2008 May

2nd month of the 2nd quarter of the 19th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

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updated: 2019-06-21

  "Sometimes the producer will pay half of the fixed cash compensation for the treatments or draft on execution of the agreement & half on delivery.   Sometimes he will pay half when the writer starts working & half when the writer finishes.   The agreement may even provide for partial payment after the writer writes & delivers a specified number of pages.   Other agreements will provide for payment in weekly installments.   If there are a number of drafts, roughly 50% to 60% of the cash compensation should be paid for the 1st draft, 25% to 30% for the re-write, & the balance for the polish.   In any event, the producer should always be sure to withhold enough money to motivate the writer to finish his work in a timely manner." --- Paul A. Baumgarten, Donald C. Farber & Mark Fleischer 1992 _Producing, Financing & Distributing Film_ pg 39  

2008 May
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  "The ultimate authority... resides in the people alone." --- James Madison  




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

2008 May

2nd month of the 2nd quarter of the 9th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression



Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
LA Times, WSJ (and other) reactions to my study
Two journalists, one at the Wall Street Journal and the other at the Los Angeles Times, have reviewed my recent study that showed further evidence that the vast majority of H-1Bs are not "the best and the brightest", contrary to what the industry lobbyists claim.   Sadly, neither review was very careful.
For instance, WSJ's Ben Worthen says,
Stuart Anderson, executive director for the _National Foundation for Anti-USA Policy_, which is in favor of boosting the H-1B cap, counters that there's a much more prosaic explanation for why the median worker on an H-1B visa isn't paid more: Most visa recipients are just starting their careers, he tells us.   In 2005, 41% of H-1B holders were younger than 30, and an additional 32% were under 35, according to the Department of Homeland Security. [Yes, they are used/abused to more easily engage in age discrimination.]   A better measure of their skill is education, he says, pointing out that 57% of new H-1Bs received a master's degree or above in 2006.
Worthen should have known Anderson's "explanation" is patently wrong, because the legal definition of prevailing wage FACTORS IN experience and education.   The prevailing wage levels for those young H-1Bs are set accordingly, and education is similarly accounted for.   My article discussed the various experience levels defined by the Dept. of Labor in detail.
(At least Anderson did choose to comment.   CompeteAmerica, the leading lobbying group that is pushing Congress to increase the H-1B cap, declined to comment when asked by the Lou Dobbs Show.)
My article also showed that even though the industry lobbyists try to portray the hiring of H-1Bs from Asia as stemming from supposed high levels of math talent in that region, the DoL data show that on the contrary it is the H-1Bs from Europe who are getting the higher pay, not the Chinese and Indians.   I had written that even though the lobbyists say employers hire H-1Bs because "Johnnie can't do math."
The lobbyists know that crying educational doom-and-gloom sells.   Even though it was mainly "Johnnie", rather than Arvind or Qing-Ling, who originally developed the computer industry, and even though all major East Asian governments have lamented their educational systems' stifling of creativity, the lobbyists have convinced Congress that the industry needs foreign workers from Asia in order to innovate.
The LAT's Tim Cavanaugh tries to "explain" this on linguistic grounds:
...immigrant tech workers from Canada and Germany command higher salaries than those from India.   That seems easily explicable: a Canadian worker would presumably be a native English speaker and thus a little more comfortable at negotiating a good price, while a German brings language skills that, given Germany's continued industrial and technological strength, would be worth paying a premium for.
I was surprised that Cavanaugh could be so far off base here.   Doesn't he know that the educated class in India speaks English?   Most have been doing so since they were in kindergarten or earlier.   The Indian foreign students at U.S. universities generally have higher GRE Verbal scores than the Americans, and they generally have richer working vocabularies while speaking and have better writing skills, relative to the Americans [though Britishisms are evident and some of their grammar and vocabulary is a bit defective].
As to the value of speaking German, surely Cavanaugh must know that knowledge of the Chinese language is far more valuable today.   According to his linguistic theory, the Chinese H-1Bs should be making top dollar, which they generally aren't.
Cavanaugh adds:
Shouldn't this last point address hyperbole about how "Johann" or "Jean-Luc" can't do math?   I mean, the media self-flagellation about poor math scores concerns American students, not Western European students, right?   Is Matloff saying Americans and Western Europeans are interchangeable?
Actually, the math and science PISA test scores for German and French kids are similar to those in the U.S.A., below the scores of the Asian countries.   (Note: Neither [Red China] nor India participates in that study.)
The German and French press engaged in the same self-flagellation; see "La France, élève moyen de la classe OCDE" (France, average student of the OECD class) Le Monde, 2001 December 5, and "Miserable Noten für deutsche Schüler" (Abysmal marks for German students) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 2001 December 4.
Worthen's write-up was mostly fair, but this passage was an exception:
A chart accompanying Matloff's study shows that tech companies, many of whom are lobbying Congress to grant more H-1Bs, tend to pay more than prevailing wage, with M$ and Oracle leading the way.
That's just plain wrong.   My chart shows that most of the firms were paying [only] between 5% and 10% above [the "official"] prevailing wage, which even Worthen admitted in his phone interview of me is hardly in the "world's best and the brightest" range.   M$ did indeed have a higher premium, 19%, but that still obviously is not genius level.   On the contrary, my article showed that M$ O-1 visa hires -- this visa type is for those "of extraordinary ability", thus best and the brightest by definition -- were getting [only] 40% higher than average.
It's also too bad that Cavanaugh and Worthen overlooked my point (which I stressed with Worthen when he called me) that this newest data merely supplements previous work on this topic, which I wrote about in earlier articles.   I've cited the work of former Assistant Secretary of Labor David North, for instance, which showed that the foreign students studying in U.S. universities are mainly in the lesser-ranking institutions, again contrary to their claimed "best and brightest" status.   I've also analyzed the list of winners of the annual Best PhD Dissertation Awards given by the Association for Computing Machinery, in which the numbers of foreign students is proportionally lower than their numbers in the CS PhD population.
I've been interviewed by the press many times over the years, with the reporters being quite even-handed in the vast majority of cases (with some exceptions, one of which I'll mention shortly), so I was taken aback by these 2 blogs.   There seems to be an underlying assumption on the part of both of these journalists that "Matloff's report can't be right, so let's figure out where the flaw is."   One must wonder what causes such attitudes.
A few years ago I was a guest on a radio show hosted by Marty Nemko, a San Francisco-based author of books and newspaper columns for job seekers.   He was pretty hostile to me, which seemed odd until the truth suddenly came out: He resented me because I'm a supporter of Affirmative Action, a fact he'd seen in my bio.
He told me that he was bitterly opposed to Affirmative Action, having been rejected for a faculty position long ago (ironically at my university, UC Davis), in which he claims he was passed over in favor of an Affirmative Action applicant.   To him, Affirmative Action is anti-merit, and my work on H-1B amounted to protection of meritless Americans against genius Asians.   Needless to say, I don't agree with such an analysis, and in fact I have always strongly supported facilitating the immigration of the genuinely best and the brightest.   I mentioned to Worthen, for example, that there are at least 2 members of my faculty, one from India and the other from [Red China], who would not have been hired had I not vigorously worked to convince my colleagues to vote in favor of hiring them due to their brilliance.
Presumably Cavanaugh and Worthen don't have a personal axe to grind like that.   But their pieces were biased, that's for sure, and it would be interesting to know just where they're coming from.
H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest
CIS: H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest
Earth Times
Street Insider
Reliable Plant
Right Side News
Wall Street Journal
Network World
Front Page
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/McClatchy
Trading Markets
Lou Dobbs
Lou Dobbs transcript

Dice Report: 91,675 job ads

body shop36,857

graph of job ads by OS and language
graph of job ads by perm vs. temp

2008-05-01 05:57PDT (08:57EDT) (12:57GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Lay-off announcements jumped to 19 month high of 90,015
Philadelphia Inquirer
Earth Times/Reuters
Sydney Morning Herald
"major U.S. corporations announced 90,015 job reductions in April...   Announced lay-offs through the first 4 months of the year [January through April] have grown to 290,671, up 9% from a year ago.   Financial companies announced 23,106 lay-offs in April...   Telecommunications companies announced 8,007 lay-offs, more than half at AT&T...   Media industry lay-offs are running 57% of last year at 7,949 as compared to 11,700 media industry lay-offs in all of 2007.   In February, for instance, a total of 1.35M workers were let go [in mass lay-offs from large firms], representing about 1% of total employment, according to the latest available data from the Labor Department.   By comparison, 2.06M people quit their jobs voluntarily in February."

2008-05-01 05:30PST (08:30EST) (12:30GMT)
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 336,344 in the week ending April 26, an increase of 8,158 from the previous week.   There were 267,672 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending April 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 2,976,512, a decrease of 77,579 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.9% and the volume was 2,448,102.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending April 12."

Frosty Wooldridge _News with Views_
Congress, DHS & the State Department Import 182K Immigrants into the USA Every Month
"Every 30 days, our U.S. Congress imports 182K immigrants into the United States.   About 100K arrive legally and from 82K to 100K arrive illegally each month.   They flood our cities at a rate of 2.2M to 2.4M annually.   Several other sources show greater numbers from visa over-stays, chain migration and anchor babies that never make the population charts."

Chris Isidore _CNN_/_Money_
Immigrants and jobs: A closer look
"Foreign-born unskilled workers are less likely to be out of work than their U.S.-born counterparts, but educated Americans have an edge on foreign-born [until the effects of the DHS rule-change on OPT kicks in]...   The Labor Department's monthly report does not distinguish between immigrant and native-born workers.   But its latest annual reading on the issue shows that while the unemployment rate rose for foreign-born workers in 2007 -- to 4.3% from 4.0% in 2006 -- it was still lower than for native-born workers (4.7% in each year)...   For U.S.-born workers aged 25 and older with a high school degree or less, the unemployment rate was 5.2% last year, while the rate for foreign-born workers with the same characteristics is only 4.6%.   Among educated workers, however, the unemployment pattern was reversed: 1.9% for the native born and 2.5% for immigrants.   [These statistics do not make clear the toll in under-employment and workers driven out of the official labor force.]"

_PR News Wire_
iGate Mastech Inc. to pay $45K for discrimination against US workers: It's only the tip of the visa-abuse ice-berg
Earth Times
Biloxi Sun Herald/McClatchy
IDG/PC World
Rick Merritt: EE Times/CMP/UBM
Composite: "The Department of Justice today announced that iGate Mastech Inc. (iGate), a Pittsburgh computer consulting company, has agreed to pay $45K in civil penalties to settle allegations that iGate discriminated against United States citizens in its employment practices.   The settlement also requires iGate to train its recruitment personnel and to post a non-discrimination statement on its web site.   A complaint against iGate Mastech was filed by the Programmers Guild in 2006.   John Miano, who founded the guild, said in a statement that the DoJ's announcement 'is probably the most visible result' of the guild's campaign against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers 'in favor of cheap H-1B workers'.   The Programmers Guild, a lobbying group for software developers, claims it has tracked as many as 5K such on-line ads from 1K companies.   The iGate compliant was one of 300 the group has drafted, about 100 of which it has actually filed with the DoJ, said John Miano, a software consultant who founded the group and serves as its treasurer.   'We're just dealing with cases where people actually have posted blatant ads like this, not necessarily all the cases of people who abuse H-1B visas.', said Miano who earned a law degree and actively investigates such cases on behalf of the Guild.   Miano claims the majority of H-1B visa holders in the computer field come from what he called 'bodyshops' that obtain H-1B visas for technical workers for a fee and then rent out their services once they are in U.S.A.   Many wind up working in the computer departments of large end-user firms such as Wall Street brokers or insurance companies, he added.   The workers are typically paid about 20% less than their local counterparts, he claimed.   'For the last few years the U.S. has imported more H-1B than it has grown new engineering jobs.', said Miano.   'This program is out of control.', he said.   The settlement stems from the Department's finding that, between 2006 May 9, and 2006 June 4, iGate placed 30 job announcements for computer programmers that expressly favored H-1B visa holders to the exclusion of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other legal U.S. workers.   Such preference constituted citizenship status discrimination and is prohibited by the Immigration and Nationality Act...   iGate was one of nearly 30K companies employing a total of 126,219 H1-Bs last year.   Send e-mail to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Civil Rights Division, which conducted the investigation... or visit the [OSC] web site."

Lisa Stein _Scientific American_
Congress Passes Bill to Prohibit Genetic Discrimination
US News & World Report
"The House today passed a measure by a whopping 414-to-1 margin that would prohibit health insurers from canceling or denying coverage or hiking premiums based on a genetic predisposition to a specific disease. The legislation, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), also bars employers from using genetic information to hire, fire, promote or make any other employment-related decisions. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was the lone dissenter. The measure, which unanimously passed the Senate last week, now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it into law... In the 1970s, many blacks were denied jobs and insurance coverage because they carried a gene for sickle-cell anemia, including those who lacked the two copies of a mutation necessary to get sick. In 1998, it was revealed that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA, had secretly tested employees from the 1960s to 1993 for sickle-cell anemia, syphilis and pregnancy without their knowledge or consent (they were told that they were undergoing routine cholesterol screening). In 2002, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway company paid three dozen employees $2.2M to settle a law-suit they had filed charging that the company had genetically tested them without their knowledge after they submitted work-related injury claims."

2008-05-01 14:23PDT (17:23EDT) (21:23GMT)
AeA, lobbying group for tech executives, spent $256K to bend government & media ears in 2008Q1
"In the January-to-March period, AeA, formerly known as the American Electronics Association, lobbied Congress, U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Trade Representative's office, National Security Council, Commerce Department and other agencies, according to the report filed with the House clerk's office April 21."

Michael Smith _Med Page Today_
CDC alarmed over 71 measles cases in US in the last year
Madison Wisconsin State Journal
"CDC officials are bracing for the worst measles year since 2001 [when 114 cases were reported], with 64 cases already reported as of April 25...   Of the 64 cases formally reported to the CDC, 54 were regarded as 'importation-associated', she said...   An 11-case outbreak in San Diego, for instance, occurred in a school with a 'high proportion' of children who had not been vaccinated.   The index case was an un-vaccinated child who had traveled to Switzerland...   Ten of the 64 cases were direct importation, 5 by visitors to the U.S.A., and 5 by Americans returning from over-seas, while others were either 'linked in a chain of transmission' to the travelers or their virus had characteristics similar to overseas strains.   'The vast majority of the 64 cases had clear links with outbreaks in other areas.', Dr. Schuchat said.   Of the 64, she said, 13 patients were under the age of 12 months and were too young for routine vaccination.   Seven were 12 to 15 months old and had not yet been vaccinated, while another 7 were under the age of five and had not been vaccinated owing to delay or missed opportunity.   For infants younger than 12 months known to have been exposed to the virus, the immunization rules have been relaxed to 6 months, she said.   This has also been done for infants traveling to endemic countries.   There were 14 patients 19 years or under who all had claimed a religious or personal belief exemption, as well as two older than 20 who had made such a claim.   Finally, there were 14 adult patients with unknown vaccination status, one with evidence of immunity through birth before 1957, and one who had proof of getting 2 doses of MMR vaccine."

Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1862
What makes Optional Practical Training [OPT] so pernicious is that Americans are excluded from the entire hiring process
[Two] blatant propaganda pieces [were recently published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Baltimore Business Journal, both from the same publishing company, American City Business Journals Inc.], but there is one tidbit of information in each that's worth noting: notice the way they recognize that Optional Practical Training is a de facto H-1B visa.   These two quotes tell it all:
'When we go to hire someone, they are typically working off of their student visas,' Scott said.   '[Because of the H-1B scarcity], you don't know if these individuals that you've hired are going to ge a [visa] and if you're going to be able to continue to employ them past a particular date in that year.'
Other applicants are still worrying, though.   Henry Suelau, a lawyer with Miles & Stockbridge PC in Baltimore, said his firm submitted about two dozen applications for clients.   Many applicants, such as Baltimore Aircoil's, work on extended student visas that expire a year after their college graduation.   But the visas they applied for this month don't become effective until October 1.   Workers whose student visas expire next month may be forced to leave the country before they learn the status of their application.
I find it more than interesting that these two articles, by two different authors, writing for two different magazines, had such similar things to write.   Oh well, it's probably just one of those weird coincidences!
What makes Optional Practical training so pernicious is that Americans are excluded from the entire hiring process.   Here's how the process works to leave Americans out of the hiring game:
* A foreign student at one of our universities is hired by a company.   The student is given authorization to work as an intern either before or right after graduation by using Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
* That student can work up to 29 months, in which time his employer can file for an H-1B visa or a green card.   The time limit used to be 12 months until the DHS recently extended the window to 27 months (see recent news-letters about OPT).   In effect, when the DHS increased the time window, they allowed far more aliens to work here without having to obtain H-1B visas.   It's a convenient way to get around the H-1B cap, and that's why the OPT extension acts as a "de facto" H-1B increase.   By extending the window the DHS will create a huge new pool of educated foreign workers waiting for H-1B visas who will be like airplanes in a holding pattern, at an airport, waiting to land.
* During the time the student is working as an intern with OPT, the employer never has to look for another worker.   American students, and those who recently graduated that may have several years work experience, are never even considered because the job position is already filled.
* When the H-1B visa is granted the foreign student on OPT, for all practical purposes, becomes a permanent employee.   The employer never even has to interview for a new hire.   No interviews mean that Americans looking for work never knew there was a job opening.   The OPT gives employers plausible deniability if they are ever asked if they looked for American workers because they never actually had an open job position -- they had an INTERNSHIP instead.   Of course employers aren't required to consider Americans for OPT or H-1B, but at least H-1B regulations state that they should make a "good faith" effort to look for qualified Americans.
Norm Matloff discussed OPT in a 2006 news-letter called "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act Of 2006" [which was about the Reprehensible Immigration Law Perversion proposals floated that year].
For the last 5-10 years, it has been typical in the industry to have a policy in which it is very difficult for a new graduate to get a software development job without having had internship/co-op experience.   And if you don't get into a development position at the beginning, it is quite difficult to get one later.   IOW, internship/co-op experience is crucial to being able to have a development career.
Moreover, often in internship/co-op positions a bond develops between the employer and student, making it much easier for the student to get a permanent job with the employer after graduation.
The situation Matloff and I describe is not theoretical.   In the year 2000 Norm Matloff uncovered a case where this exact scenario played out at a company called womenconnect.com, who hired a student from Mexico who was attending a U.S. university.
I helped Matloff to do research that nailed womenconnect.   At the time both of us thought the story would be a smoking gun that would cripple the H-1B program.   Unfortunately the story was ignored by the media so it turned out to be a dud instead of a smoking gun.   We sure tried though!
IMPORTANT: My previous news-letter showed how you can give public comment on the new DHS Extension to 29 months.

Richard W. Rahn _View from 1776_
Higher Taxes Only Harm

D.W. MacKenzie _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Continuing Socializing of Health Care


Kim Berry _Programmers Guild_
Saxon Infotech is yet another body shop gaming the H-1B program
due diligence check of LCAs

S&P 5001,413.90
10-year US T-Bond3.85%
crude oil$116.32/barrel

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


_Pittsburgh Tribune-Review_
H-1B visas and the ruses of "best and brightest" and "talent shortage" exposed


Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Salzman and Lowell published by Nature
The British journal Nature is one of the two or three most prestigious scientific publications in the world.   Thus Hal Salzman and B. Lindsay Lowell have achieved quite a coup in having the findings of their study on American capabilities in math and science published in the journal, even if it is in the form of commentary.
Salzman and Lowell, you will recall, published a study for the Urban Institute a few months ago in which they debunked the myths that American kids are abysmal at math and science, that we are not producing enough people with degrees in those fields, that our average math/science scores are misleading because sadly we have not solved the problem of educating the under-class but the main-stream is fine, and so on.   It is the most thorough, careful study related to the H-1B issue I've seen in years.   See my postings on the study at
The Nature column by Salzman and Lowell not only summarizes some of their previous findings, but also makes some points that are, I believe new.
One of these new points is striking: In absolute numbers, the U.S. has more top-scoring kids in math and science than any other country studied -- by far.   The authors point out that it is mainly these kids who become the innovators later as adults, and we've got an excellent supply of them.   This is completely counter to what one constantly sees in the popular press.
Which leads to a point Salzman made in announcing his article to the Sloan Industry Centers e-mail discussion group: "We'd welcome reactions and particularly thoughts on why the S&E shortage claim is so strongly believed despite lack of evidence."   The answer, of course, is that the groups that stand to benefit from a public perception of an S&E shortage -- the tech industry (who want an expanded H-1B work visa program for its cheap labor), the immigration lawyers (who want an expanded H-1B for obvious reasons), the education lobby ("Give us more money so we can remedy the shortage") and so on hire the slickest PR people money can buy.   They've been at it for years, to the point at which many people in Congress, the press and the public at large simply take it for granted that "Johnnie can't do math".
The Nature article (pdf).

Hard to find... Jobs hitting the road
"Engineers, machinists and skilled trade workers are among the nation's [allegedly] most challenging positions to fill, according to the latest survey from [body shop] ManPOWER Inc...   Also making the list were mechanics, laborers, IT staff and production operators [and people with a pulse]...   what are the short-term and long-term effects of sending jobs over-seas on the growth and stability of the US job market?   Researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have sought to answer those questions in a new study titled, 'Jobs Beyond Borders', based on a survey of more than 3K hiring managers and HR professionals and more than 6,700 workers across teh country.   The study found that 13% of employers said their companies out-sourced work to 3rd-party vendors outside the country in 2007, with about the same amount saying they would do so in 2008.   7% of employers off-shored job functions to foreign affiliates in 2007, 9% plan to do so this year...   among employers who off-shore, 44% estimate less than 5% of their jobs will ultimately be sent over-seas while 39% project more than 10% will eventually be off-shored...   more firms are off-shoring high-wage, 'high-skill' jobs once thought to be immune to global competition.   28% reported more 'high-skill' services positions are being sent over-seas to 3rd parties or foreign affiliates [i.e. cross-border body shopped] in need of management, technology and sales and marketing expertise.   69% think 'high-skill' services positions are at equal or more risk of being off-shored than 'low-skill' jobs...   'off-shoring-related displacement currently accounts for a relatively small proportion of annual US employment turn-over, which can be close to 40% per year.'   Cost-savings is the primary motivator for off-shoring, according to 64% of those surveyed.   Looking at IT employers specifically, nearly half (49%) say they save over $20K per head on average by off-shoring.   15% of employers say they are saving more than $50K per yead.   27% of respondents cited availability of skills and 19% pointed to plans for expansion in a particular market as their main reasons for off-shoring."

_Project USA_
Congress-critters working against US citizen workers are being "outed"


2008-05-05 08:27PDT (11:27EDT) (15:27GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM non-manufacturing index rose from 49.6 in March to 52 in April

  "Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,-'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'; and to 'secure', not grant or create, these rights, governments are instituted.   That property which a man has honestly acquired he retains full control of, subject to these limitations: First, that he shall not use it to his neighbor's injury, and that does not mean that he must use it for his neighbor's benefit; second, that if the devotes it to a public use, he gives to the public a right to control that use; and third, that whenever the public needs require, the public may take it upon payment of due compensation." --- Budd v. People of the state of New York, 143 U.S. 517 (1892)  


2008-05-06: 26 weeks to federal elections of president and congress-critters

Andrew Sum, Joseph McLaughlin, Ishwar Khatiwada, Sheila Palma, Robert Taggart, Bill Beardall _Equal Justice Center_/_Northeastern University_/_Remediation & Training Institute_/_US House Committee on Education & Labor_
Do Federal Programs Ensure U.S. Workers are Recruited First Before Employers Hire from Abroad?
The Nation's Temporary Guest Worker Program, the New Immigrant Work-Force, and the Steep Deterioration in the Nation's Youth Labor Markets: The Case for Comprehensive National Policy Reform
"America's teen and young adult labor markets have been devastated over the past 7 years.   Employment levels and rates of employment among all teens and most young adult subgroups (20-24 years old) have declined markedly since 2000, especially males, those with no post-secondary schooling, and youth from low income families.   A variety of demand, supply, and institutional forces have been at work in reducing young employment opportunities.   Unprecedented levels of legal, illegal and temporary immigration have been one of the factors underlying this deterioration in youth labor markets.   Declines in youth employment have been matched almost one for one with increased employment of new arrivals over the past 7 years."
statement of Bill Beardall (pdf)
"In the voice message (Attachment A), the employer, in language that is both explicit and menacing, threatens to turn Gabriel over to both immigration authorities and local enforcement and to use Gabriel's perceived immigration status to 'ruin' him. At the end of the message, the employer makes it clear he will continue to refuse to pay the worker his earnings."

2008-05-06 14:55PDT (17:55EDT) (21:55GMT)
Kevin Bogardus _The Hill_
Executives' lobbyists eye smaller immigration bills

L. Josh Bivens _Ecnomic Policy Institute_
Trade, jobs, and wages
"A wide gulf exists today in American politics.   On one shore are [economists, lobbyists and] voters increasingly anxious about globalization and its effect on their jobs and communities.   On the other are economists, policy makers, [lobbyists] and pundits who maintain that trade is good for the economy, that the wider public is simply misguided about its benefits, and that politicians who sympathize with those concerned about globalization are pandering to special interests at the expense of the wider economy.   This latter group relies heavily on the suggestion that 'all economists believe' globalization is good for the vast majority of American workers.This reliance is odd given that main-stream economics actually argues that there are plenty of reasons for concern about globalization's effect on the majority of American workers.   This primer highlights 2 issues in particular that should worry American workers about globalization: job losses stemming from growing trade deficits; and downward wage pressure [and subsequent drop in quality of living] for tens of millions of American workers.   These problems are not unexpected consequences of expanded trade; quite the opposite, they are exactly what standard economic reasoning predicts."

USCIS announced proposal to extend TN visas to 3 years

Robert Zubrin & Gal Luft _Chicago Tribune_
food vs. fuel is a global myth
"Here are the facts.   In the last 5 years, despite the nearly threefold growth of the corn ethanol industry (or actually because of it), the U.S. corn crop grew by 35%, the production of distillers grain (a high-value animal feed made from the protein saved from the corn used for ethanol) quadrupled and the net corn food and feed product of the U.S. increased 26%.   Contrary to claims that farmers have cut other crops to grow more corn, U.S. soybean plantings this year are expected to be up 18% and wheat plantings up 6%. U.S. farm exports are up 23%."

2008-05-06 (5768 Iyar 01)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Anti-Zionism at 60

2008-05-06 (5768 Iyar 01)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Random events
"One newspaper story that caught my eye recently was about 2 high-powered schools in South Korea where Korean girls study 15 hours a day, preparing themselves for tests to get into elite colleges in the United States.   Harvard, Yale and Princeton already have 34 students from those schools."


_Library of Congress_
Bill of Rights, 2nd amendment, regulating congressional pay raises, was ratified 1992-05-07

2008-05-06 21:15PDT (2008-05-07 00:15EDT) (2008-05-07 04:15GMT)
Janet Moore _Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Medtronic to cut 250 Minnesota jobs, 1,100 worldwide
"Although more than a third of the jobs shed over the course of the fiscal year will come from the company's local operations, which employ about 8K people, the overall effect of the restructuring is fairly small, just 3% of the company's worldwide work-force of 39,500."

Ryan Kennedy _V Dare_
The Salmon Symptom: On Pay, Inflation, and Immigration
"When I first read about Hillary gutting fish, I thought: 'What on earth was a Wellesley girl doing gutting fish for minimum wage?   No American would ever do that job.'   Then it quickly occurred to me.   This was before mass immigration had displaced Americans from whole industries, as humble as they were.   Back then, cannery work was relatively well-paid.   Canneries would advertise for work at colleges boasting of adventure in Alaska and the like.   Today they do no such thing.   They advertise for foreign workers to depress labor costs.   Today the cannery workforce is almost exclusively foreign and almost none speak English.   Last year Alaska public radio did this story: 'International cannery workers crank through huge pink run in Cordova' 2007 September 19.   In the story, Bill Gilbert was reported to have worked in a cannery in 1967 for the equivalent of $19.55/hr in 2007 dollars.   He was 15 years old at the time.   Today he manages the cannery.   Hillary likely received a similar wage in her summer of 1969 up here.   [Figure arrived at using BLS inflation calculator here.] Today a worker doing the same thing gets minimum wage -- $7.15/hr.   Mr. Gilbert goes on to explain that labor can be obtained from abroad, thereby depressing overall wages.   He may have gotten $19.55/hr at 15 years old, but he'll be damned if his workers see anything above $8/hr.   But not to worry, today's workers got a little something extra last year.   Due to record catches last year the foreign workers had to put in 18 hour days.   So the town and industry got together and gave each worker a handsome bonus: a T-shirt for each and every worker thanking them for their hard work."

2008-05-07 06:15PDT (09:15EDT) (13:15GMT)
HP Plans to cut as many as 400 more jobs at Corvallis facility
Corvallis Gazette Times
"So, yes, there are a lot of pieces in motion, and not all of them will pay off.   And not all of the news is so promising: We're still in uncertain economic times, even though Oregon might be spared the worst of any down-turn.   Rumors are flying again that HP is considering lay-offs in Corvallis.   Everyone's being squeezed by higher gasoline and food prices.   Undoubtedly, we will suffer economic shocks."
response from a former HP tech worker: "As HP lobbies congress claiming a shortage of workers, they have cut their Corvallis, Oregon head-count from 10K to 2500, and now down to possibly 2100.   It's the same story for HP Roseville, near Sacramento...   In 2000 they had over 6K employees, now it's around 3K.   They are still laying off, and the only ads they run are blatant PERM ads.   In 2004 an HP Roseville employee told me his manager was pleading with him not to resign, because the only recs they were allowed to fill in that department -- even head-count replacement -- were in China."

Paul Murphy _Ziff Davis_
Why many MCSEs won't learn UNIX
"I think the answer is that there's a great divide between the Windows and Unix camps: a divide one side doesn't recognize and the other doesn't want to cross.   It's the divide between training and education: the difference between rote learning and the application of theory to practice.   Basically, to learn Unix you learn to understand and apply a small set of key ideas and achieve expertise by expanding both the set of ideas and your ability to apply them -- but you learn Windows by working with the functionality available in a specific release...   a fundamental difference in perception -- the difference between a world view in which theory dominates practice versus one in which only practice counts.   In his world there are no enduring principles and so the notion that unifying principles can be expressed in different ways is simply foreign to him."

John Lantigua _Palm Beach Post_
Birth certificates shipped from Mexico to woman in Florida create stand-off
"relatives in Monterrey, Mexico, shipped her the envelope in late March.   It contains the birth certificates of 2 relatives living in Florida who want to apply for their Mexican passports at the consulate in South Miami, she said...   official identification documents from another country, and she needs to identify herself further before receiving them...   Bustos said she has lived in the United States for 15 years, became a legal resident and received her green card in 2002 [but, before that she was an illegal alien?]...   Bustos refused to budge, and so did UPS officials in Louisville.   The envelope has stayed put.   But an angry Bustos contacted the Mexican Consulate in South Miami and spoke to the consulting attorney there, John DeLeon, who also got angry...   Kristen Petrella, a UPS spokeswoman, said the company is simply following the law.   U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents open and detain certain items, she said, and UPS' role is just to notify the customer how to get it...   Since soon after 2001-09-11, customs agents have been stationed at courier service hubs around the country where packages arrive directly from foreign countries.   They include the UPS facility in Louisville, FedEx in Memphis and DHL in Wilmington, Ohio.   After shipments are X-rayed, some are opened and some are detained.   Agents search for contraband such as illegal prescription drugs, counterfeit checks and other financial instruments, as well as forged documents that might be used to gain citizenship or some other right...   People at U.S. borders can be searched and belongings can be seized without the usual warrants and legal prohibitions.   Because the courier hubs are where international packages enter the country, they qualify for the border exception, the officials say.   Airports also qualify, they contend.   DeLeon, the attorney for the Mexican Consulate, counters that a 'postal convention' that President Abraham Lincoln signed between the U.S. and Mexico in 1861 assures that all printed materials sent between the 2 countries should be allowed to reach their destinations 'without any detention whatever'.   The birth certificates are printed materials...   Bustos would have the birth certificates if she had complied with the request, Ferreira said.   If Bustos does not end up with them, they will be sent to the Mexican Embassy in Washington."

Jason Perlow _Ziff Davis_
Bare-metal back-up and recovery

2008-05-07 (5768 Iyar 02)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Environmentalists' wild predictions


2008-05-08 05:30PST (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
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 332,984 in the week ending May 3, a decrease of 5,422 from the previous week.   There were 274,801 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending April 26, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,944,507, a decrease of 42,895 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.9% and the volume was 2,451,671.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending April 19."

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter-
Heritage Foundation analysis of my CIS article
The Heritage Foundation is a well-known DC think tank, with a conservative viewpoint.   They might be viewed as the mirror image of the Urban Institute, the well-known liberal think tank in DC that published the recent study debunking several myths about science and math education in the U.S.A.   (See my posting on the UI study.)
Yesterday Heritage released an article responding to my recent study published by CIS (in its final version, which is slightly expanded from the original).   As you may recall, my study refuted the industry lobbyists' constant claim that the H-1Bs they hire are "the best and the brightest" from around the world, and the related claim that the H-1Bs are key to the industry's ability to innovate.
My analysis took a market-based approach: If the H-1Bs are of extraordinary talent, as the industry asserts, then they would be paid well above average for their levels of experience and education within their profession.   Well, they're not.   The data show that the vast majority of H-1Bs are workers of average talent, making average pay for their occupation and experience.
So, what's a self-respecting conservative institution such as Heritage to do in such a predicament?   They want to support Big Business and thus present a favorable analysis of H-1B, but on the other hand, my critical analysis of H-1B is market-based, an approach considered holy by those on the right of the political spectrum.
Turns out that support for the captains of industry trumps ideology: The Heritage analysis of my study, enclosed below, basically ignores the market and says in essence, "OK, so the H-1Bs are just average engineers, but they're brighter than your average butcher.   Most butchers don't have a master's degree, y'know."
Not only is this a patently silly argument, it is completely at odds with the claims the industry has made concerning the "best and brightest" issue.   For instance, in his 2003 Senate testimony supporting the H-1B program, Intel executive Patrick Duffy said:
We are an international leader because we have been able to locate, hire and retain the world’s best engineering talent.
In other words, he's saying that the H-1B engineers Intel hires are much more talented than the average engineer -- NOT that his H-1B engineers are more talented than the average butcher.
In his testimony to the House Committee on Science and Technology on March 12 this year [2008-03-12], Bill Gates wasn't comparing H-1B engineers to butchers either.   He referred to the H-1Bs as "world class engineers".   So of course he was making a claim about H-1B engineers relative to engineers as a whole, not comparing H-1B engineers to butchers.
And the data show, as my study found, that the vast majority of H-1Bs, including those at Intel and Microsoft, are NOT making world-class salaries.   They are making about average for their experience/education groups within their occupations.   If one believes in the marketplace, as Heritage does, one must conclude that these are not world-class engineers.
Yes, Intel and M$ do hire SOME foreign workers who are world-class (which I've always supported).   For instance, M$ hires some under the O-1 visa, which by statute is for "workers of extraordinary ability", and the data show that M$ pays its O-1s 40% above average, but this is much higher than what it is paying its other foreign workers.
And note that my recent analysis is merely a confirmation through new methodology of previous work that also showed that most of the H-1Bs are not world-class.   The study by David North, for example, found that foreign students in U.S. university tech programs, the source of many H-1Bs, are mainly concentrated in the less-selective, lower-ranked schools, again contrary to the industry's "best and brightest" claim.
Once he finishes pointing out that H-1B engineers make more money than American butchers, the Heritage author, James Sherk, then puts forth another argument that ignores the market economics.   He says that U.S. productivity would fall without H-1Bs, as these jobs would go unfilled for lack of qualified workers.   But if a tech labor shortage did exist as he says, market economics would mean that wages would be zooming up -- which they're not.   On the contrary, salaries have been flat or falling.   For instance, the starting salary for new computer science grads with bachelor's degrees was $52,473 in 2001 and $53,051 in 2007.   Inflation for this time period has been about 16% but yet the starting salary for computer science grads only increased by 1%.   The same stagnant trend holds for fresh master's grads.
I never thought I'd see the day when the Heritage Foundation, of all organizations, would ignore the realities of the market-place.

Ken McLaughlin _San Jose Mercury News_/_McClatchy_
Those without Socialist Insecurity Numbers (SINs) won't be getting stimulus rebate, and that's how it should be
Wenatchee World
"If a married couple files jointly and one spouse doesn't have a [Socialist Insecurity number, or SIN], the couple won't get the $1,200 checks that other couples will receive.   They're also ineligible for the $300 rebate per child...   More than 288K troops are stationed over-seas, according to the Pentagon -- not counting those in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Many live in places -- Korea, Japan and Germany -- where extended stays often result in marriages to locals...   According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there are now between 600K and 800K H-1B visa holders in the United States."

2008-05-08 09:01PDT (12:01EDT) (16:01GMT)
Peter Coy _Business Week_
The employment slump is hitting men harder than women
"From last November through this April, American women aged 20 and up gained nearly 300K jobs, according to the household survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).   At the same time, American men lost nearly 700K jobs.   You might even say American men are in recession, and American women are not...   The share of all men aged 20 and over with jobs has fallen since last November, when private-sector employment peaked, going from 72.9% to 72.2% in April.   For women the ratio rose, from 58.1% to 58.3%.   The adult male unemployment rate has risen twice as much as the female jobless rate since November.   Those figures from the BLS' household survey are echoed in its separate survey of employers.   To see why, go sector by sector.   Manufacturing is over 70% male and construction is about 88% male.   Meanwhile the growing education and health services sector is 77% female.   The government sector, which has remained strong, is 57% female.   The securities business, which is filled with high-paying jobs, is likely to be the next sector to get whacked—and more than 60% of its workers are men.   Men are having a harder time than women getting back on track after losing a job."

Mark Schoeff _Work-Force Management_
DoL Training Grants Wasted, Misdirected

Devvy Kidd _News with Views_
Do you have a plan for freedom?

2008-05-08 (5768 Iyar 03)
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo _Jewish World Review_
Israel at 3,500+

2008-05-08 (5768 Iyar 03)
Steven Plaut _Jewish World Review_
How "nakba" proves the fiction of a Palestinian Nation

2008-05-08 (5768 Iyar 03)
Jonathan Tobin _Jewish World Review_
Still Fighting the Same War

2008-05-08 (5768 Iyar 03)
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg _Jewish World Review_
Israel is irrelevant to the Israel-Palestinian conflict


Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Legal Immigration Is a Bigger Problem than Illegal Immigration
"over the last decade more than 5M non-immigrant visas have been issued to people who adjust their status after arriving in America and remain in the country indefinitely -- probably for the rest of their lives...   No one in his right mind could support the blatant rip-off of American generosity that Congress misguidedly continues to offer to the world...   We need to mount an equally vigorous defense against mass legal immigration.   We need to achieve the same success that we have in our opposition to illegal immigration."

2008-05-09 (5768 Iyar 04)
Mona Charen _Jewish World Review_
Did Israel drive out the Arabs 60 years ago?

2008-05-09 (5768 Iyar 04)
Lawrence Auster _American Nation_
how many "radical Muslims" are there in the world?
"Writing at the Weekly Standard, Robert Satloff takes apart a new book by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, both of them professional pro-Islam propagandists, published by the Gallup organization, where Mogehed is executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.   Satloff shows how, through fraudulent definition of the word 'radical', the authors make it appear that a multi-year study of Muslim opinion worldwide showed that only 7% of Muslims are radical, when, in reality, by any fair reading of the authors’ own polling data, the correct number is 37%.   The authors define Muslim radicals as those who say the 2001/09/11 attack was 'completely justified', which was seven percent of the sample.   However, there were two other categories of respondents who said that the attack was at least partially justified, and they are labeled by the authors as 'moderates'.   The first of those groups comprises 6.5% of the sample, the second comprises 23.1%.   Further, the respondents in that last category, making up 23.1%, also said that they hate America, want to impose Sharia law, support suicide bombing, and oppose equal rights for women.   Yet Esposito and Mogahed call them 'moderates'.   7% plus 6.5% plus 23.1% equals 36.6% of 1.2G Muslims, or 439M radical Muslims in the world.   Just a 'tiny unrepresentative minority'."
Robert Satloff: Weekly Standard

S&P 5001,388.28
10-year US T-Bond3.77%
crude oil$125.96/barrel

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



Peter James for Congress -- Maryland district 4

Phil Manger _Baltimore Sun_
Guest-workers are easy to abuse

Rama Lakshmi _Washington Post_
Off-Shoring of Lawyering to India Grew by 60% over the Last 3 Years
"litigation research and drafting legal contracts...   to do legal work at a small fraction of the cost of hiring American lawyers...   According to a report by research firm ValueNotes, the industry will employ about 24K people and earn revenue of $640M by 2010...   The explosion of opportunity here was triggered by what are known as 'e-discovery laws', a set of U.S. regulations established in 2006 to govern the storage and management of electronic data for federal court actions.   Over-night, the volume of information to be stored, archived, filtered and reviewed for litigation swelled...   legal work related to [US] bankruptcies has increased."


Marsha Sanford, Edgar Towers, Michael Capozziello, Jeff Schwilk _North San Diego County Times_
Globalization has been a boon to the rich, Advancing an open-border agenda, Bush selling Colombia trade with terrorism bell
"Companies build factories over-seas to take advantage of cheap labor.   It's all about profit and the flow of capital for cheap labor.   Mexico lost jobs to [Red China], and [Red China] can lose jobs to cheaper labor somewhere else.   David Brooks argues it's a different kind of manufacturing requiring more brains and fewer people ('The cognitive age dawns' 2008 May 5).   Pick a statistic that claims manufacturing jobs are up, but the jobs that left with the factories that closed haven't been replaced.   Tell us that it's really a skill revolution, and the solution is the Republican mantra of more education.   If the job can travel 15K miles for cheaper labor, every job that can be digitized can leave the country.   Every year, Bill Gates begs for more H-1B visas, but an organization representing electrical and computer engineers said U.S. companies don't recruit Americans because foreigners work longer hours for less pay.   American workers have been devastated by down-sizing, out-sourcing or [being stuck with] temporary jobs with [lower pay and benefits]...   In her letter on 2008 May 7, 'Focus on issue when opposing view-points', Joan Horn uses a misleading report by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center and forms assumptions from FBI statistics to support her argument alleging immigrant hatred.   To give her argument any modicum of credibility, one also has to 'assume' a lot and accept a very liberal definition of 'immigrant'...   she's an educator and she's attempting to advance a larger agenda.   I hope she's not advancing it in her class-room...   Bush again sounds the terror bell in order to sell the Colombia trade deal.   The fact is, it increases Colombia terrorism by forcing the workers to accept what is now rejected by a majority of Colombians, and thus strengthens the leftist FARC argument.   I recently spent one month there and learned firsthand.   Although U.S. domestic exports to its NAFTA (Mexico/Canada) partners increased dramatically -- with real growth of 95.2% to Mexico and 41% to Canada -- growth in imports of 195.3% from Mexico and 61.1% from Canada -- overwhelmingly reject [claims that NAFTA is a net benefit].   NAFTA has led to the displacement of more than 1M U.S. jobs from traded to non-traded goods industries and reduced wage payments to U.S. workers by more than $7.6G.   Job losses for the remainder of the decade are likely to grow at a similar rate.   But U.S. lobbying interests in financial sectors need only to buy 28 private Colombian companies and take over Colombia's economy and control the nation.   The deal opens this up.   Some Colombian Workers General Confederation union leaders rejecting the trade deal have been assassinated...   I have seen Ron Hinton's videos from that event and all the racial insults and attacks were directed at him by some Hispanics at the event!   Where is the proof of [Tina Garcia Jilling's] outrageous accusations?   His disturbing videos show Jillings... confronting him... as he tried to document the radical, militant Brown Beret speeches on the main stage in a public park.   He was still able to capture most of their speech...   No wonder Jillings didn't want him there filming.   Every American needs to wake up to these fake 'Latino activists' and their real agenda to keep our borders open to illegal aliens from Mexico.   See the truth about Jillings and other illegal alien activists at www.SanDiegoMinutemen.com.   Thank God brave Americans are willing to go to these events and record the truth about the Mexican reconquista movement in America."

Joe Smydo _Philadelphia PA Post-Gazette_
City schools see more students who don't understand/speak English
"Pittsburgh enrolled only 273 ESL students in 2004-2005...   The number of ESL students jumped to 485 this school year and is projected to reach 1,085 by 2010-2011...   The Los Angeles Unified School District's 266K ESL students, mostly Spanish speakers, represent 38% of the district's enrollment in kindergarten through grade 12... "

_Tonawanda News_
family-owned businesses often fail because of in-fighting
"Family-owned companies account for 60% of the nation’s employment, 78% of all new jobs and half of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to researchers at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. They include Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Company and Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. and small mom-and-pop stores."

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
insider's assessment of probability of H-1B cap increase
To most of you, the main import of the enclosed article is in the following excerpt:
That's because the Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has given the Congressional Hispanic Caucus "veto power" over any immigration-related bill that comes to the House floor, regardless of its popularity, Fishman said at a panel discussion here hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that supports an increase in the H-1B cap.
"The Hispanic Caucus sees it as a bargaining chip to get what they want, which is comprehensive immigration reform, amnesty for illegal immigrants, whatever you want to call it.", Fishman said.   "Until the Democratic leadership allows legislation (related to H-1Bs) to go to the floor on its own merits, that's the situation we have here."

It's less interesting to me because:
(a) Over the years I've heard such statements, "prospects for an H-1B increase look dim", many times, yet often an increase follows a few months later.   I don't mean the speakers of such comments were insincere when they made them, but the fact is that the industry's clout is huge, and things do change -- especially in election years.   Expansion of the program was enacted in the presidential election years of 2000 and 2004, and in the congressional election year of 1998.   You might think that election years are when the voters hold the most power, but it is in those years that the politicians are in most need of the industry's campaign money.
(b) I had already heard this rumor about Pelosi, and find much more significance in the following excerpt (sorry for the length, but it's very important):
...a representative from a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports more restrictive immigration policies, asked why the panel had been stacked with pro-H-1B advocates and suggested every employer applying for the visas should be subject to a full, on-site investigation to verify its authenticity.
...abuse of the system has displaced American workers and depressed their wages.
There's truth to both perspectives, Fishman said, adding that the Department of Labor isn't as well-equipped to fight suspected fraud in the H-1B program as it could be.   Part of the reason, he said, is that the system is based on "attestations" from employers that they're hiring employees with the proper qualifications and at the requisite wage levels [instead of requirements to provide proof], and the Labor Department "has to wait around for some to complain" before it opens an investigation, Fishman said.

The theme here is "Yes, there is some fraud in H-1B, and we need better enforcement."   Careful readers of this e-news-letter know that this makes my blood boil, because it's the industry party line.   The industry lobbyists love to steer the H-1B conversation in Congress to fraud, because they know [that the whole H-1B visa program is loaded with fraud and abuse, that somehow doesn't count, to them or the feral federal government]; most employers are using the H-1B program for cheap labor, but they are doing so in full compliance with the law, due to huge loop-holes in the law.   That's why the industry is thrilled when the debate focuses on enforcement, as it distracts attention from the real issue, which is the loop-holes.   Indeed, when Computech was fined a couple of years ago for violating H-1B law, I predicted that the industry lobbyists would actually consider the incident to be helpful to them, rather than hurting their cause, because they could say, "See, we need better enforcement."; well, sure enough, that's what they did.
The fact that George Fishman is making these statements an indication of just where the politics of the situation are heading.   To me, his comments on fraud have even more portent than his report of Pelosi's edict, with the message being that if expansion of the H-1B and green card programs is enacted, it will include "concessions" to American programmers and engineers that are only cosmetic -- beefing up enforcement in various ways.
I've known George for years, and he's a very decent guy.   But I can't blame him, as one should not "shoot the messenger".   He, after all, can only speak for his boss, representative Lamar Smith, who in turn must answer to his Republican party bosses if he wants to keep this committee chairmanship.   I'm very disappointed in FAIR, of course, but they have their own people to keep happy in various ways...
The U.S. does benefit by bringing in "the best and the brightest" from around the world, but the vast majority of H-1Bs are not in that league.   As shown in my recent CIS article, THIS INCLUDES THE BIG-NAME U.S. FIRMS THAT ARE PUSHING HARD FOR AN H-1B INCREASE -- most of their H-1Bs are NOT "the best and the brightest".
Note that James Sherk, one of the panelists mentioned in the article below, is the one who wrote a critique of my CIS article.   I posted my comments on his analysis to my e-news-letter.
Odd that he didn't seem to make a "best and brightest" claim during the panel discussion; maybe it just didn't make its way into the article.
Anne Broache: CNET: Dim outlook for H-1B changes in this Congress?

2008-05-12 (5768 Iyar 07)
Mark Steyn _Jewish World Review_
Israel's doom could also be Europe's

  "Hugo Black had been ahead of his time for most of his life.   Graduating from the University of Alabama Law school without high school diploma or college degree, he maintained a rigid reading schedule of 'great books' to compensate for his lack of formal education." --- Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong 1979 _The Brethren_ pg 67  


2008-05-13: 25 weeks to federal elections of president and congress-critters

2008-05-13 (5767 Iyar 08)
Jonathan Mark _Jewish World Review_
Obama's middle name should be the least of our concerns

2008-05-13 (5767 Iyar 08)
Frank J. Gaffney jr _Jewish World Review_
The Leaker Shield Act

Ben Evans _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Bob Barr has launched bid for Libertarian Party nomination for White House
Arizona Daily Star
Washington Post
Nolan Chart LLC
"Former Republican representative Bob Barr launched a Libertarian Party presidential bid Monday, saying voters are hungry for an alternative to the status quo who would dramatically cut the federal government...   Barr, who has hired Ross Perot's former campaign manager, acknowledged that some Republicans have tried to discourage him from running.   But he said he's getting in the race to win, not to play spoiler or to make a point.   Barr first must win the Libertarian nomination at the party's national convention that begins May 22 in Denver.   It also will include several rivals, among them former Democrat senator Mike Gravel of Alaska.   Party officials consider him a front-runner thanks to the national profile he developed as a Georgia congressman from 1995 to 2003.   If he wins the White House, he said he would immediately freeze discretionary spending in Washington.   He also would begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and consider slashing spending at federal agencies such as the departments of education and commerce -- as well as at over-seas military bases.   Barr, 59, quit the Republican Party two years ago, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism.   He said his first complaint was the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, which conservatives see as an unconstitutional regulation of political speech.   Another, Barr said, is that McCain doesn't go far enough in seeking to rein in the federal government.   He has been particularly critical of President Bush over the war in Iraq and says the administration is ignoring constitutional protections on due process and privacy.   The 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik, an unemployed software developer who barely had funds to reach the nominating convention, took less than 1% of the vote, placing fourth behind President Bush, Democrat John Kerry and Independent Ralph Nader."

2008-05-13 (5768 Iyar 08)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Too "Complex"?
"The problem is not that supply and demand is such a complex explanation.   The problem is that supply and demand is not an emotionally satisfying explanation.   For that, you need melodrama, heroes and villains...   If you want cheering crowds, don't bother to study economics.   It will only hold you back.   Tell people what they want to hear -- and they don't want to hear about supply and demand.   No, supply and demand is not too 'complex'.   It is just not very emotionally satisfying."


2008-05-13 17:25PDT (2008-05-13 20:25EDT) (2008-05-14 00:25GMT)
Fred Hochberg _Huffington Post_
Small Businesses Create Jobs: $600 won't trigger recovery, job market improvement will
"The best way to get people spending again is to create good jobs at good wages.   Over the past 15 years, small businesses created over 93% of all net new jobs.   That is almost 22M new jobs.   In fact, during the first 4 years of this century, large businesses have already shed over 3.6M jobs.   Today, small businesses make up 99.7% of all employer firms.   The best engine for job growth and the economy continues to be small business."

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
more on the Heritage Foundation panel discussion
Yesterday I posted an article reporting on a Heritage Foundation panel discussion on H-1B.   I noted that, according to the press report, the discussion focused on enforcement issues, which are, as I've explained many times, basically NON-issues.   The factions supporting H-1B, e.g. the industry, the immigration lawyers and the general anything-business-wants-it-should-get crowd, love to use the enforcement (non-)issue to steer the conversation away from the real issue, which is the huge loop-holes that allow employers to legally use H-1Bs as cheap labor.
Accordingly, I expressed disappointment that a panelist who understands the H-1B issues quite well, George Fishman, chose to emphasize the enforcement issue, though I absolved him of blame under the "don't shoot the messenger" doctrine.   (Fishman works for Rep. Smith, who in turn must answer to the Republican leadership in order to keep his committee chairmanship.)
I also expressed disappointment and some bewilderment that even a representative of FAIR took the same route.
After I posted my comments to this e-news-letter, I heard from Fishman and an analyst at FAIR whom I know.   Both of them felt that the press report, and thus my analysis of it, did not tell the whole story.
First of all, the "representative from FAIR" mentioned in the article turned out not to be a staffer with the organization, but rather someone from their advisory board.
Second, it turns out that Fishman's presentation was indeed more diverse and nuanced than what was reported.   He has kindly shared a copy of his remarks with me, and allowed me to quote it here.   Here are his main points, with my comments:
"H-1B visas are both critical to the health of our economy and may be subject to abuses that can harm American workers."...   [The H-1B program has damaged the health of our economy and is an abuse in and of itself, in as much as it rests on fraudulent shortage claims.]
* The main bad guys are the Indian bodyshops.   This is another issue that I believe is not very relevant to the H-1B debate, as I've said often.   First, the abuse -- use of loop-holes to avoid paying market wage, not recruiting American workers, etc. -- is across the board, not just in the bodyshops.   Second, you could eliminate all the bodyshops tomorrow and yet accomplish nothing; the current clients of the bodyshops would just hire more H-1Bs directly.
* Representative Lamar Smith, Fishman's boss, should get credit for the 1998 enactment of the H-1B-dependent rule, but it [is weak and] has not been enforced well.   He added, "I should note that in the Senate, senators Grassley and Durbin propose to completely prohibit firms more than half of whose employees are H-1B aliens from using the H-1B program."   Unfortunately, no mention of the fact that Durbin/Grassley would extend the H-1B-dependent restrictions to ALL employers, a provision which would be much more useful than the "greater than 50%" rule.
* The prevailing wage requirement in H-1B law is full of loop-holes.   Yes!
* How can the H-1Bs be "the best and the brightest", as claimed by the industry, if they are just making average pay for their occupations?   Good.   (Sherk continued to answer that the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest" because they make more than butchers do...   See my recent posting.)
* M$ is having to move work to Canada due to lack of H-1Bs.   I've rebutted this point elsewhere.   [It's about cheap, pliant labor.]
* "And much fewer than half of all H-1B workers have graduated from U.S. universities with master's and doctorate degrees.   These are the workers most highly sought after by American high-tech firms.   These are the workers with the strongest claims on H-1B visas.   As our technology firms rightly argue, why would we want to give foreign students graduate educations in high-tech fields in our premier universities and then send them back to work for our competitors abroad?   Thus, might it make sense to limit any new supply of H-1B visas to just such workers?"
   This point of view is popular among a couple of influential analysts who have been critical of H-1B, but I completely disagree.   First of all, I strongly dispute the notion that having a graduate degree makes an H-1B or for that matter a U.S. worker "better"; it's simply not true.   Second, if we are so worried that they will carry their U.S. education back to our foreign competitors, why are we allowing them to come here for that education in the first place?
* Enforcement by the DoL is poor because it is only complaint driven.   My point, of course, is that there really is not much for [anyone] to enforce, given the loop-holes.
* H-1B fraud in [Red China], with fictitious addresses etc.   Again, enforcement.
The FAIR advisory board member also emphasized enforcement, as I reported yesterday.
Given all of this, it is no wonder that the author of the second article on the panel discussion [], came to the conclusion that everyone present agreed that H-1B is basically an enforcement issue.   Hence the title of the article, "Congress Should Increase H-1B Visa Cap, Enhance Enforcement Efforts, Speakers Say'.
Through some elaboration given to me by the FAIR staffer, I now see where FAIR's board member "is coming from" on this issue.   This makes his remarks stressing enforcement understandable -- but he's still wrong.   Enforcement is NOT the issue.   This is absolutely basic.   I've explained this in detail elsewhere, but again you can quite quickly see it by noting that the industry lobbyists love to steer the conversation to enforcement.
So, I greatly appreciate the supplementary information by the FAIR staffer and George Fishman, both of whom I know and highly respect, but I do have to say I'm still disappointed.
On the plus side, I wish to point out that FAIR, along with Programmers Guild founder John Miano, is mounting a legal challenge to the foreign student Optional Practical Training extension that was declared recently by executive branch fiat.   This was an outrageous act, with significant adverse impact on U.S. citizens and permanent residents (see the Rob Sanchez op-ed I posted yesterday), so I say more power to FAIR and Miano.   I look forward to seeing the outcome.

Jason D. O'Grady _Ziff Davis_
Psystar out-performs some Macs on some Xbench tests

Nich Heath _Ziff Davis_
Red Chinese, Indian software driving out low end of UK SW defelopment industry

_CIOL_/_Cyber Media News_
Satyam sued for fraud, forgery and breach of contract, lost appeal

2008-05-14 (5768 Iyar 09)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Congressional Problem Creation
"Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place.   Politicians and a large percentage of the public lose sight of the unavoidable fact that for every created benefit, there's also a created cost or, as Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman put it, 'There's no free lunch.'   While the person who receives the benefit might not pay or even be aware of the cost, but as sure as night follows day, there is a cost borne by someone...   Community Reinvestment Act of 1977...   Congress, doing the bidding of environmental extremists, created our energy supply problem...   A Purdue University study found that the ethanol program has cost consumers $15G in higher food costs in 2007 and it will be considerably higher in 2008...   Americans are rightfully angry about higher energy and food prices but their anger should be directed toward the true villains -- the Congress and the White House."

2008-05-14 (5768 Iyar 09)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Too "Complex"? part 2
"Let's face it.   Supply and demand will never replace 'need' and 'greed' in political discussions of economic issues...   Moral melodrama is where it's at, politically.   Least of all do voters want to hear about the most fundamental reality of economics -- that what everybody wants has always added up to more than there is.   That is called scarcity -- and if there were no scarcity, there would be no economics.   What would be the point, if we could all have everything we want, in whatever amount we want?...   So long as the voters buy it, the politicians will keep selling it."


2008-05-15 05:30PST (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
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 322,942 in the week ending May 10, a decrease of 10,087 from the previous week.   There were 258,516 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending May 3, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,833,473, a decrease of 123,173 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.7% and the volume was 2,290,364.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending April 26."

Jason D. O'Grady _Ziff Davis_
Psystar out-performed some Macintoshes on Geekbench 2, but 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T83000 MacBook Pro came out on top

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
and on the green card front...
Often lost in the conversation on H-1B is the equally important issue of employer-sponsored green cards.   Last year's [Reprehensible Immigration Law Perversion] bill, and various related pieces of legislation, not only would increase the yearly H-1B cap, but would also expand the green card program.
The industry's claimed reason for liberalizing green card policy is summed up by the Lofgren quote in [Patrick Thibodeau's] article:
Because of this [per-country] cap, a Chinese or Indian post-graduate at the top of his/her class at MIT may have to wait half a decade or more for a green card, much longer than a student from a less-populated country.
Sounds unfair, and even counter to U.S. interests, right?   Wrong.   Though it is true that the waiting time varies with the country, the fact is that Lofgren's hypothetical genius would NOT have to "wait half a decade or more for a green card."   He in fact would have ZERO wait time for the visa (not including labor certification time).   See my previous posting for details, but the summary is this:
The employer-sponsored green card system has three tiers.   The one for the top talents is EB-1, described as "foreign nationals of "extraordinary ability" (and for "outstanding professors") is "Current" for all nationalities, including the Chinese and Indians.   "Current" is the State Dept. term for "no back-log, no waiting".
The category that does have a long wait is EB-3, which is for ordinary workers, no special talent.   So, LOFGREN'S STATEMENT IS EGREGRIOUSLY MISLEADING.   And as a former immigration lawyer and immigration law professor, Lofgren presumably knows full well that her statement is misleading.
You might think that employers would not want to expedite the green card process, as they lose their power over a worker once she gets her green card.   That is a consideration -- see my University of Michigan law reform journal article for examples of immigration lawyers who admit that employers do like the de facto indentured servant status of their H-1Bs -- but what is just as important is having available a pool of YOUNG workers, because younger workers are cheaper.   Most of the H-1Bs are young, and of course they are still young once they get their green cards.   [In spite of the industry's claim that they wait so long. :-) ]
Regular readers of this e-newsletter know that the core of H-1B is ENABLING EMPLOYERS TO AVOID HIRING OLDER AMERICAN WORKERS, of age 40 or even 35.   It's no coincidence, for example, that the "automatic green cards" that were proposed in the [Reprehensible Immigration Law Perversion] bill were for NEW GRADUATES, because they are YOUNG.
The point, then, is that the industry is afraid that the foreign workers -- again, I'm talking about the ordinary ones, the EB-3s, not the top talents -- will be put off by the long wait in EB-3, and won't come to the U.S.A. in the first place.   The industry then loses a major part of its young labor pool.
Many readers of this e-news-letter are researchers, policy-makers, journalists and the like.   I hope they are beginning to understand the following simple principle: Sadly, almost anything the industry PR people say is completely (and knowingly) wrong.
When I read the piece enclosed below, I found a link to an interesting analysis by the same author of my recent CIS article, with a surprising take on it, or I should say, on something I said long ago.   I'll try to post that one tomorrow if I have time.

Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1865
Beware of H-1B Increases during Election Season
alternate link
"According to [several recent articles] there is no chance for an H-1B increase this year.   As the theory goes, the Hispanic Caucus said that unless they get [Thoroughly Reprehensible Immigration Law Perversion] (i.e. amnesty) they won't support an H-1B increase...   History shows that almost every time the press declares that an H-1B increase won't happen, it happens.   IOW, this is probably the time to be vigilant.   As an example, in 1998 the press said that an H-1B increase won't happen because President Clinton said he would veto any H-1B increase.   What few newspapers reported on H-1B back then declared an increase as DOA, and the few techies who knew what H-1B was celebrated prematurely.   In early 1999 Congress slipped the increase into the omnibus spending bill and Clinton immediately signed it.   Don't assume that H-1B increases won't happen in election years because that's exactly what happened in 1998, 2000, and 2004.   During election years politicians are hungry for campaign money and the H-1B pushers are willing to give them a fix.   The allure of cash far out-weighs the minor cries of anger from the unorganized and scattered opponents of H-1B."

Rachel Alexander _Mens News Daily_
Striking changes in Arizona as illegal aliens flee
"[Traffic is down.   Costs for special English classes in schools are down.]   Fewer illegal immigrants are using hospital emergency rooms, so waiting times have decreased.   Although the rest of the country is in an economic slump, unemployment is going down in Arizona, from 4.5% in January to 4.1% in March.   Day laborers loitering outside of Home Depot and other stores have mostly disappeared, ending months of confrontation between illegal immigrant sympathizers and protesters.   Desert lands near the border are returning to their pristine condition and the wildlife is coming back.   Identity theft and car thefts are decreasing."
Illegal Immigration Journal

Larry Dignan _Ziff Davis_
Yahoo! chair Roy Bostock responded to Icahn take-over attempt announcement

2008-05-15 13:07PDT (16:07EDT) (20:07GMT)
Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
Icahn wants to take over Yahoo!, CBS wants to take over CNET

Tony Morosini _Technocracy_
Selling Out, Lack of Stewardship and $5/gallong gasoline

2008-05-15 (5768 Iyar 10)
Jonathan S. Tobin _Jewish World Review_
Finding a Reason to Do Nothing
"On April 30, a group of 185 rabbis and other leaders issued a statement calling on individual Jews to refrain from attending the Beijing Olympics to protest '[Red China's] policies regarding Tibet and Darfur, and its assistance to Iran, Syria and Hamas'.   The statement made specific reference to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which were used by the Nazi regime to polish their image...   Beijing's belief that the Olympics was going to help its image was a serious mistake.   The attention given to the games and the Olympic Torch run (a bit of baloney that was actually invented by the Nazis in 1936) has, in fact, afforded its critics the opportunity to highlight issues that the Communist regime wanted to sweep under the rug...   Indeed, there are some, including those that we don't normally think of as being motivated by international trade, that see [Red China] as a vast market rather than as the world's largest human-rights violator...   since when have Jews [or anyone else] regarded human rights as merely a matter of expediency?...   It is no accident that the Wyman Institute was a driving force behind the boycott.   It has specialized in preserving the memory of those who had the chutzpah to speak out for rescue during the Holocaust when most of the Jewish establishment thought such a protest was pointless or imprudent."

2008-05-15 (5768 Iyar 19)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Too "Complex"? part 3
"Taking advantage of economies of scale that lower their costs of doing business, chain stores are able to charge lower prices than smaller independent stores, and therefore attract customers away from their higher-cost competitors.   The economics of this is certainly not too 'complex' to understand.   However, politics is not economics, so politicians tend to respond to people's emotional reactions -- and if economic realities stand in the way, then so much the worse for economics.   All sorts of laws and court decisions, going back as far as the 1930s, have tried to prevent the economies of scale that lower costs from being reflected in lower prices that drive high-cost competitors out of business...   There was a time when courts would have stopped politicians from interfering with people's property rights by banning chain stores...   Neither economics nor property rights are too 'complex' to understand.   But both get in the way of willful people who seek to deny other people the right to make their own decisions.   Anyone who doesn't like chain stores is free not to shop there.   But that is wholly different from saying that they have a right to stop other people from exercising their own freedom of choice.   That's not too 'complex' to understand."

Quin Hillyer _American Spectator_
Lindsey Grahamnesty's sorry record


2008-05-16 08:00PDT (11:00EDT) (15:00GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index from 62.6 in April to 59.5 in May -- lowest since 1980

"Dancho Danchev" _Ziff Davis_
Redmond Magazine infected by Red Chinese malware that exploits SQL

Thomas D. Segel _View from 1776_
Next time, think before you vote

Ira Mehlman _Town Hall_
What does granting amnesty to illegal aliens have to do with funding our troops in Iraq?

Jacob G. Hornberger _Future of Freedom Foundation_
Ron Paul & Justin Raimondo

2008-05-16 (5768 Iyar 11)
Diana West _Jewish World Review_
Israel is not a freedom franchise, Mr. President
"I think Bush's presidency, at its base, has been an emotional presidency, more gut-driven and temporal than attuned to anything like that sweep of history you hear about...   what happened in Israel happened to a people whose monotheism and ethics, as Martin Gilbert writes in _Churchill and the Jews_, was, in Churchill's view, 'a central factor in the evolution and maintenance of modern civilization' -- a central factor in liberty and democracy as the West still knows it...   what happened in Israel -- the modern incarnation of the ancient Jewish nation that today enshrines freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, rule of law, women's rights, etc. -- is also anathema (anti-Islamic) to the Islamic Middle East, which to this day seeks or plots Israel's annihilation, not in a what has become a sham territorial dispute, but rather to deny infidels (former dhimmis, to boot) a foothold in what Muslims regard as once-Muslim land."

S&P 5001,425.35
10-year US T-Bond3.85%
crude oil$126.29/barrel

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


Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
SF Chronicle: Feinstein, Lofgren push for immigrant workers
In the enclosed article, Lofgren actually announces she's giving up on H-1B for now.   I'm not sure it's actually true, but it's still interesting.
However, Lofgren is pushing her green-card bills, as it states here and as I discussed the other day.
Expansion of the employer-sponsored green card program is not justified.   The industry lobbyists claim we are on the verge of losing outstanding talents due to delays in the green card process, hence the need for expanding the program.   But this claim is groundless.
I have always strongly supported bringing in "the best and the brightest", but as I showed at the above URL, the H-1Bs in that category are NOT waiting long periods for their green cards.   It's only those of average talents, who are literally third tier, in the EB-3 category, who are experiencing a big backlog.   People in the first tier, EB-1, who are in the words of the statute "foreign nationals of extraordinary ability" are receiving their green cards IMMEDIATELY after their labor certification is completed, NO back-log.
But what about the example Lofgren is citing?
Among the people I've met is a guy who spent 4 years at Harvard, 7 at Stanford's engineering school, then did practical training [OPT] and has been here 6 years on an H-1B...
Lofgren is making it sound like this person is "the best and the brightest".   If so, he should have gotten his green card long ago, as I explained above, so something is very fishy here.   Where is the disconnect?
The first clue here is that he used OPT time.   This would have been in 2001, when the H-1B cap was NOT hit (there were about 60K unused visas), so he would have been able to get an H-1B visa right away, without using OPT.   The likelihood here is that he simply couldn't get a job, or got temp jobs or the like.   Granted, 2001 was not a time of plentiful jobs, but an outstanding person from Stanford would have had a number of good offers.   So he would appear not to be outstanding after all.
Yet he was at Stanford.   That in itself would make him brilliant, right?   Well, no.   Stanford is actually my favorite university, but the administrators are shrewd business people.   Like many private universities, they "sell" Master's degrees, meaning that
(a) you must pay your own way, pay full tuition and receive no graduate stipends, and
(b) Stanford is not fussy at all about who gets admitted to their Master's programs.   I've seen them take B and C students.   This all goes to subsidize their PhD program.   I obviously don't know the details in the case Lofgren is citing, but it's certainly possible to be a hanger-on in various ways for years at Stanford.   And if OTOH he spent 7 years in a single PhD program, that would raise a red flag too; Stanford wants a PhD student to get into research very early on, get the exams out of the way and graduate in a reasonable time, typically 4 or 5 years, so taking 7 years to finish would once again indicate that the guy is not top-tier.   I know less about Harvard, but it's likely that he was not in engineering and other things were going on.
As to his having been an H-1B for 6 years, first note that that doesn't mean that he's been waiting in the green card queue for 6 years.   It is common to bounce around two or more employers before finding one who will sponsor the worker for a green card.   As the DoL audit stated, many employers use H-1B as a kind of try-out period, to gauge the ability of this worker for a couple of years before deciding if they're good enough to sponsor for a green card.   If that is what happened in this case, it would again indicate that this guy is not a first-rate talent.
Lots of other scenarios are possible in which this person would be much less stellar than Lofgren's flowery portrayal implies.   All of the above is speculation on my part, but my point is that this guy would have gotten his green card long ago if he were of extraordinary talent.
I very strongly disagree with Lofgren's statement that anyone with a PhD in engineering should get a free ride, immigration-wise.   There is nothing magical about a PhD.   And remember, only about 2% of the computer-related H-1Bs have a PhD (1.6% in 2000, by INS data).
That statement includes many of the big-name companies.   I have data on this on Intel -- and FROM Intel -- that I've been saving, but it's too late at night as I type this, and I'll save it for another posting.
Carolyn Lochhead: SF Chronicle: Feinstein, Lofgren push for immigrant workers

Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
TechNewsWorld: The H-1B Visa Dilemma, Part 1: A Broken System
The best comment in the enclosed article is:
"I have no doubt that we'll hear arguments all day as to why the cap on H-1B visas should be raised, but nobody should be fooled.   The bottom line is that there are highly skilled American workers being left behind, searching for jobs that are being filled by H-1B visa holders.", Grassley said. "It's time to close the loop-holes that have allowed this to happen and enact real reform."
That says it all -- "nobody should be fooled".   Great line by senator Grassley, which I hope he uses with his Senate colleagues as well, because they HAVE been fooled.
Take the statements here by Keith Wolfe, Google's global mobility manager.   (His job title speaks volumes too.)   He claims that Google is hiring "the best and the brightest".   Yet my recent CIS analysis showed that it is generally not paying genius-level salaries to its H-1Bs. Wolfe says that Google needs H-1Bs for innovation.   Yet my analysis should that Google hires most of its H-1Bs for jobs that, according to the Dept. of Labor, "require limited judgment".   Referring to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, he characterizes Google as being immigrant-founded.   Yet Brin wasn't an H-1B; he IMMIGRATED AT AGE SIX, with his parents.
Andrew K. Burger: TechNewsWorld: The H-1B Visa Dilemma, Part 1: A Broken System


Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Computerworld blog: Let's end the H-1B best-and-brightest nonsense
Interesting blog posting by Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau, enclosed below.
He begins by referring to my recent article showing that most H-1Bs are not "the best and the brightest" as claimed by the industry lobbyists, and asks why one would even investigate such a question.   Thibodeau says:
H-1B visa holders aren't "the best and brightest".   It's inside-the-beltway rhetoric that evaporates in 2 seconds of debate.
Yes, inside-the-beltway rhetoric indeed.   Thibodeau's remark fits well with the recent statement by senator Grassley that I liked so much: "Nobody should be fooled [by the industry lobbyists]."
I've often wondered how many people on the Hill actually are fooled on the H-1B issue.   I'm pretty sure that representative Lofgren, the House's biggest supporter of the H-1B program, has a good understanding of the fact that most if not all of claims made by the industry lobbyists are false.   She's been given lots of information by the Programmers Guild, including in a meeting in which she heard from them personally, and I know she's heard from many people personally.   She even admitted once to the press that her neighbor, an engineer, couldn't get a job.   But there is no way she would vote for, let alone propose, genuine reform of the program.
I'm told that the YouTube video, in which the prominent Pittsburgh immigration law firm showed its clients how to legally circumvent the green card law requiring employers to give hiring priority to Americans, really did have an impact on the Hill.
(Too bad they only saw half of the bad stuff.   Another video in the series also explained some of the loop-holes in the prevailing wage law for both H-1B and green cards.   And too bad most of them haven't seen the earlier statements by the law firm in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, assuring the public that employers hire H-1Bs only as a last resort after making an exhaustive search for American workers, that H-1Bs are paid well, etc. -- in egregious contrast to what they were telling their clients in the video.   See my comments last year.)
So, many of them do know that there are real problems with H-1B.   But they don't WANT to know.   I've mentioned before that my own congressperson, Elaine Tauscher, refuses to meet with me.   And when another constituent suggested holding a town meeting on the H-1B issue, Tauscher's aide went through the motions of discussing it, but of course in the end Tauscher simply wouldn't do it.   And she wouldn't do it, because she COULDN'T do it; both major parties are just too beholden financially to the industry for campaign contributions.
If any of you out there think that senator Obama or senator McCain will do the right thing about H-1B, think again; they've already said they support the program, that the U.S. "needs" H-1Bs.   (Recall the public comments by senator Bennett and representative Davis, quite explicit, to the effect that they know the public doesn't want H-1B but the industry does, and as Davis -- then chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Finance Committee -- put it, "The industry is the ones who give us the money.")
Back to Thibodeau: For whatever reason, he apparently decided to take a look at my 1998 House testimony, in which I predicted that if the good jobs, e.g. software development instead of software marketing, were to go largely to foreign workers, American students would vote with their feet and major in something other than computer science.   As we all know, that's exactly what is now occurring.   And, AGAIN senator Grassley's line applies -- "nobody should be fooled".   Don't be fooled by computer science departments that tell you, "Enrollment is slightly up this year" -- when they are hiding from you the fact that they lowered the bar for admission, that they relaxed the major requirements in order to attract more students, etc.
Kids are savvy.   They saw their older siblings decide to major in CS as freshmen in 1998, in response to constant articles in the press saying employers are desperate to hire -- only to find there were no jobs when they graduated in 2002.   The ACM etc. are making such statements again.   Yet the kids know that earlier history, and moreover they see that salaries in the field are flat (which of course again is a consequence of the move to foreign labor, both as H-1Bs and off-shore workers).   So why major in CS, even if the new liberalized major requirements allow one to take touchy-feely courses in human computer interaction instead of operating systems and parallel processing hardware?
Maybe H-1B is not the gravest problem the nation faces today, but it certainly is symptomatic of the general trouble -- government of, by and for Big Business; disinformation routinely dispensed by politicians; members of Congress feeling that money politics forces them to take actions that they know are wrong and are harmful to working Americans.
A few years ago, when a representative or senator whose name I can't recall now announced that she was quitting Congress to become a broadcast journalist, TV comic Bill Maher joked that she was leaving politics in order to "make a difference".   Turns out that it's not a joke.   I don't know how much impact this person subsequently had as a journalist, but it couldn't have been less than she had in Congress.
Patrick Thibodeau: ComputerWorld: Let's End the H-1B Best and Brightest Nonsense

"Craig" _Project USA_
ICE detained 390 illegal aliens from Red China after raid on Agriprocessors, Inc. in Postville, IA


John R. Bolton _Wall Street Journal_
Bring On the Foreign Policy Debate

William Anthony Hay _Wall Street Journal_
The Living Was Not Easy

Marcus Epstein _V Dare_
Bob Barr -- born-again libertarian
"But Barr could be the most high-profile right wing candidate since Pat Buchanan, and the most serious Libertarian Party nominee at least since Ron Paul in 1988.   This, of course, is why the GOP mouth-pieces at National Review have already begun attacking him...   A patriotic immigration reform stance would provide a great way to win over Republican (and other) dissidents.   But it is becoming increasingly clear that Barr will not take it.   Which is surprising.   In Congress, Barr had an excellent record on immigration.   A look at his Numbers USA grades, shows only a few weak spots in supporting guest-worker programs for nurses and agricultural workers.   Even in this area, he cosponsored legislation to halve H-1B visas.   In every other area, he took the lead in promoting sensible immigration policies.   Barr co-sponsored legislation to end birthright citizenship, eliminate chain migration, and cut legal immigration to 300K people a year.   On enforcement, Barr voted repeatedly to put troops on the border, signed a letter opposing Bush's amnesty when it was first proposed in 2001 and fought against 245(i) and other mini-amnesties...   Since [the terrorist attacks of 2001-09-11], he has been a leading advocate for privacy rights and civil liberties [which is a good thing]...   The question for VDARE.COM readers, of course, is whether Barr will begin to toe a new line on immigration too.   As recently as 2006, Barr maintained his tough stand on immigration...   [Past Libertarian Party platforms have come down on each side of the wide-open versus restricted borders debate.   Revisions to the platform for 2008 have been proposed and will be further debated and voted on at the national convention in Denver over Memorial Day week-end, 2008-05-23 through 26.]   During the 2007 amnesty battle, Barr chastised 'GOP hot-heads' in Georgia who went after Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson for selling out on immigration.   Despite edging towards a federalist position on all social issues, he attacked Hazleton, PA and other state and local governments that have tried to do anything constructive about illegal immigration...   Barr's web site makes a number of ominously vague statements on immigration.   He says we must 'aggressively' secure our borders, while fighting 'the nanny state that seeks to coddle even those capable of providing for their own personal prosperity'...   Why the shift?   He has complained that 'If such heretofore conservative stalwarts as Tom Tancredo and John Doolittle now champion increased government power to mold private businesses into their preferred image, is there really any hope left for the dwindling camp of Reagan Republicans who sincerely and consistently dislike government power?'   I've said before that civil libertarians have completely legitimate reasons to be opposed to some of enforcement tools that desperate immigration reform patriots have turned to, such as the RICO statutes and National ID cards.   However, most of the commonsense measures that Barr advocated in congress such as lowering legal immigration, beefing up border security, and ending birth-right citizenship, do nothing to increase state power.   In fact, many of the smarter civil libertarians I know recognize that cracking down on illegal immigration is an alternative to Big Brother surveillance.   See, for example National ID: Another step to totalitarianism [2008 January 15] by Tom DeWeese in WorldNetDaily."

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Radicals United

Floyd Brown & Mary Beth Brown _Front Page Magazine_
left-wing racism
"Did you know...Martin Luther King ii was a Republican?   Every civil rights law, beginning in the 1860s through the 1950s and 1960s, was fought against by Democrats?   Or the KKK had links to the Democratic Party?   Not only are these questions addressed by the National Black Republicans Association (NBRA), but also more surprising facts.   A few months ago, we had the privilege to meet the chairwoman of NBRA, a brave and gusty woman named Frances Rice.   'The double standard looms large when Democrats practice racism.', says Rice.   'Those who search in the Republican Party hay-stack for the racist needles, ignore the mountain of evidence about racism in the Democrat Party.'   Rice does not initially appear to be the type of person who would strike out and dare to challenge a giant, but that's just what this modern day 'David' has done.   Rice said her organization is working to set the record straight and 'wake up' black voters and 'shed the light of truth on the racist past and failed socialism of the Democratic Party'.   Little did we know Rice would soon be feeling the intense, sizzling heat of the national spotlight for reminding people and speaking the truth that the Democratic Party wishes we would all forget.   Last week, when Democrats became aware of NBRA's 2007 Fall magazine being distributed at a black-voter event in Tallahassee, the liberal media and Democratic Party giants alike began firing their attacks.   One headline in a newspaper read, 'Magazine stirs race politics', and wrote that the magazine, 'pushes racial buttons by highlighting low points in the history of the Democratic Party'...   Rice cites renowned liberal historian and author Dr. Eric Foner in her well-documented expose, 'The Ku Klux Klan was the Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party'.   In 'A Short History of Reconstruction', professor Foner wrote: 'Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee social club, the Ku Klux Klan spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a reign of terror against Republican leaders black and white.'   Again, it was Foner who said, 'In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party...and all who desired the restoration of white supremacy.'..."
Frances Rice: National Black Republican Association: KKK Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party

  "On average, academic salaries rose faster than the rate of inflation every year during the 1980s.   A full professor at a top university made over $80K a year in the early 1990s; an assistant professor was making well over $40K.   The average salary for full professors at all public & private 4-year universities was over $56K.   Even at community colleges, where pay scales are lowest, a full professor made over $45K -- all for a few hours of work each week, 9 months of the year." --- George Roche 1994 February _The Fall of the Ivory Tower_ pg 217 (citing Douglas Lederman 1993-05-05 "Survey Reveals Salaries of Executives & Highest Paid Staff Members at 190 Colleges" _Chronicle of Higher Education_ pp A17-A18; "Pay & Benefits of Leaders at 190 Private Colleges & Universities: A Survey" _Chronicle of Higher Education_ pp A17-A18; 1990 March/April "Some Dynamic Aspects of Academic Careers; The Urgent Need to Match Aspirations with Compensation" _Academe_ pg 5; Thomas Sowell 1993 _Inside American Education_ pg 116)  


2008-05-20: 24 weeks to federal elections of president and congress-critters

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes _Ziff Davis_
Macintoshes account for 66% of micro-computers costing over $1K: 70% of desk-tops & 64% of note-book computers over $1K

2008-05-20 (5768 Iyar 15)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Random Thoughts


Martin Hutchinson _Asia Times_
Government, not market failure
"In the United States since 1995, the Federal Reserve has increased the broad money supply -- whether measured by M3, disgracefully discontinued by the Fed in March 2006, or by the St Louis Fed's Money of Zero Maturity (MZM) -- almost 4% per annum faster than the growth rate of nominal GDP [and electronic transactions have increased the velocity]...   Real wage rates for low-skill US employees have dropped sharply in the last 30 years, primarily due not to globalization and free trade but to government's failure to enforce immigration laws, which has led to excessive low-cost illegal immigrant wage competition.   The 'shortage' of graduate engineers is due to the H-1B visa program [and the huge expansion of the F visa program for students], which lets in floods of engineers but not lawyers, so the average earnings of a young graduate lawyer are more than twice those of an equivalently qualified young graduate engineer."

Joe Gandelman _Moderate Voice_
Congress approval rating at 11%
John Whitesides: Reuters/San Diego Union-Tribune
composite: "The latest job approval ratings for Congress have fallen to 11% from 16% in March, back to the all-time low approval ratings Congress experienced in both September and November of last year.   The Democratically-controlled Congress earns positive ratings from just 11% of Democrats and Republicans, compared to 15% of Democrats and Republicans who said the same in April.   Job approval ratings for Congress have also fallen sharply among independents down to just 9% from 20% who gave positive marks to Congress last month.   Meanwhile, some 73% of likely voters feel the country is on the wrong track -- up from 69% in April.   The Reuters/Zogby Index, which measures the mood of the country, fell dramatically to 87.9, down from 95.5 in April, as 9 of the 10 measures of public opinion used in the Index dropped."

Frosty Wooldridge _Border Fire Report_
Ted Kennedy's destructive legacy
Denver Post
"As illegal alien migration and mass legal immigration rage into this country like a 'Human Katrina', every American citizen pays financially.   Other costs include cultural destruction, linguistic chaos, educational break-down, incarceration and medical consequences.   From the heartland in Indiana, Jackie Murray gave several observations that stick in the reader's craw.   He said, 'Immigration policies have changed for the worse since the 1960s.   Prior to ''diversity'' being next to Godliness, we imported an orderly stream of people who were pretty much like us!   Hard-working, skilled, healthy, freedom loving people who expected to work hard, and turn themselves into Americans.   These hopefuls jumped through the hoops at Ellis Island, and in spite of great difficulties became proud Americans.   Enter Teddy Kennedy, among others.'   In 1965, Teddy Kennedy authored the 'Immigration Reform Act' that cascaded into adding 100M people to America from the third world in 40 years with another 100M arriving within 30 years."

Frosty Wooldridge _My Fox Colorado_
Taming the raging monster
"Noted scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson said, 'The raging monster upon the land is population growth.   In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct.   To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.'...   Asimov made what may become a profound observation as we head into further over-population dilemmas: 'In the same way, democracy cannot survive over-population.   Human dignity cannot survive over-population.   Convenience and decency cannot survive over-population.   As you jam more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears.   It doesn't matter if someone dies, the more there are, the less one person matters.'"

Sheldon Richman _Future of Freedom Foundation_
Clinton & Obama Struggle for POWER

Mark Richards _Future of Freedom Foundation_
Why I am a Libertarian

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Remembrances vs. Misremembrances of Times Past

William J. Boetcker _Lincoln on Limitations_/_View from 1776_
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift...

Parmy Olson _Forbes_
The World's Hardest-Working Countries
pictures and tables

Thomas D. Segel _View from 1776_
Throw the Bums Out

2008-05-21 (5768 Iyar 16)
Jonathan Tobin _Jewish World Review_
Finding Appeasers in the Mirror

2008-05-21 (5768 Iyar 16)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Control Criminals, Not Guns
"We need protection from the criminal justice system politicians have created."

2008-05-21 (5768 Iyar 16)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Summer Book Picks
"..._The Best-Laid Plans_ by Randal O'Toole...   _Liberal Fascism_ by Jonah Goldberg...   Shelby Stele's book on Obama, titled _A Bound Man_...   Among my own books, the one that will probably be of the most interest to young people with no knowledge of economics is _Basic Economics_...   My latest book on economics, however, is the recently published _Economic Facts and Fallacies_...   Fallacies are not just crazy ideas.   Usually they are notions that sound very plausible, which is what enables them to be used by politicians, intellectuals, the media, and all sorts of crusading movements, to advance their causes or their careers.   It is precisely because most of the popular fallacies of our time, which are always especially popular during election years, sound so plausible that we need to stop, before we get swept along by rhetoric, and scrutinize the under-lying flaws that turn brilliant-sounding 'solutions' into recipes for disaster."


_House Committee on Science & Technology_
American Decline or Renewal?: Globalizing Jobs and Technology
press release
"Today, the House Science and Technology Committee's Sub-committee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing to assess the effects of globalization of jobs and technology on America's economy.   Specifically, this hearing examined what influences U.S. firms' decisions to locate their production and research facilities at home or abroad.   'The hardships of working Americans are proving enduring and profound.', said Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC).   'No longer can we in good conscience escape the question: What do we do about the offshoring of American jobs?   If we are to find effective answers, we must be open to hearing new ideas.   We must be prepared to discover that we know less than we thought about the consequences of globalization, or even that some of our basic views on the subject may rest on mistaken assumptions.'   Subcommittee Members expressed the importance of this federal funding to cultivate American innovation and stimulate the economy here.   Witnesses testified about the role and responsibilities of corporations, the relationship between the state and the market, and the ability of technological innovation to ensure our country's economic prosperity in the absence of changes in the trading system.   Members questioned witnesses from domestic firms regarding the cost of producing at home under the current trading system and requested their suggestions as to what the federal government could do to improve this system...   Panel I: Dr. Ralph E. Gomory, Research Professor, NYU Stern School of Business, Henry Kaufman Management Center; Dr. Margaret Blair, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School; Dr. Bruce R. Scott, Paul Whiton Cherington, Professor of Business Administration.   Panel II: Mr. James R. Copland III, Chairman, Copland Fabrics, Burlington, NC; Mr. Brian O'Shaughnessy, Chairman, Revere Copper Products, Inc., Rome NY; Mr. Wes Jurey, President & CEO, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Arlington, TX"
Ralph E. Gomory testimony
"In the decades from 1973 to now, GDP increased steadily as new technologies were introduced that increased productivity.   If the gains in productivity had been reflected evenly in incomes, a typical worker would get 35% more today than in 1973.   In fact, the typical worker saw a far smaller gain.   Median household income grew about 16% since 1973, much of that gain being due to the fact that many households became two-earner households.   So, instead of looking at households, if we look instead at individual workers -- for example, men in the 35-40 age bracket -- their inflation-adjusted wages have in fact decreased in real terms since 1973.   In fact the gains from productivity growth have been going to the rich -- and even among the rich, primarily to the very rich -- while most Americans have seen little or no growth in real wages...   almost that 90% of shares are held by the top 20% of stock owners...   we need to address the major distortions in the market caused by the systematic mispricing of Asian currencies and other mercantilist practices.   If we do not have a free market in currencies we cannot claim that the benefits of free trade are being achieved."
Margaret Blair testimony
"This is the claim that corporate directors have a legal duty to 'maximize share value'.   What I hope you will take from my testimony today is that this claim is, at best, a misleading overstatement.   At worst, this claim is simply false, but is often asserted as a weapon to try to persuade corporate managers and directors that they should take actions that benefit particular shareholders of a given corporation, regardless of whether those actions may impose high costs on creditors, employees, the communities where corporations have their operations, or other stake-holders, or sometimes even on the long run ability of the corporation itself to compete effectively for market share, or to develop the next technology...   this pressure comes from the media, from share-holder advocates and financial institutions in whose direct interest it is for the company to get its share price to go up, and from the self-imposed pressure created by compensation packages that provide enormous potential rewards for directors and managers if stock prices go up.   And by the way, those compensation packages also impose very little down-side cost on managers or directors if stock prices decline, which means that managers also often have huge incentives to cause their companies to take very big risks in their efforts to achieve higher share prices...   In sum, decisions by managers and directors of U.S. corporations to choose investment strategies that may be profitable in the short-run, but that sell our country short by moving value-creating activities offshore, are decisions that those managers and directors must take personal responsibility for.   These decisions are absolutely not mandated by law."
James R. Copland III testimony
"The reason why the United States runs massive trade deficits in products where free-trade theory posits America should have a comparative advantage is because foreign government intervention negates comparative advantage with value-added tax [VAT] schemes, manipulated currencies, state sponsored subsidies, lack of protections for intellectual property rights, below market interest rates, and non-performing loans that create an absolute advantage for their manufacturers.   These foreign predatory practices often are compounded by other factors such as pennies-per-hour labor, blatant disregard for environmental protection, lack of reasonable labor rights and work-place safety standards, and lack of basic benefits such as health care...   Finally, U.S. manufacturing employment collapsed between 2000 and 2003 and has yet to recover from the down-turn.   It now has plummeted to 13.6M, its lowest level since 1950 May, one month prior to the eruption of the Korean War.   Employment in the U.S. textile and apparel sectors has been even harder hit, falling from 1,048,300 in 2001 January to 506,200 in 2008 April -- a loss of 542,100 jobs and a decline of 51.7%...   Although U.S. manufacturing productivity indeed has doubled in recent years, U.S. demand for manufactured goods has tripled.   Because U.S. growth in demand for manufactured goods exceeds growth in productivity, the United States should be adding manufacturing jobs instead of losing them if it were maintaining its market...   Today, the average U.S. bound tariff for industrial products is 3%, while the average worldwide bound tariff is 30%.   [Senator Charles Grassley at Senate Finance Hearing on WTO negotiations 2005/10/27.]   Moreover, the average trade weighted U.S. industrial tariff stands at less than 1.7%...   Currently, 149 countries, accounting for approximately 95% of all U.S. trade, utilize a border-adjusted, value-added (VAT) tax system implemented at average rate of 15.4%.   This tax often is among a country‘s most significant revenue sources to pay for such expenditures as nationalized health care and other vital government services.   Countries utilizing value-added tax systems impose those taxes on the cost of an import plus all shipping, handling, insurance and tariff expenses.   They also rebate any VAT paid on a domestically produced good that is exported.   Meanwhile, the United States neither rebates the taxes paid by a producer upon the export of a good nor imposes a significant tax burden on imports.   Consequently, goods produced in VAT countries have a built-in price advantage over their U.S. counterparts...   AMTAC estimates that border-adjusted VAT schemes disadvantaged U.S. producers and service providers by a staggering $428G in 2006...   For the European Union (EU), the average barrier to U.S. exports has remained nearly constant at 23.8% since 1968.15 Although the average EU tariff has dropped from 10.4% in 1968 to 4.4% in 2006, the average EU VAT has risen from 13.4% to 19.4%.   Last year, congressmen Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Mike Michaud (D-ME), and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced HR2600, the Border Tax Equity Act, to offset the VAT disadvantage to U.S. producers and service providers.   Congressman Steven Rothman (D-NJ) of the Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also is among the 15 total (7 Democrats and 8 Republicans) House members currently sponsoring the bill.   HR2600's swift enactment is a key to restoring U.S. manufacturing health.   Make Currency Manipulation an Actionable Subsidy...   Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) have introduced HR2942, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2007, to discourage currency manipulation by [Red China], Japan, and other countries...   Separate Trade Enforcement from the Office of the US Trade Representative...   Stop Negotiating ['Free' Trade Agreements] FTAs with Countries that Cannot Buy Finished US Goods... "

2008-05-22 05:30PST (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
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 317,542 in the week ending May 17, a decrease of 7,867 from the previous week.   There were 270,446 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending May 10, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,851,525, an increase of 5,506 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,329,671.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending May 3."

2008-05-22 12:29PDT (15:29EDT) (19:29GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
PIMCo's Bill Gross says US inflation is being under-stated
"Gross argued that inflation rates in the rest of the world have averaged nearly 7% over the past decade, while the U.S. official inflation rate has averaged 2.6%."

Nicole Gaouette _Los Angeles Times_
DoL greasing the skids on guest-work visas: Background investigations still not being conducted
"In one major change affecting industries such as construction and shipyards, the definition of 'temporary' will be drastically expanded -- from the current 10 months to 3 years...   [Thankfully, senator] Robert Menendez (D-NJ) thwarted an attempt Tuesday by senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) to increase the number of H-2B visas.   'The provisions [in the proposed legislation] did everything for business and nothing for hardworking families.', Menendez said.   'The sooner the business community understands that it must join us in promoting relief for families as well as business, the sooner we will succeed in beginning to reform our broken immigration system.'"

"George Dance" _Nolan Chart_
Bob Barr's real record part 1
"Barr initially opposed that Act, and took the lead in building an opposition to it.   So why did he vote in favor?   As part of a deal, in which he received two things: first, assurances that the Act would be used only in terrorism cases; and second, amendments under which the most onerous provisions of the Act would expire in 5 years unless re-authorized...   On V-Dare.com, Marcus Epstein summarized Barr's immigration record quite nicely: '...he cosponsored legislation to halve H-1B visas...   Barr co-sponsored legislation to end birthright citizenship, eliminate chain migration, and cut legal immigration to 300K people a year.   On enforcement, Barr voted repeatedly to put troops on the border, signed a letter opposing Bush's amnesty when it was first proposed in 2001 and fought against 245(i) and other mini-amnesties.'..."

"George Dance" _Nolan Chart_
Bob Barr's real record part 2

Jeremy Lott _Manchester Guardian_
Purity Testing
"The debate moderator, David Weigel, tried to tease out their disagreements with LP orthodoxy and the crowd followed.   Barr and Root admitted they're less wild about unchecked immigration than many Libertarians.   Mike Gravel wanted to have more, not less, regulation of the financial industry.   Barr explained that his political action committee gives money to Republicans and Democrats, along with Libertarians, because he wanted to promote a freedom agenda regardless of party.   Root justified making a donation to Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman because a client who'd spent a lot of money for his firm's services asked Root to do him a favour.   The mood in the room after the event was undecided.   That's likely to be the case for the first day or so of the Libertarian convention as well.   In 2004, the party passed over more promising candidates to nominate Michael Badnarik, an articulate ideologue who took a bold stand against drivers licenses...   Barr said: 'Inside the heart of every American beats the heart of a libertarian.'"

Bill Gallo _Rocky Mountain News_
Libertarins to convene in Denver to pick nominee
"Founded in 1971 December in the Colorado Springs living room of long-time political activist and Ayn Rand disciple David Nolan, the Libertarian Party was in part a reaction to Nixon-era price controls and the end of the Gold Standard.   Today it vies with the environment-focused Greens for the title of largest third party in the United States.   The 'LP' claims a current membership of 250K thanks to a reported 25% growth spurt in 2007.   About 180 Libertarians hold elected office, ranging from local water board members to Washington state Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders...   Libertarians bill themselves as 'The Party of Principle', and their principles are an intriguing, if sometimes bewildering, medley of conservative, leftist and contrarian dogma.   [''What's so confusing about, 'We oppose the initiation of force and fraud.'?   All the rest comes from that.'', Professor8]   No less a deep thinker than William F. Buckley once observed that seeking consensus among Libertarians 'is like herding cats'.   In general, they embrace laissez-faire markets, limited government, reduced taxes, personal freedoms (including privacy, gay rights and unfettered gun ownership), strict enforcement of immigration laws and a non-interventionist foreign policy."

2008-05-22 16:00PDT (19:00EDT) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Another increase in flood of cheap labof by executive fiat
LisaLisa Sylvester:: Lou, the Department of Labor makes changes to the H-2B program.   Critics say it will make it easier to bring in cheap foreign labor, all without congressional approval -- Lou.
Lou Dobbs: Maybe we should call the Labor Department the cheap Labor Department under this administration.   Lisa, we look forward to your report.   Thank you.
Also new efforts to win justice for imprisoned border patrol agents, Ramos and Compean.   We'll have that special report.
And an important appellate court ruling in the Texas polygamy case, we'll have the very latest from outside the courthouse in San Angelo, Texas.   We're coming right back.
Lou Dobbs: The Bush administration again putting the interest of big business ahead of the people's interest; the Labor Department changing the rules unilaterally of its H-2B temporary worker visa program.   Those changes will make it even easier for companies to hire cheap foreign labor instead of American workers.
Lisa Sylvester: has our report from Washington.
LisaLisa Sylvester:: U.S. businesses bring in 66,000 foreign workers every year to work seasonal jobs in landscaping, at restaurants, and hotels.   The program known as the H-2B temporary worker visa program requires companies first offer the jobs to U.S. workers.   Now the Department of Labor is overhauling the program to, quote, "remove duplicative bureaucracy".   The proposed regulations would change the definition of temporary worker from 10 months to 3 years.   Critics say the new regulations would undercut American workers and reduce U.S. wages.
Ross Eisenbrey, Economic Policy Institute: They'll be able to offer a substandard, even a poverty wage, have U.S. workers decline it and then reach over-seas and pay transportation costs and housing to bring people in from other countries instead of paying a decent wage to U.S. workers.
Lisa Sylvester:: Business groups have lobbied Congress to expand the H-2B program above its current cap of 66,000 workers since comprehensive immigration reform failed to pass on Capitol Hill.   Dan Musser, president of the Grand Hotel, a famous resort hotel in Michigan, told a congressional committee his hotel hires 300 temporary workers every summer and he welcomes any changes making it easier to bring in foreign workers...
Lisa Sylvester:: The new rule changes do not require congressional approval.   The Department of Labor responding to critics who say the proposal will hurt U.S. workers said, quote, "nothing in our proposal changes the contours of the H-2B program that was created by Congress.   There is nothing here that lessens the requirement that you have to first recruit U.S. workers and take affirmative steps before you hire a foreign worker."
Lisa Sylvester:: Another major change is that employers would no longer have to send in proof that they advertised the position to U.S. workers.   They would only have to sign a paper attesting that they've fulfilled this requirement.   The Department of Labor says it will audit those and violators could face up to [an only] $10K fine and could be barred from the program up to 3 years -- Lou.
Lou Dobbs: Another Bush administration "free" market police yourself kind of deal.   Just -- one good piece of news in all of this is that in the Senate, from the Iraq war funding bill, they stripped the H-2B legislation that had been amended to it.   Lisa, I mean, what is the reaction here?   I mean, this is -- why now?   Do we know what is going on with this so-called Labor Department?   As I say, it's a cheap Labor Department.
Lisa Sylvester:: Well the Department of Labor, what they've essentially said is because comprehensive immigration reform failed in Congress, they are now trying this -- essentially this piecemeal approach.   And this is clearly is something that the business community had been lobbying for to sort of streamline this process...
Lou Dobbs: Did the Labor Department in any way, Lisa, say you know this is something that the American people made it clear to the United States Senate last summer they didn't want, and therefore we think we should follow the people's will too, because this is a democracy and the rule of majority does still does matter a little, at least even to this administration?
Lisa Sylvester: We did an extensive interview with them, and they did not say that, Lou.
Lou Dobbs: Lisa, thank you very much.   Appreciate it.   I want to be very clear.   We did invite the Secretary of the Department of Labor, Elaine Chao, to join us here tonight.   She was unable to make it.   Secretary Chao has an open invitation, I assure you, to join me any time here.   I should let you know also despite our repeated invitations to be with us, it's been 5 years since the last time Secretary Chao was a guest on this broadcast.   Apparently we have different views that somehow she finds unsettling.
New efforts are underway tonight in the fight to secure the freedom of imprisoned border patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.   Attorneys for Ramos tonight are arguing for his immediate release on bond and the prosecutor in charge of this case, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the man who brought these charges is facing an ethics complaint for his handling of the Ramos and Compean case.
Casey Wian has our report.
Casey Wian: Attorneys for imprisoned border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos have filed a motion with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking his immediate release.   Ramos and fellow agent Jose Compean are appealing their convictions for shooting and wounding an illegal alien drug smuggler and covering it up.
Ramos was sentenced to a year in prison, plus another 10 years for using a gun to commit a crime.   Compean received two years, plus the 10-year gun charge.   Because Ramos has already served more than a year, his attorneys say he should now be released on bond, because the appellate court is likely to overturn the 10-year gun charge.
representative Ted Poe (R-TX): Neither one of these individuals are a flight risk.   They're never going to run away from any sentence if they have to serve it.   So I think it's an excellent motion.   But on the other hand, the U.S. attorney's office continues to be relentless in making sure that they stay behind bars.
Casey Wian: Federal prosecutors filed a motion opposing bond for Ramos, saying his convictions on all counts should be affirmed.   Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton has been harshly criticized by some for over-seeing a prosecution that portrayed the smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, as a low-level mule.
Prosecutors persuaded a judge to prevent jurors from hearing about Davila's drug-smuggling backyard.   Defense attorneys say that would have bolstered Ramos and Compean's claim they believed he was armed.   Now a group called Christians Reviving America's Values has filed an ethics complaint against Sutton with the Texas State Bar.
reverend Don Swarthout, president of CRAVE: He twisted facts.   He kept facts out of the trial and as far as I'm concerned, he should lose his law license, should be disbarred from practicing law in the state of Texas.
Casey Wian: Swarthout's group accuses Sutton of quote, "misleading statements".   The Texas State Bar would neither confirm nor deny that an ethics investigation of Sutton is underway.   Sutton's office declined to comment on the complaint.
Casey Wian: Compean's attorney was not available to discuss whether he will also seek bond for his client.   Both Ramos and Compean are still waiting for a decision from the Court of Appeals, which could of course overturn their convictions and set the men free.   At a hearing in December, two of three appellate judges criticized the prosecution of the agents, Lou.
Lou Dobbs: It's been just almost half a year now since the case was heard.   Is there any indication about why the appellate court is taking such, by any measure, historically long period of time in which to render a decision?
Casey Wian: Supporters of the agents are scratching their heads, Lou.   They have no idea why this is taking so long.   They are choosing to view it as a good sign and that the judges are taking this case very seriously and perhaps trying to reach a decision to over-turn what a lower court did is a little more difficult than just reaffirming what the lower court did.   At least that's what supporters of the agents are saying, Lou.
Lou Dobbs: I suppose it would be too much to ask for an investigation to be ordered by the appellate court at the same time it rendered its decision of the prosecutor and the trial judge both for their -- for what they permitted to occur there?
Casey Wian: I suppose so.   But I will say this, supporters of the agents are hoping for a very quick decision on this bond motion.   So if it does go in Agent Ramos' favor, there is a chance that at least he could be out sometime soon, Lou.
Lou Dobbs: Well let's hope justice prevails and that he is out.   Casey, thanks very much.   Casey Wian.
Coming up, a left-wing advocacy group calls itself a watch-dog group attacking me and this broadcast over illegal immigration and hooking up with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who wants to make it a racial issue.   I'll be talking with Paul Waldman.   He's one of the authors of a report that says, "I serve up a diet of fear about illegal immigration."

Devvy Kidd _News with Views_
Is it treason and who will stop it?

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Fed in Denial

2008-05-22 (5768 Iyar 17)
Jeff Jacoby _Jewish World Review_
Misunderstanding Marriage

2008-05-22 (5768 Iyar 17)
Judith Apter Klinghoffer _Jewish World Review_
A Heroine's Motivation: Irena Sendler


2008-05-23 11:24PDT (14:24EDT) (18:24GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _MarketWatch_
Time off protects health and improves productivity
"Fearful of appearing unneeded or uncommitted, employees may be more inclined to schedule a few long weekends or limit their vacations to no more than a week.   The portion of Americans planning to take a vacation this year dropped to 33% from 40% who said they took one last year, according to a survey of 1K adults released earlier this month from travel insurance provider Access America...   The frequency of annual vacations was associated with a reduced risk of death in middle-aged men at high risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000.   A 2005 study of 1,500 women ages 25 to 75 published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal suggests that failing to take a break at least once a year brings psychological health risks.   The majority of the women studied, 34%, reported taking a vacation once a year, while 23% said they took one twice a year.   Another 23% reported getting away every 2 to 5 years.   Almost one in five -19% -- said they only took a vacation once every 6 years or less often.   The risk of depression, as measured by a standard industry test, increased as the frequency of vacation-taking declined, said Cathy McCarty, senior research scientist at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI.   'You were twice as likely to be depressed if you took it as infrequently as every 2 to 5 years.', she said...   Last year, about 84% of U.S. employers offered paid vacation, and 63% rolled sick, vacation and personal days into a single paid time off plan, according to the most recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, VA.   Even those with generous time off don't always take it.   Only 14% of U.S. employees take a vacation of at least 2 weeks, according to a 2005 study from the Families and Work Institute in New York."

David T. King _Wall Street Journal_
Oil Prices Are Up Because the Dollar's Value Is Down (with graph)

Chuck Baldwin _Border Fire Report_
Open Borders Prove the "War on Terror" Is Superficial
Chuck Baldwin Live

2008-05-23 (5768 Iyar 18)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Assad's week of triumph

S&P 5001,375.93
10-year US T-Bond3.83%
crude oil$132.19/barrel

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


David Weigel _Reason_
Barr and Anti-Barr

Gary Trieste _Nolan Chart_
What about Bob Barr?
"who is Bob Barr really, and what are his actual motivations?   Is he for real, or is he just a Trojan Horse for the Republican Party?"

_Liberty Papers_
Seven Candidates Qualify for Presidential Debate
Third Party Watch


_Third Party Watch_
2008 Libertarian Platform

"El Bicho" _BLog Critics_
Watching the Libertarian Party pick its presidential candidate on C-SPAN
"Much different from the stream-lined infomercials that are the Democratic and Republican conventions that air on the major networks, the Libertarian convention shows the fascinating process of people working together towards a common goal...   After the first ballot, the totals were given, and former Republican Congressman Bob Barr and author/scientist Mary Ruwart, who was informally drafted by Libertarian Party activists, were separated by one vote (153-152).   Christine Smith and Mike Jingozian didn't make the cut.   After running through each state's tally (North Dakota had no delegation to the convention) to make sure there was no error, the former candidates were allowed to take the stage and speak to the assembly.   Smith, quite possibly slightly bitter from only receiving six votes, railed against Barr and his supporters for his appearance on top of the first ballot because she doesn't feel he is a true Libertarian based on his Congressional voting record and his work as a federal prosecutor.   She was first cheered and then the boos kicked in.   Jingozian threw his support to Mike Gravel, former Democratic Senator from Alaska and recent Democratic Presidential nominee.   After the second ballot, Barr jumped out to a 26-vote lead over Ruwart (188-162).   Steve Kubby, founder and director of the American Medical Marijuana Association, came in last.   He took the stage and threw his support to Ruwart.   Stephen Colbert received a write-in vote.   Someone from the floor named Brown requested a point of order, asking that George Phillies be cut from the third ballot to save time since he only got 6%.   National Party Chairman William Redpath asked Brown if he is sure and when put to the floor, the idea was booed harshly..."

_Congressional Quarterly_
Bob Barr Won Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination
"Former representative Bob Barr won the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination at the party's convention in Denver Sunday afternoon.   He defeated long-time party activist Mary Ruwart, 54% to 46%, on the sixth ballot.   Fourteen candidates ran for the nomination.   Former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel was defeated in the fourth round...   The final vote was 324 for Barr to 276 for Ruwart and 26 for 'none of the above'."

_Liberty Papers_
Libertarian Party selected Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee: LP press release

Mark Memmott & Jill Lawrence _USA Today_/_Gannett_
Bob Barr is Libertarian Party nominee: Vows strongest ticket in party's 36 year history

Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr became Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 2008
"'We have only 163 days to win this election -- do not waste one single day.', Barr told supporters at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver, Colorado...   Barr, 59, left the Republican Party in 2006, and announced in April that he would form a presidential exploratory committee.   He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 and represented a conservative district in the Atlanta suburbs for 4 terms."

Mark Silva _Chicago Tribune_
Bob Barr is Libertarian Party nominee: Carrying the mantle of philosophy professor John Hospers, writer & producer Roger Lea MacBride, lawyer Ed Clark, lawyer David Bergland, doctor & representative Ron Paul, engineer & state legislator Andre Marrou, investment analyst Harry Browne, and software engineer Michael Badnarik
Bob Barr in wikipedia

Stephen Littau _Liberty Papers_
Thoughts on the conclusion of the Libertarian Party national convention

2008-05-26 Memorial Day

Automation Systems Interconnect, Inc. of Mechanicsburg, PA
Memorial Day
The official birth-place of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York.   The village is credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter.   It is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.
General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day.   Reportedly, Logan said that it was most fitting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in the land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday.
Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on 1866 April 29, at a cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday.   On 1868 May 5, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization, Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed nationwide.   It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.   The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance of this day.
Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were very few veterans of the Union Army who lived in the South.   Many Southern States did not recognize Memorial Day until after World War I since many veterans of World War I were from the south, although they continued to have a separate Confederate Memorial Day, with the date varying from state to state.   A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which in its 1866 Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.
The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, but did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by federal law until 1967.   On 1968 June 28, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved 4 holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient 3-day weekend.   The holidays included Washington's Birthday (which evolved into Presidents' Day), Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day.   The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May.   The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.   After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply at the state level, all 50 states adopted the measure within a few years.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, from all of us here at ASI.

2008-05-25 17:11PDT (2008-05-25 20:11EDT) (2008-05-26 00:11GMT)
Steven K. Paulson _AP_/_Cleveland Plain Dealer_
Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr
Michigan Live
Chippewa Herald
"Barr endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee."

David Knox _Akron Beacon Journal_/_McClatchy_
Bosses join unemployment lines
Trading Markets
"More than 163K management jobs of all types were eliminated in Ohio from 2000 through last year.   The loss is a 27% decline -- meaning more than 1 in 4 of all management positions in the state have disappeared in less than a decade.   That total is nearly 40% of all jobs lost -- by far the most for any occupational group.   Production jobs -- the next hardest-hit category -- make up less than 30% of all jobs gone.   The promise of advanced-technology jobs failed to materialize: Employment in high-tech industries has declined substantially, both in Ohio and nationwide, since 2000.   The immediate impact of so many management jobs vanishing goes beyond the raw counts because these positions typically pay far better -- the average pay is nearly $67K a year -- than most occupations...   Today, Ohio has 200K fewer jobs than it did 8 years ago.   Keith Ewald, chief of the Ohio State Bureau of Labor Market Information, agreed that many of those jobs are lost forever...   George Zeller...Of the 612 school districts in the state, only 52 show an increase in median income, adjusted for inflation, between 2000 and 2006, the latest year with data available.   Incomes in all but two of the 62 school districts in the 5-county Akron-Canton area declined.   The exceptions were Revere in Summit County and Highland in Medina County...   The problem is that less than a quarter of the 197 industries listed as 'high-wage' -- defined as those paying more than a modest $30K in 2006 -- are among those in 'high-demand'.   Most of the 40 high-tech industries listed on the site are high paying.   But few were hiring.   In fact, most got rid of workers.   A Beacon Journal tabulation found Ohio had a net loss of more than 71K jobs in those high-tech industries from 2000 through 2006 -- a 13% decline.   The loss of high-tech jobs isn't limited to Rust Belt states like Ohio.   Nationwide over the same years, more than 700K jobs disappeared -- a 6% drop -- in sectors identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Science Foundation as 'high-technology industries'.   The decline doesn't come as a surprise to Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis.   'It's certainly consistent with what I've seen.', said Matloff, an outspoken critic of the federal H-1B program, which allows businesses to hire foreign guest-workers in high-tech fields if there aren't enough U.S. citizens able to do the work.   Matloff said what is in short supply is jobs, not workers...   Matloff argued that the decline in management jobs was part of a more general drive by businesses to hold down labor costs by cutting employees overall and finding cheaper workers, either through the H-1B program or over-seas.   'I think they're just making people work harder.', he said...   But cutting pay-rolls is the wrong way to compete in the global economy, according to Alan Tonelson, a researcher with the United States Business & Industry Council, a Washington-based advocacy group representing medium and small manufacturers...   Tonelson acknowledged that some U.S. manufacturers, such as Caterpillar, the Illinois maker of earth-moving equipment, 'have managed to keep their employment levels pretty high by cutting wages.   They're introducing 2-tier wage systems -- a lot of workers are making $10 to $14 an hour' at jobs that had paid double that or more.   But he argued that in the longer run, those shrinking blue-collar pay-checks carry a cost that can't be measured in dollars.   'The middle class will be gutted.', he said.   'The division of the country into a relatively small number of high-income earners and a much larger pool of working poor will greatly accelerate.   IOW, the social profile of the United States will start to resemble that of Third World countries.'"

David Giffels _Akron Beacon Journal_
Career Today, Gone Tomorrow: Hoover's exit from North Canton is just another example of uncertainty faced by middle-class workers in Ohio & USA
"Steve Tirrell has an answer...   Tirrell, a chemical engineer with a substantial resume, directed kids crafts and hoped some of the parents would hire him to put on a birthday party...   the sequence of events, beginning with 2004 Sept. 1 -- his 40th birthday, the same day he was laid off from the Hoover Company.   He can tell you that with three children in grade school, the thought of uprooting to continue his engineering career was not an option, and the prospects of continuing it here, despite a technical background in plastics in a region that calls itself 'Polymer Valley', were unrealistic...   His wife, Robin, who has a nursing degree, teaches part time at Fieldcrest Montessori School in North Canton...   From 2000 through 2007, the number of jobs in Ohio decreased from about 5.6M to 5.4M, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.   The population, meanwhile, remained virtually the same.   Most of those losses have come in the category of 'goods producing' jobs -- chiefly manufacturing and construction...   the vacuum cleaner manufacturer...was sold to Chicago Pacific in 1985, Maytag in 1989, Whirlpool in 2006 and Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries (also called TTI) last year.   Hoover's North Canton employment has declined steadily over the past decades, from a peak of nearly 5K in the late 1960s to 1K at the time of the sale to Techtronic, down to zero when the new parent shut down the North Canton facility last September.   North Canton would have celebrated Hoover's 100th anniversary in August...   Hoover, literally and figuratively a household word, was as stable a company as one could imagine in 21st-century America.   Founded in 1908 and privately owned until 1943 by the Hoover family, the company was the heartbeat of its community.   Whole families worked there; the concept of nepotism was not only accepted but embraced.   Married couples, parents and children, uncles and cousins worked side by side.   At one point in the 1980s, the employment roster included 144 married couples.   Tirrell found the level of stability almost unfathomable -- when he arrived, the average tenure at Hoover was close to 35 years.   He was put in charge of the materials development department, working very closely with manufacturing personnel, and soon began building his 5-member team.   He was able to hire 2 people early on.   Soon, however, the reversal began.   'I personally had to lay off a lot of people.', he said.   'I think that was the first time Hoover had laid anyone off in like 10 years.'...   On 2004 June 4, a company e-mail announced that 500 of Hoover's 650 salaried employees would be eliminated, with management operations being merged into Maytag's Newton, Iowa, corporate head-quarters...   There's a theme to the present-day conversation in North Canton that's familiar to those of us in Akron who talked to Firestone tire builders in 1978 or to Continental General Tire draftsmen in 1996, or those in Cleveland who talked to LTV steel-workers in 2001."

Michael Cutler _BorderFire Report_
Immigration fraud is often over-looked by politicians
"immigration impacts so many other aspects of our nation today that no candidate who is determined to deal with issues involving national security, criminal justice, the economy, the environment, education or health care to name but 6 of the many issues significantly impacted by immigration can hope to deal with those issues without confronting the impact of immigration on those and other major issues.   Immigration fraud is often overlooked by the politicians.   In fact, I cannot think of a single candidate for the Presidency who is willing to discuss immigration fraud.   Indeed, there are precious few members of the United States Senate or the House of Representatives who are willing to discuss immigration fraud.   Fraud is not a difficult topic to understand.   Think of fraud as being a lie put on paper to provide the individual who commits this crime with a benefit that he or she would not be entitled to if all of the relevant facts were known.   Many people feed at the immigration fraud trough.   Among those who are benefiting the most are immigration lawyers who only make a profit when they can secure employment for aliens, thereby costing United States citizens their jobs.   The guild that represents computer programmers posted a covert video made of a duplicitous lawyer who was conducting a seminar for other immigration attorneys, teaching them how to make certain that no American who applied for a posted job, as the Labor Department requires, would be qualified for the job in question.   [You can read the coverage and find links to the outrageous video here.]   Jack Abramoff, the infamous lobbyist who is now cooling his heels in the federal prison system got his start in the 1990's by lobbying for more H-1B visas for computer programmers for a law firm that Bill Gates' dad was a partner in.   There are, in fact, those in the computer industry who refer to those visas as the 'Abramoff Visa'!...   Incredibly, even though that bill and other like it were defeated by members of the Senate, the United States Senate is, even now, attempting to ram a new amnesty program for an estimated 3M illegal alien agricultural workers and their families through the Senate by attaching this insane measure to the appropriations bill for our military operations in Iraq."

_North Florida News Daily_
More viruses being spread by mosquitoes
"Health officials recently confirmed a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a horse in St. Johns County.   Volusia County leads the state in the number of horses that have fallen victim to EEE -- 7 this year so far...   The only year in the past six that had more infected horses by mid-May was 2003, when 207 horses eventually contracted encephalitis.   In 2005, 15 horses had been struck by May 1, but eventually 150 horses tested positive for the disease and five people, including three who died.   That year 21 people in Florida also were treated for West Nile virus...   If you must be outside, use insect repellents containing DEET (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide).   Picaridin and oil of lemon-eucalyptus are other options."
Florida's Health
insect-bourne diseases

Valerie Richardson _Washington Times_
Barr tops 9 contenders to win Libertarian Party nomination for president of the USA
Modesto Bee
"Mr. Barr, a conservative standard-bearer who switched to the Libertarian Party less than two years ago, defeated Mary Ruwart, a biophysicist and long-time party activist, by 54% to 46% in the final ballot.   Delegates late last night agreed that Wayne Allyn Root, a celebrity sports handicapper, would be Mr. Barr's running mate...   'This team, this candidate, will not let you down.', Mr. Barr told conventioneers minutes after his nomination.   'This will be an historic, positive campaign that will succeed.'"

Mark Weisbrot _Charlotte Observer_/_McClatchy-Tribune_
Is the USA facing a prolonged recession?
"The U.S. accumulated a massive $8T housing bubble during the decade from 1996 to 2006.   Only about 40% of that bubble has now deflated.   House prices are still falling -- at a 20% annual rate over the last quarter...   Of course, for most Americans it has felt like a recession hit some time ago, with real wages flat since the end of 2002, and [median] household income not growing for most of the 6.5-year economic expansion...   The economy has lost jobs for four months in a row, which has never happened without a recession.   Consumer confidence has dropped to a 28-year low...   Home foreclosure filings are up 65% over last year.   And now, commercial real estate prices are heading south, dropping 6.2% in the first quarter...   We are facing the prospect of millions [more] losing their homes, their jobs, their retirement savings, their health insurance and their livelihoods."

_Shelbyville TN Times-Gazette_
Congress' approval rating is 18%!

Joe McKendrick _Ziff Davis_
Software industrialization?: Not so fast, Henry Ford

Steve Sailer _V Dare_
National Review Is Determined to Ignore Realities of Genetics
Jim Manzi: Escaping the Tyranny of Genes

Frosty Wooldridge _American Chronicle_
Can the USA add 100M people in 30 years without suffering negative consequences?
Op Ed News
"The USA grows by 3.1M annually on its way to adding 100M people in 30 years.   What drives that population over-load? &nnbsp; Legal and illegal immigration! Water shortages, energy costs, grid-lock, crowding, air pollution and quality of life hang in the balance and can only worsen with added population.   Yet, we import 182K immigrants into our country every 30 days, month in and month out, year in and year out!   Do we want to continue that kind of population over-load?"

Ron Paul _Future of Freedom Foundation_
forward to _Tethered Citizens_

Josh Levs _CNN_
Bob Barr is no "spoiler"

Rick Moran _American Thinker_
Bob Barr got Libertarian nomination
Small Gov Times

James Ostrowski _Lew Rockwell_
Bob Barr vs. MSM

  "In 1990-1991, at least 3 universities paid their presidents more than $400K a year in salary & benefits, & 12 paid more than $300K.   Non-salary compensation is unbelievably generous for relocation, housing, automobiles, travel & entertainment, family tuition benefits, house-keeping staff, spousal reimbursement for social duties, & so on." --- George Roche 1994 February _The Fall of the Ivory Tower_ pg 82  


2008-05-27: 23 weeks to federal elections of president and congress-critters

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Unwritten Constitution Is Under Assault
"No society can survive without a consensus about right and wrong, about what constitutes moral conduct.   That consensus is the unwritten constitution of society, the content that gives meaning to a written constitution, the meat on the bones of the structure of government."

2008-05-27 03:00PDT (06:00EDT) (10:00GMT)
_Medical News Today_
Next Generation of Mosquito Repellants May Be More Effective Longer
Chillicothe Gazette
Chemistry World
composite: "The finding is the work of chemists from the University of Florida and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is to be published later today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 105, 7359 (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0800571105).   DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is currently the most effective protector against mosquito bites, which can infect people with diseases like malaria, West Nile Virus, yellow fever, encephalitis, Lyme disease and dengue fever.   Professor Alan R. Katritzky of the University of Florida led the researchers to review data on hundreds of chemicals that had been collected by the USDA over the last 50 years.   They found that one of the most frequently occuring chemicals was N-acylpiperidines, which occurred in 34 of the compounds.   'From the data-base we selected 200 acylpiperidines of know repellent efficacy.', says co-author Dr. Ulrich R. Bernier, a research chemist at the USDA's Mosquito and Fly Research unit in Gainesville, Florida.   'We showed 150 of these to the neural network, asking it to take note of numerous aspects of the molecules -- structure, position of atoms, number and type of bonds, electronic and electrostatic properties and so on.'   Having trained the system to recognise a 'good' repellent, the researchers tested its new-found knowledge by showing it the remaining 50 compounds.   It successfully predicted the efficacy of these.   'We then presented the neural network with 2000 molecular structures, and it selected 34 as being good repellents.', says Bernier.   11 of these were previously known molecules, while 23 were new and had to be synthesised.   These were narrowed down to 7, based on likely toxicity and production expense.   N-acylpiperidine is related to the active ingredient in pepper.   Bernier said they hoped later this year to start safety tests where the chemical goes directly onto the skin.   The Environmental Protection Agency says that DEET has been implicated in seizures among children, but there is not enough information to confirm it as the cause of the incidents.   Reports in the AAAS journal Science in the 1980s suggested that researchers believed that piperines and piperidines might be carcinogenic [but several sources, including NIH, classify piperines as anti-carcinogens in the first half of 2018].   Bernier agrees that bringing a synthetic compound through the registration process is far more difficult than with a naturally derived molecule.   'But I have yet to see any long-term efficacy for any of these natural repellents -- they require high doses and do not last long.'"
Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences

Frosty Wooldridge _Border Fire Report_
Illegal Aliens Killed Miami: One Woman's Story
Your Hub Denver
News with Views

Jagdish Bhagwati & Sandip Madan _Global HealthNet_
We Need Free Trade in Health-Care

Brenda Walker _V Dare_
Paradise Lost: Crowdifornia 2008
"Not so long ago -- before the Immigration Profligacy Act of 1965 took hold, and before Washington decided to stop enforcing the law against illegal aliens -- California was Eden, even for average folks... the state's population is expected to pass 40M in 2012 and exceed 50M by 2032."
Immigration's Human Cost

2008-05-27 (5768 Iyar 22)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Utopian Peace Junkies

2008-05-27 (5768 Iyar 22)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
Fair Fares

2008-05-27 16:36PDT (19:35EDT) (23:35GMT)
Marshall Loeb _MarketWatch_
Americans are staying productive longer
"Many of them want -- or absolutely need -- the extra income.   They want it not least because increasing numbers of people are living much longer than their forebears, and they require money to support themselves during those extra years."

2008-05-27 (5768 Iyar 22)
Amol Sharma, Jackie Range & Vibhuti Agarwal _WSJ_
in India, families become part of the recruiting and hiring picture as bodyshops vie to win over families of potential employees: Keane in Gurgaon

2008-05-27 (5768 Iyar 22)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Mascot Politics
Capitalism Magazine
National Review
Town Hall


Aaron Gould Sheinin _Atlanta Journal-Constitution_
Bob Barr ripped Bush daministration for privacy encroachments
"'Obviously, under this administration, the right to privacy not only isn't important, it doesn't exist.', Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, told the Clayton County Rotary Club...   Barr said the balance already exists.   'The balance is the Bill of Rights.', Barr said."

Spencer Jayden _Nolan Chart_
Getting Barr in the debate mix
"Now, for those not familiar with the history of the CPD, the organization responsible for sponsoring the debates, they are possibly one of the greatest (and most vulnerable) affronts to freedom of speech and democracy in this country...   The simple truth is that the CPD is not non-profit and, shock, bipartisan.   There are many excellent sites which cover the true history of the CPD, which wrestled control from the [also partisan] League of Women Voters and turned the debates into 90-minute news conferences.   In each of the debates since 1988, there has been what is called a Memorandum of Understanding between the nominees of the two major parties..."

Jacob Dirr _Dayton Business Journal_
Reed Elsevier/ Lexis/Nexis announces massive lay-offs in USA, off-shoring work to India
Thomas Gnau: Dayton Daily News

James Carlini _Carlini's Comments_
Millenials versus Globalists

Aaron Gould Sheinin _Atlanta Journal-Constitution_
Bob Barr must gain media coverage

Cliff Kincaid _News with Views_
candidates' very different connections with communists

2008-05-28 (5768 Iyar 23)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Bullet Counters

2008-05-28 (5768 Iyar 23)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Futures Markets
"Instead of condemning commodity speculation, we ought to recognize the vital function it serves...   The valuable function of futures markets is that of allocating goods over time.   It is wise to take the future into account in decisions that one makes today."

2008-05-28 (5768 Iyar 23)
Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder _Jewish World Review_
Sometimes even paranoids have something to be paranoid about

Linda Feldman _Christian Science Monitor_
Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin in the presidential election puzzle
"So far, Paul has not spoken publicly about Barr's Libertarian nomination.   And Paul's supporters are considering their options.   'My heart will always be with Ron Paul, and I'll be fighting for him all the way to the National Convention.', [wrote] Frank Koch, a computer programmer from Columbus, Ohio, in an e-mail.   As for his vote in November, he adds: 'I'm personally leaning toward the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, but a large percentage of Ron Paul supporters are currently looking at Bob Barr.   Voting for McCain, Hillary [Clinton], or [Barack] Obama is completely out of the question for all Constitution-loving activists.'"
Bob Bar 2008: Liberty for America
Chuck Baldwin Live


2008-05-29 05:30PST (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
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 323,971 in the week ending May 24, an increase of 4,430 from the previous week.   There were 273,397 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending May 17, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,803,105, a decrease of 44,404 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.7% and the volume was 2,231,139.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending May 10."

Priyanka Joshi _WashTech_
The Other Cost Of Out-Sourcing -- Part 1: H-1B Visa Holders Are Beneficiaries & Victims
We see them changing the corporate and social scenes of cities and towns across America today.   Guest-workers, in the country on visas, are seen as the faces of globalization, frequently and not entirely incorrectly, snatching jobs from Americans right in their backyards.   We see them, infuriated, discuss mission-critical issues in native tongues while home grown American workers continue to become minorities in such teams; See them living a life-style, that on the surface, looks better, if not at par, with yours.
But did you know that guest-workers continue to be exploited mercilessly by their recruiting companies as we speak?   The H-1B visa holders aren't different from any other professionals in any other country, with their intent to provide for themselves and their families.   They come to America with promises of well paying employment, intellectual stimulation and the stamp of a "M$" or a "Google" on their resumes [!? Sounds more like Nathaniel Hawthorne's scarlet letter.], hoping to catapult their careers to the next level.   While the locals see them changing the neighborhood social-scape, the home-grown techies mostly regard them with suspicion, if not with thinly concealed contempt.   The H-1B visa candidate, in contrast, has little idea of the hostility brewing in the guest country, with oily recruiters gushing about the hundreds of thousands of dollars waiting to be made, promises of world travel, and an "American-Indian/Arab/Chinese/Russian" dream of opulent life-styles with generous retirement in the country of their choice.
The world is getting divided into the "users" and the "used", regardless of race, geographic location, country of origin and education levels.   We're living in a time where the pursuit of money is king and ethics are taking a hike everyday for millions globally.
Patni Law-suit: Take the case of Vishal Goel and Peeyush Goyal -- IT workers who had to jump through many hoops to get to work in America.   Their subsequent spectacular exploitation by Indian software giant Patni computers, who contracted them to State Farm's Auto division in Bloomington, IL has resulted in a law suit.   In the suit, they say State Farm paid Patni "in excess of" $100K per worker, and yet H-1B visa holders like them were paid only $23,310 for the base salary, about half the $44K that Patni had said it would pay on the visa application.   Last year, Patni paid $2.4 million to 607 H-1B visa workers after a Labor Dept. investigation uncovered systematic under-payment of wages [as have numerous other government and private research efforts].   "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.
Pay to Play: In a rare, anguished internet post, techie Deepak Arulraj bared all after losing his H-1B visa status thanks to the alleged under-handed tactics of Computech- his recruitment company.   Arulraj said Indian workers are routinely asked to pay upto Rs. 200,000 ($4,500.00 per person) to get a chance at "guaranteed H1-B sponsorship and client placement."   Little has changed in the eight years [since] Arulraj made these allegations.
Living Conditions: Upon arrival in the country, most candidates find themselves crammed into 1 bedroom apartments with five or six other techies like themselves.   Living on the bus line, getting a salary that cannot sustain a reasonable lifestyle unless used collectively.   Their suavely promised Green cards may or may not arrive at all.
Salary and Insurance: Arulraj alleges that his employment agreement with Computech stated that he would be paid $50K/year, but he was paid a total of $1K for his entire tenure of 4 months.   H-1B visa holders -- fearful of their Green Card process being put in jeopardy -- rarely ever question their firms.
Best and the Brightest?   Look Again: Many foreign IT employees do not have enough experience to be brought into the country on "highly skilled professional visas".   Arulraj seconds what this author has seen happen rampantly in the Greater Seattle area.
A Seattle area house-wife, originally from India, now in her San-Antonio-QA-analyst avatar, who refuses to be identified says, "Recruiters find open positions, they give us resumes of other people that we 'model' our resumes on, then techie husbands train wives for the interview, familiarizing them with broad technical terms, we get cheat sheets for technical questions, and as the last step, friends of friends provide reference checks.   That's how we get placed!", she says, sharing that she has been working as a QA tester for a year, despite having zero experience in the field when she started.
"I made a lot of phone calls to my Oracle programmer husband in the first few weeks", she smiles, "and then other H-1B visa holders on the team started helping me also."   Arulraj alleges, "I had a year of experience as a programmer when I started with Computech and four months later when I quit, Computech was marketing me (without my consent) with four years of experience!"
U.S. firms do not bother to investigate further, strapped as they are, apparently, for time.
Guerilla Training: H-1B consultants are trained to fill the vacancy at hand in project specific intensive crash courses or "boot camps" either in India or the U.S. Offices from silicon valley to Boston are rampant with H-1B visa holders either trained in such camps anywhere from ".Net to JAVA" (to name just two amongst many technologies) and shipped to America in 3.5 weeks [sic].   Such techies are also found smugly sharing stories of "learning" technologies for three days in Barnes and Noble just before they interview for new jobs.
This begs the question why American firms don't take the time to train their employees, and fresh graduates in project-specific programs.   If the Indian recruiting firms can do it successfully in America, how is it possible that the American firms, plush with resources, cannot?   Are the corporates not interested in employing candidates from good schools and verifiable real world experience?   How do you gain experience if no one will employ you?
Bonded Labor: Arulraj alleges Computech tampered with his time sheets.   He also cautions against "bonded labor", where certain Indian firms generate a "bond", saying that the H-1B visa candidate is their property for eighteen months or so and that if he quits before this period, he/she is liable to be sued.   These are unlawful acts and the USCIS should be alerted in such situations.
In his paper "Out-Sourcing America's Technology and Knowledge Jobs", Ron Hira argues that U.S. visa programs for over-seas workers hurt the wages and job security of U.S. tech workers.   Expanding the number of visas, Hira contends, "would directly lead to more off-shore out-sourcing of jobs, displacement of American technology workers, decreased wages and job opportunities, and the discouragement of young people from entering science and engineering fields."
Goel, Goyal and their attorney Thomas Arkell declined to comment as the case goes to trial later this year.
Input from BusinessWeek has been used in this story.

Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1872
IRLI sues Department of Homeland Security over OPT extension
Suit Seeks to Block Tech Guest-Worker Program Expansion Masquerading as On-the-Job-Training for Foreign Students

Earth Times
Biloxi Sun Herald
Street Insider
Patrick Thibodeau: ComputerWorld
The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) today sued Secretary Michael Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States District Court in New Jersey.   The law-suit seeks to have the court declare DHS regulations implemented last month unlawful.
[The DHS rule change] extends the time foreign students with degrees in Mathematics, Engineering, Science or Technology are allowed to work after graduation under Optional Practical Training [OPT], from 12 months to 29 months.   The OPT regulations allow unlimited numbers of foreign students to work as candidate H-1B workers, directly competing with qualified Americans.   DHS estimates that tens of thousands of aliens will immediately apply under the new regulations.
Immigration law is very clear that student visas are for students to come to the U.S. solely and temporarily for study.   Instead, DHS invented its own guest-worker program to circumvent the annual H-1B visa cap, said Mike Hethmon, General Counsel for IRLI.   DHS not only took this illegal action but did it as an emergency measure to prevent American citizens from weighing in.
The DHS ruling encourages employers to discriminate against U.S. workers.   Employers can now use the OPT program to train foreign students for two-and-a-half years, rather than invest in our own domestic IT labor force, charged John Miano, an attorney and noted advocate for programmers working with IRLI.   These are not jobs that Americans wont do, or cannot be trained to do.   Rather, these are desirable computer programming and engineering jobs that are being denied to U.S. workers with the complicity of the federal government.
Three professional organizations, the Programmers Guild, American Engineering Association, and Brightfuturejobs.com, as well as individual members injured by DHS actions, are Plaintiffs in the law-suit.
DHS has both over-stepped its authority and caused injury to American workers -- just as the economy heads downward, said Hethmon.   Its too bad that defending the American work-force is a job that American public officials won't do.   But with the help of our work-force heroes at the Programmers Guild, AEA, and Bright Future Jobs, IRLI is confident the courts will declare the new OPT guest-worker program to be illegal.
IRLI is a public interest law firm working to protect the legal rights, privileges, and property of U.S. citizens in immigration-related matters.

Peter Brimelow & Edwin S. Rubenstein _MarketWatch_
Cost of soaring debt
"Is there a better way to look at America's debt dilemma?   We prefer charting the interest burden rather than gross debt."

Ralph Z. Hallow _Washington Times_
Tom Tancredo will continue efforts against illegal immigration

2008-05-29 15:08PDT (18:08EDT) (22:08GMT)
William L. Watts & Lisa Twaronite _MarketWatch_
Unemployment ticked up in Germany
"The euro also was nicked by a small-but-unexpected rise in German unemployment in May, the first rise in 12 months.   The jobless tally rose 4K on a seasonally adjusted basis, the German labor office said, after a fall of 4K in April...   The commission's consumer-confidence reading fell 3 points in May to -15, while the overall Economic Sentiment Index was unchanged from April at 97.1, reflecting improvement in gauges of sentiment in the construction, retail trade and services sectors, while sentiment in the industrial sector was unchanged."

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Advice to New Graduates
"The proper admonition is to work productively in useful businesses and professions while gaining wisdom and understanding of the real world, before tinkering with complexities that they do not yet comprehend."

Devvy Kidd _News with Views_
Voyage of the Damned

Anna Phillips _NY Sun_
Customs Officers at JFK Charged with Smuggling

_Augusta Chronicle_
Libertarian candidate Bob Barr might turn tide in Georgia

2008-05-29 (5768 Iyar 24)
Rabbi Yitzchok Alderstein _Jewish World Review_
McCain, Hagee, and the Earth-Quake in Red China

Logan Paul Gage _Center for Science & Culture_/_Discovery Institute_
Where the Evidence Leads

2008-05-29 (5768 Iyar 24)
Jonathan Tobin _Jewish World Review_
Rediscovering the Will to Win


2008-05-30 07:33PDT (10:33EDT) (14:33GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index from 62.6 in April to 59.8 in May: lowest since 1980 June
"The preliminary May index was reported at 59.5 two weeks ago."

2008-05-30 08:42PDT (11:42EDT) (15:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Inflation wiped out income gains in April
"Nominal personal incomes, nominal consumer spending and consumer prices all increased 0.2% in April, the government said...   Employee compensation dropped 0.1% in nominal terms, the first decline in a year.   Wages and salaries fell 0.2%, due in part to the end of the first-of-the-year bonus season.   Proprietors' income fell 0.1%. Income from assets rose 0.3%."

_Dowagiac Daily News_
Huckabee is correct. Libertarians are a threat to GOP hypocrisy

Douglas Kretzman
IT skill glut

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Can Truth Retain Its Independence, and Debate Remain Open and Vigorous When the Best Are Not Rewarded?
"Try to find an academic economist who will describe the devastation that off-shoring has brought to the American economy and the economic prospects of US labor."

"Roberto de Sonora"
End All Subsidies to Energy

Travis Schulze _Lantern_
Third parties vie for 2008 glory
"The Constitution Party will be represented in 2008 by Dr. Chuck Baldwin.   His campaign centers on a return to the Constitution.   He calls for an immediate withdrawal of the U.S.A. from Iraq, all foreign military bases, the U.N., NATO and most international organizations.   He wants extremely strict immigration laws, an end to [unbalanced] trade with [Red China] and the elimination of the income tax, without a move to a consumption tax.   The Libertarian Party chose former Republican representative Bob Barr as its candidate for president.   Barr also calls for more strict interpretation of the Constitution and supports America First policy similar to Baldwin, except he focuses much more on the degradation of civil liberties."

Michael Freeman _The Ledger_
How do you define Libertarian?
A Libertarian is a person who opposes the initiation of force and/or fraud.

2008-05-30 (5768 Iyar 25)
Yossi Klein HaLevi _Jewish World Review_
Who gets the Golan? Israel has no reason to trust Syria

2008-05-30 (5768 Iyar 25)
Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz _Jewish World Review_
The Divine's eternal unconditional love

2008-05-30 (5768 Iyar 25)
Rabbi Sroy Levitansky _Jewish World Review_
Why One's Not the Loneliest Number
"A Torah Variation on E Pluribus Unum.   If the Divine knows everything, why would He ask Moses and Aaron to number all the children of Israel?   Our Torah instructor suggests a subtle answer -- focusing our attention on the importance and uniqueness of 'just one'."

S&P 5001,400.38
10-year US T-Bond4.05%
crude oil$127.35/barrel

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


Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
eWeek blog on Google H-1B pay
The [linked] blog by eWeek's Deborah Perelman reports that Google H-1Bs are quite well paid, and suggests that even though many employers abuse the H-1B program, Google is using the program responsibly.   Unfortunately, the analysis in the blog is badly misinformed.   (Disclaimer: I am not saying that Google does or does not abuse H-1B.   My focus is instead on Ms. Perelman's methodology.)
[The ready supply of cheap labor via H-1B and L-1 visa programs allows Google to set "requirements" for positions for which they are hiring one or more levels above what is actually necessary to do the job.   This essentially allows them, e.g. to compensate a senior software engineer at the rate for a programmer, or to pay a software architect at the rate for an entry level software engineer.]
It is a favorite tactic of the industry lobbyists for a more expansive H-1B program to scape-goat the Indian "body-shops", the rent-a-programmer firms.   The claim is that the main-stream, household-name employers, such as Google, are using H-1B properly, with the main abuse being perpetrated by the body-shops.
Sadly, scape-goating works.   The "Dot Com" miracle had such an impact on many Americans, including those in the press, that their inclination is to believe that the household-name firms are the Good Guys.   Thus when they see many pieces of evidence that the H-1B program is widely abused, it's easy for them to believe that the only Bad Guys are the Indian body-shops.
But the fact that scape-goating is an effective PR tool doesn't make it valid, which in this case it is not.   [Except that it's not scape-goating.   The off-shoring body-shops based in India do use disproportionately huge numbers of guest-work visas, taking advantage of their relatively lower compensation and lower quality of living of production workers in India as the guest-workers and the contacts they develop within the USA facilitate both obtaining additional contracts and off-shoring.]   The main-stream companies abuse the program just as much.   [Regardless of numbers, both should be reformed.]   Remember, the way most employers use H-1B for cheap labor is to exploit gaping loop-holes in the law and regulations, and it's just like loop-holes in the tax code: Companies of all kinds, large or small, ethnic or main-stream, typically take aggressive advantage of tax loop-holes, and that's exactly what they do with H-1B as well.
I've explained many of the loop-holes before.   For instance, one does not need to take into account skill sets.   If programming language X is in high demand, so that programmers with experience in X command a hefty salary premium on the open market, an employer of an H-1B does NOT have to account for X in determining the legal prevailing wage.
You all remember [the videos of the Cohen & Grigsby 7th annual seminar on employment and immigration law] posted by a prominent immigration law firm, in which the firm showed some of the loop-holes that allow employers to circumvent the green card requirement that Americans must be recruited first, and to circumvent the H-1B and green card requirement to pay prevailing wage.   As seen in the DoL PERM data-base, this law firm's clients are mainly main-stream firms, not body-shops.   The lobbyists' claim that only the body-shops abuse the program is simply false.
Contrary to the Bain comment posted in response to the blog enclosed below, employers DO pay H-1Bs the legal "prevailing wage".   The problem is that the "prevailing wage" as defined in the law and regulations IS NOT THE MARKET WAGE, due to the giant loop-holes.
The [linked] blog is a response to my recent CIS article.   Recall that in that article I addressed the industry lobbyists' claim that the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest".   I reasoned that, if these workers really are outstanding talents, they would be paid well above prevailing wage.   So, I analyzed the DoL PERM data to see how much above prevailing wage the famous employers are paying--and the answer turned out to be, "very little".   The median ratios of actual to prevailing wage were close to 1.00.   This contradicted the lobbyists' "best and brightest" claim.
Again, NOTE CAREFULLY the key points about prevailing wage:
(a) The DoL is required by law to reject any H-1B or green card application that lists a salary below prevailing wage, so the ratios of actual to prevailing wage that I calculated will never be below 1.00.
(b) The loop-holes result in prevailing wage generally being a low-ball figure.   So the ratios I calculated would actually be lower if the legal definition of prevailing wage meant real market wage.
Point (b) is especially important in the context of my CIS article.   I found, for example, a ratio of 1.09 for Google, the firm Perelman highlights in her blog.   That would already suggest that most H-1Bs Google hires are not geniuses, but in addition, if Google is aggressively using the loop-holes, then the ratio would be even lower than 1.09.
Now, Perelman finds a ratio of 1.21.   How does that reconcile with my figure of 1.09?
First, as H-1B promoter Stuart Anderson (whom Perelman cites in her analysis of my CIS piece, linked to from this blog) has often pointed out, the H-1B records are not necessarily for real workers.   They are merely requests for permission to hire H-1Bs, without having a specific worker ready to hire.   That is why the PERM data are much more reliable; each record there is for a real worker who has really been hired, and the salary cited is the real salary.
Second, wearing my statistician hat (I'm a statistical consultant and a former statistics professor), I must point out the crucial information that if one has variables X and Y, then
(mean of X) / (mean of Y) is NOT equal to mean of (X/Y)
Perelman was looking at the former, while I was looking at the latter.   And the latter is the only one that makes sense, because it accounts for the variation from worker to worker.   Perelman herself laments that her analysis does not account for things like, for example, whether a worker has an advanced degree -- whereas my analysis DOES account for that, as follows.
Google in fact does hire a lot of workers with advanced degrees, and the point is that when it hires an H-1B with, say, a Master's degree, it determines prevailing wage at a Master's salary.   (There are loop-holes possible there too, but I won't go onto that tangent here.)   The bottom line is that my analysis compares what Google is paying a worker to what Google itself says the prevailing wage is FOR THAT WORKER, which is crucial.
As I mentioned above, Perelman had earlier written a piece about my CIS study, and quoted Stuart Anderson's response, in which he said that the reason my study found that employers were not paying H-1Bs well above the prevailing wage, as they would if their "best and brightest" claim were true, is that most H-1Bs are young and thus are making young salaries, i.e. salaries for lesser levels of experience.   Again, this analysis is incorrect, because the prevailing wage DOES take into account experience, and in fact the law defines four levels of experience on which employers must the prevailing wage determination for a given worker.   I explained the details in my CIS article.
H-1B, Foreign Workers >> Does Google Pay Its H-1B Workers Better?

Jonathan Martin _Politico_
Unlike other presidential candidates Ron Paul & Bob Barr can communicate

Shane Harris _National Journal_
Red Chinese cyber-attacks on USA continue

  "The nawab began the battle with 50K troops, against 3K for the British.   Of the 50K, only 12K actually fought for him, & these withdrew so quickly that they suffered only 500 casualties.   British losses numbered 4 Europeans & 14 sepoys.   And this was one of history's decisive battles.   After victory came the counting.   The sums eventually arrived at were 10M rupees (=1.4M [pounds sterling] at an exchange of 7.14285 rupees to the pound) to the company as compensation for losses; indemnities & bribes for the resident merchants of Calcutta (5M rupees for the British, 2M for the Armenians, 1M for the Indians); 5M rupees for the British naval squadron & army detachment; plus large personal fees to members of the company council, of the order of over a quarter-million rupees each.   The whole amounted to 2.34M [pounds sterling]...   Mir Jafar hardly cared.   The money would not come from his pocket.   Even so, the Bengali treasury could not satisfy these extravagant demands.   In the end, about half the sum was paid, in specie & jewels...   the company received compensation in the form of privileges, territory, & revenues.   The EIC Council members, however, got their money in full -- a lesson in priorities.   Attached to these extortions was a quiet codicil, granting the company zamindari rights over a large tract of land around Calcutta.   Meanwhile the nawab had turned his right to the quit-rent over to Clive, since named governor of the company's settlements in Bengal; the employee was now his employer's land-lord.   Clive also received a jagir, a feudal right of command over some 6000 foot & 5000 horse in the army of the Moghul emperor." --- David S. Landes 1999 _The Wealth & Poverty of Nations_ pp 160-161 (citing Luke Scrafton 1757-04-09 to John Walsh; Sushil Chaudhury1991 "Trade, Bullion & Conquest: Bengal in the Mid-18th Century" _Itinerario_ vol 15 #2 pp 27-30; Michael Adas 1993 "High Imperialism & the New History" _Islamic & European Expansion_ pp 311-344; Michael Edwards 1963 _The Battle of Plassey & the Conquest of Bengal_; John Keay 1991 _Honourable Company_ pp 318-319)  


2008 May
Danielle Boykin _Professional Engineers_
Domestic or Imported
"NSPE opposes increasing the H-1B visa cap and supports the use of PEs who are licensed and trained in ethical practices.   In NSPE's view, the H-1B program decreases the use of PEs and allows engineers who are not trained in U.S. ethical practices to perform engineering services, which is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare.   The Society also has concerns about the use of the L-1 visa, which allows immigrants to work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S.A.   There is no cap on this type of visa and compensation levels are not prescribed, but U.S. income must be sufficient to prevent the temporary worker from requiring public assistance."

2008 May
_Tech Toil_
"High Tech Industry Laying Off American Workers While Seeking Huge Increase in Guest Workers"

  "Moreover, probably since 1152, the Templars, with their powerful enclave around Tortosa, not far from the bases of the Syrian Assassins, had been receiving an annual tribute of 2000 besants from them, as a kind of 'protection money'.   The Temple as an undying corporation, was not vulnerable to an organisation which relied upon the murder of individuals to achieve its ends.   When William [of Tyre] refers to a possible offer of compensation by the king for the loss of the tribute which would follow an alliance, he implies that the murder was prompted by a financial motive.   The 2 deadly sisters of greed & pride, therefore, had taken hold of an Order which, only a generation before, had been marked by the purity of its aims & the humility of its demeanor.   A further dimension is offered by Walter Map, writing in 1182, & therefore the 1 source of the incident independent of William.   Walter was no more a friend of privileged orders than was William, having a particular hatred for the Cistercians, & it is not surprising to find that he too suggests a base motive for the murder.   Moreover, as the story of the fate of Nasir-al-Din in 1154 immediately precedes this incident in his work, it appears that he was looking for a theme through which he could demonstrate the failings of privileged monastic orders. " --- Malcolm Barber 1996 _The New Knighthood: An History of the Order of the Temple_ pp 101, 103-  


Proposed Bills 2008

Presidential candidate fund-raising, expenditures, and debt
  "The first object of my heart is my country.   In that is embarked my family, my fortune and my own existence. I have not one farthing of interest nor one fibre of attachment out of it, nor a single motive of preference of any one nation to another but in proportion as they are more or less friendly to us." --- Thomas Jefferson 1799 to Elbridge Gerry _The Writings of Thomas Jefferson_ memorial edition 10:78  

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