2006 September

3rd month of the 3rd quarter of the 17th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

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updated: 2015-12-28
 
2006 September
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  "Welcome to Hell.   Here's your copy of Windows." (source: Brad's sig quotes)  

 

 

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

2006 September

3nd month of the 3rd quarter of the 7th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression


 
  "Our nation -- about 6% of the world's population -- has for decades produced more than 20% of the world's doctorates in science and engineering." --- National Science Board _Science and Engineering Indicators 2004_ Two volumes. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2004 pp 2-36 (quoted in Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future National Academies)  

 

2006-09-01 (5766 Elul 08) - 67 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-01
_Dice_
Dice Report: 92,226 job ads

Total92,226
UNIX14,561
Windoze14,965
JavaNA
C/C++16,982
body shop36,645
permanent61,827

 

2006-09-01 07:04PDT (10:04EDT) (14:04GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index changed from 84.7 in July to 78.7 in early August to 82.0

2006-09-01 07:29PDT (10:29EDT) (14:29GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM factory index fell very slightly from 54.7% in July to 54.5% in August
"Employment jumped in the month, rising from 50.7 in the previous month to 54.0."

2006-09-01 08:51PDT (11:51EDT) (15:51GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US construction spending fell 1.2% in July: Home-building down 2%
Pending home sales index down 7% for July: Down 16% in last 12 months

2006-09-01 08:57PDT (11:57EDT) (15:57GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Establishment survey results in a seasonally adjusted 128K additional non-farm jobs
BLS report

2006-09-01 09:19PDT (12:19EDT) (16:19GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Alliance between Venezuela and Red China is troubling in several ways

2006-09-01 11:02PDT (14:02EDT) (18:02GMT)
_MarketWatch_
GM to cut North American production by 12%

2006-09-01
Oscar Avila _Chicago Tribune_
Illegal immigrant demonstrations brought to you by Miller Brewing
"The brewer has paid more than $30K for a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads publicizing the event...   But the presence of Miller at a welcoming reception the day before the August 12-13 planning convention raised eye-brows.   The convention brought together labor unions, anti-war groups, immigrant service organizations and even socialist political candidates."

2006-09-01
_CBS_/_Christian Science Monitor_
More Work for Some, Less for Others
"In a labor force of 152M, 7.2M are officially unemployed and searching.   Another 4.1M are working shorter hours than they want.   Still another 4.9M would like to be working but aren't even counted in the labor force because they have stopped looking for a job."

2006-09-01
Hailey Lynne McKeefry _eWeek_
Keeping Employees Happy
"[blah blah blah bodyshops blah blah] Employees leave their jobs for a variety of reasons that range from feeling under-appreciated and over-worked to saying they cannot get proper training to advance their careers, according to employment and talent search companies.   Some employees leave to find more money, while others are hoping to achieve better balance between their work and home lives...   John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an out-placement company based in Chicago.   'Companies have to put retention strategies at the top of the list.'   Turn-over rates, already high, keep rising.   91% of companies reported high or increasing turn-over rates in a February survey by TalentKeepers, a retention and search company in Orlando, FL.   Only 9% of U.S. companies reported a decrease in turnover during the past year, the study found.   An overwhelming 65% of those polled for compensation data and service provider Salary.com's 2005/2006 Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey, published in January, said they planned to look for a new job within 3 months -- a 50% increase over 2004.   It's not always about salary.   in fact, many engineers put the opportunity to work with 'cool' technology at the top of their list of must-have job attributes...   Engineers also want solid relationships with co-workers and managers...   Friendly co-workers, along with good managers and a desirable commute, topped the list of items that create overall workplace happiness, according to Salary.com's 2005/2006 Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey..   As important as time at work is, employees, for the most part, are not willing to sacrifice their personal lives for work; they want balance...   While few employees say that salary makes them stay with an employer, many cite it as a reason for leaving their jobs...   Employers should speak to staff members individually or conduct periodic employee surveys to find out what's on their minds, Challenger said...   In fact, 63% of CIOs said professional development opportunities are their best strategy for retaining key employees, according to a March survey...   'Only about 20% of IT professionals get good, solid support for acquiring new skills and training.', said June Keszeg...   One successful strategy is giving employees a tuition budget and allowing them to decide, with their supervisor, how to spend the money...   Some companies provide tuition reimbursement or sponsorship for a university degree."

2006-09-01 11:08PDT (14:08EDT) (17:08GMT)
John Shinal _MarketWatch_
M$ and Apple prepare for digital music battle

2006-09-01 11:32PDT (14:32EDT) (18:32GMT)
Jeffry Bartash & Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
Intel considering up to 20K job cuts

2006-09-01
William Norman Grigg _Freedom in Our Time_
The "Disaster Capitalist" Nomenklatura

2006-09-01
DJIA11,464.15
S&P 5001,311.01
NASDAQ2,193.16
10-year US T-Bond4.73%
crude oil69.19
gold632.60
silver13.07
platinum1,254.80
palladium349.60
copper0.21447
natgas$5.877/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.7344/gal
heatingoil$1.9674/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 

2006-09-02 (5766 Elul 09) - 66 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-02 05:56PDT (08:56EDT) (12:56GMT)
Jeanne Sahadi _CNN_/_Money_
Workers have lost traction over the last decade
"Between 1995 and 2005, productivity -- a measure of the quantity and quality of what workers produce per hour -- grew 33.4%.   But hourly wages rose only 11%, with almost all of that increase coming during the late 1990s, according to EPI.   Looking back even farther, the disparity is greater.   Since 1979, productivity rose 67%, while wages rose only 8.9%...   From 1973 to 2005, the median wage for women with a high school degree rose 7.4%.   By contrast, the median wage for men with a high school degree fell nearly 14%.   For men with college degrees, they're now earning 12.8% more than they did in 1973 while women with college degrees are taking home 26% more pay.   Since 2001, however, the median wage for both genders with college educations remained essentially flat.   And among young college graduates, their entry-level wages have fallen since 2000 -- 79 cents per hour for men and 33 cents per hour for women."

2006-09-02 09:31PDT (12:31EDT) (16:31GMT)
_Yahoo!_/_AFP_
Call center worker in india arrested for fraud
"Sulagna Ray, 23, was accused of obtaining the credit card information while selling US customers a television service as part of her job, the Times of India reported Saturday.   Ray, an aspiring fashion designer, allegedly spent $4K (3,122 euros) using other people's credit cards to buy an air-conditioner, microwave, cosmetics, saris, jewellery and chocolate...   Ray worked for Jaishree Infotech, an Indian company handling work for another US e-commerce web site...   In June, police in the technology hub of Bangalore arrested an employee of global banking giant HSBC for allegedly taking 230K pounds sterling (333K euros, $418,500) from 16 bank accounts held by Britons."

2006-09-02
Erik Rush _Post Chronicle_
Is Corruption Inevitable?
"Of course, there have always been contrary examples of those in the entertainment industry (which I regularly excoriate without mercy, in case you've been living on a mountaintop) whose egos don't balloon beyond all reason despite the sycophants, the adulation, the money and opportunity for indulgence.   Nevertheless, I began to postulate that perhaps this corruption might be all but inescapable for the vast majority who succeed in certain professions...   There's Tom Tancredo, for example, the Colorado Congressman who's been putting it all on the line to alert America as to just how bad the problems on our southern border are and how bleak America's future shall be if decisive (and, in some sectors, very unpopular) action is not taken.   There are politicians who've been as outspoken on other important issues, to be fair; the border/immigration issue just happens to be a main cultural and media focus right now.   Joe Lieberman is an example of someone who spoke the truth (about the War on Terror, in this case) and paid a heavy price...   Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his colleagues know what is at stake and are proceeding as best they can.   Despite this, the same tired, feeble overtures continue to be bandied about by the US, the UN and European nations: 'Let's stop fighting for a bit and talk.'...   Why?   Regardless of the cries that our Iraq campaign is a futile one, the public knows that we once turned Japan and Germany into rubble -- accepting the 'horribly immoral' fact of collateral damage, and that democracies now exist in these countries.   In the main, the public knows that Islamic fascists are men who serve evil; they're just hoping our government will do the right thing, whatever that is."
 

  "When taxes are too high, people go hungry.   When the government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit.   Act for the people's benefit.   Trust them; leave them alone." -- Lao Tzu _Tao Te Ching_ (The Way of Changes)  

 

2006-09-03 (5766 Elul 10) - 65 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-03 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Arnie Alpert _Concord Monitor_
New Hampshire wages don't cover housing costs
"While the cost of living, especially fuel and housing, is going through the roof, wages are stagnant for most workers.   And the ranks of workers in low-wage occupations will continue to expand.   The occupation projected to add the most jobs, retail sales, pays a median wage of $9.70 an hour.   At that rate, a full-time worker could afford $500 a month for housing.   But the typical 1-bedroom apartment goes for almost $800 a month, and a typical 2-bedroom apartment rents for over $1K...   Other fast-growing, low-paying jobs are those of teaching assistants, fast-food workers, nursing aides, cashiers, janitors and waiters."

2006-09-03
Joel Dresang _Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_
Union bows out of Labor Day parade citing those participants backing illegal aliens
"Local 75 of the Plumbers and Gas Fitters will break from tradition and not march in Milwaukee's Labor Day parade today because the union considers the inclusion of immigrant advocates a distraction from Labor Day. 'This is strictly a Labor Day celebration. Any other purpose of this parade would not do Labor Day any justice, in my opinion. It's designed to celebrate labor. Labor only.', said Harry Kreuser, Local 75 business manager. The 1,900-member union, covering 14 counties in southern Wisconsin, will participate in Labor Day celebrations in Janesville and Madison, Kreuser said, but it won't be an official entry in the hometown Milwaukee parade. He said individual members are free to march or not where they please... He said Local 75 simply opposes the idea of mixing messages in the Labor Day parade. 'There was conversation about bringing in the Hispanic community to participate in the parade, and it was a rally on their part for legalizing the illegal aliens in the Hispanic community. And we just felt that this parade should not be a political parade or a political statement as much as it is for Labor Day.', Kreuser said... Cochran said 5 or 6 other unions have joined Local 75 in citing the [illegal alien] march for sitting out the parade... Rogers, who said worker productivity has far out-stripped worker compensation over the last 30 years or so."

2006-09-03
Michael Kinsman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
What 40-hour work-week?: Many employees, under pressure, put in 60 or 70 hours
"As with many other white-collar workers, Lin's workweek has expanded.   It is no longer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, but more like 12 hours a day and full 8-hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays.   Lin, 37, recently spent 28 straight days on the job, hasn't had time for a relationship in years and last took a vacation 6 years ago...   The 40-hour workweek is but a distant memory for many professionals on this Labor Day weekend...   Challenger -- who was interviewed during a recent work/vacation in Monterey -- said there has been a clear cultural shift in recent years that is driving professionals to put in longer and longer hours.   Some of the work is voluntary, but some is done out of fear of employer demands.   The hours of work that salaried workers do at home or on vacation are not captured by most government statistics.   The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that the American workweek remained relatively stable between 1979 and 2004, while workweeks were shortened in many other industrial countries.   The number of hours worked by Americans dropped 2% during that 25-year span, compared to an average 13.1% drop in 19 other primarily European industrial countries.   With 1,824 average hours worked during the year, Americans ranked second only to New Zealanders in number of hours worked.   New Zealand workers put in two more hours per year than Americans.   The survey showed that Japanese workers shaved 15.9% off their workweek during that 25-year time span, Germans cut hours by 18.9%, and French work schedules were reduced by 17.9%...   A recent survey by [body shop] Adecco found that 29% of workers report toiling longer today than a year ago, and 32% said they are experiencing more on-the-job stress...   Ann Nichols Roulac [said] 'It is not uncommon to find people working 60 or 70 hours a week.   When they work hours that long and those hours are intense, it just means they are not going to be functioning like they should.   It's a major reason we see so much burnout among workers.'...   The Economic Policy Institute, based in Washington, DC, reported that U.S. productivity increased 79% from 1979 to 2005, while the median hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, gained 8.9% during the same period...   It is a cultural norm in some professions, such as law or accounting, to put in 70 hours a week...   Roulac said that workers not only burn out in that environment, but they make mistakes along the way because they can't perform at a high level for 70 hours a week."
 

2006-09-04 (5766 Elul 11) - 64 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-03 18:10PDT (2006-09-03 21:10EDT) (2006-09-04 01:10GMT)
_CNN_
Voters are anti-incumbent and angry, new poll finds
"A majority of Americans surveyed -- and a higher percentage than recorded during the same time last year -- said things in the United States are going 'badly'.   Among this year's respondents, 29% said 'pretty badly' and 25% -- up from 15% a month ago -- answered 'very badly'.   By comparison, 37% described the way things are going as 'fairly well', and 9% answered 'very well'.   Of these people, 76% said there was 'something' to be angry about in the country today.   By comparison, 59% felt that way when polled in February.   Only 21% said they were 'generally content' in the latest poll.   9% said they considered the economy to be 'very good', a number unchanged from a June CNN poll.   But the number who considered conditions 'somewhat good' dropped from 42% to 35% over the same period.   The number of respondents who consider the economy 'somewhat poor' rose from 31% to 34%, and the number who called the economy 'very poor' jumped from 16% to 22%.   A majority -- 55% -- said they are more likely to back a challenger in races on this year's ballot.   Such anti-incumbent sentiment is higher than the 48% recorded as 'pro-challenger' in a similar survey in 1994, when the GOP took control of both houses of Congress.   None the less, 48% said that, if most of the present members of Congress were replaced with new members, there would be no difference.   By contrast, 42% said such a scenario would change Congress for the better, and 7% said it would change Congress for the worse."

2006-09-04
Bob Moser _Daily Advertiser_
Louisiana Technical College students get hands-on career training
"Instructors at LTC are called daily by employers in carpentry, electrical wiring, and air-conditioning repair.   They say entry-level salaries climbed in a hurry after the hurricanes, and continue to increase...   It's part of a tuition-free job training program for health-care and construction trades through Louisiana Technical Colleges.   The program is funded in part by an H-1B grant from president Bush's 'High Growth Job Training' initiative.   The Louisiana Department of Labor has also put $15M toward job skills training at LTC...   Enrollment in each construction trade class has gone up this semester...   Roberta Williams, a retired school teacher from New Iberia, didn't enroll in carpentry class to help kick start a new career.   Each week Williams will learn something new in class, and each Saturday she'll put it towards rebuilding homes throughout Vermilion Parish.   Teams of volunteers from First United Methodist Church have gutted many homes in the parish, she said."

2006-09-04
Bill Cotterell _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Immigration case at DMS shocks state senator Nancy Argenziano
"First, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement busts 55 GBM [General Business Maintenance] employees working in state buildings.   Then, DMS [Department of Management Services] responds like the police captain in 'Casablanca' -- 'shocked, shocked!' that out-sourcing of state jobs might lead to hiring of illegal immigrants.   DMS warned GBM it was in violation of its contract and said the state demands that the work get done -- on time, on budget and by legal employees.   Company president Hans Foraker wrote back, expressing 'deepest apologies for the inconvenience and the embarrassment'.   And now, on top of everything else, DMS and GBM have senator Nancy Argenziano to contend with.   ICE may seem warm by comparison.   Argenziano chairs the Senate Governmental Oversight and Productivity Committee, and is famously unflinching in fights over privatization.   She was the one, you'll recall, who held DMS and Convergys [formerly Cincinnati Bell Information Systems] accountable for leakage of state personnel data to a sub-contractor in India...   State employees need security badges to work in there, but Argenziano said that after 5 p.m., just about anybody can push a cleaning cart through.   She wants more state employees to contact her... if they have concerns about security.   'Not only did we take jobs away from Florida residents to save money - which we never know if we're really saving or not - but they gave the jobs to illegal aliens, some with criminal backgrounds.', she said.   'Don't call me if you just hate Jeb Bush.   I want to know if there are possible security breaches in these offices, and I will make every best effort to protect employees' confidentiality.'   Meanwhile, DMS said the ICE raids cut GBM's local work staff in half."

2006-09-04
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
Many Entry-Level Workers in USA Find a Rough Job Market
"This Labor Day, the 45M young people in the nation's work force face a choppy job market in which entry-level wages have often trailed inflation, making it hard for many to cope with high housing costs and rising college debt loads.   Entry-level wages for college and high school graduates fell by more than 4% from 2001 to 2005, after factoring in inflation, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Economic Policy Institute.   In addition, the percentage of college graduates receiving health and pension benefits in their entry-level jobs has dropped sharply.   Some labor experts say wage stagnation and the sharp increase in housing costs over the past decade have delayed workers ages 20 to 35 from buying their first homes...   Census Bureau data released last week underlined the difficulties for young workers, showing that median income for families with at least one parent age 25 to 34 fell $3,009 from 2000 to 2005, sliding to $48,405, a 5.9% drop, after having jumped 12% in the late 1990s...   Even though the economy has grown strongly in recent years, wages for young workers, especially college graduates, have been depressed by several factors, including the end of the high-tech boom and the trend of sending jobs over-seas.   From 2001 to 2005, entry-level wages for male college graduates fell by 7.3%, to $19.72 an hour, while wages for female graduates declined 3.5%, to $17.08, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group...   The percentage of young adults who are working has dropped since 2000 largely because many have grown discouraged and stopped looking for work.   This has happened even though the unemployment rate, which counts only people looking for work, has fallen to 4.4% for those ages 25 to 34.   It is 8.2% for workers ages 20 to 24...   In a steep drop over a short time, 64% of college graduates received health coverage in entry-level jobs in 2005, down from 71% five years earlier...   For men with high school diplomas, entry-level pay fell by 3.3%, to $10.93, from 2001 to 2005, according to the Economic Policy Institute.   For female high school graduates, entry-level pay fell by 4.9%, to $9.08 an hour.   Labor Department officials voiced optimism for young workers, noting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had projected that 18.9M net new jobs would be created by 2014...   The wage gap between college-educated and high-school-educated workers has widened greatly, with college graduates earning 45% more than high school graduates, up from 23% in 1979."

2006-09-04
David Sirota _San Francisco Chronicle_
Left and Right Wage War on US Workers
"Bashing organized labor is a Republican [virtue]...   Unions wield power [over as well as for] workers...   According to an analysis of federal data by the Labor Research Association, average union members receive a quarter more in compensation than nonunion workers.   89% of union members have access to employer-sponsored health care, compared to just 67% of non-union workers.   Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation than non0union workers...   anti-union companies meet higher standards in order to prevent workers from becoming angry and organizing.   For instance, Princeton researchers found in industries that are 25% unionized, average non-union workers get 7.5% more compensation specifically because of unionization's presence...   Big Business claims union membership has declined because workers do not want to join unions -- a claim debunked by public-opinion data.   In 2002, Harvard University and University of Wisconsin researchers found at least 42M workers want to be organized into a bargaining unit -- more than double the 16M unionized workers in America.   A 2005 nationwide survey by respected pollster Peter Hart found 53% of non-union workers -- that's more than 50M people -- want to join a union, if given the choice.   Increasingly, however, workers have no real choice.   According to Cornell University experts, 1 in 4 employers illegally fires at least one worker during a union drive, 3 in 4 hire anti-union consultants, and 8 in 10 force workers to attend anti-union meetings.   When workers petition the government to enforce laws protecting organizing rights, they are forced to go before the National Labor Relations Board, which is both run by anti-union presidential appointees, and chronically understaffed so as to slow down proceedings...   David Sirota is [co-chair of a leftist states network.]"

2006-09-04 01:11PDT (04:11EDT) (08:11GMT)
Carla Bova _Marin Independent Journal_
Helping clear the hurdles to a good job in Marin county CA

2006-09-04
_Bangor Daily News_
Labor Day 2006
"In the mid-1990s, there were crippling strikes, such as at United Parcel Service, General Motors, Northwest Airlines and the Communication Workers of America.   The turn of the century brought an acceleration in plant closings, massive lay-offs and formerly good jobs being shipped over-seas to become bad jobs.   This year, the economy expanded without the unemployment falling as out-sourcing and off-shoring replaced corporate malfeasance and its devastating effect upon investments and pensions, as if the downward spiral afflicting workers inevitably had to draw in retired workers as well.   Wages - for workers, anyway - creep along at a pace behind inflation and the once-contentious issue of wage parity, the extent to which hourly pay should keep pace with CEO salaries, now seems quaint.   Workers no doubt would welcome a return to the days when their biggest complaint was that the boss made 100, or even 150, times more money that they did.   And even as the economy grew last year, according to a recent Census report, income stagnated.   The flat income figure arrived with the news that workers are more productive than ever."
 

2006-09-05 (5766 Elul 12) - 63 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-05
"Mathias Thurman" _CIO_
Out of sight not out of mind: Off-shoring generages grief

2006-09-05 10:07PDT (13:07EDT) (17:07GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
House prices increasing more slowly
Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Over-Sight

2006-09-05 12:33PDT (15:33EDT) (19:33GMT)
Jim Jelter _MarketWatch_
Chevron-led group finds huge potential in deep-water Gulf of Mexico well

2006-09-05 13:23PDT (16:23EDT) (20:23GMT)
Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
Intel to cut 10,500 jobs -- about 10% -- by mid-2007
longer article

2006-09-05 13:34PDT (16:34EDT) (20:34GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
August lay-off announcements reached 65,278
CNN/Money
"Job-cut announcements rose to 65,278 in August from a 6-year low of 37,178 in July, 'in what may signal an early start to year-end down-sizing', Challenger said.   Announcements totaled 67,176 in June and have averaged 67,375 this year...   So far in 2006, employers have announced 538,914 job cuts, 24% fewer than this time last year, Challenger said.   Annual job cuts are on pace to finish below 1M for the first time since 2000.   In August, computer companies led the way with 17,371 job cuts.   The auto industry announced 7,639 reductions, bringing the annual total to 77,897...   In June, for instance, a total of 1.51M workers were discharged from their jobs involuntarily, according to the latest data from the Labor Department."

2006-09-05
Thomas Ginsberg _Philadelphia Inquirer_
Wyeth to eliminate some jobs in Chester county
Daily Local News/Z Wire
"Wyeth confirmed yesterday that it was eliminating or contracting out an undetermined number of jobs in Chester County, part of a cost-cutting effort.   The drug-maker employs about 5K people in Chester and Montgomery Counties, with its global pharmaceutical division based in Collegeville.   It has about 52K employees worldwide, and has its head-quarters in Madison, NJ.   Christopher Garland, a Wyeth spokesman, called the job cuts 'limited in scope', but said the exact number to be eliminated or out-sourced was not yet known.   He described the buyout package as 'generous'.   The cuts, implemented on the advice of the consulting firm Accenture [formerly Andersen Consulting before being caught in the Enron accounting fraud], are part of a campaign announced in 2005 June that also involved cutting or out-sourcing about 15% - or roughly 750 - of sales jobs.   The latest cuts affect people in accounting/finance, information services, human resources and procurement departments, Garland said, adding the staffing changes would continue."

2006-09-05
Steve Ranger _ZD Net_
Tech work-force has been shrinking due to off-shoring
Computer Weekly
"The 'success' of off-shore out-sourcing is causing the number of UK-based tech staff to decline.   Research by analysts Ovum predicts a 6% fall in the number of UK-based software and IT services staff by the end of 2008 — the equivalent of losing 5K on-shore positions each year.   The bulk of the job reductions will be in programming, lower-level technical roles, call centres, helpdesks and back-office administration.   In contrast, within 3 years there will be 130K off-shore workers delivering software and IT services for UK organisations — double the number currently, according to the research...   Ovum senior analyst Phil Codling said in a statement: 'We will see the UK-based S/ITS workforce shrink in size under the effect of off-shoring.'"
 

2006-09-06 (5766 Elul 13) - 62 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-06 04:00PDT (07:00EDT) (11:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Mortgage applications rose 1.8%

2006-09-06
Ann All _IT Business Edge_
No Off-Shoring Slow-Down in Sight
"As reported on CIO Update, an IDC analyst called off-shore growth rates 'quite astounding'.   They are perhaps even more astounding, considering that he and other observers had expected a slow-down in the market by now...   Even though they are faced with recruitment and infrastructure issues, top Indian out-sourcing providers are growing their revenues by 30% a year, the analyst says.   How are they doing it?   By signing bigger contracts, forging strategic relationships with [unethical] companies like SAP and M$, offering new services such as software testing, and expanding beyond their own shores into [Red China], Latin America and other areas."

2006-09-06 08:01PDT (11:01EDT) (15:01GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM services index increased from 54.8 in July to 57
ISM report
"The employment index, which has tracked trends in employment growth pretty well, fell from 54.5% in [July] to 51.4% in August."

2006-09-06 10:01PDT (13:01EDT) (17:01GMT)
Christian Zappone _CNN_/_Money_
Arduous road to huge guest-worker program expansions

2006-09-06
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_
Time Is Running Out for H-1B Visa Cap to Be Cut -- Or Is It?
Dr. Dobb's Journal
"'Sometimes we think these things are dead, and then someone slips something through at 5 PM on a Friday.', says Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild, an American IT worker advocacy group that [favors decreasing] the H-1B cap.   'I'm worried they'll stick these provisions onto another bill without a hearing.', he says...   Indeed, it's still possible that Congress will pass provisions as part of another bill or as separate legislation to raise the H-1B cap during a lame duck session before new members are sworn in next January, depending on the outcome of the elections, says [M$ staff lobbyist] Jack Krumholtz...   recent lay-offs in the tech industry -- including Intel's announcement this week that it's eliminating 10,500 jobs..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Likelihood of H-1B legislation this year
"Given that the huge general immigration reform bill passed by the Senate earlier this year now seems stalled, the industry lobbyists have gotten Congress to pull out the H-1B-related provisions into a separate bill, called the SKIL Act.   One of the lobbyists is quoted here as saying that this bill may be tacked on to an omnibus budget bill -- a favorite tactic that has always worked in the past -- or passed in the 'lame duck' session in December, when no one is looking.   I too think that it is quite likely that one of those 2 events will occur.   The lobbyists have been going full-bore on this for a year now, getting a string of supporting editorials from newspaper editors, etc.   And most significantly virtually no one in either party in Congress has spoken out against it.   Readers, please note that this is more than just about H-1B.   It's also about greatly liberalizing the employment-based green card program, which most H-1Bs aspire to.   As with the H-1B provisions, the reforms on green card law in the bill also are geared to make it easier to hire foreign nationals and have them stay, and thus would have a very negative impact on U.S. citizens and permanent residents.   It's again disappointing to see that M$ gets a free ride when they make claims to need H-1Bs.   WashTech has shown several times that M$'s public claims about H-1Bs and off-shoring fly in the face of their private actions.
Guide to Selected Portions of the SKIL Act
Note that the word "section" in the phrasing below refers to sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which can be found in Chapter 12 of Title 8 of the United States Code (U.S.C., i.e. federal law).   You can find the actual laws in Subchapters I (1101-1106) and II (Part I, 1151-1161 and Part II, 1181-1189)
Sec. 101:
In General- Section 214(g)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(5)) is amended...

The main thrust here is to remove anyone who has a Master's degree or higher (in any field) from a U.S. university from the H-1B cap, thus effectively raising the cap beyond even the huge increase in Sec. 102 below.
Sec. 102:
Section 214(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)) is amended...

Here the general yearly H-1B cap is raised from [85,000] to [135,000], with a 20% yearly increase after that if the cap is reached.
Sec. 201:
(a): Would exempt from green card caps:
(F) Aliens who have earned a master's or higher degree from an accredited United States university.

The effect of this provision would be as follows.   The current procedure is that the foreign national must first find an employer to sponsor him for a green card, then undergo labor certification (which consists of the employer showing that no American is available for the job), then wait for the availability of a green card.   Under the provision here, that last stage would be eliminated.
That should speed up green card processing, thus shortening the time during which an H-1B is a de facto indentured servant, thus making foreign nationals less attractive to employers.   But note that the first stage can take a while.   The employer could stall even submitting a green card application for the worker, even more so since the bill would increase the time for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) phase of a student visa from one year to two.   Or, the foreign national could bounce around several employers as an H-1B until he finds one who is willing to sponsor him for a green card, all the while being at the mercy of these employers.
Note that there would be no restriction on field of study.   Apparently the authors believe that people with Master's degrees in, say, Greek mythology, are in short supply.

(H) Aliens who will perform labor in shortage occupations designated by the Secretary of Labor for blanket certification under section 212(a)(5)(A) as lacking sufficient United States workers able, willing, qualified, and available for such occupations and for which the employment of aliens will not adversely affect the terms and conditions of similarly employed United States workers.
The section cited, 8 USC 1182(a)(5)(C), is an occupation-wide exemption from labor certification.   It was used for programmers back in the early 1990s, but then DoL took the programmer category off their list after SoftPAC howled.
(I) Aliens who have earned a master's degree or higher in science, technology, engineering, or math and have been working in a related field in the United States in a non-immigrant status during the 3-year period preceding their application for an immigrant visa under section 203(b).
The section cited, 8 U.S.C. 1153(b), is the part of the code relating to employment-based immigration.   By exempting these people from the cap, the thrust of this provision would be that a foreign national with a technical graduate degree who is sponsored for a green card by an employer would have to wait for no more than 3 years to get the green card, as opposed to the 6+ years often needed today.
Note that the three-year period need not be all with the same employer, and that only the current employer need sponsor the worker for a green card.
Also, the non-immigrant visas could be not only H-1B but also other non-immigrant visas, as discussed above.
All these considerations would somewhat temper the problems I put in my scenario above.   But the bottom line is that the foreign nationals would still be de facto indentured servants for three full years.   Moreover, even after getting green cards and thus winning their freedom, they still would be young, thus cheaper than the average American.   The legislation, by in effect focusing on new graduates, would swell the young segment of the labor market, thus exacerbating the problem we already have, of employers preferring to hire 25-year-olds to 40-year-olds.

(J) Aliens described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 203(b)(1) or who have received a national interest waiver under section 203(b)(2)(B).
These are 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(1) and 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2), which basically deal with people of outstanding ability.   They would now be exempted from the cap.   I've pretty much supported giving special treatment to 'the best and the brightest' (though I've also pointed out that they comprise a very small proportion of the H-1Bs), so I am OK with this provision.
(K) The spouse and minor children of an alien who is admitted as an employment-based immigrant under section 203(b).
So, the family members of the employers-sponsored immigrants would no longer count in the cap.   The effect would be to greatly expand the cap, thus doing even greater harm to American workers.
(b): Labor Certifications- Section 212(a)(5)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(A)(ii)) is amended...
This basically adds people with Master's degrees to the 'Subject to Special Rule' clause in the above law, which allows those covered by the clause to be subject to a different kind of labor certification than other types of workers.   At present, this means that during labor certification, the employer must merely demonstrate that he could not find Americans who are equally qualified as the alien, instead of demonstrating that he could not find Americans qualified for the job itself.   The net effect would be to make it even easier than at present (which is already plenty easy) for the employer to claim that no American is available for the job that the employer wants to hire a foreign Master's holder for.
Sec. 203:
(a) In General- Section 101(a)(15)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)) is amended to read as follows...

At present, all holders of the F-1 student visa must attest that they plan to eventually return to their home countries.   This provision would exempt those studying a program in 'mathematics, engineering, technology, or the sciences leading to a bachelors or graduate degree' from this requirement.   As the restriction was never a real problem (some students would have to try several times to get a visa, but they'd eventually get it), the impact of this part of this provision would be minimal.
However, this provision also would extend OPT from 1 year to 2.   The practical effect would be to give the foreign national more time in which to find an employer willing to sponsor him for a green card, and thus have the effect of adding even more people into the job market to compete with Americans.

(b) Admission- Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)) is amended by inserting `(F)(i),' before `(L) or (V)'.
Changes consular officials' duties to conform with (a) above, i.e. they don't have to ask 'Will you go home?'."
M$ claims belied
M$ claims belied again
M$ lobbying
 
Frist's S2454
Specter's S2611
Hagel's S2612
Cornyn's S2691
 
Tancredo's HR1325
Tancredo's HR1450
Tancredo's HR1587
Nancy L. Johnson's HR3322
Tancredo's HR3333
Tancredo's HR3700
 
Pascrell's HR4378
Sensenbrenner's HR4437
Hyde's HR4844
DHS appropriations HR5441
Shadegg's HR5744
King's HR6061

2006-09-06
Chris McManes _IEEE-USA_
Reports shatter myth that H-1B visa-holders are paid prevailing compensation rates
"Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Vice President Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas.   'Our wage per employee is 20%-25% lesser than US wage for a similar employee.', Vandrevala said.   'Typically, for a TCS employee with 5 years experience, the annual cost to the company is $60K-$70K, while a local American employee might cost $80K-$100K.   This (labour arbitrage) is a fact of doing work on-site.   It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that...   The issue is that of getting workers in the US on wages far lower than local wage rate.'   ('US visas are not a TCS-specific issue' Businessworld (India) magazine, 2003 June)   IEEE-USA President Ralph W. Wyndrum, Jr. said proposals now before Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap should be scrapped until significant work-force protections for U.S. and H-1B employees are instituted..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
comments
"There is a problem with the phrase, 'similarly qualified' here.   That is what I call the Type I category of labor cost reduction via hiring H-1Bs.   I also define Type II salary savings, in which employers hire younger (thus cheaper) H-1Bs instead of older (thus more expensive) Americans.   The latter are presumably better qualified, since they are more experienced, but employers tend not to look at it that way.   They simply want to hire cheaper workers.   The result is the same, of course -- employers hire the H-1Bs instead of the Americans -- but to me it's crucial to state (and understand) everything precisely.   Yes, I know, the press and Congress don't care about subtleties, but I do, and my problem is that this document does not distinguish between Types I and II.   Furthermore, it's really not a subtlety, as there are important implications.   For example, the Intels and M$s rely heavily on Type II...   [Firms large and small, US-based, Red China-based, and Indian based abuse H-1B visas.]   IEEE-USA is to be commended for focusing on the loop-holes in H-1B law, rather than presenting it as [only] an enforcement issue [it is problem of both loop-holes and lack of enforcement].   However, its list of sample loop-holes is not quite accurate...   prevailing wage is defined according to the job, not the worker.   If one hires an experienced worker for an entry level job, the law says that prevailing wage will be entry level...   Similarly, if an employer hires an H-1B worker with a Master's degree for a job that only requires a Bachelor's, the law says that the employer can legally pay the H-1B only Bachelor's-level wages -- something that the free market would not allow the employer to do with a worker who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident..."

2006-09-06
Melissa Allison, Kristi Heim & Dominic Gates _Seattle Times_
Alan Mulally jumps from Boeing to Ford
"But Mulally did not convince everyone, especially among the ranks of Boeing machinists who were decimated under his leadership.   Mark Blondin, president of local 751 of the International Association of Machinists, blamed Mulally for off-shoring and out-sourcing work.   'Keeping that work in-house could have mitigated the damage of 2001/09/11.', said Blondin.   He was also bitter that Mulally chose not to meet with him since a one-month strike last fall.   'They just can't get over it.', he said.   Perhaps because he was an engineer himself, Mulally managed to maintain better relations with Boeing's engineers union at a time of severe cut-backs.   Charles Bofferding, executive director of the white-collar union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), said Mulally 'appreciated the technical community'.   'Alan was very popular with the engineering community.', he said.   'He'd come to our council meetings... at least once a year.'   He doesn't even hold the massive lay-offs against Mulally.   'Could the company have survived if all those people had still been employed?   There certainly was an industry down-turn not unique to the Boeing company.   And there are financial realities.', Bofferding said.   'He certainly believed that one of the keys to survival is laying off people when you must [or even when you just felt like it].   At that time, he felt he had to and so he did.'"

2006-09-06
_Federal Reserve Board_
Beige Book

Summary
Reports on the service sector varied by industry and by district: some found the trucking and information technology industries to be relatively strong, but others provided mixed reports on air transportation and health care...   A number of other Districts reported sharp wage increases or wage pressures for such workers in occupations that are in short supply or for workers in particular industries, such as [TEMPORARY] information technology (Boston), trucking (Cleveland), retail trade (Chicago), and financial and health services (San Francisco).
Boston
Most manufacturers report that their U.S. head-counts are stable or increasing slightly.   Base pay increases typically remain in the range of 3% to 4%.   However, tight markets for finance, information technology, engineering, and scientific personnel are leading to an acceleration in salary increases, large signing bonuses, or higher turn-over.   Domestic capital spending plans for 2006 are mixed, but more manufacturers expect to increase than decrease their expenditures compared to a year earlier...   Body Shops Business appears to be growing steadily at software and IT services companies in the First District, with the majority of firms reporting double digit year-over-year revenue increases in the most recent quarter.   Contacts state that the market is competitive, so most have kept prices unchanged.   Contacted companies are adding technology workers and sales staff, with companies serving the healthcare sector indicating they are hiring aggressively in order to keep pace with demand.   All responding firms with plans to hire report tightening in the labor market, especially for specialized technical positions; several firms note that they feel some upward wage pressures for those positions.   Respondents report annual wage increases for most employees between 3% and 7%, while wages for highly-skilled technical positions are up by as much as 15%.   Several software and IT services contacts indicate they are increasing capital and technology spending to expand facilities and upgrade equipment.   First District software and information technology firms expect steady growth for their companies in the second half of the year, with the exception of firms serving the manufacturing sector, who say they expect demand to decline.   Reports on business conditions in the New England staffing industry are mixed this quarter, with the only unifying theme among contacts being that things are not going as expected.   Firms that are usually very busy in the summer months have had a weak quarter through mid-August, while firms that typically have a slow third quarter have been experiencing high growth rates.   For one Connecticut firm, 'this has certainly not been a banner year'; the firm lost money during the first half of the year and only recently started to see a slight turnaround.   Another contact reports, 'Nobody's booming... everybody's hustling.   Things are off a bit.'   By contrast, an information technology [body shop] is experiencing year-over-year revenue growth between 25% and 30%, while a professional and technical [body shop] reports that its billing and cash receipts are up almost 100% from a year ago.   Currently, demand for labor is strongest in the information technology, financial, and health-care sectors.   Some respondents still report that tight labor supply in these areas is forcing them to increase their expenditures on recruiting and is putting pressure on wages.   When asked about their expectations for the remainder of the year, contacts are ambiguous.   Overall, however, respondents reporting growth expect more of the same, while those reporting poor results express uncertainty.
New York
A major New York City employment agency, specializing in office jobs, reports that there has been no discernible change in the job market since the last report, though August is a quiet month and difficult to use as a gauge.   More broadly, non-manufacturing firms in the District report they have stepped up hiring activity in August, despite some reported slowing in overall business activity.
Philadelphia
Employers in many industries reported that labor markets remain tight for both skilled and unskilled workers.   In service industries, firms report rising turnover among information technology, finance, and managerial occupations.   In contrast, some residential construction companies have laid off workers as demand for new homes has declined.   Wages are generally reported to be rising slightly faster now than at this time last year, but salaries offered for positions that are difficult to fill have increased substantially.   Firms in all industries continue to report increases in health care costs.
Cleveland
Most producers reported idle capacity and only a few planned to increase their investment spending.   None of the contacts reported increasing employment in the past 6 weeks and only two said they plan to hire in the near future...   Three of the larger builders laid off workers over the past several months; otherwise, direct employment was relatively unchanged.
Richmond
Manufacturers told us that shipments declined, while new orders increased modestly and employment moved higher.   Among industries, producers of apparel, fabricated metals, food, furniture, and lumber recorded declines in output from mid July through late August.   A machinery manufacturer in North Carolina reported stronger orders, though a residential door producer in the state said that his orders had softened.   A number of respondents indicated that while raw materials prices were increasing less rapidly, they could no longer pass through those increases...   [Body shoppers] reported generally strong demand for workers since our last report.   In Richmond, VA, an agent was optimistic that demand would remain solid as companies were increasingly relying on temporary workers.   An agent in Raleigh, NC, reported on-going demand for full-time workers, but added that skilled workers remained hard to find.   In contrast, some softening in demand for temporary workers was reported by an agent in the Washington, DC, area.   Employees with skills in computers, sales, production, warehouse, and life sciences were highly sought by employers.   Increasingly, employers also were looking for bilingual employees.
Atlanta
Contacts continued to report labor shortages in some industries and locations.   Staffing the re-opened casinos along Mississippi's Gulf Coast remained a problem for casino operators because of the lack of housing, and hospitality workers remained in short supply in New Orleans.   Builders noted a shortage of qualified workers in many parts of the District with the most acute shortages reported along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Chicago
Overall labor market conditions were little changed, with small gains in employment on net...   Overall labor market conditions were little changed, with small gains in employment on net.   Factory employment ticked up, led by growth at toolmakers, while employment at retailers, hotels, and banks was little changed.   A local internet job posting business said that growth in listings remained positive and it had seen no signs of slowing.   Shortages of skilled manufacturing workers persisted, and there were continued reports of difficulty in filling engineering job openings.   A temporary help services provider [i.e. body shop] said that demand growth in the District moderated; while orders from large firms remained steady, demand from smaller businesses was softer.
Minneapolis
Since the last report, employment increased and wage growth accelerated slightly...   Labor markets tightened slightly since the last report.   Non-farm employment in District states was up 1.9% in July compared with a year ago.   Employers in the Upper Peninsula reported a severe shortage of available workers for jobs involving electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems.   A survey of online recruiting sites showed that Minneapolis-St. Paul area job postings in July remained unchanged from June, but at relatively strong levels; postings for science and education were up, while those for health care were down.   In contrast, a light truck manufacturer recently announced plans to reduce shifts from two to one by the end of the year, which will affect 700 jobs.   An airline with service to North Dakota airports will lay off 85 ground workers by the end of the year.   Overall wage growth accelerated slightly.   Wages paid by farm operators to hired workers in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin increased more than 5% in July compared with a year earlier.   Wages for manufacturing workers in District states increased 2.6% in July compared with a year ago.   In 2005 July, wages increased 1.9% from a year earlier.

 

2006-09-07 (5766 Elul 14) - 61 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-07 05:30PDT (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & 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 257,595 in the week ending Sept. 2, an increase of 6,073 from the previous week.   There were 271,613 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Aug. 26, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,250,625, a decrease of 18,352 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,323,719."

2006-09-07 05:20PDT (08:20EDT) (12:20GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Voters won't tolerate "axis of amnesty"
"Our do-nothing Congress and our do-nothing-right president aren't exactly wildly popular to begin with.   And the Congressional Republican leadership has figured out that in closely contested races, any legislation approximating amnesty for as many as 20M illegal aliens in this country will amount to wholesale defeat at the polls on November 7.   Even the pro-illegal alien and open borders lobby has finally arrived at the conclusion that the American people won't tolerate an illegal alien population demanding the same rights as American citizens.   And the in-your-face enthusiasm of illegal aliens and their amnesty-advocate supporters has waned as the public understanding of the facts has risen...   The leaders of the nation's principal labor unions are obviously confused.   They're now caught between trying to bolster their membership rolls by backing the Rove-Bush-Reid-McCain-Kennedy amnesty legislation and explaining to their existing members what they're doing to preserve the jobs and wage levels of American citizens.   Add national labor leaders to the list of those simply out of touch with the will of the American people."

2006-09-07 05:42PDT (08:42EDT) (12:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Continuing unemployment insurance claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 6-month high
"Long-term unemployment has been stubbornly high during [the continuing Clinton-Bush depression].   In August, about a third of the 7.1M official unemployed had been out of work longer than 15 weeks, while 18.4% had been out of work longer than 27 weeks.   The median duration of unemployment was 8.5 weeks, while the average was 17.4 weeks.   Typically, unemployment benefits run out after 26 weeks for those who are eligible." see more employment data

2006-09-07
_GAO_
Off-Shoring: U.S. Semiconductor and Software Industries Increasingly Produce in Red China and India (GAO-06-423 pdf)
"The U.S. semiconductor industry began off-shoring labor-intensive manufacturing operations in the 1960s, followed in the 1970s and 1980s by increasingly complex operations, including wafer fabrication and some research and development (R&D) and design work.   Semiconductor assembly and testing was the first to move to Asia, followed by fabrication and, more recently, by some design operations.   Software services off-shoring began in the 1990s after Internet communications made it possible to trade services such as software programming and software design.   The year 2000 change-over hastened this off-shoring trend related to software services because programmers knowledgeable in the appropriate [defunct] programming languages were available, primarily in India.   In the 2000s, firms further expanded their off-shoring operations, based on the low-cost and high-quality work from the off-shored services undertaken in the late 1990s...   Foreign government policies in Taiwan and [Red China] created favorable investment conditions for U.S. semiconductor firms.   India changed its emphasis from state-owned enterprises in the 1970s to an environment more amenable to private enterprise by the mid-1980s.   Although its restrictions on foreign investment constrained the software services industry's overall development, India established software technology parks in 1990 to give domestic firms preferential access to the infrastructure essential for off-shored operations."
alternate link (pdf)
 

2006-09-08 (5766 Elul 15) - 60 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-08 12:51PDT (15:51EDT) (19:51GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Consumer credit rose by $14.1G in June, $5.5G in July in USA

2006-09-08
_Cincinnati Enquirer_
Fairfield, OH, buffet owner indicted for employing illegal aliens

2006-09-08
_Hindustan Times_
H-1B visa holders are paid less than US counterparts
"H-1B visa holders are 'taken advantage of' and, contrary to claims by US industry, are paid less salary than similarly qualified American citizens, says a new study.   Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) vice president Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas, according to the study by IEEE-USA, a unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.   'Our wage per employee is 20%-25% less than US wages for a similar employee.', Vandrevala said.   'Typically, for a TCS employee with five years experience, the annual cost to the company is $60K-$70K, while a local American employee might cost $80K-$100K.   This (labour arbitrage) is a fact of doing work onsite.   It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that.   The issue is that of getting workers in the US on wages far lower than the local wage rate.'"

2006-09-08 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker _CNN_
US Senate Immigration Proposals Would Decimate USA's Technology Work-force
"Bill Tucker: Under the Senate's immigration reform bill, known as S2611, the door would be open to flood the market with foreign high-tech workers.   A new study done by Georgetown University (pdf) shows that it could devastate the job market for American citizens.   The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a need for 1.25M more computing and engineering workers over the next decade.   The Georgetown estimate of how many new high-tech visas that would be created by the Senate bill in that time, is almost 2M.
Lindsay Lowell of Georgetown University: What is really troublesome, potentially, is we could really bring in many more that strict demand suggests we need.   And when you do that, you set in play, potentially, a lot of consequences you don't want to see.
Bill Tucker: The most obvious consequence when supply exceeds demand is cheaper labor.   But while that may be good for business, it's not necessarily good for America.
Carl Mack of the National Society of Black Engineers: A country [that] was built on technology, you know, that's how we became a world super power.   Our solution to this shortage of engineers is to now bring in foreign-born talent versus to grow our own?   I cannot for the life of me understand that.
Bill Tucker: Students weighing career choices do understand exactly what's at stake.   And at a time when the president is promoting careers in science and technology, the Senate is sending those students a clear message.
Vin O'Neill of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers USA: Students are watching the job markets and are watching compensation, and engineering is a pretty tough row to hoe, so in many cases, bright kids, seeing what's going on might elect to go into business or medicine or law as an alternative to engineering...
Bill Tucker: the engineering group is opposed to the Senate's so-called Immigration Reform Bill, because they say it contains no significant job protections for American workers.
Lou Dobbs: I think the U.S. Senate and the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate have a lot of explaining to do to the American people.   Every senator who voted for that bill, Republican and Democrat, should be held accountable, in my estimation, at the polls.   Because it is absolutely the most, to me, absolutely negligent disregard of the interests of American workers and their families, that's ever been put forward.   Senator Kennedy, Senator McCain, should definitely be held responsible."

2006-09-08
DJIA11,392.11
S&P 5001,298.92
NASDAQ2,165.79
10-year US T-Bond4.77%
crude oil66.25
gold617.30
silver12.09
platinum1,229.50
palladium333.60
copper0.2230
natgas$5.675/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.6091/gal
heatingoil$1.8432/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 

2006-09-09 (5766 Elul 16) - 59 Days Until Congressional Election
 

  "You should keep the promises you make to your workers.   If you offer a private pension plan to your employees, you have a duty to set aside enough money now so your workers will get what they've been promised when they retire." --- George W. Bush said at a White House signing ceremony 2006-08-17  

 

2006-09-10 (5766 Elul 17) - 58 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-09 20:55PDT (2006-09-09 23:55EDT) (2006-09-10 03:55GMT)
Anita Hassan _Houston Chronicle_
Illegal aliens are threat to USA
"'People need to know illegal immigration is a problem and it's a threat to the sovereignty and freedom of the United States.', said U.S. Border Watch President Curtis Collier...   illegal immigration is holding down wages in the U.S. for working people.   'Illegal immigrants coming over here and taking the jobs for less and less.', he said.   'The pay scales will just continue to drop.   I just hope everybody else sees it and stands up for themselves.'...   gang violence...   However, President of Texans for Immigration Reform, Louise Whiteford, who also attended the rally against illegal immigration, said those who come to the country illegally may be confused about what they are getting themselves into.   'The people that are coming over here think they are coming over for the American dream.', said Whiteford, 76.   'But they are just going to become a part of the cheap-labor corps.'"

2006-09-09 22:00PDT (2006-09-10 01:00EDT) (2006-09-10 05:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Illegal aliens tried in gang rapes
Illegal aliens linked to wave of gang rape

2006-09-10
_Washington Times_
Congressman Eric Cantor supports Culpeper, VA crack-down on illegal immigration
"Town Council member Steve Jenkins began an effort to target landlords and employers who house or hire illegal aliens...   A meeting recently called by Mr. Jenkins on the topic drew more than 200 people and became contentious when some exchanged angry words.   At the same time, about 100 people sympathetic to immigrants marched downtown.   Such supporters also have sent a letter to the Town Council urging its members to reject measures that target illegal aliens."

2006-09-10
Michael Rubinkam _AP_/_Philadelphia Inquirer_
Hazleton's law on illegal immigration revised
"Like the version it replaces, the new ordinance given tentative approval Friday would punish businesses that employ illegal immigrants and landlords who rent to them.   But the new measure would go about enforcement in a completely different way, putting the burden of verifying immigration status on the city, giving landlords and businesses time to correct violations before imposing sanctions, and softening penalties...   The city has assembled a legal team to defend the measure, including Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri law professor and immigration adviser under former Attorney General John Ashcroft.   [Mountain States Legal Foundation and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) are also backing the Hazleton council.]...   Last week, officials in the city of 31K residents agreed not to enforce the original ordinance after the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and Latino groups sued in federal court to overturn it.   In return, the plaintiffs agreed not to seek an injunction against the city.   Under the agreement, Hazleton must give the plaintiffs at least 20 days' notice before it begins enforcing the replacement ordinance - enough time for the ACLU to head back to court to try to stop it."

2006-09-10 04:14PDT (07:14EST) (11:14GMT)
Jim Kouri _Conservative Voice_
Feds Captured 90 Alien Criminals in Twin Cities in Operation Return to Sender
"Of the 90 individuals arrested in the Twin Cities metropolitan area during this latest operation, 48 are fugitive aliens with final orders of deportation, and 42 are immigration violators.   Ten of those arrested also have convictions for such crimes as: criminal sexual conduct, aggravated assault, felony re-entry after deportation, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, drunk driving and fraud...   Of the more than 52K illegal aliens apprehended by ICE Fugitive Operations teams since the first teams were created in 2003, roughly 22,669 had criminal convictions."

2006-09-10
Kathy Shann _Morris County NJ Daily Record_
Why delay? Send illegal aliens back.
"I read yet another article in the paper on illegal aliens.   How a local mayor is getting opposition with not wanting employers or landlords to allow them.   I just don't understand why everyone is so concerned.   They are in this country illegally.   They shouldn't get anything.   They all need to go back to their country and enter this country legally.   Just like everyone else.   This country really needs to secure our borders, and send the people who get through back.   No questions.   Treat them like what they are -- illegal."

2006-09-10
Jesse James DeConto _News & Observer_
More fear of arrest for illegal aliens
"Five years later, many unauthorized Latino workers say they live in fear of losing their jobs or being deported...   In fiscal 2001, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service visited work sites and arrested 19 illegal workers on criminal charges throughout the United States.   Between 2005 October 1, and May 31, the renamed agency -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- made 382 such arrests.   And those arrests were only of immigrants who never had valid visas.   The number of actions against foreign workers who overstay their visas has gone from about 57 a month to more than 300.   Over the same period, ICE's annual budget has grown by $1G to a total of $3.8G.   ICE has about 3K agents to police an estimated 11M illegal immigrants.   It does not release statistics by state...   Nearly 40% of the arrests nationwide in 2006 have occurred at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville and at Cree Inc., a defense contractor in Durham...   Michael Cutler, a former INS agent, is a current fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington research group that favors stricter enforcement.   He says recent arrests are soothing public anxiety without actually making a dent in the problem.   'It's like putting a new coat of paint on rotted wood.', he said.   Greensboro resident Reagan Sugg is working to create a state chapter of the Minuteman Project to report employers of illegal immigrants.   He said prosecuting employees of military contractors is only scratching the surface.   'When is it going to be politically correct to visit some of the major industries in the state who employ almost exclusively illegal aliens?', Sugg asked."

2006-09-10 12:33PDT (15:33EDT) (19:33GMT)
William J. Dobson _Dallas Morning News_
Little has changed in USA since 2001-09-11
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"The global economy offered the first sign that a new, darker day hadn't dawned.   [After having peaked 2001 March 10, by] Sept. 10, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9,605.51.   Once markets reopened on Sept. 17, it took only 40 days for the market to close above that level again.   The value of the United States' monthly exports has continued to rise steadily from $60G to more than $75G between 2001 and 2005.   The value of global trade dipped slightly in 2001 from $8T to $7.8T.   Then, once markets found their footing, they came racing back, increasing every subsequent year, topping $12T in 2005...   University presidents, CEOs and, of course, those seeking to immigrate for work or study have complained loudly that the United States has fallen into a 'Fortress America' mentality...   For example, the United States granted far more worker visas in 2005 than in 1998, the heyday of America's triumphant, open-for-business dot-com boom.   Last year, 255,993 student visas were handed out -- only 541 fewer than in 2002.   Also in 2005, the United States rejected fewer foreigners for H-1B visas -- the work permit given to those who have a special occupational expertise in, say, medicine, engineering or science -- than in 2001; in fact, last year was the lowest refusal rate of the past 5 years.   The number of people becoming American citizens is also on the rise.   More foreigners were naturalized in 2005 than in 1998, and the number of naturalizations leapt 12% from 2004 to 2005."
 

2006-09-11 (5766 Elul 18) - 57 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-11
Marv Balousek _Wisconsin State Journal_
It's too easy to import talent
"A researcher at UW-Madison's department of nutritional sciences, she came here legally from Macedonia, and she and her husband overcame several hurdles to stay and become U.S. citizens.   'I do feel it's not fair that some illegals come here.', she said.   'It's not fair to me and my husband.   We never attempted to stay without valid visas.'... "

2006-09-11
Chotu Singh _Techgoss, the tech grape-vine_
Indian Body Shoppers vs. US citizen of Indian descent

2006-09-11 16:46PDT (19:46EDT) (23:46GMT)
Liz Sidoti _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Non-partisan anti-incumbent sentiment is widespread
"Dissatisfied with Congress, voters would probably hang a 'Help Wanted' sign on the U.S. Capitol if given the chance.   'They're not doing their job.'...   The factory worker had harsh words for congressional Republicans and Democrats as he helped close his sister's New Castle deli one recent evening.   'You need people that care.   They don't care.'   Such angry sentiments echo up and down the Ohio River Valley as it cuts through Republican-held congressional districts in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio — politically pivotal House seats...   At lunch counters, post offices, city parks and downtown streets, voters in this region and nationally are quick to voice their frustration...   KB, an independent, knows precisely what he's looking for in a congressman.   'Somebody who cares for the working man.', the super-market employee, 66, says before picking up his mail at the PeeWee Valley, KY, post office...   'Maybe the Democrats do, or maybe they don't.'...   An Associated Press-Ipsos poll in August found that only 29% of the public approve of the job Congress is doing.   A CNN poll earlier this month found that 55% of Americans are more likely to vote for the challenger in any election this Fall.   And an ABC News/Washington Post poll in August found that 53% of Americans call themselves 'anti-incumbent'...   House and Senate members rarely lose their re-election bids.   Nevertheless, 4 incumbents -- including a governor and a senator -- have lost primaries so far this year, providing some evidence that voters want fresh blood in positions of power.   Neither political party may be immune...   Voters outside the capital clearly aren't happy with their elected officials of either political party...   Many law-makers have 'been there a little too long' and have 'lost touch with the problems we're facing now', said PW, a surgical assistant who talked politics after finishing a hospital shift in Madison, IN.   'They're out of reality.'...   law-makers in Washington never come through.   'They all promise you the world and then when they get in there.   They're all the same.', he complained, climbing into his car after buying a few supplies at a Dollar General...   'These people make it their life jobs' and because of that 'Congress is so out of touch', said the Cincinnati symphony violist as she stretched after a brisk walk around a park in Springfield Township."
 

2006-09-12 (5766 Elul 19) - 56 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-12 (5766 Elul 19)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Cheap shot journalism

2006-09-12 07:09PDT (10:09EDT) (14:09GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Oil imports led to record $68G trade deficit in July
BEA press releases

2006-09-12
Jim Downing _Lakeland Ledger_
No Labor Shortages in California
"All year, California farm groups have complained that congressional inaction on overhauling immigration laws, coupled with tightening border controls, would lead to a critical shortage of labor.   With harvest time having arrived, state agricultural leaders are preparing to join their counterparts from around the country this week for a major lobbying push in Washington.   They have been gathering anecdotes describing what they say is a damaging labor crisis in the state...   So far, however, state surveys show no discernible drop in total farm employment for May, June and July, though an up-tick in farm wages suggests a tighter labor supply...   And finally, in anticipation of a tighter labor market, many of the state's farmers have been keeping more staff on the farm yearround and replacing hired hands with machines where they can...   He noted that average farm wages began to rise last summer and that, by March of this year, stood at $9.93 an hour, 6.5% higher than at the same point in 2005 [in a state where the income of grocery check-out clerks can average $32 or more at it did in San Diego in 2000]...   Even taking into account the capital cost of $250K, a mechanized harvester can pick grapes for about $270 an acre, just over half the price of manual laborers, Manna said."

2006-09-12
Sara A. Carter _San Bernardino Sun_
USCIS employees were given incentives to push visa applications through rapidly
Inland Daily Bulletin
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service employees were offered financial incentives to push immigration applications through the system quickly and eliminate a backlog of nearly 4M such applications in time to meet a presidential dead-line.   Employees and internal documents obtained by The Sun's sister newspaper, the Ontario-based Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, also reveal that the back-log is not actually gone, but that millions of applications in process have been reclassified to fall outside the backlog definition and help the agency meet an October dead-line set by President Bush in 2003.   The pressure to reduce the back-log, combined with the promise of bonuses for faster work, led to application short-cuts that might have compromised the immigrant-screening process, according to current and former agency employees and at least one congressman.   USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez announced last week that the agency has reduced backlogged applications for green cards, work permits and other immigration benefits from 3.98M to fewer than 140K...   A USCIS memo reveals that monetary incentives totaling up to $5M were promised to USCIS employees nationwide for meeting 'production challenges' designed to eliminate the application backlog.   The funds are to be disbursed by the end of the fiscal year in the form of $500 bonuses for employees, and to pay for office parties.   USCIS officials made the memo public Monday.   A USCIS employee said Sunday that the rush to meet the October deadline, and earn bonus pay, led to mistakes and oversights in processing immigration applications...   'They told us not to check for aliases because it slows down production.', said another adjudicator, from USCIS' central region.   'Other employees just wanted to process applications as fast as possible to get the incentives...   The back-log-reduction awards made people careless because they had to move through so many applications per month.'...   USCIS has more than 15K employees nationwide.   The chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Nonproliferation criticized the incentives, saying USCIS' priorities are skewed and that [tax-victim] money is being misspent.   'I thought USCIS got the message (during April committee hearings) to put national security over expediency.', said representative Ed Royce, R-Fullerton.   'I do not want production goals to take priority over fraud prevention.'...   Michael Maxwell, former director of internal affairs for USCIS, who testified before Royce's subcommittee earlier this year about security failures within USCIS...   Word about the bonuses program follows last week's call by Royce for a congressional investigation and hearing about screening lapses on applicants for green cards, work permits and other immigration documents at the National Benefits Center in Lee's Summit, MO.   Those lapses were first reported by The Sun and Daily Bulletin on August 23.   Gonzalez's claim that the backlog sits at only 140K applications also has been challenged by USCIS employees, outside immigration experts and Royce...   USCIS documents obtained by the Daily Bulletin show the difference between the pending case-load and the official back-log lies in the definition of 'back-log', which USCIS officials have changed at least two times since the president set the elimination dead-line.   Under the current definition, the official backlog excludes all pending applications filed within the previous six months; all pending applications that are awaiting action by a third party anything from a security check by the FBI to verification of a Mexican birth certificate; and all pending applications for benefits that are not immediately available (for example, if the annual limit on green cards has already been reached).   Royce said USCIS still has an enormous back-log, and that the agency is doing whatever it takes to show a reduction to lend credence to a Senate proposal that offers [two additional new] guest-worker [programs] and a path to amnesty...   'By one estimate, the Senate bill will bring in over 62M people over the next decade.', Royce said.   'USCIS will be faced with a challenge of widespread document fraud.   We saw it in the (1986) amnesty bill, and we will see it on a much bigger scale this time around.'"

2006-09-12
Representative Ron Paul, MD _Lew Rockwell_
Immigration Reform in 2006?
"The American people want something done about illegal immigration now -- not next year...   I truly believe border security is the most important issue for millions of Americans...   But real national security cannot be achieved unless and until our borders are physically secured."

2006-09-12 15:38PDT (18:38EDT) (22:38GMT)
Gabriel Madway _MarketWatch_
Ford to seek 30% cut in non-executive, salaried employees' compensation
more extensive coverage
 

2006-09-13 (5766 Elul 20) - 55 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-13 08:28PDT (11:28EDT) (15:28GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Mortgage Bankers Association says applications up 3.2% last week

2006-09-13 12:37PDT (15:37EDT) (19:37GMT)
Greg Robb & William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Federal deficit increased to $64.6G in August: CBO expects FY2006 total to be about $260G

2006-09-13 (5766 Elul 20)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Constitution Day
"Each year since 2004, on September 17, we commemorate the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 American statesmen...   I cannot think of a piece of legislation that makes greater mockery of the Constitution, or a more constitutionally odious person to father it — senator.   Byrd, a person who is known as, and proudly wears the label, 'King of Pork'.   The only reason that Constitution Day hasn't become a laughingstock is because most Americans are totally ignorant of, or have contempt for, the letter and spirit of our Constitution.   Let's examine just a few statements by the framers to see just how much faith and allegiance today's Americans give to the U.S. Constitution.   James Madison is the acknowledged father of the Constitution.   In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15K for relief for French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo (now Haiti) to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison said disapprovingly, 'I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.'   Today, at least two-thirds of a $2.5T federal budget is spent on 'objects of benevolence'.   That includes Medicare, Medicaid, [Socialist Insecurity], aid to higher education, farm and business subsidies, welfare, etc., ad nauseam.   James Madison's vision was later expressed by representative William Giles of Virginia, who condemned a relief measure for fire victims.   Giles insisted that it was neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to 'attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require'.   Some presidents had similar constitutional respect.   In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill to help the mentally ill, saying, 'I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.', adding that to approve the measure 'would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded'."

2006-09-13
Ariel J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman & Edward W. Felten _Princeton University_
Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine
"many computer scientists doubt that paperless DREs [Direct Recording Electronic systems] can be made reliable and secure, and they expect that any failures of such systems would likely go undetected...   The main findings of our study are:

  1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection.   The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss.   We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.
  2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute.   In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.
  3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses—computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- and post-election activity.   We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.
  4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold's software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines' hardware.   Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security...
Given our findings, we believe urgent action is needed to address these problems.   We discuss potential mitigation strategies in more detail below..."

2006-09-13
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
On Illegal Alien Crime
"95% of all outstanding homicide warrants in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens. Buchanan cited an article by the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald. [The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave City Journal 2004 Winter]...   why doesn't the LAPD, and American government in general, collect information on the immigrant status of criminals? (Answer: because it doesn't want to know.)... &nbnsp; Here's some perspective: Non-citizens account for 7.2% of the total U.S. population, according to a 2003 Census survey.   Their share of the incarcerated population that year was 12.9% -- more than half again as large. 7nbsp; Approximately 27% of all prisoners in Federal custody are criminal aliens.   The majority (63%) are citizens of Mexico. [GAO, Letter to Representative John Hostettler, 2005 April 7 ( PDF)]"
 

2006-09-14 (5766 Elul 21) - 54 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-13 21:39PDT (2006-09-14 00:39EDT) (2006-09-14 04:39GMT)
Ilya Garger _MarketWatch_
Red China suspends outsiders' bids to participate in brokering

2006-09-14 05:30PDT (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & 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 238,134 in the week ending Sept. 9, a decrease of 21,502 from the previous week.   There were 322,387 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6% during the week ending Sept. 2, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,141,215, a decrease of 99,317 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.7% and the volume was 2,216,756."

2006-09-14
Meredith Courtemanche _Surface Mount Technology_
Out-Sourcing Practices and Ethics Scrutinized
"The Technology Forecasters, Inc. (TFI) quarterly forum taking place in Boston this week will address such out-sourcing-related questions.   Corporate social responsibility (CSR), implications for unfair treatment of factory workers, and the definition of sweatshop conditions will take center stage in a panel on the labor practices within electronics manufacturing facilities over-seas.   OEMs and EMS providers realize that CSR is not simply a public relations issue.   The business rationale for out-sourcing manufacturing in search of lower costs must be qualified against meaningful ethical guidelines, explained Bruce Rayner, director of research and consulting at TFI.   The panel will focus on CSR programs, and whether or not they provide sufficient governance and regulatory power to ensure fair labor practices.   Topics up for debate will include if current investments in CSR programs are creating effective solutions, if labor standards should be global or adjusted according to geographical region, efficient modes of enforcing compliance to an ethics program, and more.   Considering Wu's analysis of the divergent methods of manufacturing in various sectors, the most controversial issues for the panel may be how a diverse industry defines such standards.   Company size, location, percent of assembly out-sourced, and other variations may all affect the stringency of regulations imposed.   TFI's panelist will also question the relevance of individual corporate labor codes — in comparison to industry-wide programs such as the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct.   The group will focus a due amount on the external perception of corporate social responsibility — allegations of sweatshop conditions, whether true or not, can create a consumer backlash strong enough to decimate cost-savings that were originally generated through out-sourcing practices."

2006-09-14 06:21PDT (09:21EDT) (13:21GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US import prices up 0.8% in August
BLS import-export price indices

2006-09-14 06:32PDT (09:32EDT) (13:32GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Retail sales rose 0.2% in August
census bureau retail sales data release

2006-09-14 08:00PDT (11:00EDT) (15:00GMT)
_Yahoo!_/_PR News Wire_
PA governor Edward Rendell signed Contractor Social Responsibility executive order, urges service providers to enlist domestic labor in state contracts
"Attracted by lower costs abroad, sending jobs over-seas has become a growing trend for private sector companies.   Some estimates have put the loss of U.S.   manufacturing and service-sector jobs because of this practice between 2.5M and 3M over the last 3 years alone.   Forrester Research expects that another 3.3M domestic positions will be moved abroad in the next 15 years...   Under governor Rendell's executive order, 'Contractor Social Responsibility and Off-Shore Services', businesses must disclose where they intend to have the work done.   Those companies that agree to keep work within the U.S.A. will receive extra consideration."
 

2006-09-15 (5766 Elul 22) - 53 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-15 07:25PDT (10:25EDT) (14:25GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 82.0 in August to 84.4

2006-09-15 10:00PDT (13:00EDT) (17:00GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US industrial output fell 0.1% in August
Federal Reserve Board statistics

2006-09-15 12:25PDT (15:25EDT) (19:25GMT)
_CNN_
Low pay makes a ghost town in Georgia
"Trailer parks lie abandoned.   The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce.   Business has dried up at stores...   This Georgia community of about 1K people has become little more than a ghost town since September 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal [aliens]...   Other than the Crider plant, there isn't much in Stillmore.   Four small stores, a coin laundry and a Baptist church share downtown with City Hall, the fire department and a post office.   'We're poor but proud.', Mayor Marilyn Slater said, as if that is the town motto...   Since the mid-1990s, Stillmore has grown dependent on the paychecks of Mexican workers who originally came for seasonal farm labor, picking the area's famous Vidalia onions.   Many then took year-round jobs at the Crider plant, with a work-force of about 900...   Crider increased its starting wages by $1 an hour to help recruit new workers.   Stacie Bell, 23, started work canning chicken at Crider a week ago.   She said the pay, $7.75 an hour, led her to leave her $5.60-an-hour job as a Wal-Mart cashier in nearby Statesboro."

2006-09-15 12:04PDT (15:04EDT) (19:04GMT)
Parija B. Kavilanz _CNN_/_Money_
4 US firms that fought off Red China
"Six years after John Baker first heard the term '[Red China] price', his plastic injection molding business has lost two-thirds of its work force, 60% of its revenue and more than half of its big American corporate clientele.   But unlike the 40K small- to mid-size American manufacturers that have vanished since the late 1990s, Baker's 60-year-old family-run Diamond Tool and Die company based in Dayton, Ohio, is still around...   [Red China's] entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999 spurred a rapid exodus of manufacturing from the United States into [Red China] -- and the loss of about 2.6M jobs, according to government figures.   The U.S. Business and Industry Council (USBIC), a trade group that represents 1,500 small- and mid-size manufacturers, estimates there are nearly 300K manufacturing companies in the United States...   'Our members are squeezed from both sides.', Tonelson said, noting they have to focus on quality but also need to keep reinvesting in their businesses.   'But the [Red China] Price isn't allowing them to get the profit margins they need.'"

2006-09-15
Marisa Taylor _San Jose Mercury News_
US government still in the dark on locations of foreigners in USA
"After spending $900M to set up a data-base to track foreign travelers arriving in America, the government still doesn't know how many of them stay in the country illegally because the system is incomplete and snarled by controversy.   The US-VISIT system screens up to 2M foreigners a month as they arrive at all international airports and seaports and at most border crossings.   Visitors' personal information, finger-prints and photographs are logged electronically into a computer database and their names are checked against criminal records and terrorist watch lists...   Since US-VISIT launched three years ago, authorities have recorded 64M visits in their database.   They credit the new screening process with helping them to detect and turn back more than 1,300 criminals.   But Congress never set a deadline for a check-out system.   The agency has spent $900M so far, mostly on setting up new finger-printing machines for arriving foreigners...   But experts said the only reliable way to know how many people over-stayed their visas and remained in the country illegally would be to require visa-holders to check out."

2006-09-15
DJIA11,560.77
S&P 5001,319.87
NASDAQ2,235.59
10-year US T-Bond4.80%
crude oil63.33
gold583.00
silver10.875
platinum1,163.70
palladium314.80
copper0.20697
natgas$4.98/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.575/gal
heatingoil$1.7023/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 

2006-09-16 (5766 Elul 23) - 52 Days Until Congressional Election
 

  "If you don't fail regularly you are not trying hard enough things." --- Ivan Sutherland  

 

2006-09-17 (5766 Elul 24) - 51 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-17
Les Phillips _Clarion-Ledger_
Illegal aliens, guest-workers, and foreign students distort congressional districts
"Non-citizens -- including illegal immigrants, guest-workers and foreign students in the United States -- are counted in the U.S. Census every 10 years and their numbers are used to determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and how many votes each state will have in the Electoral College, which elects the president...   Michigan's U.S. representative Candice Miller introduced HR5451 and HJResolution 53 in the House and Montana's senator Conrad Burns introduced S2693 in the Senate proposing that illegal immigrants not be counted in determining how many seats each state will get in the House."

2006-09-17
_San Diego Union-Tribune_
217,340 H-1B visas issued or renewed in 2003
"An August 27 story incorrectly reported that there were 217,340 people working in the United States under the H-1B visa program in 2003.   That number is the total of H-1B visa permits issued that year for people working in highly skilled technology jobs, education and specialty occupations.   The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it does not have a comprehensive figure for all people working in the country under H-1B visas during that period.   The story also incorrectly reported the number of master's and doctoral degrees earned by foreign students in 2004.   In the fields of math, computer science and engineering, more than 40% of all the master's degrees and more than 50% of all the doctoral degrees were awarded to foreign students."
 

2006-09-18 (5766 Elul 25) - 50 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-18 08:10PDT (11:10EDT) (15:10GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US current account deficit $218.4G
BEA press release

2006-09-18 09:02PDT (12:02EDT) (16:02GMT)
Greg Robb & Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US capital inflows fell sharply to $32.9G in July
US Treasury press release

2006-09-18 11:15PDT (14:15EDT) (18:15GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Home builders' confidence fell again in September (with graph)

2006-09-18
Joel Millman _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_
Guest-worker programs -- both proposed and existing -- are all about cheap labor
"Union officials complain bitterly that competition from Mexico is driving down wages, and there is evidence to back them up.   Roberto Cantu's Pueblo pay stub shows he earned $14 an hour for a 45-hour week, and $21 for every additional hour.   Pete Mustacchio, business manager of Cement Masons Local 577 in Denver, says Colorado's union pourers earn twice that, including an hourly wage of $23.40, plus health-insurance and pension benefits valued at another $9 an hour.   Over-time starts at $35.10 an hour.   Figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate wages in concrete work fell 16.5% in 2005 from 2000 -- to $508 a week from $604, adjusted for inflation -- despite a soaring demand for workers.   Meanwhile, the proportion of cement workers described as 'foreign-born Hispanic' has risen to almost 55% from around 35% in the late 1990s.   Statistics suggest many are replacing African-Americans, whose employment in concrete work declined to 9K in 2005, from 18K six years ago.   David Card, a University of California at Berkeley economist, says the decline in earnings is part of a long-term trend of non-union construction workers replacing a unionized work force.   Other factors are at play besides the subidos.   Illegal-immigrant labor drives down wages even more than do legal subidos, and technology has reduced the need for some skilled workers.   An expanded guest-worker program probably would deepen the wage squeeze, says Harvard University immigration economist George Borjas.   'I find a 10% rise in worker supply results in a 3% decline in wages' locally.   Earl Agan, business manager of Cement Masons local 51 in Des Moines, says ethanol-plant construction should be a reason to hire more union workers, not fewer.   He has 260 members qualified to pour silos, at least 50 of whom are presently without work.   'Contractors have my guys traveling all over the country.', Mr. Agan says, arguing that remote work sites shouldn't justify importing workers.   His conclusion: Contractors want a bigger share of the profit and won't employ union labor if they don't have to."
 
 

2006-09-19 (5766 Elul 26) - 49 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-19 07:49PDT (10:49EDT) (14:49GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
PPI down 0.4%: 2 months down
BLS data

2006-09-19 08:27PDT (11:27EDT) (15:27GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Housing starts fell 6% to 1.665M in August
census bureau press release

2006-09-19 10:04PDT (13:04EDT) (17:04GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Household net worth up 0.1% in 2006 Q2
Federal Reserve Board flow of funds press release

2006-09-19
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Bad news for American students & workers -- massive H-1b increases may rise from dead in "SKIL Bill"
"The SKIL bill would exempt foreign students with degrees from U.S. universities from the cap, effectively doubling the number of foreign-born MAs and PhDs permitted to remain in the country.   Implication: By 2016 the high tech labor-force could be swelled by as many as 640K foreign-born workers each year.   Even at 65K annually [let alone the current level of over 85K], the H-1b influx represents an overwhelming share of high-tech employment growth in the U.S.A.   For example, according to AeA, the trade association representing the high-tech [executives], total high-tech employment rose by 61K positions last year -- or 4K [less than the base number of 65K, and 24K less than the essential limit, and well below the 90K to 110K new H-1b visas actually isseud each year]...   Data compiled by AeA show real wages are still below levels reached during the bubble years.   The decline is especially pronounced in the software industry, which employs about half of all H-1bs admitted...   As the editors of The Ethics and Public Policy Center's The New Atlantis reported recently: 'Two University of Pennsylvania researchers recently aggregated scores from a number of cross-national studies and found that white students in the United States, taken alone, consistently out-perform the predominantly white student populations of several other leading industrial nations.   ''There is compelling evidence,'' they write, ''that the low scores of [black and Hispanic students] were major factors in reducing the comparative standing of the U.S.A. in international surveys of achievement.   If these minority students were to perform at the same level as white students, the U.S.A... would lead the Western G5 nations in mathematics and science, though it would still trail Japan.''' [Is the United States Really Losing the International Horse Race in Academic Achievement? Erling E. Boe & Sujie Shin, 2005]   Americans can do these jobs."

2006-09-19
Drew deSilver _Seattle Times_
Low-paid illegal alien labor force does little to hold down prices (with graphs)

2006-09-19
Barb Heller _Arizona Republic_
Senate must face facts on border
"Americans have made clear to the Senate their contempt for their May passage of Senate Bill 2611, the McCain-Kennedy illegal alien amnesty bill.   Senators would be well advised to not squander their opportunity to redeem themselves from earlier support of illegal-alien amnesty, and we expect senator Bill Frist, R-TN, and Mitch McConnell, R-KY, to step up to the plate and show leadership in passing such legislation without giveaways that pander to illegal aliens or those who profit from illegal immigration.   For those senators still experiencing "disconnect," what Americans want is:
* Mandatory use by employers of the workplace verification system for all employees, new and current.
* No hidden giveaways like the huge increase in H-1B visas demanded by Bill Gates and the rest of the high-tech industry in the SKIL (Securing Knowledge, Innovation and Leadership) bill.
* No guest-worker amnesty plans that allowing 20M-plus illegal aliens to obtain legal status to work in the United States.
* Rapid increase of personnel, detention space and fencing on the border.   (Use Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 'Tent City' method.)
* Withhold federal money from any state or city continuing 'illegal-alien sanctuary' policies.
Senators who vote against the American people and continue their support for illegal immigration can be confident that they are being watched.   Someday soon, when you need our votes, your voting record will return to haunt you.   Whether that senator runs for president in 2008 or re-election to the Senate, we won't forget."

2006-09-19
Representative Ron Paul, MD _Lew Rockwell_
Amnesty for illegal aliens, and the welfare state
"While the American people are demanding real immigration reform, many in Washington lack the political will to do what is required.   That's why I've joined my colleagues in the House Immigration Reform caucus in demanding legislation this year that focuses on securing physical control of our borders while rejecting amnesty in any form.   Congress has taken notice, and took an important first step last week by passing the Secure Fence Act of 2006 -- legislation that provides physical security by lengthening border walls and creating a virtual border fence that extends thousands of miles.   But many Senators, Representatives, and administration officials remain committed to pursuing amnesty in some form.   The dictionary defines amnesty as a general pardon for offenders by a government, and most of the immigration reform proposals in both chambers of Congress certainly meet that definition.   Millions of people who broke the law by entering, staying, and working in our country will not be punished, but rather rewarded with a visa and ultimately citizenship...   If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit...   The immigration problem fundamentally is a welfare state problem.   Some illegal immigrants -- certainly not all -- receive housing subsidies, food stamps, free medical care, and other forms of welfare.   This alienates taxpayers and breeds suspicion of immigrants, even though the majority of them work very hard.   Without a welfare state, we would know that everyone coming to America wanted to work hard and support himself.   Since we have accepted a permanent welfare state, however, we cannot be surprised when some freeloaders and criminals are attracted to our shores.   Welfare muddies the question of why immigrants want to come here.   Illegal immigrants also threaten to place a tremendous strain on federal social entitlement programs.   Successive administrations support so-called 'totalization' agreements that allow millions of illegal immigrants to qualify for [Socialist Insecurity] and other programs -- programs that already threaten financial ruin for America in the coming decades.   Adding millions of foreign citizens to the [Socialist Insecurity], Medicare, and disability rolls will only hasten the inevitable day of reckoning..."

2006-09-19
Philip Read _Trenton Times_
H-1B is her #1 battle
less graphics intensive version
Newhouse News Service
immigration forum
American Renaissance
"Sona Shah didn't need flow charts or fancy diagrams to make her point during a U.S. Senate subcommittee briefing earlier this year.   She just needed her cell phone.   First, she dialed the number listed in a 'Help Wanted' ad for a computer programmer.   Then she let everyone listen to the ensuing conversation.   She said, 'Hi.   I'm an American citizen.   I'm looking for a job.'   They said, 'No, that job's been set aside for an H-1B employee.'   The staffers at the legislative briefing were stunned. 'There were audible gasps.', Shah said.   Those are the kind of tactics the 34-year-old Montclair woman has used in her crusade to reform the H-1B visa classification, which she says U.S. employers have used to turn Indian immigrants into under-paid indentured servants -- and to deny American citizens jobs.   'You have to stand up for the rights of both sets of workers as long as there's this degradation.', said Shah, who was born in India but raised in the United States.   'We love India. We want to see India prosper, but we don't want it to see it happen at the expense of the American middle class.'...   critics say the flood of foreign workers drives down salaries, turns foreign workers into indentured servants and puts Americans out of work.   Pascrell said many of his congressional colleagues have ignored his calls for reform, and he has a hunch why.   'Follow the money.', Pascrell said.   'They're going to wheel and deal. And who's going to get hurt?   The American worker.'"
Norm Matloff: H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter: article featuring Sona Shah
"[Jeff Lande] is including all kinds of people at 'IT' in his 10M figure -- technicians, call center people, sales and marketing, and so on.   None of these normally requires a Bachelor's degree, which is a central requirement of the H-1B visa.   H-1Bs in IT are software developers, not call center workers.   The IT jobs that H-1Bs do (with titles like Programmer, Software Engineer, System Analyst etc.) number about 2M -- a far cry from 10M.   The 30K figure is also way off.   The current yearly cap on H-1B visas granted is 65K [over 85K when so-called exemptions are counted], and it is true that something like 30K [40K-50K when so-called exemptions are counted] of those [are] in in IT.   But the visa is good for 6 years, with yearly extensions allowable after 6 years.   So the yearly cap on new visas doesn't tell you how many H-1Bs are in the U.S.A.   Moreover, as the article points out, the cap was 195K per year for the 3-year period preceding 2003 October, and a lot of those people are still here.   And we haven't even talked about the exemptions to the cap yet.   Unfortunately, USCIS does not keep track of the total number of H-1Bs in the country at any given time, but it is clear that there are several hundred thousand in IT.   Then there is the L-1 visa, also very heavily used in IT.   Moreover, among those 2M jobs in IT, many are held by people who got in before the industry started its H-1B binge.   Among new jobs, a substantial proportion are H-1Bs.   This says it all: A Federal Reserve Bank study found that "Foreign workers accounted for half of all the new jobs created in system analysis, programming, and other computer-related occupations (Miriam Wasserman, EllisIsland.com?, Regional Review, 2000 Quarter 4/2001 Quarter 1).   Less striking, but still very importantly, the semiconductor industry itself told the Dept. of Commerce in 2004 that 21% of its recent engineering hires were H-1Bs...   Of all the articles on H-1B over the years, this one is the best, hands down.   I'm sure it startled many readers.   But as the article mentions later on, the congressional staffers can gasp until the cows come home, but their bosses will do nothing about it.   Indeed, their bosses will continue to write form letters to their constituents, telling them that the H-1B program requires employers to give hiring priority to Americans, when in fact there is no such requirement.   As noted in the article, the Pascrell bill would in fact impose such a requirement, but the bill has no chance of passing because Congress wants to keep receiving the industry's campaign funding.   Members of Congress have publicly admitted that this is the case..."

Matloff article on likelihood of a stealth bill
 

2006-09-20 (5766 Elul 27) - 48 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-19 22:50PDT (2006-09-20 01:50EDT) (2006-09-20 05:50GMT)
Greg Giroux _Congressional Quarterly_
Gaffes make George Allen vulnerable to hard-charging Jim Webb in VA
"Webb won a narrow victory in a June 13 primary over Harris Miller, a technology industry lobbyist and long-time Democratic loyalist...   Before the pro-business Chamber of Commerce Monday, Allen touted his record as governor, which included an abolition of parole and efforts to enhance the technology industry.   He expressed support for cutting taxes, improved efforts to promote science, technology and engineering education and also increasing the number of H-1B visas available to highly skilled workers."

2006-09-20 07:34PDT (10:34EDT) (14:34GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _MarketWatch_
S&P Index reached highest level since 2001 February

2006-09-20 12:18PDT (15:18EDT) (19:18GMT)
John C. Dvorak _MarketWatch_
Freescale and the Holy Grail of perfect memory
"It's called MRAM which means Magnetic-based Random Access Memory.   This type of memory is ironically a throwback to early "core" memory which were small magnetic cores used by now archaic computers in the mid 1950s.   Since then, as new technologies evolved, many believed that magnetic rather than electronic or capacitive structures would always work better because of the relative non-volatile nature of magnetism...   DRAM and SRAM which both require a moderate amount of electrical current to maintain the information contained within...   Flash can hold data without an electric current, but it has various speed limitations and tends to degrade over time and stop working altogether...   hard disk memory - a mechanical magnetic device...   [Ill-Begotten Monstrosities], Honeywell, Cypress and the U.S. government as well as most semiconductor companies worldwide are going all-out to make this technology work...   In the Middle Ages, Medieval Princes would find passages, roads, and narrows above which they could build fortresses to prevent casual merchants and traders from crossing forcing them to pay tribute or tolls to the Prince and his boys.   In today's world it's the entrepreneurial engineer who is the Prince and the mechanism is called the 'blocking patent'."

2006-09-20
Mary Chou _CSU Sacramento_
Technology to improve retention
"If current trends persist, 1 out of 5 [20%] freshmen will not make it to sophomore status and 3 out of 10 [30%] will not make it to junior status, according to statistics tracked by the Office of Institutional Research...   To combat the continual pattern in enrollment and retention challenges, the Enrollment Management Advisory Committee was formed to analyze data and to come up with ideas and solve the problem, Emiliano Diaz, director of Outreach Admissions and Records, said.   Diaz said that the pattern started a few years ago when budget cuts in the legislature caused a rise in registration fees in community colleges, Universities of California and California State Universities.   While some students leave the university due to problems that are beyond anyone's control, such as family, work or financial difficulties, Diaz said the university recognizes the need for students to feel connected and informed..."

2006-09-20 14:03PDT (17:03EDT) (21:30GMT)
Jim Abrams _USA Today_
US House passed voter ID bill
NorthWest Indiana Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Philadelphia
"The 228-196 House vote on a new photo ID plan and the Senate's consideration of the fence were both part of a get-tough policy on illegal immigrants that Republicans have embraced after Congress' failure to agree on broader legislation that would [fend off the illegal alien invasion]...   House GOP leaders have insisted that tighter borders and tougher laws must precede more comprehensive immigration changes.   The House passed the [bill to fence a mere 700 miles of the nation's approximately 8,607 miles of border] last week and plans votes Thursday on other enforcement measures: to increase penalties for people building tunnels under the border, make it easier to detain and deport immigrant gang members and criminals and clarify the ability of state and local authorities to detain illegal immigrants...   Representative Ike Skelton, D-MO, said he was initially denied a voter ID required under a Missouri state law because he doesn't have a driver's license and couldn't immediately produce a passport or birth certificate.   His congressional ID card was not accepted.   A Missouri court earlier this month struck down the state law, and on Tuesday a state superior court judge in Georgia ruled that that state's law requiring a photo ID was an unconstitutional condition for voting.   The bill would require everyone to present a photo ID before voting in federal elections by 2008.   By 2010 voters would have to have photo IDs that certified they were citizens.   In response to criticism that this would be a burden for the poor, the bill stipulates that states must provide the identification cards free of charge to those who can't afford them...   The voter ID bill is HR4844.   The fence bill is HR6061."
Frist's S2454
Specter's S2611
Hagel's S2612
Cornyn's S2691
 
Tancredo's HR1325
Tancredo's HR1450
Tancredo's HR1587
Nancy L. Johnson's HR3322
Tancredo's HR3333
Tancredo's HR3700
 
Pascrell's HR4378
Sensenbrenner's HR4437
Hyde's HR4844
DHS appropriations HR5441
Shadegg's HR5744
King's HR6061

2006-09-20
DJIA11,613.19
S&P 5001,325.18
NASDAQ2,193.16
10-year US T-Bond4.73%
crude oil60.74
gold586.20
silver11.14
platinum1,140.00
palladium306.35
copper0.211
natgas$4.931/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.4671/gal
heatingoil$1.6478/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 
 

2006-09-21 (5766 Elul 28) - 47 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-21 05:30PDT (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & 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 264,251 in the week ending Sept. 16, an increase of 23,991 from the previous week.   There were 346,204 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Sept. 9, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,161,058, an increase of 26,879 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,311,981."

2006-09-21 08:13PDT (11:13EDT) (15:13GMT)
_Yahoo!_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities to hire 3K more in Kolkata, India
"IBM Corp. has been aggressively expanding its Indian work force, growing from 38,500 workers in 2005 December to 43K in June this year, the statement said."

2006-09-21 10:17PDT (13:17EDT) (17:17GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing activity index fell for first time since 2003 April (with graph)

2006-09-21
Richard Baltzly _Zanesville Times Recorder_
A war that doesn't feel like a war
"I have decided this is a very strange war.   Are we really at war?   President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Don Rumsfield say we are, and compare the war on world-wide terrorism with the fight against Hitler and fascism.   I'm sure it seems like war to the tired handfuls of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, serving their third or fourth tour of duty.   They are engaged in what the president says will be a long, tough struggle.   It seems as if the struggle may soon be expanded into Iran, Syria, or Korea.   It doesn't feel like war here in America.   Aside from flags and support-our-troops magnets on cars, what are American citizens doing in this war?   Mr. Bush says we must stay the course; losing is unthinkable; so why are Americans not being asked to sacrifice?   Generals in the Middle East say they will need more men and supplies to win the war.   If they are right, it would seem as if conscription (the draft) might fill out the ranks and rationing meet the need for supplies.   Americans are still living in a peacetime mode.   People buy stocks, rather than defense bonds.   Our factories are manufacturing consumer goods rather than war materials.   Americans can still buy as much gas, meat, sugar and shoes as they can afford.   All of those products, and many more, were rationed during World War II.   War has always meant an increase in taxes -- except this war.   Few people have dug up lawns to plant victory gardens.   No school children are wrapping bandages or collecting scrap.   There are no government posters to remind us we must 'Know the Enemy'.   No butcher saying, 'Sorry, no steak today; there's a war on.'.   There are no time limits on telephone calls to remind us we must all contribute to the war effort.   As for comparing Mr.   Bush's war to the world wars, Americans did defeat the fascists once, but they played the game differently.   The current game plan seems to be drive, dine and drink fine wine; think fondly of the troops over-seas and wish them well."

2006-09-21
Stan Gibson _eWeek_
AT&T to Bring Back Customer Support
Information Week
"AT&T will bring back 2K in-house technical support jobs that had been handled by out-sourcing providers."
 

2006-09-22 (5766 Elul 29) - 46 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-22
Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington & Ishwar Khatiwadi _Center for Immigration Studies_
The Impact of New Immigrants on Young (16-24), Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005
"Between 2000 and 2005, 4.1M immigrant workers arrived from abroad, accounting for 86% of the net increase in the total number of employed persons (16 and older), the highest share ever recorded in the United States.   Of the 4.1M new immigrant workers, between 1.4 and 2.7M are estimated to be illegal immigrants.   This means that illegal immigrants accounted for up to 56% of the net increase in civilian employment in the United States over the past 5 years.   Between 2000 and 2005, the number of young (16 to 34) native-born men who were employed declined by 1.7M; at the same time, the number of new male immigrant workers increased by 1.9M.   Multivariate statistical analyses show that the probability of teens and young adults (20-24) being employed was negatively affected by the number of new immigrant workers (legal and illegal) in their state.   The negative impacts tended to be larger for younger workers, for in-school youth compared to out-of-school youth, and for native-born black and Hispanic males compared to their white counterparts.   It appears that employers are substituting new immigrant workers for young native-born workers.   The estimated sizes of these displacement effects were frequently quite large.   The increased hiring of new immigrant workers also has been accompanied by important changes in the structure of labor markets and employer-employee relationships.   Fewer new workers, especially private-sector wage and salary workers, are ending up on the formal pay-rolls of employers, where they would be covered by unemployment insurance, health insurance, and worker protections...   Despite robust rates of growth in real GDP, strong growth in corporate profits, and a stock market boom, the nation's rate of new pay-roll employment growth was just 2.5% between 2001 Q4 and 2005 Q4.   This rate of new job creation was equal to only one-fifth of the historical average rate of new job creation over the previous 5 recoveries...   Between 2000 and 2005, wage and salary employment levels, as measured by the CES, rose by only 1.678M or 1.3% while the CPS found that the number of employed workers increased by 4.672M over the same period of time.   On an annual average basis, we find that employment as measured by the CES business establishment survey increased from 131.785M during 2000 to 133.463M by 2005, an increase in non-agricultural pay-roll jobs of only 1.678M.   In contrast, the household survey found that the number of working-age persons employed in the nation increased from 136.934M to 141.606M, a rise of 4.672M over the 2000 to 2005 period, a difference of nearly 3M."

2006-09-22
DJIA11,508.10
S&P 5001,314.78
NASDAQ2,218.93
10-year US T-Bond4.60%
crude oil60.55
gold595.40
silver11.31
platinum1,148.10
palladium321.65
copper0.2152
natgas$4.627/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.4712/gal
heatingoil$1.6472/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 
 

2006-09-23 (5767 Tishrei 1) - 45 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-23
_North Texas e-News_
Suman K. Varanasi found guilty of mail and wire fraud
"United States Attorney Richard Roper announced that former Dallas area resident Suman K. Varanasi was found guilty on Monday, 2006-09-18, of mail fraud and wire fraud following a trial before the Honorable Jane J. Boyle, United States District Judge.   Specifically, Varanasi was found guilty of 6 counts of mail fraud and 6 counts of wire fraud, and faces a maximum statutory sentence on each count of twenty years, a $250K fine, and restitution.   Varanasi is in federal custody and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Boyle on 2006-12-14.   Varanasi, a citizen of India present in the United States on a non-immigrant H1-B employment-based visa, founded Zenstra Solutions, an placement service for IT professionals, in 2003 April...   Varanasi executed a scheme to defraud Indian IT professionals in the United States on H1-B employment-based visas by offering to hire them for a permanent position with the company and, in exchange for a fee, to file forms with the Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that would enable them to obtain lawful permanent residence.   Specifically, Varanasi falsely advertised on websites popular with Indians living in this country that his company had an approved labor certification – authorization from the Department of Labor to hire an alien for a permanent position – and that if an applicant had the appropriate qualifications, the company would file the necessary forms with USCIS to support an application by the alien applicant for lawful permanent residence.   Varanasi falsely represented to applicants responding to the ad that Zenstra had contracts with major IT companies and that, when hired, the applicants would work on projects with these companies.   Varanasi charged each applicant approximately $2000-$3000, falsely representing that the funds would go to cover the attorneys fees and processing costs...   Varanasi used this fraudulent scheme to obtain money from over 100 victims, resulting in a loss of approximately $400K."

2006-09-23
Richard F. Tax American Engineering Association
Improve Utilisation and Development of the American Professional Work Force: Oppose Import of Surplus Foreign Workers
"We believe the public policy of the United States should be to rely primarily upon U.S. workers for our supply of engineers and scientists.   This Position is in response to false claims that America faces shortages of Engineers, Programmers and high tech professionals and companies must resort to importing foreign workers to meet demands.   In order to improve the utilization of American Engineers, Scientists, Programmers and high tech (ESPHT) professionals we must first provide them with jobs and the opportunity to enhance their skills.   To accomplish this we need a balance between the supply and demand of our skilled professionals.   AEA strongly opposes the importation of foreign Engineers, Scientists Programmers and High Tech (ESPHT) professionals.   Evidence clearly shows foreign workers (H-1B, L1 etc.) are imported for the purpose of reducing labor costs and offer no skill advantages over our American professionals...   For more than 20 years the Congress, American public, parents and students have been misinformed and inundated with reports of Engineer, Scientist, Programmer and high tech worker shortages.   None of these reports have been true nor can their shortage claims be validated.   The shortages never materialized.   Nor do shortages of these American professionals exist today.   We believe, and symptoms indicate, the United States of America has a surplus of Engineers, Scientists, Programmers and high tech professionals.   When properly utilized we have more than enough to maintain and increase America's leadership at the forefront of technology.   The surplus of these professionals, and importation of more, has so devastated the professions that current members advise their children against entering the colleges to study for these careers.

"
 

2006-09-24 (5767 Tishrei 2) - 44 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-24
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Rubber-stamp bureaucracy
series index
"In early 2004, Narendra V. Mandalapa leased a cubicle in Portland and began asking the federal government for permission to bring dozens of foreign software engineers to Maine.   The U.S. Department of Labor agreed there was a need for the high-tech workers and approved most of the requests.   But Cybersoftec Inc., Mandalapa's company, was actually a shell company created solely 'for the purpose of filing fraudulent labor-based petitions for foreign workers', federal agents said.   The government alleged that he copied and altered foreign labor approvals for other workers and submitted them along with other paperwork to Citizenship and Immigration Services to apply for green cards.   His case is an egregious example of problems with the federal system that allows skilled foreigners to work in the United States, a system that is intended to protect American workers from unfair foreign competition.   It's a program that has been manipulated by some firms engaged in the highly profitable business of connecting foreign workers with companies seeking affordable high-technology employees.   A Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram investigation found that dozens of high-tech staffing companies opened tiny offices or leased cubicles in Maine and other rural states in 2004 and early 2005 and filed immigration papers for thousands of foreigners.   The U.S. Department of Labor routinely approved these requests, even though state officials protested.   In many cases, the companies' connection to Maine was tenuous.   In several cases, landlords never even heard of the companies that called their buildings home on federal applications...   An estimated 11% of H-1B visa petitions are fraudulent, Collins said, citing a recent Department of Homeland Security report.   Government auditors also have warned for more than a decade that the U.S. Department of Labor's role in allowing foreign workers to enter America is flawed and susceptible to fraud...   Companies leased cubicle-sized offices in Maine and asked for permission to bring thousands of foreign high-technology workers here with green cards and visas, even though employers in the state were hiring fewer people in these fields.   The U.S. Labor Department routinely certified the requests.   Certifications were granted even when state officials opposed the requests as being obviously improper.   The officials raised those concerns in person and detailed them in written warnings on certification paper-work...   If the Labor Department certifies an application, it means the agency is sure 'there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers', according to a statement on the department's web site [though this is based merely on an assertion by the LCA filer, because the Department is not authorized to actually investigate the claims]...   state officials said they raised concerns with the U.S. Department of Labor, but they were ignored.   For example, on green card labor certification paper-work released by the state, now-retired state employee Vaughn LeBlanc wrote 'Not a valid Maine employer', but the application was certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.   Officials in the rural states speculate some companies were trying to get paperwork processed ahead of the change in federal immigration procedures.   Some companies also may have worked through these states because there would have been less American competition for particular high-tech jobs, which they hoped to fill with specific foreigners.   And because companies must pay foreign workers the going rate for jobs at the specific work-site listed in the certification paperwork - rather than the prevailing wages from more urban areas where they'll likely be working - the hiring firms also may have taken advantage of Maine's comparatively modest wages for both green card and H1B applications, suggest state officials...   During 2004 and 2005, 46 out-of-state companies leased single, small cubicles and rooms in business centers and office buildings and listed these addresses as the sites where 10-plus foreigners would work, according to state and federal records.   In at least two cases, landlords or property managers never heard of the companies that claimed offices in their buildings.   In other instances, companies kept Maine offices, with rarely seen representatives stopping in periodically to pick up immigration paperwork sent by the federal government - or even having the mail forwarded to their out-of-state offices...   Star Schemas Inc. lists its 'global head-quarters' as 3 North Lancey St., Suite S12, in Pittsfield, Maine, on its web site, along with offices in New Jersey and Toronto.   The company rented about 650 square feet of office space there for about a year and has been gone since 2005 July, the landlord said.   Star Schemas filed H1B visa labor condition applications for 400 positions in 2004 and 2005, listing Maine as the work-site, according to federal records.   The number listed for the Pittsfield office was disconnected. Calls to the company's New Jersey offices weren't returned."

2006-09-24
Raheel Dhattiwala _Times of India_
Visa rejected? Change your name and get one
"'I am changing my name from Sheth Rajesh Premalbhai to Shah Rajesh Premalbhai.'   Turn to the classifieds column of any newspaper and change-of-name announcements are regular.   Innocent as they may seem, they are often a ploy by those who have been refused a visa...   'It's easier to change your name and date of birth in a forged school-leaving certificate.', says Prasanna Acharya, a consultant for student visas to the UK.   Changing one's name is simple -- get an affidavit, notify it in newspapers and fill out the form of the government gazette.   The gazette office in Rajkot gets 300 applications per week for name changes.   An official admitted, 'Under the reason column, several just write passport.   But we don't have a mechanism to check fraud.'   In 2000, CBI raided the regional passport office in Ahmedabad and found over 700 bogus passport applications -- many Patels changing their surnames.   Regional passport officer M.D. Antani says if individuals ask for a passport on a given name, the passport office has to issue it.   The passport office is not equipped to check fraud.   Forgery of documents, such as a school-leaving certificate, is an organised racket spread across Gujarat, with Nadiad being notorious for it.   Even some schools are believed to do it for a fee..."
 

  "Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught." --- Winston Churchill  

 
 

2006-09-25 (5767 Tishrei 3) - 43 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-25
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
virtual H-1Bs in Maine
"It often frustrates me that even many activist critics of the H-1B program do not understand that the problem is NOT [ONLY] one of enforcement of the laws.   The problem is that the laws are so full of loop-holes that the laws are useless.   Employers can pay H-1Bs below-market wages while still being fully compliant with the law. [(See for example Matloff's column on GAO and compliance.)]   I have thus been very reluctant to say much about the enforcement problems which do occur, as I consider it as distracting attention from the main problems."

2006-09-25 07:26PDT (10:26EDT) (14:26GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing-home prices fell for 1st time in 11 years: Sales dropped 0.5% in August (with graph)
"The collapsing U.S. housing market crossed another milestone in August, as the median sales price of existing homes fell for the first time in 11 years and for just the sixth time in the past 38 years, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.   The median sales price fell 1.7% year-over-year to $225K in August.   Sales of existing homes fell 0.5% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3M, the industry group said.   It was the lowest sales pace since January 2004.   Sales have fallen 5 months in a row.   Sales are down 12.6% in the past year."

2006-09-25
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Gaming the system
series index
"LeBlanc was seeing a demand for skilled foreign labor that didn't square with industry needs in Maine.   As the boxes of paperwork piled up in Maine and other rural states, foreign labor experts came to understand what they were seeing: Small companies moving ahead of federal immigration system changes scheduled for 2005 March 28, were flocking to rural states, hoping that their applications for foreign labor would be processed quickly and efficiently.   Their strategy has some questioning whether those companies broke federal laws or just slipped through the system via numerous loop-holes...   LeBlanc handled the first step in applications to the federal foreign labor system.   He took in paperwork from companies applying for green cards -- federal authorization allowing their foreign employees work and live here indefinitely.   The companies would file labor certification applications with LeBlanc.   Labor certification is the beginning of the complex green card system.   After LeBlanc did a basic check of the companies and their candidates, he sent their labor certification applications to the U.S. Department of Labor's regional office in Boston.

After establishing those specifics, LeBlanc would send the labor certification applications to the U.S. Department of Labor.   An approval there meant the company could petition the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a green card.   According to the federal laws that set up the green card system, that labor certification means that the U.S. Department of Labor certifies to the Department of Homeland Security that there are not enough U.S. workers 'able, willing, qualified, and available -- and at the place where the alien is perform the work' to take the job.   The U.S. Labor Department also certifies to Homeland Security that 'the employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed United States workers'...   The green card applications were for people who were often already here in the United States, working on temporary visas.   The companies were 'staff augmentation firms' -- unofficially called 'bodyshops' in the industry...   The labor certification applications the companies filled out were called the ETA 750 form.   It contained sections requesting, among many things, the name and address of the employer, and the 'Address Where Alien Will Work'.   Under instructions for filling out the form, the U.S. Department of Labor explains companies must 'enter the full address of site or location where the work will actually be performed'.   The ETA 750, like many federal documents, also has a boxed section prominent at the top of the form that reads, in part, 'To knowingly furnish any false information in the preparation of this form... is a felony punishable by $10K fine or 5 years in the penitentiary, or both.'   In 2004 and 2005, though, many of the firms that said they had offices in the state had little or no connection to Maine...   LeBlanc said he called the U.S. Department of Labor's Boston region office to notify them of the problem.   Software staffing companies were playing the system, he told them, exploiting loop-holes.   They were applying for immigration papers through Maine, though they had tenuous connections here, at best...   The U.S. Department of Labor declined to specifically address these criticisms, despite repeated newspaper inquiries."

2006-09-25
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Visa-holders favored over US workers
series index
"She put out a number of resumes, and one ad in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram caught her eye.   It was for a $72,000 IT position, with applications to be sent to the Maine Department of Labor.   She applied for what she thought was a job with the state.   But the labor department was actually forwarding those resumes to a temporary staffing company [body shop] that had applied for a green card for a foreign worker.   Advertising the job was part of the process to ensure that no qualified Americans were available to fill the position.   The staffing company contacted LP, and she recognized the name: BCC USA Inc.   She had seen other ads for jobs with BCC and hadn't bothered applying.   Job seekers had to apply by snail-mail, and that was a warning sign for LP.   'I'm looking for an IT job, a software development job.', said LP.   'If I can't apply by e-mail, if I can't find a web site, it doesn't sound like a very real company.'...   a number of Maine residents like LP applied to these jobs and were turned down...   LP, who has her master's degree in mathematics from the University of Maine, plus some work toward her doctorate from the University of Maryland, has since found an IT job in the area...   [JW] teaches programming at a local community college after losing his IT job due to state budget cuts, and hasn't worked in software for more than 2 years...   'Sometimes I get the idea that the job's wired and they're looking to exclude people.', he said.   'Sometimes I just get the idea that people expect programmers to know everything.'...   BCC and similar software staffing companies are staff-augmentation firms, also known in the industry as bodyshops.   The firms are essentially high-tech temp agencies, providing skilled computer workers to companies and governments on a per-project basis.   They are generally staffed by foreign workers.   The firms file immigration papers for skilled foreign workers, bringing them to the United States, and then placing them with clients.   They also file green cards applications for foreign workers who are already in the United States.   In the case of the job JW and LP had applied for, BCC was advertising it because it had filed immigration papers to get a green card for a foreign worker.   A green card allows a foreigner to live and work in the United States indefinitely.   The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram asked a software expert from Tyler Technologies Inc.'s MUNIS Division in Falmouth to review some of the requirements for the green card positions from a number of companies that applied for green cards through Maine.   The results were scattered, with some of the requirements seeming very reasonable and others not so, said Kirk Cameron, vice president of development at MUNIS...   It was sometimes hard to judge whether companies were trying to fill actual positions, or if they had tailored the requirements so only the green card applicants could fill the jobs, Cameron said.   In some cases, the requirements clearly matched a very specific software job, said Cameron.   There were also some requirements that Cameron doubted a single programmer could fill...   He pointed to one example where the requirements involved experience with programming languages and applications spanning every part of the software life span, from conceptualization through development, quality checking, and even customer support.   And those requirements were over several computing platforms, said Cameron."

2006-09-25 16:45PDT (19:45EDT) (23:45GMT)
Mark LaPedus _Information Week_
National Academies reports gender bias in university R&D
"Women face barriers in hiring and promotion in research universities within many fields of science and engineering due in part to gender bias, according to a recent report from the National Academies.   Eliminating gender bias in universities requires immediate reform by university administrators, professional societies, government agencies, and Congress, according to the report.   If academic institutions are not transformed to tackle such barriers, the future vitality of the U.S. research base and economy is in jeopardy, the report warns.   The report was sponsored by the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly and Co., National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Academies (Washington, DC).   The Academies comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council...   40 years ago, women made up only 3% of America's scientific and technical workers, but by 2003 they accounted for nearly 20%.   In addition, women have earned more than 50% of the bachelor's degrees awarded in science and engineering since 2000."
 

2006-09-26 (5767 Tishrei 4) - 42 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-26 07:57PDT (10:57EDT) (14:57GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Conference Board says consumer confidence rebounded in September
"Consumers saying jobs are 'plentiful' improved to 25.9% from 24.5%.   Those claiming jobs are 'hard to get', however, edged up to 21.3% from 21.1% in August...   Those expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months edged up to 14.4% from 14.2% in August.   Those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 17.1% from 18.1%.   The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to increase in the months ahead rose to 19.7% from 17.9%."

2006-09-26 10:45PDT (13:45EDT) (17:45GMT)
Jim Jelter _MarketWatch_
Andrew Fastow of Enron sentenced to 6 years in prison plus 2 years of community service
"The prison term, lighter than the 10 years Fastow accepted two year ago, took into account his willingness to cooperate with prosecutors seeking to convict his former bosses, CEOs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, for their roles in Enron's collapse.   Fastow, 44, was the mastermind behind a labyrinth of off-balance-sheet partnerships with Enron, several bearing the initials of his wife and two sons, that inflated the company's earnings, hid its ballooning debt, and funneled millions of dollars into his own pocket."

2006-09-26
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Invitation to fraud
series index
"The U.S. Department of Labor's role in approving visas for skilled foreign workers is a rubber stamp that exposes the system to fraud, according to internal audits and a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram investigation.   Of the 307,771 H1B labor condition applications filed nationwide last year, 99.7% were certified by the department, according to a June 2006 U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO] report.   The federal law that sets up the H1B visa program is written so that Labor officials must certify them, even if there's good reason to believe that applicants don't meet statutory requirements, federal auditors say.   This certification process could hurt American workers and raises national security issues, critics and auditors suggest, by not providing enough review of the need for foreign labor in the United States."

2006-09-26
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Still gaming the system
series index
Maine Sun-Journal
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
How employers and immigration attorneys play the green card game
"[These articles are] very important, as [they show] how the green card process is set up in such a way that it is easy for an employer to avoid hiring American (U.S. citizen or permanent resident) workers.   Please keep in mind that although H-1B law does not require employers to giving hiring priority to Americans, employment-based green card law does have such a requirement.   Employers who sponsor foreign nationals for green cards must go through the labor certification process (don't confuse this with the Labor Condition Application in H-1B), which is supposed to demonstrate that no qualified American is available for the job.   Sadly, though, the law and regulations are written in such a way that this requirement is easily circumvented.   Before I make comments, I ask the reader to note that the industry hires the absolute best PR people.   This must be kept in mind when you hear what seem to be plausible claims but which are in fact false or highly misleading.   For that reason, to put things in proper perspective, I will remind readers of the statement made by immigration attorney Joel Stewart in an e-newsletter for lawyers in his field: 'Employers who favor aliens have an arsenal of legal means to reject all U.S. workers who apply' (Joel Stewart, Legal Rejection of U.S. Workers Immigration Daily 2000 April 24).   [See also Norm Matloff's other commentary on the above article.] One of the weapons immigration attorneys have in that 'arsenal of legal means' to reject American applicants is to simply declare them to be unqualified for the job, based on an alleged lack of required skills.   The employer simply over-loads the job description with such a lengthy list of required skills that the only person in the world who has them all is the foreign national whom the employer wishes to hire.   Again, this is all perfectly legal.   But WHY is it legal?   There is a more to this story than many of you may realize.   Most people with an interest in these topics are aware of the fact that the industry has a financial choke-hold on Congress...   Represenatative Tom Davis (R-VA), said, 'This is not a popular bill with the public.   It's popular with the CEOs...   This is a very important issue for the high-tech executives who give the money.'   (Carolyn Lochhead, 'Bill to Boost Tech Visas Sails Through Congress: Clinton Expected to Sign Popular Measure' San Francisco Chronicle 2000 October 4; 'Committee To Address Bill Eliminating H-1B Cap' National Journal Technology Daily 2000 May 5; and Lars-Erik Nelson 'Pols Are Going Overboard On Visa Program' New York Daily News 2000 May 3.)   But rather few people realize that this doesn't end in Congress.   Once legislation is enacted, it is up to the executive branch of the federal government to implement the legislation.   In this case, that means that the Department of Labor (DoL) must write regulations that define what the word 'qualified' means when employers reject American applicants for 'lack of qualifications'.   More precisely, DoL writes the regulations that define the term 'business necessity' in the 'skills' list that an employer claims are required for the job.   Government procedure requires that in developing new regulations, DoL put them out for public comment.   At that point the industry lobbyists become just as active and aggressive as they were with Congress during the time the legislation was being developed.   IOW, it's a double whammy for American workers, because the industry lobbyists get 2 chances to get the government to develop policies favorable to them.   (Of course, there are some voices from the other side, e.g. the Programmers Guild, but they are but a tiny squeak compared to the roar -- and implied money -- of the industry lobbyists.)   Here is what happened: The new regulations, proposed in 2002 and implemented in 2004, are collectively referred to as PERM (Program Electronic Review Management, an allusion to the online filing nature of the new procedure).   To its credit, when DoL put out its proposed PERM rules for public comment, DoL recognized that employers were abusing the system (though again, fully legally) by overspecifying job requirements.   Here is what DoL said ([Federal Register: 2002 May 6 (Volume 67, Number 87), pages 30465ff, available from the Federal Register Online via GPO Access.)

 
7. Job Requirements.   a. Business Necessity Standard and Job Duties.   The requirement that the employer's job requirements must be those normally required for jobs in the United States would be retained in the new system.   Employers, however, would not be able to justify job requirements that exceed those that are normal by use of business necessity.   The business necessity standard, currently at 20 CFR 656.21(b), often works to the disadvantage of U.S. workers.   This regulation has been difficult to administer and has generated a greater amount of litigation than any other regulatory provision in the current regulations.   Since the position for which certification is sought is usually held by an alien worker who is the beneficiary of the application, job requirements tend to be manipulated to favor the selection of the alien.   The existing business necessity standard requires the CO to evaluate the unique standards of an employer's business.   In highly technical areas this is an extremely difficult undertaking and may be subject to employer manipulation since we are in no position to second guess the employer in such circumstances.   We have concluded that any business necessity standard that may be adopted would present similar problems.   Therefore, the proposed rule would not retain a business necessity standard as a justification for employer's job requirements that exceed requirements that are normal to jobs in the United States...
 
I think even many of you who have been following the imported labor issue might be startled by DoL's comments above.   They are openly admitting that the spirit of the law (though again, NOT the letter) is widely violated.   Needless to say, the industry lobbyists, especially the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), howled, submitting in their 'voluminous comments' to DoL (Murthy e-newsletter, 2002 December 27).   So, basically DOL did retain the business necessity rule in the end, as the lobbyists wanted.   (You can read DoL's responses to AILA's 'voluminous comments', and to comments made by others, in the Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 247, 2004 December 27, pp.77326ff.)   And the employers get a very important bonus from this: The employers are allowed to define the job in terms of special skills, but do NOT have to take those skills into account when determining the prevailing wage.   This is one of the many loop-holes employers and immigration attorneys use to under-pay the foreign workers, once again in full compliance with the law and regulations.   In the material following the above passage, DOL suggested a compromise, which was that specific skills could be required if American holders of the job had those skills.   That would not have been so good either, for a number of reasons, but in any case the industry lobbyists rejected it.   DOL did retain the following provision in PERM:
 
...the U.S. worker is considered qualified, if he/she can acquire during a reasonable period of on-the-job-training, the skills necessary to perform as customarily performed by other U.S. workers similarly employed, the duties involved in the occupation.
 
At first glance, this would seem to provide some protection for U.S. workers, but it really doesn't.   First of all, the 'similarly employed' qualifier is almost impossible to apply to a field as diverse as the computer industry, especially since DoL itself said (see above)
 
In highly technical areas this is an extremely difficult undertaking and may be subject to employer manipulation since we are in no position to second guess the employer in such circumstances.
 
Second, if challenged on this basis by DoL, the employer would simply say, 'Yes, on-the-job training might work if this American applicant were missing only one of our required skills, but she is missing several of them.   Training her in all of these would take far too long.   We can't afford to delay our project that long.' &nbwp; Again, DoL would be in no position to 'second guess the employer' on this, in DoL's words.   Keep these points in mind as you read the enclosed article, because they explain how these American applicants are being rejected in favor of foreign nationals -- again, in full compliance with the law.   The fact is that the skills/training issue is a red herring.   One quick way for the non-techies among you is to note that many large firms ([Bank of India, formerly called Bank of America], Siemens, etc.) admit to hiring foreign software developers and to replace American workers, and forcing the Americans to train their foreign replacements.   Obviously it is the foreign workers, not the Americans, who lack the skills.   The whole issue of 'training' in the computer field [can be] a particular red herring.   Any competent programmer should be able to become productive in a new programming language or other new software technology within a couple of weeks.   If a programmer is not capable of this, he should not be hired in the first place, as it means that he is a weak programmer.   [Thus experience or academic credentials with a particular programming language or tool are unnecessary.]   Programming is programming is programming.   Different languages make take different points of view, but it is all the same mental processes.   That is why Ms. Perry in the article below calls her skills 'transferable'.   Prior to his status as a big hirer of foreign programmers, Bill Gates said, 'We're not looking for any specific knowledge because things change so fast, and it's easy to learn stuff.   You've got to have an excitement about software, a certain intelligence...   It's not the specific knowledge that counts' (Wall Street Journal 1994 November 8).   I go into this issue in great detail in my [Michigan Journal of Law Reform article (pdf)].   The skills issue is simply being used as part of Joel Stewart's 'legal means to reject all U.S. workers who apply', cited above.   The next time you hear from industry lobbyists, immigration attorneys, and politicians that the law includes effective protections for U.S. workers, read the above DoL statement again.   Read Joel Stewart's statement again.   Read the 2003 statement by the [GAO],
 
Some employers said that they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified U.S. workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage
 
which shows that one can under-pay H-1B yet be in full compliance with the law; this applies to the green card process too, which also is supposed to check prevailing wage.   All those 'protections' are worthless.   In the companion article yesterday ('Gaming the System' 2006 September 25) Paula Collins, vice president of government relations at Texas Instruments, says,
 
'I can only tell you that TI is scrupulous about following the letter of the law.   Among the incentives to do that is the fact that companies that break the law are no longer allowed to participate in the H-1B Visa program.   That would be a major problem for TI.', Collins said.
 
As you can see above, the letter of law allows the employers to under-pay foreign workers, to reject qualified American workers in favor of foreign ones and so on.   TI can do all this without having any risk of being barred from the program, because the law allows it.   The companion article also quotes a past president and general counsel of the AILA as saying that the abuses are limited to the bodyshops.   That is false, as shown for example in detail for the case of Intel. WashTech, a member organization of the union, the Communication Workers of America, has also done an excellent job of exposing M$'s claims about foreign workers as false."
M$ claim belied
more on M$ claims belied
M$ lobbying
M$ salaries

2006-09-26
Lamar Smith _Human Events_
The Immigration Story That's Not Reported
"We welcome 1M legal immigrants every year...   A report by the Media Research Center (MRC) reveals that the three major broadcast networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, have greatly skewed the immigration story.   The MRC examined 309 stories from the networks from March 24 through May 31.   This time period stretches from the time of the first pro-illegal immigration rallies to the passage of the Senate's immigration bill.   The results of MRC's research are illuminating...   CBS never cited its own poll findings that 87% (April 6-9) or 89% (May 4-8) of Americans said that the problem of illegal immigration was 'very serious' or 'somewhat serious'.   On March 25, NBC cited a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, claiming that '59% of Republicans disagree with a temporary worker program for illegal immigrants'.   In fact, the poll found that 59% of all Americans disagreed with the temporary-worker program, not just Republicans.   In addition, the networks were twice as likely to feature advocates of amnesty or a guest-worker program as they were to feature advocates of increased border security."

2006-09-26 (5767 Tishrei 4)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
A week's revelations
"That our enemies do not understand the significance of free speech in a free society, where things that offend us can be denounced without indiscriminate violence, is bad enough.   But that we ourselves seem headed further down the slippery slope of self-censorship is chilling.   Tolerance has been one of the virtues of western civilization.   But virtues can be carried to extremes that turn them into vices.   Toleration of intolerance is a particularly dangerous vice to which western nations are succumbing, both within their own countries and internationally."

2006-09-26
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
It's official: immigration is causing income inequality (with tables and graphs)
"Mr. Luntz is 80% right.   The richest 20% of American households—and only the richest 20% -- have enjoyed higher real incomes during the Bush expansion.   Everyone else has lost ground; the lowest 20% has actually lost a full 1.8%...   In 2005, mean family income was a record 30.4% above median family income.   In 1986, the gap was just 18.6%...   Northwestern University economists Ian Dew-Becker and Robert J. Gordon broke from the group naiveté in a paper published last year: 'If SBTC had been a major source of the rise in inequality, then we should have observed an increase in relative wages of those most directly skilled in the development and use of computers.   Yet in the 1989-97 period... total real compensation of CEOs increased by 100%, while those in occupations related to math and computer science increased only 4.8% and engineers decreased by 1.4T...   Partly as a result of restrictive legislation in the 1920s, and also the Great Depression and World War II, the share of immigration per year in the total population declined from 1.3% in 1914 to 0.02% in 1933, remained very low until a gradual recovery began in the late 1960s, reaching 0.48% (legal and illegal) in 2002.   Competition for unskilled labor not only arrives in the form of immigration but also in the form of imports, and the decline of the import share from the 1920s to the 1950s and its subsequent recovery is a basic fact of the national accounts.'   [Where did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income (pdf) Ian Dew-Becker and Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University]"

2006-09-26
DJIA11,669.39
S&P 5001,336.34
NASDAQ2,261.34
10-year US T-Bond4.59%
crude oil61.01
gold597.10
silver11.495
platinum1,131.60
palladium318.65
copper0.216625
natgas$4.526/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.4918/gal
heatingoil$1.6578/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 
 

2006-09-27 (5767 Tishrei 5) - 41 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-27 08:08PDT (11:08EDT) (15:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
New home sales rose 4.1% to 1.05M: Median price down microscopically to $237K
census bureau press release

2006-09-27 08:11PDT (11:11EDT) (15:11GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Durable-goods orders fell 0.5%

2006-09-27
Sean McCormack _Scoop_
US State Department Daily Press Briefing: Tariq Ramadan
"as with any visa case, Barry, there's a limited amount of information that we can provide.   But he was denied a visa under Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for providing material support to a terrorist organization.   It's a little bit of history that we can go through to explain to you how we got to a visa denial.   He was originally -- Dr. Ramadan was originally issued an H-1B work visa to teach in the U.S. in 2004.   The State Department revoked this visa in 2004 July to allow the U.S. Government to follow up on information that came to light after that H-1B visa was issued.   He subsequently applied for a B1-B2 visa, business and tourism visa in the Fall of 2005.   New information was evaluated in his most -- that new information which led to the revocation of the H-1B visa was evaluated in light of the 2005 Fall visa application and that ultimately lead to a finding of inadmissibility...   the 'to provide material support' clause here refers to a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.   And what this does is it established inadmissibility for committing, 'an act that the actor knows or reasonably should know affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons, including chemical, biological or radiological weapons, explosives or training … to a terrorist organization'.   So that's just a little bit of background information for you."

2006-09-27
Matt Wickenheiser _Portland ME Press Herald_
Maine's congressional delegation may examine some visa abuses
series index
"'I think what your series teaches us is that it isn't enough just to tighten security at our borders, that as long as legitimate visa programs like the H1B program can be so easily manipulated or subjected to outright fraud, that border security -- while important -- is an incomplete answer.', said senator Susan Collins, R-ME, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...   Collins said the series showed a need to work more closely with the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Department of Labor's inspector general and the Department of Homeland Security 'to see what we can do to crack down on the abuses in this program.   I'm going to assign two of my investigators to look further at the very disturbing evidence that you uncovered about shell corporations establishing a virtual presence (in Maine) in order to exploit the program.'...   U.S. representative Mike Michaud, D-ME, said the newspaper's investigation 'illustrates the need for Congress to promote a comprehensive approach to reforming our nation's immigration and security policies.   We need to change the way we do things if we are going to address the fraud and abuse that currently exist.', said Michaud.   'I am hopeful that, in addition to immigration and border security reform, problems in our foreign labor programs can be addressed in any bill that comes out of conference.   At the very least, I hope that Congress will begin to finally exercise its oversight responsibilities and address the issues that currently plague our system.'   Senator Olympia Snowe, R-ME, agreed with the need for comprehensive reform, which she said was highlighted by the 'exploitation of technicalities' uncovered by the series.   'We must increase the resources committed to internal investigation and enforcement of our current immigration laws and put an end to fraud and abuses of the system.', said Snowe.   Russell Harrison, legislative representative for IEEE-USA, a leading professional association for engineers, said the newspaper's published findings uncovered a national problem.   'What you've uncovered isn't really relevant to just Maine, it's relevant to all the small states - Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho and a bunch of other places where legislators aren't paying attention to these issues because it's not relevant to them.', said Harrison.   'You guys are coming at it from an unexpected place: a small state that doesn't have a lot of high-tech (but) has a lot of problems.'"

2006-09-27 (5767 Tishrei 5)
John Stossel _Jewish World Review_
Big business loves government
I keep reading that big business wants government off its back.   But that's a myth.   Here's the truth: '[B]ig business and big government prosper from the perception that they are rivals instead of partners (in plunder).   The history of big business is one of cooperation with big government.'   That's Timothy Carney writing in a recent Cato Policy Report.   He's the author of a new book, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money.   Carney's book shows that government and business are not antagonists but allies.   They've always been allies.   Politicians like it that way because they get power and prestige, and businessmen like it because they get protection from competition.   There was never a time in America when big business didn't get favors from government, which means the taxpayers.   Canal and railroad companies loved the big government contracts.   Corruption was rampant, and work was often shoddy, but the contracts paid handsomely.   The politicians prospered, too.   Only [tax-victims] and consumers lost out...   Progressive "reforms" — railroad regulation, meat inspection, drug certification and the rest — were done at the behest of big companies that wanted competition managed.   They knew regulation would burden smaller companies more than themselves...   Companies with political clout get cash subsidies, low-interest loans, loan guarantees and barriers to cheap imports...   Even foreign aid is a subsidy to big business because governments receiving the taxpayers' money buy American exports.   Fans of foreign aid say those exports are good for the economy because they create jobs.   Don't believe it.   If the taxpayers had been able to keep the money, their spending would have created other jobs — probably more jobs...   Enron favored the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and wanted energy regulations beneficial to itself; Philip Morris favors tobacco regulation; Wal-Mart's CEO came out for a higher minimum wage; and General Motors embraces tough clean-air rules.   Why? Because, as Carney points out, big companies with lots of lawyers and accountants can make the regulations work for themselves, while smaller competitors are hampered...   In a free market the consumer calls the shots.   In the corporate state the business-government alliance restricts consumer choice...   The government does facilitate such assemblies.   More than that, it provides big business something it can't have in the free market: the power to restrict competition by force.   Anyone worried about the power of big business should remember real coercion comes only from government.   The voluntary, competitive marketplace is better for us all."

2006-09-27
Bryanna Bevens _V Dare_
Hispanic immigrants under-cutting and displacing Americans -- and not just in agriculture
"According to the [Pew Hispanic Research Center] Latino Labor Report, The Latino labor force added 867K workers between the second quarters of 2005 and 2006, more than any other group.   The white labor force increased by 781K, or only 0.8%, between the second quarters of 2005 and 2006.   The Pew report does not at any point make reference to illegal immigrants.   But it does use the term 'foreign-born' which (when referring to Hispanics) very often means the same thing.   Over the previous 12-month period, the 'overall employment' for Latinos increased by 993K -- that’s an increase of 5.3% in one year.   Interestingly enough, the report mentions that, while Hispanics make up only 13% of the U.S. labor force, they accounted for 37% of the total increase in employment...   'Foreign-born Hispanics had the most job gains in construction (417K), followed by business and professional services (179K).   Together, those 2 industries accounted for almost three-quarters (74%) of all jobs gained by foreign born Latinos between 2005 and 2006.'   (BTW, the 'Business and Professional Services' category may sound like 'doctors and lawyers' but actually includes 'janitorial and landscaping services'.)...   since 2003 more than 1M foreign-born Latinos have found jobs in the construction industry alone.   Between 2003 and 2006, 9 out of 10 construction jobs (93%) picked up by Latinos went to foreign-born workers...   'foreign-born Hispanics, the dominant factor in the Latino labor pool, experienced a decline in the median wage'."

2006-09-27
Gary Galles _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
the Anti-Federalists were correct
"[Anti-Federalists defended individual rights and states' powers] the very essence of federalism -- against the Federalists, who would have been more accurately described as Nationalists. Nonetheless, what the so-called Anti-federalists predicted would be the results of the Constitution turned out to be true in most every respect."
 

2006-09-28 (5767 Tishrei 6) - 40 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-28 05:30PDT (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & 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 259,232 in the week ending Sept. 23, a decrease of 7,758 from the previous week.   There were 292,435 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6% during the week ending Sept. 16, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,072,639, a decrease of 80,324 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.8% and the volume was 2,349,781.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending September 9."

2006-09-28 05:44PDT (08:44EDT) (12:44GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
GDP revised to 2.6% growth in 2006 Q2
BEA tables

2006-09-28
David R. Francis _Christian Science Monitor_
Numbers show a second-rate USA
"It's an open question as to whether most Americans are better off than most Western Europeans.   'We leave a lot of people behind.', says Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at EPI...   In terms of the percent of its population living at or below the poverty line, for instance, the US ranks worst among 16 wealthy countries, according to the Luxembourg Income Study.   That study found that 17% of Americans are poor.   As for child poverty, the US also sits on the bottom, with 21.9%...   The official US poverty rate in 2004 was 12.7% -- that's 37M Americans...   Among the choices the US makes: It spends more than all other nations combined on defense [including defense of those European countries, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the Republic of China].   It spends relatively little on alleviating poverty.   It chooses a private health system rather than a socialized, or partly socialized, system...   The US has about the same or worse income mobility between generations.   The poor have a slim chance of escaping their parents' poverty, says Professor Smeeding."

2006-09-28
Melanie Turner _Sacramento Business Journal_
350 local lay-offs seen within year for Intel
"Munger said it's her 'best guess' that this latest wave of lay-offs brings the world's largest computer chip maker most of the way to its goal of cutting 10,500 jobs worldwide -- roughly 10% of its work force -- by mid-2007.   Santa Clara-based Intel announced this month that it would make 2,500 new cuts by year's end."

2006-09-28
Paul McDougall _VAR Business_/_Information Week_/_CMP_
AT&T/SBC to cut hundreds of US tech jobs & do more with Indian body shop
"AT&T is expanding its relationship with Indian [bodyshopper] Tech Mahindra, which is partly owned by British Telecom, according to sources with knowledge of the company's plans.   AT&T plans to drastically reduce the number of U.S.-based contract employees it uses for internal software development, they say.   'AT&T is sending out far more jobs than it's bringing back.', says an insider in the company's customer operations department.   The source requested anonymity, as did another source with knowledge of AT&T's intentions...   AT&T has apparently decided to maintain customer-facing jobs in the United States while shipping out behind-the-scenes operations."
 

2006-09-29 (5767 Tishrei 7) - 39 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-29
_Orange County California Register_
A 700-mile feeble token gesture
"Illegal immigration is a broad issue that deserves a more serious approach than constructing what is likely to amount to little more than an expensive and ineffective symbol.   The border between the United States and Mexico is about 2,000 miles long.   A 700-mile fence, which is the only measure likely to pass Congress this session, would cover less than one-third of that distance -- and it might not cover a key section of the Arizona-Mexico border where an American Indian tribe's lands straddle the border.   As Dan Griswold, director of the libertarian Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, told us, a fence or wall 'would only divert the flow of workers further into the desert, driving up smuggling fees and the number of dead bodies found along the border each year'.   A fence would make crossing the border more inconvenient, but it would do nothing about the conditions that impel the phenomenon of illegal immigration."

2006-09-29 05:58PDT (08:58EDT) (12:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Personal income up 0.3% in August
"The core personal consumption expenditure price index -- the key inflation gauge followed by the Federal Reserve -- has gained 2.5% in the past 12 months, the most since 1995 January.   [The PCE price index increased 0.3% in July and 0.2% in August.   The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1% in July and 0.2% in August.]...   Personal incomes grew 0.3% as expected in August after rising 0.5% in July.   Consumer spending increased 0.1% in August after rising 0.8% in July... Personal incomes grew 0.3% in nominal terms in August, as compensation of employees increased just 0.1%.   It's the weakest income growth since November.   After-tax, inflation-adjusted real disposable incomes rose 0.2% in August.   Rental income increased 4.3% after rising 4.9% in July.   Proprietors' income increased 0.5%.   Consumer spending increased 0.1% in August, the slowest growth in nominal terms since November.   After adjusting for inflation, real consumer spending fell 0.1%, the first decline since 2005 September.   Real spending on durable goods fell 1.3%.   Real spending on non-durable goods fell 0.2%.   Real spending on services increased 0.1%...   With incomes growing slightly faster than spending, the personal savings rate improved to negative 0.5% from negative 0.7%.   The savings rate has been negative for 17 straight months."
BEA press release

2006-09-29 10:01PDT (13:01EDT) (17:01GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 82.0 in August to 84.4 in early September to 85.4 in late September

2006-09-29 12:11AEST
_abc_
Guest-worker visa scheme is undermining working conditions
"The Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley, says the Federal Government is allowing the foreign guest workers scheme to undermine Australian working conditions.   American Express is negotiating with the Commonwealth to bring in 160 Japanese workers on a 457 visa for highly-skilled labour.   But it wants to pay the workers $5K less than the standard set by the visa's conditions...   'It's being turned from an instrument to encourage the ability of work to be done in Australia, into an instrument to be joined with the industrial relations changes to undermine wages and conditions in Australia.', he said."

2006-09-29
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
lame duck H-1B action appears more and more likely
"I rarely talk to people on the Hill, but I did call a staffer whom I know a few months ago concerning this issue.   I specifically asked about the proposed F-4 visa for foreign students, which would be a fast track (though, tellingly, not THAT fast) route to a green card.   The staffer was quite surprised that I would mention it, as she considered it an entirely different issue than H-1B.   I of course consider them to be the same issue, but the fact that she viewed them as being unrelated again tells me that this legislation is coming, and in fact is probably already informally agreed to, a done deal...   There are lots of earlier immigrants (including earlier H-1Bs) who are adversely impacted by the H-1B program, just as there are lots of natives in the same boat.   And many people, native and immigrant alike, who USED TO work for 'the country's largest technology companies and most prestigious research laboratories' can't even get interviews, let alone jobs, in those same places, because those employers want to hire the young and cheap...   Some of [the H-1B visa holders in fact are bright], and I have championed many of them to get jobs and green cards in the U.S.A.   I believe it is correct that say, for instance, that at least two of my faculty colleagues (one Chinese and one Indian) would not be with us if not for my intense insistence that my department hire them.   (Both have turned out to be outstanding successes.)   I've helped a number of brilliant foreign students get jobs and green cards in Silicon Valley.   But only a tiny minority of H-1B [visa holders] are 'the best and the brightest'."

2006-09-29
Patrick J. Buchanan
How to Bring Manufacturing Back Home
V Dare
"'Perhaps most surprising', writes Business Week, 'information technology, the great electronic promise of the 1990s, has turned into one of the biggest job-growth disappointments of all time.   (B)usinesses at the core of the information economy -- software, semiconductors, telecom and the whole gamut of web companies -- have lost more than 1.1M jobs in the past 5 years.   Those business employ fewer Americans than they did in 1998, when the Internet economy kicked into high gear.'   Where did the high-tech go?   [Red China].   Beijing's #1 export to the United States in 2005, $50G worth, was computers and electronics.   If Americans are the most efficient workers on earth and work longer hours than almost any other advanced nation, why are we getting our clocks cleaned?   Answer: While American workers are world-class, our elites are mentally challenged...   While the United States has a corporate income tax, our trade rivals use a value-added tax.   At each level of production, a tax is imposed on the value added to the product.   Under the rules of global trade, nations may rebate VAT levies on exports, and impose the equivalent of a VAT on imports...   This amounts to a foreign subsidy on exports to the United States and a foreign tax on imports from America...   The total tax disadvantage to U.S. producers... is estimated at $294G.   Exported U.S services face the same double whammy.   A VAT equivalent is imposed on them, while the exported services of foreign providers get the VAT rebate.   Disadvantage to U.S. services: $85G annually."

2006-09-29
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
US Chamber of Commerce Are Traitors
"A close look at the Chamber of Commerce's national head-quarters' agenda shows that while it purports that more development leads to new jobs and better opportunity for locals, in reality the Chamber is anti-American worker.   According to the Chamber's web site, it endorses amnesty for illegal aliens as well as guest worker programs that create an endless flow of cheap labor into the U.S. thereby under-cutting the American worker's wage structure.   Guest workers who work on the cheap are 'good' for the [business executives] that hire them but 'bad' for U.S. workers trying to find a decent job...   Note that the Chamber ignores the social consequences of millions of illegal workers already in the U.S., promotes rewarding them with amnesty, and favors the issuance of millions of more so-called temporary visas like the H-1B and SKIL visas that will add to the rolls of 10M unemployed Americans...   The H-2B visa is a great thing if you want to hire foreign workers on the cheap.   But if you are a kid hoping to land a summer job to save for your college tuition, the H-2B visa makes your odds for employment long.   Finally, the Chamber actively promotes trade talks that it hopes will result in what it calls the free movement of people across borders.   Such 'movement' translates into a low cost work force for employers but fewer decent jobs for Americans."

2006-09-29 13:16PDT (16:16EDT) (20:16GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _MarketWatch_
Natural gas price dropped over 30% in 2006 Q3, metals mixed

2006-09-29
DJIA11,679.07
S&P 5001,335.85
NASDAQ2,258.43
10-year US T-Bond4.63%
crude oil62.91
gold604.20
silver11.51
platinum1,141.20
palladium315.00
copper0.21628
natgas$5.62/MBTU
unleadedgasoline$1.5539/gal
heatingoil$1.7535/gal

I usually get this info from MarketWatch, which gets them from BigCharts.
 
 

2006-09-30 (5767 Tishrei 8) - 38 Days Until Congressional Election

2006-09-30
Sarah Ryley _Detroit News_
Flood of immigrants hurt US workers
"Critics of the program say these workers will take jobs away from Americans, during a time when thousands of computer professionals are submitting resumes to the talent bank run by the Michigan Works! jobs agency.   As Congress considers increasing the annual cap of [over 85K] visas for skilled workers, called H-1B visas, critics are citing recent studies that highlight the program's abuses, particularly in computer-related professions.   More troubling to some is what the government does not know -- such as how many visa holders are in the country at any given time, where many of them ultimately end up working, or if the company applying for H-1B visas is really making an effort to hire Americans first...   At this point, we have no idea how many people are in this country on an H-1B visa.', said Sigurd Nilsen, director of a recent Government Accountability Office study that pointed out the lack of oversight in the program.   While firms are legally required to pay visa holders the prevailing wage, Nilsen said, it often turns out to be less than U.S. workers in the same state and profession expect.   'Green cards and experienced workers can't compete on the open market fairly, it puts American workers at risk.'...   'A lot of companies aren't doing the direct hiring anymore, they're doing things through contract.', she said.   Health care costs, pensions and long-term employee liability are reasons major corporations are moving toward out-sourcing, said Jack O'Reilly, executive director for the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, which operates One Stop/Michigan Works! employment training centers in Wayne and Monroe counties...   The Department of Homeland Security... did provide The Detroit News with a list of the top 10 recipients of visas this year -- all were technical out-sourcing firms [bodyshops], and received 10,698 of the 85K new visas granted...   The immigration legislation passed by the Senate in May would respond to that demand by raising the annual cap on H-1B visas from 85K to at least 135K, and set it to increase by 20% each year that the cap is met.   Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, voted against the measure, saying it doesn't do enough to protect U.S. workers.   Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, voted for it, but did not respond to requests for comment...   U.S. Department of Labor spokesman Brad Mitchell says at least 90% of the violations issued nationally are to technical out-sourcing firms [bodyshops], which make up roughly a third of the H-1B visa recipients nationally.   A 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on H-1B petitions that firms made to the Department of Labor found wages listed on those applications for jobs in Michigan averaged $15,269 less than the prevailing wage.   That proves that the H-1B program is frequently being abused by companies to hire cheap labor, not to recruit the world's best minds, contends Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia.   'I'm not going to expand a program that discriminates against American workers so that businesses can save a few bucks.', McCotter said."

2006-09-30
Charles Jones _V Dare_
Scientist Agrees that PhDs Don't Pay
"I love what I do for a living, but might not have taken the same course had I known about its negative impact on my financial well-being.   Ironically, those who dropped or failed out of my Ivy League Ph.D. program are now the ones with high paying jobs.   Only one out of the 15 of us who graduated has a permanent job 5 years later.   Each of the 15 is earning thousands less than he would without his doctorate.   Can anyone blame young college students for not wanting to follow in those foot-steps?"

  "only about one-third of our science and engineering graduates work in science and engineering occupations and that if there were a shortage, salaries for those jobs would increase and the scientists and engineers would return to them.   Of greater importance, Samuelson concludes, is that the United States must continue to draw on the strengths that overcome its weaknesses: 'ambitiousness; openness to change (even unpleasant change); competition; hard work; and a willingness to take and reward risk.'" --- Robert J. Samuelson (paraphrased and quoted in Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future National Academies)  

2006 September
Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington & Ishwar Khatiwada _Center for Immigration Studies_
The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005
"Between 2000 and 2005, the number of young (16 to 34) native-born men who were employed declined by 1.7M; at the same time, the number of new male immigrant workers increased by 1.9M."

2006 September
Bijal P. Trivedi _The Scientist_
Are We Training Too Many Scientists?
"With rising numbers of newly minted life science PhDs, fewer tenure track positions open, and bulging ranks of increasingly frustrated post-docs, many want to know why the number of PhDs and the focus of their education is out of balance with job prospects and career expectations.   'These are some of the lowest paid PhDs in academia.', says Harvard economist Richard Freeman.   Between 1983 and 2003 the number of doctorates earned annually in the life sciences, including agricultural, biological, and medical sciences, almost doubled, rising from 4,777 to 8,163, according to the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators 2006.   The majority of these graduates immediately entered the post-doctoral arena, catapulting the number of post-docs in these fields at US universities from roughly 14K to more than 33K...   PhDs finding tenure track positions within 10 years after earning PhD 1963-1964, 61%; after earning PhD in 1985-1986, 38%."

2006 Summer
_University of Indiana Kelley School of Business_/_NACE_
Salary Statistics by Business Major for Full-Time Positions
MajorNational AverageSigning Bonus
Accounting$45,656$3,500
Business Econ & Public Policy$46,448$3,800
Finance$45,112$3,900
IS$45,724$3,800
Management$42,048$3,300
Marketing$37,851$3,500
Operations & Decisions Technologies$43,971$2,800
Average$43,830 

2006 Summer
Steven Malanga _City Journal_
How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy
"Since the mid-1960s, America has welcomed nearly 30M legal immigrants and received perhaps another 15M illegals, numbers unprecedented in our history...   unemployment among unskilled workers is high -- about 30%...   Legal immigration to the U.S. soared from 2.5M in the 1950s to 4.5M in the 1970s to 7.3M in the 1980s to about 10M in the 1990s."




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