 10^31,000
Mmega-millionone thousand thousand10^61,000,000
Ggiga-billionone thousand million10^91,000,000,000
Ttera-trillionone million million10^121,000,000,000,000
Ppeta-quadrillionone million billion10^151,000,000,000,000,000
Eexa-quintillionone billion billion10^181,000,000,000,000,000,000

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

An alternate set of prefixes has been proposed.

  "On a military level, Chanukah commemorates the victory of the Hasmoneans (the band of virtuous Jewish loyalists headed by Judah Macabbee, the Kohen) over Antiochus (the Syrian leader of the Greek forces), while Purim concentrates on Mordechai's bold defeat of the wicked Haman's followers." --- R. Yaakov Feldman Torah.org  


Proposed Bills 2008

Presidential candidate fund-raising, expenditures, and debt
  "Any love that depends on a specific cause, when that cause is gone, the love is gone; but if it does not depend on a specific cause, it will never cease…" --- _Ethics of the Fathers_ (_Pirkei Avos_) 5:19  

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