2007 November

2nd month of the 4th quarter of the 18th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

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updated: 2015-12-29
 

  "The rights and interests of every or any person are only secure from being disregarded, when the person interested is himself able, and habitually disposed, to stand up for them." --- John Stuart Mill 1861  

 
 
2007 November
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  "Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured." --- Thomas Paine 1791  

 
 

 

 


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

2007 November

2nd month of the 4th quarter of the 8th year of the Clinton-Bush economic depression


 
 

2007-11-01

2007-11-01
_Dice_
Dice Report: 96,445 job ads

Total96,445
UNIX15,167
Windoze17,210
Java13,787
C/C++18,805
body shop37,269
permanent69,531

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

2007-11-01 05:30PST (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 301,317 in the week ending Oct. 27, a decrease of 6,305 from the previous week.   There were 301,079 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Oct. 20, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,246,741, an increase of 71,675 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.6% and the volume was 2,087,657.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Oct. 13."
graphs

2007-11-01 06:40PDT (09:40EDT) (13:40GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Income and spending growth slowed in September
"After adjusting for inflation of 0.2% after-tax incomes rose 0.2% in September and real spending increased 0.1%."
BEA press releases

2007-11-01
_Industry Week_/_Agence France-Presse_
Chrysler to Cut 8,500 to 10K production workers, on top of 13K announced in February
"According to the consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, some 800K U.S. auto industry jobs have been eliminated since 1999."

2007-11-01
_Conde Nast Portfolio_
Lay-off announcements down 12%
UPI
Reuters
CNN/Money
Philadelphia Inquirer
CNN/Money/Investor's Business Daily
"The number fell to 63,114 from September's 71,739.   With 2 months remaining in 2007, year-to-date job cuts totaling 650,708 were 8.1% lower than last year's 10-month total of 708,406.   October job cuts were 20.5% lower than the recent peak of 79,459 in August.   They were 8.8% lower than 2006 October when employers announced 69,177 job cuts.   Financial services sector job cuts were down 71% in October from their August high.   Of course, that's not saying much considering a whopping 35,752 finance jobs were axed in August.   Lay-offs fell 24% to 27,169 in September, according to data collected by out-placement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, then another 61% to 10,515 cuts totaled in October.   Sounds promising—but keep in mind that the record-breaking 140,442 job cuts announced by financial firms through October of this year compares to a reduction of 50,327 positions for the same period in 2006.   October's supposedly encouraging head-count is still almost double what it was last year.   The dim economic outlook has even affected holiday job hirings at the nation's stores. CG&C estimated retailers will hire 650K new holiday hires in the November to December period, down from 721K a year ago."

2007-11-01 15:11PDT (18:11EDT) (22:11GMT)
Marcus Wohlsen _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Test created for head-ache producing chemicals
"The chemicals, called biogenic amines, occur naturally in a wide variety of aged, pickled and fermented foods prized by gourmet palates, including wine, chocolate, cheese, olives, nuts and cured meats...   Scientists have nominated several culprits for 'red wine head-ache', including amines like tyramine and histamine, though no conclusions have been reached.   Still, many specialists warn headache sufferers away from foods rich in amines, which can also trigger sudden episodes of high blood pressure, heart palpitations and elevated adrenaline levels...   The prototype -- the size of a small brief-case -- uses a drop of wine to determine amine levels in 5 minutes, Mathies said.   A start-up company he co-founded is working to create a smaller device the size of a personal digital assistant that people could take to restaurants and test their favorite wines.   The researchers found the highest amine levels in red wine and sake and the lowest in beer.   For now, the device only works with liquids."

2007-11-01 15:59PDT (18:59EDT) (22:59GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
10 worst jobs in America
"Last year, models made a median hourly wage of $11.22, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bit less than twice the minimum wage of $5.85. Not so glamorous...   The young and beautiful aren't the only ones working like dogs and earning peanuts..."

2007-11-01 15:59PDT (18:59EDT) (22:59GMT)
Randal O'Toole _American Spectator_
San Jose's public planning debacle: how did a sleepy town turn into a congested city where only the rich can afford some elbow room?
"...In 1970, the San Jose urban area was about half as dense as Los Angeles.   Shortly thereafter, city planners drew an urban-growth boundary to achieve compact development.   As a result, San Jose is 85% as dense as Los Angeles, making it the third-densest urban area in America.   The law has also made housing unaffordable by restricting the amount of land available for new homes.   As Harvard economist Edward Glaeser shows, 'land-use controls play the dominant role in making housing expensive'.   When such controls are applied to growing regions, says Joseph Gyourko of the Wharton School, 'high-income families outbid others for scarce slots'..."
 

2007-11-02

2007-11-02 07:38PDT (10:38EDT) (14:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
ISM index fell for 4th straight month from 52 in September to 50.9 in October

2007-11-02 12:18PDT (15:18EDT) (19:18GMT)
_MarketWatch_
Very high levels of foreclosures
"45 out of 50 states have seen increases in the last year as foreclosures rose 30% in the third quarter.   So says Rick Sharga, a vice president at RealtyTrac.   Among the worst hit: Ohio, Michigan, California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida.   And Sharga tells John Wordock this problem should last right through the end of next year."

2007-11-02
Katherine M. Skiba _Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_
Sensenbrenner vows immigration reform, but proposal would worsen matters on some counts
"The number of temporary visas granted every year to skilled workers would double, from [over 85K] to [over 150K].   These are H1-B visas for workers in specialty occupations, who are admitted based on education, skills and/or experience, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.   The program of granting H-2A visas to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers would be [weakened]...   At FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, spokesman Bob Dane said 90% of the bill contained 'fair, practical and sensible solutions'.   The Washington-based group stresses border security and enforcement of existing laws.   Dane took issue with the proposal to double the number of H1-B visas, saying Sensenbrenner 'mixed up a Bill Gates memo into his bill by mistake'.   Dane said tech firms such as MSFT, IBM, Google and others have been pushing for more foreign workers to take on computer programming and project management jobs.   He maintained that, if that happens, it would [further] drive down wages and discourage [more] U.S. students from studying math and engineering."

2007-11-02
Thomas D. Elias _Ventura County Star_
U.S. policy allows H-1B visa abuses
critique by Norm Matloff

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

2007-11-02
DJIA13,595.10
S&P 5001,509.65
NASDAQ2,810.38
10-year US T-Bond4.29%
crude oil$95.93/barrel
gold$808.50/ounce
silver$14.599/ounce
platinum$1,462.70/ounce
palladium$377.40/ounce
copper$0.2078125/ounce
natgas$8.413/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.4329/gal
heatingoil$2.5704/gal

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

2007-11-03

2007-11-03
Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Banking: From Personal to Colossal

2007-11-03 08:31:28PDT (11:31:28EDT) (15:31:28GMT)
Julie Forster _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Working class heroes
"In many cases, those who've been trained in highly technical skills or tackled jobs with life-and-death responsibilities will find themselves suddenly under-employed or simply restless with a desk job.   Others will know what they did before no longer fits and will move on to what's next."

2007-11-03
Randal O'Toole _Cato_
why California home prices are so high
North San Diego County CA Times
"Under the mantra of 'stopping sprawl', urban planners have crammed nearly 95% of Californians into just 5.1% of the state's land area.   The nation's 3 densest urban areas, and 11 of the 20 densest urban areas, are all in California.   Thanks to urban-growth boundaries, green-belts and other planning restrictions, the average California urbanite lives in communities that are 80 percent denser than in the rest of the country..."
 

2007-11-04

2007-11-04 02:00 local time
Daylight Savings Time ends

2007-11-04
Steve Sailer _V Dare_
Reflecting On James D. Watson: Why The Truth, Even About About IQ Differences, Will Indeed Set Us Free
"Somewhere around 11M Hispanics and 7M African-Americans have higher IQs than the average white American...   Still, sizable majorities of blacks and Hispanics do fall beneath the white (and Asian) IQ average...   for high-IQ Hispanics and blacks, IQ-type tests are less the problem than the solution to negative stereotypes...   The under-lying trouble with forbidding discussion of any single element of scientific knowledge, whether the movement of the Earth or the distribution of intelligence, is that all truths are connected.   Lies, ignorance, and wishful thinking are dead ends.   But if you follow one truth far enough, it will eventually lead you to others."
 

2007-11-05

2007-11-05
Don Tennant _ComputerWorld_/_IDG_
Matloff vs. Aron with biased questions from Tennant

Runner-Up of 2007: More US citizens earn science & tech degrees than there are jobs, begins here.

2007-11-05
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Washington, We Don't Have A Science And Engineering Problem
"The most vocal groups?   Surprise, surprise: the educrat and big-business lobbies...   We have long argued that Gates and Co. had a self-serving agenda -- namely, low wages and the exploitation of foreign workers who are little more than indentured servants while in their employ.   A new report by the Urban Institute, a left-of-center think tank, offers corroboration.   Authors Hal Salzman of the Urban Institute and Professor Lindsay Lowell of Georgetown University show that both in terms of quantity and quality, U.S. students are now at the top of the international rankings.   (Into the Eye of the Storm Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Work-Force Demand [and PDF])...   With its large immigrant and minority population, the U.S.A. is at a big disadvantage vis-a-vis other industrialized countries.   U.S. white students, however, are singled out as being world class..."

2007-11-05
Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
The less economic sense it makes, the more appealing an idea is to leftists

2007-11-05
Corinne A. Marasco _Chemical & Engineering News_/_ACS_
More recruiters on campus are a sign that 2008 will be a better year for new chemistry graduates
"Chemical scientists and engineers of the Class of 2008 who are looking for jobs might find the strongest job market seen since 2001.   It may be too early to tell whether the coming year will be a seller's market, but all signs indicate that the situation is brighter than it has been in recent years...   Complementing the job outlook are 3 stories that explore career transitions.   First, for foreign nationals who want to work in the U.S. before returning home, cultural differences can hinder success.   Graduate school is a good place to learn to adapt to American culture.   Next, scientists who are interested in moving from bench research to management can learn some tips from a story about people who are making or who have made the transition.   Although an M.B.A. may not be a prerequisite, building up your skills base can benefit your move."
index

2007-11-05
_Liberty Quotes_
quotes on the evils of extortion by governments
 
 

  "If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can." --- Thomas Jefferson 1787-03-15  

 
 

2007-11-06

2007-11-06
Jim Kuhnhenn _AP_/_Kansas City Star_
Ron Paul raised over $4.2M in one day
Anchorage Daily News
Philadelphia Inquirer
Christian Broadcasting Network
WBOC
"The $4.2M represented on-line contributions from more than 37K donors [averaging just under $115 per contributor], fund-raising director Jonathan Bydlak said Monday night...   Paul as of Monday had raised more than $7M since Oct. 1, more than half his goal of $12M by the end of the year, according to his web site.   Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war.   He also has opposed Bush administration security measures that he says encroach on civil liberties."

2007-11-06 11:30PST (14:30EST) (18:30GMT)
_US House Committee on Science and Technology_
hearing on globalization of R&D and implications for science and engineering work-force
Committee Members
(R-AL) Jo Bonner
(D-AR) Mike Ross
(D-AZ) Gabrielle Giffords
(D-AZ) Harry E. Mitchell
(R-CA) Brian P. Bilbray
(D-CA) Jerry McNerney
(D-CA) Laura Richardson
(R-CA) Dana Rohrabacher
(D-CA) Lynn C. Woolsey
(D-CO) Mark Udall
(R-FL) Mario Diaz-Balart
(R-FL) Tom Feeney
(R-GA) Paul Broun
(R-GA) Phil Gingrey
(R-IL) Judy Biggert
(D-IL) Jerry F. Costello
(D-IL) Daniel Lipinski
(D-IN) Baron P. Hill
(D-KY) Ben Chandler
(D-LA) Charlie Melancon
(R-MD) Roscoe G. Bartlett
(R-MI) Vernon J. Ehlers
(R-MO) W. Todd Aiken
(D-MO) Russ Carnaham
(D-NC) Brad Miller
(R-NE) Adrian Smith
(D-NJ) Steven R. Rothman
(D-OH) Charles A. Wilson
(R-OK) Frank D. Lucas
(D-OR) Darlene Hooley
(D-OR) David Wu statement
(D-PA) Paul E. Kanjorski
(R-SC) Bob Inglis
(D-TN) Bart Gordon
(R-TX) Ralph M. Hall
(D-TX) Eddie Bernice Johnson
(D-TX) Nick Lampson
(R-TX) Michael T. McCaul
(R-TX) Randy Neugebauer
(R-TX) Lamar Smith
(D-UT) Jim Matheson
(R-WA) David Reichert
(D-WA) Brian Baird
(R-WI) F. James Sensenbrenner
testimony of Harold Salzman [pdf]
"The available data indicate that the United States' education system produces a supply of qualified STEM graduates in much greater numbers than jobs available.   If there are shortages, it is most likely a demand-side problem of STEM career opportunities that are less attractive than career opportunities in other fields.   However, standard labor market indicators do not indicate any shortages.   Although there have been steady increases in the numbers of U.S. citizens and permanent residents pursuing a STEM education at both the under-graduate and graduate levels, the number of graduate students on temporary visas has also grown...   The current U.S. IT work-force, for example, is certainly smaller than if all the global IT work were being done here.   Yet, the U.S. IT work-force is not appreciably smaller now than it was in the past because of the global growth in demand for software services.   At the same time, large numbers of IT workers have been laid off or forced to change jobs as a result of global shifts in the location of different types of IT work...
 
As the supply of skilled workers develops across the globe, firms will not decide to locate work in the United States just because there is a large supply of skilled labor here.   If the supply is already adequate elsewhere, as all indicators suggest, then increasing the supply here will not make the United States more attractive to firms.   If, as we find, there is not a problem of supply of STEM workers in the United States, then what about the cost of STEM labor?   Although cost is certainly important, particularly in the initial phases of off-shoring, over time it becomes less important, particularly for high-end work.   The wage-cost differential is declining, and when we include the coordination costs of travel and communications, we estimate the net cost savings of off-shore STEM work is under 30% and shrinking...
 
There was a one-time dramatic 'Sputnik Spike' of students entering STEM fields in the early 1960s, followed by a sharp decline and then a gradual increase beginning in the mid-1970s and continuing until today.   The actual numbers of STEM college graduates has increased over the past 3 decades and held steady in recent years (figure 4).   The 'continuation rate' of S&E bachelor's graduates going on to graduate school, following the early 1960s spike and then decline, has also remained at a steady rate for the past 2 decades.   The major change since the 1960s, of course, has been the large increase in foreign-born students (on temporary visas) entering graduate school and the work-force... the supply of college graduates doesn't account for workers entering the work-force without a college degree or without a STEM degree (e.g., in IT occupations, up to 40% of workers do not have a 4-year college degree).   The overall STEM work-force [employed] totals about 4.8M, which is less than a third of the 15.7M workers who hold at least one STEM degree.   STEM employment is also a fairly consistent one-third of STEM graduates each year.   From 1985 to 2000, the United States graduated about 435K S&E students annually with bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees -- that total includes only U.S. citizens and permanent residents (about 72% of STEM workers hold a bachelor's, 20% a master's, and 7% a doctorate degree).   [This isn't quite correct, since NSF has repeatedly reported that some 22% of capable STEM workers do not have university degrees. Adjusting accordingly, 56% have bachelor's degrees, 16% have master's degrees, and 5% have doctor's degrees...jgo]   Over the same period, the net change in STEM occupational employment ran about 150K annually, such that the average ratio of all STEM graduates to net employment change was about 3 to 1.
 
Of course, net employment growth is not a direct measure of employment demand or total job openings, since net growth does not include replacement for retirements or occupational quits, nor do these aggregate numbers indicate the types of workers sought (education level, experience, etc).   Moreover, it does not address future changes in supply or demand.   But it certainly is suggestive that plenty of STEM students have been graduating relative to employment growth in STEM occupations...
 
there is a surprisingly low rate of STEM retention for the 1993 to 2001 cohorts of STEM graduates.   One to two years after graduation, 20% of STEM bachelor's are in school but not in STEM studies, while another 45% are working but in non-STEM employment (total attrition of 65%).   One to two years after graduation, 7% of STEM master's graduates are enrolled in school but not in STEM studies, while another 31% are in non-STEM jobs (total attrition of 38%) (NSF 2006, table 3)...
 
Whether increasing the supply of STEM-educated work-force entrants would have any significant impact on work-force supply (given a graduate pool already 50% larger than annual openings) is a question that requires a better understanding of the labor market for these graduates...
 
A few labor market studies, notably by Richard Freeman and colleagues (2004, 2006), have focused on the quality of STEM jobs.   These studies conclude that the decline in the native STEM worker pool may reflect a weakening demand, a comparative decline in STEM wages, and labor-market signals to students about low relative wages in STEM occupations.   Indeed, research finds that the real wages in STEM occupations declined over the past 2 decades and labor-market indicators suggest little shortage (Espenshade 1999).   Some researchers see these demand-side market forces causing highly qualified students to pursue other careers...
 
In previous research (Lynn and Salzman 2002), we found that managers in engineering and technology firms do not claim a shortage of applicants, nor do they complain about applicants with poor math and science skills or education.   They do often note difficulty in finding workers with desired experience, specific technical skills, or a sufficient number of 'brilliant' workers in the pool.   The complaint, quite often, appears to be one of unrealistic expectations, as unwittingly illustrated in a recent BusinessWeek (2007) article on labor shortages.   In this article, a company president described the current labor shortage as follows: 'There are certain professions where skills are in such demand that even average or below-average people can get hired.'   It is difficult to consider an inability to only hire above-average workers a labor market shortage.
 
Complaints also reflect firms' dissatisfaction about the need to train new entrants; often at issue is whether firms or education institutions should shoulder the costs of training new hires.   Other than frustration at not having an applicant pool at the tail-end of the skill distribution, the skills deficits most likely to be mentioned are the 'soft skills' of communication and the ease of working across organizational, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries (Lynn and Salzman 2002; Salzman 2000).   Science and engineering firms most often complain about schools failing to provide students with the non-technical skills needed in today's firm.
 
It is also worth noting that, more generally, employers do not complain about the math and science skills of employees hired for professional positions.   In a study of engineering skills, managers did not identify technical qualifications as a concern... (Murnane & Levy 1996)...   Science and engineering jobs make up only 5% of all occupations, and even in highly technology-based industries, such as electronics or aerospace, the S&E work-force is well under 50%.   Only in computer systems design and architectural and engineering services [bodyshopping rather than full-time permanent product development] does it exceed half of their total work-forces (57% and 58%, respectively)..."

 
testimony of Paul J. Kostek [pdf]
alternate link (pdf)
"the decades long growth in employment opportunities for scientists and engineers in the United States appears to have ended in 2001.   Even more troubling is the Project's finding that real salary growth for most STEM professionals has been flat or declining for at least 10 years...   The one/two punch of reduced demand (fewer job opportunities) and wage depression (flat or declining real wages) will [continue to] encourage incumbent mid-career and older STEM workers to leave for better job opportunities in other fields and discourage talented students from pursuing science and engineering careers."

 
testimony of Michael S. Teitelbaum [pdf]
First, no one who has come to the question with an open mind has been able to find any objective data suggesting general "shortages" of scientists and engineers.   The RAND Corporation has conducted several studies of this subject; its conclusions go further than my summary above, saying that not only could they not find any evidence of shortages, but that instead the evidence is more suggestive of surpluses.   I would add here that these findings of no general shortage are entirely consistent with isolated shortages of skilled people in narrow fields or in specific technologies that are quite new or growing explosively.
 
Second, there are substantially more scientists and engineers graduating from U.S. universities that can find attractive career openings in the U.S. work-force.   Indeed science and engineering careers in the U.S. appear to be relatively unattractive -- relative that is to alternative professional career paths available to students with strong capabilities in science and math.
 
Third, students emerging from the oft-criticized K-12 system appear to be studying science and math subjects more, and performing better in them, over time.   Nor are U.S. secondary school students lagging far behind comparable students in economically-competitive countries, as is oft-asserted.
 
Fourth, large and remarkably stable percentages of entering freshmen continue to report that they plan to complete majors in science and engineering fields; however, only about half of these ultimately do so.
 
Fifth, the post-doc population, which has grown very rapidly in U.S. universities and is recruited increasingly from abroad, looks more like a pool of low-cost research lab workers with limited career prospects than a high-quality training program for soon-to-be academic researchers.   Indeed, if the truth be told -- only a very small percentage of those in the current post-doc pool have any realistic prospects of gaining a regular faculty position.
 
Sixth, rapid increases in Federal funding for scientific research and education is more likely than not to further destabilize career paths for junior scientists.   Under the current structure, the effect is substantial growth in "slots" for PhD students and post-docs to conduct the supported research, but only limited increases in the numbers of career positions (I will give you a concrete and large example in a moment).
 
There are many researchers and organizations that have developed this set of understandings of what is actually happening -- for example: leading researchers at the Rand Corporation; Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research; Urban Institute; Georgetown University; Georgia State University; Stanford University; etc.   I'll be happy to provide your staff with a bibliography of the now-substantial body of research and analysis that comes broadly to this set of conclusions...   In my judgment, what you are hearing is simply the expressions of interests by interest groups and their lobbyists...   the way we currently fund graduate education in science is a recipe for instability, for enthusiastic booms followed by dispiriting busts...
 
What should NOT be done is to take actions that will increase the supply of scientists and engineers that are not intimately coupled with serious measures to ensure that comparable increases occur in the demand for scientists and engineers...   the positive feed-back loops in the current system will produce destructive effects over the medium term -- deteriorating grant success rates, and declining interest in science and engineering studies and careers among domestic students.
 
It has long been the case that no one has been able to accurately forecast future labor market demand for highly-educated scientists and engineers more than a few years into the future --- as an outstanding National Academies report on the topic concluded forcefully in 2000...   the risks and uncertainties of pursuing a STEM career in the U.S.A. are rising...
 
Charles A. Goldman and William F. Massy, _The PhD Factory: Training and Employment of Science and Engineering Doctorates in the United States_ (Boston: Anker Publishing, 2001). The research on which this book was based was supported by a peer-reviewed grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation...   David Korn, et al., "The NIH Budget in the 'Post-doubling' Era", _Science_, Vol 296, 2002 May 24, pp. 1401-1402...   Dr. Paula Stephan of Georgia State University "Careers for Biomedical Scientists (pdf)...   National Research Council, Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel, _Forecasting Demand and Supply of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: Report of a Work-Shop on Methodology_ (Washington: National Academies Press, 2000)...

-30-
 

2007-11-06
Patrick Thibodeau _ComputerWorld_/_IDG_
Senator Charles Grassley says H-1B visas are abused to displace capable US workers
InfoWorld
"Grassley, who has been a vocal H-1B critic, also cited a string of 'bad apple' practices associated with the visa program.   'One of my constituents has shared copies of e-mails showing how he's often bombarded with requests by companies who want to lease their H-1B workers to him.', the senator said, referring to visa holders who are awaiting a work assignment -- or on the bench, in industry parlance.   'Another constituent sent me a letter saying that he saw first-hand how foreign workers were brought in while Iowans with similar qualifications were let go.', Grassley said.   'He tells me that he is a computer professional with more than 20 years of experience.   He was laid off and has yet to find a job.'   Grassley and senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) pushed for [token, ineffective] H-1B reforms in legislation that was introduced last Spring..."

2007-11-06
Stephanie Overby _CIO_/_IDG_
The on-going wave of globalisation: Off-Shoring R&D to India and Red China
"[Body shopper]-turned-academic Vivek Wadhwa is up front about his [abuse] of off-shoring and importing foreign talent in a previous professional life as founder and CEO of 2 technology [bodyshops].   'I was one of the first to out-source software development to Russia in the early 1990s.   I was one of the first to use H-1B visas to bring workers to the U.S.A.', Wadhwa says.   'Why did I do that?   Because it was cheaper.'   That tactic is even more lucrative for corporations today, says Wadhwa: 'When you have a person on H-1B waiting for a green card, you have them captive for 6 to 10 years.'...   'I had 4 or 5 students come up to me one week and ask, ''What courses can we take that will make us out-sourcing-proof?''', says Wadhwa.   'These students were paying megabucks to study there and should be very well sought after and yet they were worried about their jobs.   That didn't make sense to me.'   He and his students began to explore what he describes as commonly accepted misinformation about graduation rates around the globe and the 'skills shortage' forcing U.S. companies to go abroad...   According to the U.S. Department of Education, America matriculates 70K students with under-graduate degrees in engineering every year, versus 350K produced by India and 600K produced by [Red China].   But [Red China's] numbers, which Wadhwa calls 'propaganda', include 'short cycle' degrees and rely on a looser definition of engineering...   India's numbers also include 2-year diplomas.   As a result, India and [Red China] can promote themselves as engineering-degree machines but 'the vast majority of the graduates are un-employable', he says...   There's a shortage all right, says Wadhwa, but it's 'a shortage of engineers below market price that work day and night like slave labour'...   87% said U.S. workers were as productive as or more so than Indian or Chinese workers, and 96% said that their U.S. locations produced equal or higher quality work than their centres in [Red China] and India.   The advantage with U.S. workers, according to survey respondents, included communication skills, understanding of U.S. industry, business acumen, education and proximity.   Chinese workers were valued for their low labour cost and willingness to work long hours, while Indian workers were sought after for their low labour cost, work ethic, English skills and technical knowledge...   India produces fewer than 1K PhDs a year compared to nearly 8K in the U.S.A...   many of the researchers and scientists currently working there were educated in the U.S.A...   Though cost-cutting remains the driver behind off-shoring, Engardio says this work won't come back to the U.S.A. as India's wages or other costs rise.   'The shift is permanent.', Engardio says.   IOW, American workers may be terrific.   But they're expensive..."
Lou Dobbs video, Ron Hira

2007-11-06
Mark Krikorian _Center for Immigration Studies_
Supply of Farm Workers

2007-11-06 (5768 Mar-Cheshvan 25)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Stop "making a difference"
 

2007-11-07

2007-11-06 16:27PST (2007-11-06 19:27EST) (2007-11-07 00:27GMT)
Sheila Riley _EE Times_
Report says math and science talent is plentiful in USA

2007-11-07 10:49PST (13:49EST) (18:49GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Productivity rose 4.9%, unit labor costs fell 0.2% in 2007 Q3

2007-11-07
Tori Newmyer _Roll Call_
Lobbyists Complain Ethics Law Mandates to Disclose Clients Is Unfair
"At issue is a piece of the bill aimed at requiring new disclosures for 'stealth lobbying coalitions' -- those shadowy groups with seemingly harmless names that spring up to lobby while refusing to disclose who is behind them.   The new law requires the coalitions to disclose any organization that contributes at least $5K per quarter and actively participates in shaping the lobbying campaign.   But unlike earlier Democratic proposals, the language of the final reform package does not exempt established trade associations from the rule -- which means they could be forced to disclose their members as well."

2007-11-07 (5768 Mar-Cheshvan 26)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Academic Cess-Pools part 2

2007-11-07
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_/_CMP_
Congress axed amendment to add scholarship fee to H-1B visas
 

2007-11-08

2007-11-08 05:30PST (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 324,232 in the week ending Nov. 3, an increase of 20,589 from the previous week.   There were 326,711 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Oct. 27, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,264,639, an increase of 22,630 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.6% and the volume was 2,150,055.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Oct. 20."
graphs

2007-11-08
Chuck Grassley _Wall Street Journal_
Investing in America for a change would make things better
"I'm startled to learn that the Wall Street Journal seriously believes that an investment in American students will make things worse for U.S. businesses.   Your editorial asserts that the number of foreign workers on H-1B visas is so minimal that we shouldn't care if Americans are in fact displaced.   I challenge the Journal to wave their labor force figures in the face of one of the hi-tech workers who have had to train their own replacement who is an H-1B visa holder.   That's a smack in the face to the American worker and hardly an issue to take lightly.   I am committed to an effort to include additional H-1B reforms and increase the visa supply along with an increased investment to educate Americans.   But, I strongly disagree that the only solution is to increase our reliance on foreign workers by raising the annual cap.   Reforms to the program must be a top priority.   Big business cannot continue to ignore the home-grown American talent who should be getting at least a good portion of these jobs."

2007-11-08
Z. Byron Wolf _abc_
Ron Paul vs. Ben Bernanke on the value of the dollar
"when you are Ron Paul, although you are technically a Republican, you are really a libertarian, and your strict adherence to the gospel of the Constitution leads you to question why the Federal Reserve -- the consortium of 12 reserve banks that acts as the U.S. central bank -- even exists.   It doesn't say anything about any central bank in the Constitution.   Not only that, the primary responsibility of the Federal Reserve -- to control the money flow and availability of currency on the open market -- is something that you, Ron Paul, find incorrigible.   The government, you believe, creates inflation when it prints money and moves it willy-nilly into the market to control the very inflation you think it's causing by moving that money around in the first place."

2007-11-08
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_/_CMP_
H-1B visa changes look unlikely this year
 

2007-11-09

2007-11-09 05:51PST (08:51EST) (13:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US trade deficit reached 2-year low
"A surge in exports in September helped push the U.S. trade deficit down to $56.5G, the lowest in more than two years, the Commerce Department reported Friday.   U.S. exports rose 1.1% to a record $140.1G on record shipments of capital goods, industrial materials and foods.   Boosted by record imports of capital goods and an increase in the value of petroleum shipments, imports into the United States increased 0.6% to $196.6G, the second highest ever...   Compared with a year ago, the trade deficit has fallen by about 14%, with exports up 14% and imports rising 4.9%."

2007-11-09 06:05PST (09:05EST) (14:05GMT)
Robert Schroeder & Rex Nuting _MarketWatch_
U.S. October import prices up 1.8% on higher oil

2007-11-09 11:07PST (14:07EST) (19:07GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 80.9 in October to 75 (1966=100; with graph)

2007-11-09 12:57PST (15:57EST) (20:57GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Could California be in recession?: Rise in un-employment shows down-turn

2007-11-09
Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
Leftist "income gap" hobby-horse has just left the stable

2007-11-09
Frosty Wooldridge _American Chronicle_
America's Body Count of Immigration Suicide
"Today, our Congress and president serve foreign constituents above US citizens with H-1B and L-1 visas that have given 1M jobs to foreigners in India, [Red China] and Brazil.   Our wages, standards of living and quality of life are being eroded.   In 1965, we had 72 immigration lawyers.   Today, 8K immigration lawyers serve illegal aliens by exploiting every means possible to block deportation."

2007-11-09
Frosty Wooldridge _American Chronicle_
Immigration's Destruction of America's Middle Class

2007-11-09
_National Socialist Radio_
How the USA measures up in math and science (video)
alternate path

2007-11-09
DJIA13,042.74
S&P 5001,453.70
NASDAQ2,627.94
10-year US T-Bond4.23%
crude oil$96.32/barrel
gold$834.70/ounce
silver$15.545/ounce
platinum$1,426.00/ounce
palladium$376.25/ounce
copper$0.19659375/ounce
natgas$7.878/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.455/gal
heatingoil$2.6177/gal

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

2007-11-10

2007-11-10
Feline "Queen Anna", of fond memory, died this morning at about 03:00PST (06:00EST) (11:00GMT).

2007-11-10
Mark Lane _Daytona Beach News-Journal_
Step 1: Discard directions
"As a writer, I'm painfully aware of the number of un-employed, under-employed, semiemployed and will-work-for-food writers and editors out there.   Our cheap and useful guidance would, in a more rational world, make consumers happier.   Less likely to tie up customer call centers in India.   Less likely to throw objects at the clerks behind the return counters.   Less likely to electrocute themselves.   On the rare occasion when I do see a product explained well, I can be overcome with professional admiration.   Just look at those wordless LEGO instructions some time to see how little plastic blocks can be turned into space ships.   These are works of art.   I salute them."
 

2007-11-11

2007-11-11
Kim Berry _Programmers Guild_
Bias against American tech workers

2007-11-11
"kdawson" _SlashDot_
Red Chinese trojan horse found in new disk drives
Ziff Davis
 

2007-11-12

2007-11-12
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
on the Urban Institute report on science/math education
Readers will recall that a couple of weeks ago I commented on a BusinessWeek On-Line article about a forthcoming study by the Urban Institute on the state of science and math education in the U.S.A.   The theme of the study is that contrary to many claims made by various parties, a close look at the data shows that American kids are doing pretty well in science/math at the K-12 level, and that the colleges and universities produce far more graduates in science/math than the economy and society need.
 
I view the science/math "crisis" as manufactured for political ends (see below), and I must say that the authors of the Urban Institute study have done an excellent job.   The analysis is very, very careful -- itself a rare commodity these days -- and includes a wealth of interesting insights and details.   Authors B. Lindsay Lowell and Hal Salzman are to be commended.
 
In my previous comments on the study and its potential role in the H-1B debate, I pointed out the negative claims seen constantly in the press are largely direct or indirect plants by industry lobbyists and their proxies aimed at pressuring Congress to expand the H-1B work visa program, and that most of the educational issues are irrelevant to the H-1B issue (MSFT and Intel don't hire many math majors, for instance, so the issue of math graduates is irrelevant).   I also pointed out that the main points of the UI study are not new, though the details seemed interesting based on the summary I saw at the time.   Having now read the study, I comment on it here, and also on the "debate" on NPR [Friday] between one of the study's authors and Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel... [Full Urban Institute report (pdf)]
 
Let's take the NPR show first [which can be viewed here].
 
As noted, all the breathless press reports on the alleged woes of science/math education in the U.S.A. stem largely from direct or indirect efforts of industry lobbyists to pressure Congress to increase the H-1B visa cap.   The indirect versions of this typically are funneled through commissions stacked by industry representatives and their academic allies, the latter having hidden vested interests of their own concerning H-1B, as I've explained before.   Not surprisingly, then, when inviting UI study author Salzman to appear on yesterday's show, Talk of the Nation host Ira Flatow also invited Intel Chairman Barrett to serve as counter-point.   He also invited Shirley M. Malcom, head of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
 
Salzman started the show off by giving a summary of the findings of his study.   Barrett responded quite predictably (the following is quite close to verbatim, from notes I jotted down): "[Salzman is wrong in saying we are producing plenty of science/math graduates.]   Just look at the numbers of H-1B visas we use to import foreign tech workers.   We wouldn't be doing that if we had an adequate supply here?...   Look at the graduate students in physical science and engineering.   We have 60% foreign nationals.   Why would we have that if we had an excess supply of domestic students?"
 
Of course, this is egregiously misleading.   The reason companies like Intel hire H-1Bs is not because they can't find qualified Americans but because the H-1Bs serve as cheap labor, especially as a means to avoid hiring the "expensive" over-40 Americans.   This is well-documented, as readers of this e-news-letter know; see my report [pdf] for extensive details and citations.
 
Following up on Barrett's comments on the large numbers of foreign students in U.S. science/engineering PhD programs, Salzman said, "[So many Americans get bachelor's degrees in science/math but] only 1/3 go on to graduate school.   It puzzles us."
 
The answer is that this situation, in which relatively few Americans pursue a graduate dgree, was, incredibly, a deliberate goal of our National Science Foundation.   And equally incredibly, the NSF pushed Congress to enact the H-1B program in 1990 for this express purpose.   In the late 1980s, the NSF complained that PhD salaries were too high, and proposed a solution to this "problem" in the form of importing a large number of foreign students.   The NSF noted that the resulting stagnant salaries for PhDs would drive the American students away:
 
A growing influx of foreign PhDs into U.S. labor markets will hold down the level of PhD salaries...   [The Americans] will select alternative career paths... [as] the effective premium for acquiring a PhD may actually be negative.

 
(Eric Weinstein How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor Shortages of Scientists and High-Tech Workers, NBER, MIT, 1998)
 
Clearly, the NSF's projection/goal has now been realized.
 
Then came the show's one phone caller.   And he was right on point.   The caller noted that his wife had a degree in the life sciences, but had finally bitten the bullet and quit graduate study to attend medical school.   She had reached this decision by noting that what would face her as a PhD in the life sciences was a dismal future of low pay and poor job tenure -- as opposed, of course, to a good income as a physician.   He also noted that foreign students and H-1Bs (the post-docs) are happy to accept the low pay and poor job security because they get a green card out it, something that has high non-monetary value to them.
 
That summed things up perfectly.   Barrett then responded in a predictable manner, stating, "It's illegal to under-pay H-1Bs."   Barrett was wrong here on 2 counts.   First, the huge loop-holes in the law make it easy to under-pay H-1Bs yet be in full compliance with legal requirements.   I've detailed how this is done in my writings on this issue [pdf].
 
But more importantly for the present context, Barrett missed the caller's point (maybe due to too much time with his handlers in rehearsing canned answers to "anticipated questions").   The caller wasn't saying that foreign-national post-docs get paid less than American ones in those post-doc jobs; he was saying that due to the willingness of the foreign nationals to work for low pay, universities can keep post-doc pay very low [and the chance to latch onto a more permanent position less likely], thus making it unattractive to Americans.

 
It's sad that Salzman did not comment on Barrett's claim that H-1Bs aren't used for cheap labor.   Salzman knows the claim to be false.   The National Research Council, commissioned by Congress, hired Salzman to conduct research on the H-1B pay and other issues, and his work is one of the studies I often cite on this issue.   The NRC writes that "...based on interviews with some H-1B employers, Salzman reported that H-1B workers in jobs requiring lower levels of IT skill received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses, and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did." See my university law journal article for some more on this point (including the qualifier "lower levels") [pdf].
 
Salzman has in fact been critical of the H-1B program, but to my great dismay, he is part of a group of researchers, including Richard Freeman, Ron Hira and Vivek Wadhwa, who have signed on to IEEE-USA's proposal to expand the employment-based green card program instead of increasing the H-1B cap.   As I will explain below, these analysts are misguided, but I certainly understand why they take such a position.
 
First, such a stance has the political advantage of projecting a pro-immigration ethos, important both in general political terms and also to mollify the industry.   It is interesting, for instance, that in a Brookings working paper proposing a method to increase the number of American students pursuing doctorates, Freeman says,
 
I present a policy -- increasing the number and value of graduate fellowships in science and engineering -- that can augment the supply of U.S. students in science and engineering without impairing access to immigrant scientists and engineers,

 
That last clause alludes to the fact that the Hamilton Project, which funded Freeman's research, is largely a Wall Street operation founded by Robert Rubin, and is bent on getting those foreign workers.   Note that former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan recently stated, quite explicitly, that these imported tech workers are "needed" in order to hold down wages.   (See my analysis of the Bloomberg news article on Greenspan's remarks.)
 
The second reason some analyses find the fast-track green card idea so appealing is that it is tailor-made for the economist mentality: Since the H-1Bs are typically de facto indentured servants and thus subject to exploitation, the "solution" would seem to be to give them green cards and thus full mobility in the labor market.   I have high respect for all of the analysts I mentioned above, but unfortunately their solution is wrong, a non-solution, because it ignores an even more fundamental economic principle, the law of supply and demand.
 
What they over-look is that H-1B is more than anything about AGE; it enables employers to hire young H-1Bs instead of older (age 40+) Americans.   That is the biggest reason Intel, MSFT et al. want the foreign workers so much -- and they don't care all that much whether they are H-1Bs or green card holders.   Giving the foreign students -- almost all of whom are young -- green cards swells the youth labor market just like the H-1B program does, and thus is only slightly less harmful.
 
Thus it is ironic that those calling for fast-track green cards, whom I believe are mostly my fellow political liberals, are supporting legislation that would serve as a vehicle for age discrimination just as much as the H-1B program does.   (I'm using the term "age discrimination" in a colloquial sense, not a legal one.   At least on the federal level, it is legal to shun older workers for younger ones if the latter cost less.)
 
Back to the show: Then Barrett gave another canned answer to the caller:
 
"Intel, MSFT and other firms hire hundreds of PhDs each year, at above-average salaries."

 
That phrase "above average" is an industry lobbyist favorite, meaning "above the average salary made by all workers in all occupations in the U.S.A.".   Of course, it's completely misleading.   The comparison shouldn't be to what a baker or truck driver makes; it should be to what others with high levels of education can make.   And the caller's point was that his wife can make far more as a physician than she can as a PhD biologist.
 
The same is true for Barrett's own firm, if it's anything like MSFT.   At MSFT, a new PhD in computer science makes about $90K, while MSFT pays newly-minted lawyers $140K.   And the gap grows after that.
 
Again, keep in mind that this discrepancy is exactly what the NSF planned.
 
The UI report points out:
 
...research finds that the real wages in S&E occupations declined over the past 2 decades...

 
Malcom made an important point about post-docs.   PhD scientists these days must go through a succession of post-doc position to even have hope of finding a permanent position.   In the old days, they would do just one post-doc stint, for a couple of years.   Malcom pointed out that this is direct evidence of an over-supply of PhDs in all the post-doc-oriented fields.
 
Salzman also contended that the international test scores don't necessarily tell us the direction in which our own schools should go.   "Singapore is number one in those international school rankings, but we're creative.   Do we want to have a rote-memory system like Singapore's?   I don't think so."   Of course I fully agree with him.
 
The UI study found that overall American kids are doing well, not always at the very top, but certainly in a good range, and that American students often did better ACROSS subjects.   For example, the authors remark
 
...percentages of fourth-grade students at or above the high achievement bench-mark in science ranged from 27% in Scotland to 49% in Japan.   In the United States, 45% of students reached the high bench-mark in science The percentages of students meeting the advanced bench-mark in science ranged from 5% in Scotland to 15% in England (with Japan at 12%).

 
Barrett retorted that this isn't good enough; the U.S. needs to be consistently at the TOP.   The UI study questioned that assertion (see also an excellent piece in a recent issue of the American Prospect), saying for instance,
 
Does the level of panic about lagging U.S. performance, and characterizations of a student population falling dramatically behind those in other countries correspond to actual performance differences of a few percentage points?   Or perhaps more to the point, what, exactly, does a 1.7 percentage point gap mean?   Even using the normalized scores, the gap is only 0.17 of one standard deviation.   Does this really represent a threat to the nation's science, engineering, or innovation capacity?   Is a country with a 62% correct response rate versus a 64% correct response rate at a disadvantage in producing leading-edge technology, pioneering science, or delivering efficient services or production?   There is no empirical basis for drawing such conclusions, so it seems the answer is just assumed.   Normalized scores are a useful metric for representing a population distribution but they do not necessarily provide any insight into the importance of the differences, and seldom is the magnitude of the score differences analyzed.

 
But even if Barrett is correct, then why is he advocating policies that encourage America's best and brightest science students to NOT go into science, as I discussed above?   Indeed, the UI authors make this point too:
 
...IT executives calling for greatly increasing, or even completely removing, numerical caps on foreign worker visas (e.g. the H-1B) may be sending strong signals to students and current workers about diminished career opportunities.   Human capital is a long-term investment and potential S&E students read all the tea leaves before investing.   We have conducted interviews with current managers and engineers who believe that there is little future in entry-level engineering jobs in many industries, and IT in particular.

 
This last statement contrasts greatly with the "study" put out by the ACM, saying that press accounts of the demise of the field have been greatly exaggerated.   The ACM report was highly biased; its president stated before the study began that the goal was to convince students to major in IT fields by showing that the job market is robust, and one member of the study group has spoken out that dissent was dismissed as "anti-industry".   The report engages in statistical sleight of hand and is misleading in umpteen different ways (see my analysis).   But here the UI authors went straight to the source and asked the hiring managers what they thought of future prospects for the job market.   The managers responded negatively, as they have when I've talked with them myself.
 
Now, I do have some comments on the study itself.   I won't go through a list of the main points of the study, which are summarized well in the UI blurb enclosed below, but there are some interesting special points here.
 
Right there on the first page, there is the startling remark,
 
Graduate schools have an ample pool of qualified 4-year graduates to draw from but seem unable or unwilling to do so.

 
"Unwilling"?   What do the authors have in mind here?   Presumably this is an allusion to the point made so often by the industry lobbyists (including Barrett above) that there are large proportions of foreign students in U.S. PhD programs.   The UI authors' point is, I suppose, that there are so many international students interested in pursuing graduate study in the U.S. that the graduate programs simply don't want to spend the time, effort and especially money (in the form of more generous graduate research assistantships) to attract the Americans.   Once again, it boils down to an issue of cheap foreign labor.   Another claim constantly made by the industry lobbyists is that we are going to "lose" the foreign students to our competitors, the latter term referring to the European Union.   The UI authors comment:
 
We will not address this latter concern in depth, but suffice it to say that [although] the competition for S&E students is growing worldwide, the potential supply from abroad remains strong, and it is unclear that the United States must retain the greatest share of the global student body to remain competitive.   More to the point, the United States will retain the lion's share of the global student body under almost any future scenario, and it is unclear that a race to retain a numerical majority will ensure that the United States retains the best and the brightest students.

 
As I explained above, the primary concern ought to be that we are losing our own best and brightest science students, not losing them to other countries but to more lucrative fields outside of science.   Moreover, as shown, the non-lucrative nature of science careers is a direct consequence of bringing in so many people from abroad.   So, to worry that we are not bringing ENOUGH people from abroad is to get it exactly backwards.
 
I have always strongly supported bringing in the best and the brightest from around the world, but only a small proportion of our foreign students in science and engineering are in that category.   I discuss this in detail in my university law journal article at the above link.
 
Interestingly, the UI authors seem to realize that the tech industry lobbyists are playing games with the data, for example by looking at the number of graduates in ALL science/engineering disciplines, when the industry hires mainly in only a few of those areas.   They say,
 
We focus here on the aggregate level and ALL science/engineering degrees in order to evaluate the broad based assertion that all S&E output is in decline.

 
All in all, the UI people have produced an excellent study.   Those of you readers who are researchers and journalists would find that it is well worth reading.   The UI summary follows below.
 
Norm
- 30 -
 

2007-11-12
Lin Ching-lin _Taipei Times_
Red Chinese sub-contractor blamed for trojan horses in disk drives
"Seagate recommended that all customers who had purchased the product install protective anti-virus software.   To this end, Seagate said that Kaspersky Labs would offer all Seagate customers a 60-day fully functional version of the Kaspersky Lab Anti-Virus 7.0 software for download and installation.   In September, the British online information technology magazine The Register published information saying that Kaspersky Labs had found a pre-installed virus named Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah on Maxtor 3200 external hard drives sold in the Netherlands.   When the virus accesses software, it looks for gaming passwords and deletes mp3 files."

2007-11-12
Mike Brooks _NY Sun_
Our Collapsing Economy
"Even though most of the Wall Street crowd don't talk much about it, there are grudging admission that our out-of-control free trade policies have led to this mess.   You cannot outsource the crown jewels of your technology, your technical and scientific jobs (or, worse, replace American's with those skills with cheap foreign guest workers...   the H1-B and L-1 visas programs that have cost 4M U.S. engineers and programmers their jobs), and expect to survive as a nation and as a viable economic entity.   We either place curbs on out-sourcing, in the forms of duties and fees and taxes on goods and services that are produced as a result of outsourcing, or the only world that will be flat will be ours, as we are crushed by the greed of corporations and investors."

2007-11-12
Patrick Thibodeau _NetworkWorld_
NACE says recent CS grads get higher offers, but mid-career IT workers' careers continue to be in peril
"The heightened interest is evident in survey data collected by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which reported in September that computer science graduates have been offered an average salary of $53,051 this year, up 4.5% from last year’s level.   Contomanolis is president-elect of Bethlehem, Pa.-based NACE, which also says that those graduating with MIS degrees this year have received an average starting salary offer of $47,407, up 4.7% year to year.   The salaries being offered to computer science graduates from the class of 2007 are the highest reported to NACE in the past 7 years.   The next-highest salary level was recorded in 2001, when graduates were offered $52,4703 on average...   Electronic Data Systems Corp. said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month that it was offering an early retirement program to about 12K of its 50K U.S. workers."

2007-11-12
Nidhi Hareja _abc_
Brains of children with ADHD develop about 3 years later
Medical News Today
"'In children with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed by 3 years in some regions, when compared to children without the disorder.', said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Philip Shaw, a child psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health.   According to the National Resource Center on ADHD, the condition is the most common neurodevelopment disorder of childhood.   It is present in 5% to 8% of school age children, with symptoms persisting into adulthood in as many as 60% of cases...   Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)...   The scientists found that the outer mantle of the brain -- the cortex -- develops with an average delay of 3 years among ADHD children.   They studied 450 children, 225 had ADHD, while the other 225 did not."

2007-11-12 (5768 Kislev 02)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
Judaism and the National Government Debt
 
 

  "There is no security for the personal or political rights of any man in a community where any man is deprived of his personal or political rights." --- Benjamin Harrison 1892-09-03  

 

2007-11-13

2007-11-13 16:00PST (19:00EST) (midnight GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Yahoo! CEO apologized for being in bed with Red Chinese rulers; US science and tech talent is plentiful; more poisonous products from Red China; Old, spoiled meat given a like-fresh look with carbon monoxide
video clip
Lou Dobbs: Also tonight, Yahoo! reaches a settlement in a case that highlighted Yahoo!'s close links with China's communist regime and its cooperation with a police state for the purpose of commerce.   We'll have the report.
 
And, we'll challenge corporate America's repeated assertions it can't find enough qualified Americans to fill key technology jobs.   It turns out it just ain't so.   Imagine that.   We'll have that story, and a great deal more as we continue, live tonight with our "Independents Day" tour, live from, you guessed it, there's the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington.   We'll be right back...
 
Lou Dobbs: New study show American colleges are producing more than enough graduates in Science and Math in this country to fill the needs of U.S. business, but corporate America continues to claim there simply aren't enough Americans trained in those fields and they must hire foreign workers, workers that of course end up being paid quite a bit less than American workers.   Bill Tucker has our report.
 
Bill Tucker: There is no shortage of students studying for careers in Math and Science.   There is a shortage of jobs.   That's the simply bottom line finding of a new study from the Urban Institute [pdf].
 
The study shows that between 1985 and 2000 435K U.S. citizens and permanent residents a year graduated with Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in Science and Engineering.   That's 3 times the number of jobs in Science and Engineering added per year, 150K during that time.
 
Separately Michael Teitelbaum at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation told Congress last week (pdf) that neither he nor a separate study by the RAND Corporation can find any evidence of worker shortages.   These studies are not anomalies.
 
Vivek Wadhwa, Harvard University, Duke University and former cross-border bodyshopper: Bottom line is that all of our research at Duke and now at Harvard shows the same thing.   That there is no shortage of engineers; there's no shortage of scientists.   Companies aren't going abroad because of skills.   They're going abroad because it's cheaper.

 
Bill Tucker: As a result, Wadhwa says that more than half of the engineering graduate students at Duke don't pursue engineering as a career and there is another indicator that the market is anything but short of scientists and engineers.
 
Paul Almeida, department for professional employees, AFL-CIO: We should be trying to figure out how to incentivize (ph) students to advance in these Math and Science areas.   It's clearly that there is no shortage.   If there is a shortage, the supply and demand wages would be going up in these areas.

 
Bill Tucker: Wages in the science and engineering fields over the last 5 years when adjusted for inflation have been basically flat.
 
Now Lou, that's the Urban Institute, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Duke, Harvard, the RAND Corporation.   Studies done independently of each other, different researches, different funding, all reaching the same basic conclusion that there is no worker shortage.   Lou, the problem is not a lack of workers.   The problem these studies all conclude is a lack of companies hiring them.   And as we've reported many, many times on this program those companies either off-shore the work or as you mentioned at the top, demand more H-1B visas and then pay those workers less -- Lou.
 
Lou Dobbs: We've been reporting on this issue, the exporting of American jobs, the out-sourcing of American jobs, middle class jobs, for 4 years.   And point of fact, the idea that all of these highly regarded, highly respected institutions have found the same thing that we have reported her for 4 years.   Congress just last week, the subcommittee on technology and innovation, suggesting that 30% to 40% of American jobs now are at risk of being out-sourced, in addition to the H-1B problem.
&bsp;
Bill Tucker: Right.
 
Lou Dobbs: Let's put this in some context.   Let's just deal with that H-1B program, which all of these companies want to bring those foreign workers in under.   What's the number of Indian companies that are using H-1B visas, seeking H-1B visas for the purpose of out-sourcing those jobs right here in the United States?
 
Bill Tucker: Well 5 of the top 6 users of the H-1B visa program, Lou, as you well know, are Indian companies.
 
Lou Dobbs: Yes I did, but I wanted because I'm in Seattle, Washington, tonight Bill Tucker, and I thank you very much -- I want to repeat that just for the purpose, the benefit, the illumination, the education, the enlightenment of one of the -- this city's most famous citizens, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.   Bill Gates is among those calling for more H-1B visas.   In fact, Bill Gates wants an unlimited number of H-1B visas.   And we really think it's important that he be brought up-to-date on this issue.   Gates testified before a Senate committee in March -- by the way, he was the only witness and there was only one fellow chariot -- that was Senator Ted Kennedy -- and Gates said the United States should allow, as he put it, an infinite number of foreign workers.   We can't get above infinite no matter what we do.
 
Bill Gates, MSFT chairman: We have to welcome the great minds in this world, not shut them out of our country.   Unfortunately, our immigration policies are driving away the world's best and brightest precisely when we need them the most.

 
Lou Dobbs: Bill Gates, you just heard the RAND Corporation, the Urban Institute, Harvard University, come on and look at the facts.   Most of those H-1B visas are being used by Indian companies seeking to out-source jobs at a very, very reduced wage.   In fact, most of the H-1B computer professionals in this country are brought in at the lowest skill levels; over half of the H-1B visa computer professionals recently admitted to the United States [are being paid] entry level salaries, so much for the advanced, best minds.   These are entry level jobs, not the highly skilled jobs seeking those H-1B visas.
 
So Mr. Gates, I certainly hope that you and I can have a discussion on that.   I'm sure that you would be delighted to do that, but I'm going to ask for something less than an infinite number of H- 1B visas and when we compromise, as a matter of fact, I want to return to 2 years ago levels.
 
Now a follow-up to our reports on how American technology companies are helping communist China crack down on its own citizens.   Technology tonight has a lot to be proud of, don't you think, in the reports that we're considering tonight.   Yahoo! today settled a law-suit with 2 Chinese journalists, both of whom were jailed after Yahoo! provided information about their on-line activities to communist Chinese government officials.
 
Yahoo!'s CEO, Jerry Yang, testified about the incidents before Congress last week.   Yang had the decency and the civility and the maturity to apologize to the mother of one of the jailed journalists after being urged to do so by members of that congressional panel.
 
Congressman Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Yang (ph) and other Yahoo executives at that hearing, quote, "while technically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies".   Today Chairman Lantos said "it took a tongue lashing from Congress before these high-tech titans did the right thing and coughed up some concrete assistance for the family of a journalist whom Yahoo had helped send to jail."
 
Human Rights USA represented the 2 journalists, BTW.   Attorney Morton Spar (ph) tells us more than 200 dissidents in communist China have been arrested as a result of information provided by U.S. Internet companies or by technology provided to [Red China] by U.S. companies...
[Christmas toys, wreaths, lights, etc. have dangerous levels of lead, enough on their surfaces for handling them to cause problems.   Old, spoiled meat is being exposed to carbon monoxide to give it a fresh, red color.   Hillary Clinton's campaign admits planting a question at a public event.]
-30-
2004-07-09: Indicators point to an over-supply of scientists and engineers
2000-10-31: 10th PDK report on the condition of education: NAEP math scores rose from 1990 to 1996
1995-06-05: Doctorate surplus in science and engineering continues
 

2007-11-13
_AP_/_Technology Review_
Yahoo! agreed to pay reparations and apologized for their role in arrest of Chinese for political dissent
Tech Republic/Ziff Davis
"Yahoo! would not say whether its dealings in [Red China] or Alibaba's mode of responding to government requests will change as a result of the settlement.   But Yahoo! has said it only owns a 40% stake in Alibaba and has no control over the Chinese company, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group.   Many other U.S. companies, including Google Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and MSFT Corp., are facing similar quandaries in [Red China], said business professor Peter Navarro of the University of California, Irvine.   'They have all crossed a gray ethical line in [Red China] with their anything-for-a-buck mentality.', Navarro said.   'I don't believe that will change without a broader examination of the U.S.-[Red China] relationship.'   He and other China watchers said the settlement would do little to stem similar behavior by other U.S. business operating in one of the world's fastest growing economies...   At the congressional hearing, Yahoo! chief executive Jerry Yang and general counsel Michael Callahan apologized to Shi's mother, who sat behind them."

2007-11-13
Bill Haymin & Phyllis Schlafly _American Chronicle_
What We Want in a Presidential Candidate
"We want our candidate for President to announce that he considers it a presidential duty to prevent illegal entry into our country.   We want him to be forthright in praising the American people for successfully demanding that the U.S. Senate defeat the Bush-Kennedy Amnesty bill earlier this year.   We want our candidate to promise that he will never try to bamboozle us with a similar so-called 'comprehensive' immigration bill or a so-called 'DREAM Act', that includes amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens now in our country.   We want our candidate to reject any bill that would bring into our country hundreds of thousands more aliens who are falsely called guest-workers, most of whom have never been to high school and will take jobs from our own millions of high-school drop-outs who desperately need entry-level low-paid jobs to start building their lives.   We want our presidential candidate to keep the lid on the multinationals' attempt to bring in thousands more foreigners on H-1B visas, who take jobs from our college graduates, especially our engineers and computer specialists.   We want to hear our candidate's plan for getting the guest-workers already here to leave our country when their visas expire.   We want our candidate to tell us how he will lift the tax burden that Americans suffer today in providing the net value of $20K a year to every illegal alien household.   (That figure is provided by the Heritage Foundation.)..."

2007-11-13
George Leopold _EE Times_/_CMP_
Engineering education report ignites fire
"the number of U.S. engineering graduates is more than sufficient to fill available jobs...   in the words of co-author Harold Salzman, 'Rather than a supply problem, we probably have a demand problem'...   'there has been growth in the number of under-graduates completing [science and engineering (S&E)] studies and the number of S&E graduates remains high by historical standards.'...   The Urban Institute report nevertheless argues that 'the U.S. education system produced qualified graduates far in excess of demand', estimating there are more than 3 times as many engineering under-graduates as technology job openings.   Salzman did, however, conceded one point to his critics, acknowledging that the engineering field in the U.S. isn't what it used to be.   As a profession, 'engineering is not a field that has a bright future', he said.   Quoting an engineer interviewed for the Urban Institute study, Salzman said, 'It was a great ride, but it's over.'"

2007-11-13
Virgil Moore _Mass Media Distribution News Wire_
US citizens send chocolates to USCIS to get prompt processing of visas for fiances
"Waiting times for this initial step have increased from one month in April to five months and climbing - and USCIS has said it will get worse.   This is in spite of a more than 150% increase in the filing fee in July.   This extended time apart is very stressful for the couples who have to deal with separation anxiety, medical issues like miscarriages or family health emergencies, and even children being raised without one parent.   These citizens are angry that USCIS is giving priority to work related visas and has pulled immigration officers off their cases for 'other priorities'.   Another sore point is that USCIS has begun to review many petitions from September and October while earlier petitions from May through August languish untouched.   They also want adjusted what they believe is an unreasonable and unfair internal USCIS goal of 6 months to complete the initial step of the I129f petition (which can take a processor as little as 15 minutes to review).   This type of I129 petitioner is also not allowed to pay for premium 15 day processing as employment visas are allowed to request."

2007-11-13 (5768 Kislev 03)
Jared Taylor _V Dare_
Race/ IQ Explanation Gap At "Achievement Gap Summit"

2007-11-13 (5768 Kislev 03)
Michelle Malkin
how many other illegal aliens are working in the Shrub regime?

2007-11-13 (5768 Kislev 03)
Daniel Pipes _Jewish World Review_
US Federal Government Protects the Terror Masters

2007-11-13 (5768 Kislev 03)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Crusades Versus Caution: Autism part 1
 

2007-11-14

2007-11-13 16:47 (2007-11-13 19:47EST) (2007-11-14 00:47GMT)
_Indiana News Center_
After adjustment for inflation two-thirds of American families earn more than their parents
"experts from The American Enterprise Institute, The Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation and The Urban Institute, the project seeks to investigate the status of economic mobility in America...   According to the first report, 'Economic Mobility of Families Across Generations', two-thirds of Americans saw increases in income, adjusted for inflation.   At the same time, Americans live in smaller families, so higher incomes are spread over fewer people.   In percentage terms, income gains were highest for children born to parents at the bottom of the income distribution.   The report also shows that Americans' ability to move up or down the economic ladder is tied closely to their parents' economic position.   42% of children born to parents at the bottom of the income distribution remain at the bottom, while 39% born to parents at the top, stay at the top...   While black children are experiencing some of the income gains that all Americans do -- 63% make more today, after inflation, than their parents did -- there are dramatic differences between blacks and whites at each income level.   The report found that only 31% of black children born to parents in the middle-income group have family income greater than their parents, compared to 68% of white children in the same circumstance.   Further, nearly half (45%) of black children in the middle-income group fall to the bottom of the income distribution in one generation, compared to only 16% of white children.   In fact, for every parental income group, white children are more likely to move ahead of their parents' economic rank while black children are more likely to fall behind."

2007-11-14
Jennifer LeClaire _Sci-Tech Today_
Yahoo! settles with families of journalists jailed in Red China
"'It is not the end of the issue.', U.S. representative Tom Lantos, the San Mateo Democrat who chaired last week's hearing, said in a published statement.   'Yahoo! and other U.S.-based Internet companies need to work harder to ensure that they resist any attempts by authoritarian regimes to make them complicit in cracking down on free speech -- otherwise, they simply should not do business in those markets.'"

2007-11-14
_New America Media_/_World Journal_
Traitorous senators petition DHS for extension of OPT to 29 months
"19 U.S. senators have written to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff earlier this week asking to extend the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa for international students from the current 12 months to 29 months, according to the World Journal.   The OPT visas allow international students to legally work in the United States for up to 12 months after they graduate. During that time, they can apply for their H1B work visas...   Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), asked for the extension."

2007-11-14
Warner Todd Huston _Border Fire Report_
Richard Nadler & J.D. Hayworth positions on immigration aren't far apart
Stop the ACLU
Post Chronicle
Mens News Daily
"I also got the feeling that Nadler expected to be roughly treated by everyone he came across at this conservative gathering because he feared that our 'home-boys', as he put it, were not too keen on hearing about policies that comforted Hispanics...   Nadler appears to be an open boarder economist type and, in Rovian fashion, ready to bend principle to any measure that will get the Hispanic vote and assure the GOP a seat at the table of power for the foreseeable future.   Hayworth appears to be a raging nativist, anti-immigrant advocate who has no problem throwing away the very power Nadler wishes to cement in place if it means stopping 'them' from getting into the country...   Hayworth's fears that we are, indeed, in danger of throwing away our principles just to get that Hispanic vote is also a trenchant point...   'our message of national security and border security, ah, the American people get it and sadly the malefactors of great wealth -- or as we might say with the Fred Travalena game show of the 1980's, the anything for money crowd -- is desperately trying to change people's minds.   But the American people are having none of it.'...   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, 'We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.'...   For instance, Hayworth accuses Nadler of being an open borders type who does not care about our sovereignty or the integrity of the border and that cheap labor is all he is interested in.   If one were to judge by what he's 'already done', and by his own admission, Nadler was an open borders type in the past.   He claims, however, that [the terrorist attacks of 2001/09/11] changed that for him.   He is now a believer in building the fence and in making sure we know who is coming into the country.   Of course, this -- if we can take Nadler at face value -- is exactly where Hayworth stands...   [Hayworth said] 'Now, I don't call for mass deportation and guess what happens once you start enforcing the law?   People start obeying the law.'   And, it turns out that Nadler feels that Hispanics tend to agree with Hayworth on enforcing the law.   'You can advocate for more border patrol, for more fence, for more electronic surveillance, for expedited deportation of people who do violent crimes.', without losing the Hispanic vote, according to Nadler...   Nadler laments that the rule of law has broken down with the Federal government not enforcing our immigration laws.   'But in effect', Nadler told me, 'you have had a break down of law over 25 years involving vast sectors of the population, not just the immigrants themselves, not just the illegals but the people who employ them... and also the people who voted the people in office who haven't enforced the laws...'   Hayworth basically said the same thing with, 'Enforce the law.   And for all those who say, ''Oh, it won't work.'', how do ya know? We've never even tried it.'...   The Bush administration announced not long ago that they would allow another 10K Middle Eastern men (mostly Saudis) into this country on student visas...   Both men also agreed that a more effective policy for imported workers is called for.   Hayworth wants to re-tool our H-1B visa program to get the best and brightest 'those who can contribute to our way of life in the United States'.   And Nadler wants to talk of a guest-worker program to control the flow of needed workers..."
Hayworth interview
Nadler interview
index to articles by Warner Todd Huston

2007-11-14
Doug Carlson _Felonious State University_
Florida has fewer physicians than previously estimated
WCTV
Capitol News Service
Composite: "The number of physicians in Florida is about 34K.   Florida has more than 18M people and the population is growing by 300K each year.   13% of physicians in Florida plan to leave or significantly reduce practice within the next 5 years.   The average age of survey respondents was 51 and a quarter of physicians are older than 60, indicating an aging work-force that could be severely affected by attrition through retirement in the not-too-distant future...   In Florida, about 50% of the state's allopathic physicians renew their licenses in a given year.   Brooks and Menachemi completed their analysis using the 2007 voluntary survey.   Of the 24,840 physicians who went through renewal in 2007, 88% (22,035) responded to the survey.   Of those, more than 5K (23%) do not have a practice address in Florida and were excluded from the survey results...   Extrapolating the accumulated data of the 15,518 responding physicians with a Florida practice address helped Menachemi and Brooks glean interesting and previously unknown trends in the state's physician work-force.   For example, more than 22% of responding general surgeons in Broward, Orange and Polk counties said they intend to leave or significantly reduce practice within 5 years.   In Polk County, more than 21% of surgical specialists, anesthesiologists and pathologists also are planning to leave or significantly reduce practice by 2012.   Statewide, an average of more than 14% of respondents indicated a similar planned reduction or departure from all of the following specialties: radiology, surgical specialties, family medicine, pathology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology and general surgery."

2007-11-14
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Penicillin Is No Match for Immigration

2007-11-14 (5768 Kislev 04)
Bryan Appleyard _Jewish World Review_
A NeuroScientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul
"There is no clear scientific consensus on how the brain produces the higher functions we call being human...   How does matter produce mind, how can it?"

2007-11-14 (5768 Kislev 04)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Crusades Versus Caution: Autism part 2

2007-11-14 (5768 Kislev 04)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Congressional and Leftist Lies
 

2007-11-15

2007-11-15
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
more on the Urban Institute study -- and now, a "competitor"

 
[Recently published items of interest are] an insightful piece from the Electronic Engineering Times and a
transcript... from the Lou Dobbs show, both on the Urban Institute study of science and math education in the U.S.A.   Many of you readers will recall that I reviewed that study here a few days ago.   Afterward, [I'll comment on] an article on another study, reported on in the New York Times.
 
The EET article includes some very insightful comments by the dean of engineering at Dartmouth, surprising as university administrators generally love to cry wolf on education, in the hope it brings them more funding, and to please their industrial patrons.   (If you study computer science at Stanford University, your courses will be in Bill Gates Hall, right across the street from the Wm. Hewlett Teaching Center and the David Packard electrical engineering building, etc.)
 
Here's the excerpt quoting the dean:
 
The math and science backgrounds of foreign and U.S. students appear similar, at least at one top U.S. engineering school.   While acknowledging that his students may not represent a true cross section of a typical U.S. high school, Joe Helble, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, said he sees surprising uniformity.
 
"When I look at incoming graduate students at Dartmouth and I compare the ones who are U.S.-educated and those [educated over-seas], I don't see huge differences.", he said.
 
What Helble sees "are differences in creativity.   I would say that the U.S. students are among the most creative and innovative."
 
Although some Asian students may have better raw quantitative skills, that doesn't necessarily make them better engineers or scientists, Helble said.   "You have to look at their ability to tackle a problem without a clear solution."
 
Some Dartmouth engineering grads end up in other fields, including financial services and investment jobs where they are valued for their ability to think quantitatively and analyze technologies, the Dartmouth dean noted.

 
I have some comments on those points.
 
First, one of the themes here is that averages are often not very informative.   If one is concerned with the future of science and engineering in the U.S.A., one should look at the better students, as they are the ones who enter those fields.   TIMMS and the other international tests basically look at averages.
 
Second, the dean should have pointed out that the bar for admission is usually higher for foreign students.   Accordingly, the average foreign student at Dartmouth actually should be a bit better than the Americans; but that is very different from saying that the countries the international students come from are better.
 
The issue of creativity is of course key.   It was brought up by one of the UI study authors here in this article as well:
 
But the skills that testing evaluates may not be the ones needed for innovation in a global economy.   "Japan, Singapore and [South] Korea do have the kind of education that leads to [better] test performance, but does that lead to more innovation, better jobs and a better economy?" Salzman asked.
 
For example, Singapore is promoting a national "creativity initiative" because the Asian city-state's leaders realize the need to de-emphasize its narrow educational approach, Salzman said. But for now, he added, it makes...

 
Where, for instance, are the "killer apps" (great software packages), the miracle drugs and so on from these Asian countries?   There have been very few important innovations from Asia to date.   And though the Asian governments have tried to improve creativity (besides Singapore, the governments of Japan, S. Korea, [Red China] and Taiwan [the Republic of China] have all had such initiatives), it's not just a matter of changing the education system.   Instead, the problem is cultural: The teacher is treated as such a master that the students don't realize they may have some good ideas themselves.   Obedience does not produce the Einsteins and Edisons of the world.
 
Nobel physicist Yang Zhen Ning has also commented on this.   So has Chen Lixin, an engineering professor in [Red China] ("China's New Engineering Obstacle" Chen Lixin, Prism, published by the American Society for Engineering Education, 1999 September).   Chen warns his nation that the engineers being produced by [Red Chinese] universities are not good enough for [Red China] to compete in the global high-tech market.   Professor Chen says the educational system in [Red China] produces students who cannot think independently or creatively, and cannot solve practical problems.   He writes that the system "results in the phenomenon of high scores and low ability".   This turn of phrase captures the problem quite succinctly, especially in our context here of test scores.
 
The New York Times article is a little odd.   To my knowledge, the Times has not covered the UI study, nor for that matter has any major newspaper.   Why would the NYT cover this rather superficial study by AIR and not the more extensive UI work?   The answer is probably that the industry's PR people want to draw attention to the rather gloomy tone of this AIR study.
 
As to the AIR study itself, the same criticisms UI made of the TIMMS and NAEP data apply to the AIR work.   This is even more true in light of the fact that the AIR authors used TIMMS and NAEP, and attempted to link them together via a statistical technique.   It was an interesting idea, but is, as noted, subject to the same short-comings as TIMMS and NAEP
 
Norm
-30-
 

2007-11-15
Jane Macartney _Times of London_
Dissidents in China still fear Red Chinese police despite Yahoo! pledge
"Announcing the settlement Jerry Yang, a founder of Yahoo!, said: 'It was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them, for Yahoo! and for the future.   Yahoo! was founded on the idea that the free exchange of information can change how people lead their lives, conduct their business and interact with their governments.   We are committed to making sure our actions match our values.'   At a congressional hearing in Washington this month Mr Yang apologised to the families of Shi Tao, a journalist, and Wang Xiaoning, who are both serving 10-year jail sentences after Yahoo! shared information with the [Red Chinese] authorities about their online activities.   In 2002 Mr. Wang, an engineer, was detained by [Red Chinese] officials for writing pro-democracy articles on a Yahoo! Groups web site.   Mr. Shi was arrested in 2004 after he forwarded an e-mail [message], directing him not to cover the Tiananmen Square anniversary, to an over-seas web site.   Yesterday dissidents wanting to share their thoughts with others in [Red China] said that the settlement would not reduce the dangers they faced.   One man, who has spent most of the past 18 years in jail, said that Chinese wanting to exercise freedom of expression had no choice but to use the internet and thus expose their writings to [Red China's] cyber-space police."

2007-11-15 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 353,231 in the week ending Nov. 10, an increase of 27,393 from the previous week.   There were 286,151 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured un-employment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Nov. 3, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,295,507, an increase of 34,447 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.6% and the volume was 2,110,151.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Oct. 27."
graphs

2007-11-15
Jeannine Aversa _Deseret Morning News_
Fed injected $6.75G into financial system
"The Federal Reserve injected a fresh infusion of $47.25G into the U.S. financial system on Thursday, reflecting normal operations as money flows into and leaves the market.   The net effect was it added $6.75G, when accounting for securities that expired, or matured, an official from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said.   The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is responsible for conducting market operations for the central bank.   Those operations help keep the Fed's key interest rate -- called the federal funds rate -- at its current target of 4.50%.   The funds rate, the interest banks charge each other on overnight loans, affects other rates charged to millions of consumers and businesses.   Thus, it is the Fed's main tool for influencing overall economic activity.   The total, or gross, cash infusion of $47.25G on Thursday came in 3 operations.   That total amount was the most since 2001 September, the New York Fed official said.   However, the net, $6.75G, that ended up being added to the financial system in temporary reserves was considered within a normal range."

2007-11-15
_Iowa Politics_
Grassley asks Chertoff & Rice about visa fraud
"Grassley said he is looking for more information because of a grand jury indictment this Fall that uncovered a major visa fraud case in Atlanta, Georgia.   The indictment alleges that Suren Agadzhanov and 11 other individuals fabricated petitions and sold B-1, B-2, H-1 and L-1 visas to hundreds of foreign aliens using shell companies and false employer names on visa applications.   Both the Homeland Security and State Departments were part of uncovering the fraud.   Now, Grassley said, 'The question is whether this scam is the tip of an ice-berg, and what's being done by the federal government to crack down on other cases and to prevent fraud in the future.'...   'In September, your Departments were successful in helping to uncover a major visa fraud case in Atlanta, GA.   This case involved an individual who fabricated petitions and sold B-1, B-2, H-1 and L-1 visas to hundreds of foreign aliens...   this individual was able to carry on a visa scam for years without the knowledge of our consular and immigration officers.'"

2007-11-15
Steve Daniels _WTVD_
Guest-workers are not treated like guests: Close to Slavery
"We've discovered workers who say they're being exploited on some local farms.   They're part of a Federal program called the guest-worker program.   But some workers say we're certainly not treating them like guests.   Critics say we invite them here, mistreat them, and don't let them come back if they complain...   when he arrived there was no work and no money...   'We got here and we waited, a week went by, another week.', says Robles.   He continues, 'Until about a month and a half passed and we were desperate.'   Robles could not go to work anywhere else.   Federal law says under the guest worker program he can only work for the farmer who brought him to North Carolina.   And, a farm worker advocate says Robles was living in a broken down house with rats and roaches, not enough beds for the workers and no drinking water.   'The employer holds all the cards.   The employer controls the decision of whether the worker gets to come in the first place, whether the worker gets to stay.', says Mary Bauer.   She's a lawyer at the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] in Alabama."
 

2007-11-16

2007-11-16 06:14PST (09:14EST) (14:14GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Capital flows into USA declined in September

2007-11-16 06:32PST (09:32EST) (14:32GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US factory output fell 0.5% in October: Capacity utilization fell 0.5 percentage point to stand at 81.7% in October

2007-11-16
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
Alien Nation: Immigration & America
News by Us
"'When I came in to look at the technical literature on the economics of immigration in the early 1990s, I was amazed to find that the consensus among labor economists -- the consensus -- was that the great inflow triggered by the 1965 Act, and the simultaneous break-down of the southern border, is not beneficial in aggregate.   It brings no net aggregate economic benefit to native-born Americans.   In a micro-study, the NRC found the cost to every native-born family in California of the immigrant presence, as of 1996, was something like a thousand dollars a year.   Every native-born family is subsidizing the immigrant presence by a thousand dollars a year.   Essentially, Americans are subsidizing their own displacement...   Even though immigration doesn't raise the per capita income of the native-born, it does cause immense redistribution between the native-born communities -- amounting at that point to about 2% of GDP shifted from labor to capital...'"

2007-11-16
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Time To Get Mexico Out Of Our Hair!

2007-11-16 11:14PST (14:14EST) (19:14GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Democrats split on trade
"The split pits Democrats who fear what they see as a rising tide of protectionism under-cutting U.S. efforts to compete in the global economy against Democrats who contend that recent trade agreements contain flaws that have accelerated U.S. job losses and contributed to stagnant wages."

2007-11-16
David Sirota _Denver Post_/_Politics West_
Hillary Clinton thinks the negative consequences of NAFTA are funny

2007-11-16
Nydra Karlen _The Hill_
Ron Paul would return government to the people

2007-11-16
_US Department of State_
Department of State Issued Record Number of Student Visas
"During Fiscal Year 2007, the Department issued more than 651K student and exchange visitor visas -- 10% more than last year and 90K more than were issued in Fiscal Year 2001."

2007-11-16
Rabbi Label Lam _Torah.org_
Message to Garcia
"In 1899 Elbert Hubbard penned a letter to explain who he thought was the real hero of the Spanish-American war.   Here are a few truncated excerpts from that now famous essay entitled, 'A Message to Garcia': '...When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba -- no one knew where.   No mail or telegraph could reach him.   The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.   What to do?!   Someone said to the president, 'There's a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.'   Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia.   How 'the fellow by name of Rowan' took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot delivered his letter to Garcia -- are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.   The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, 'Where is he at?'   By the Eternal!   There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land.   General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias… No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man -- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a tying and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant...   My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the 'boss' is away, as well as when he is home.   And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it...   Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals.   Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go.   He is wanted in every city, town, and village—in every office, shop, store and factory.   The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly the man who can 'Carry a Message to Garcia'."

2007-11-16
Jon Erlbaum _Torah.org_
Trading Places on the Ladder of Life

2007-11-16
Rabbi Naftali Reich _Torah.org_
Body & Soul

2007-11-16
Rabbi Yissocher Frand _Torah.org_
The Tzadik Does Not "Flee" He "Leaves" (With Dignity and Confidence)

2007-11-16
DJIA13,176.79
S&P 5001,458.74
NASDAQ2,637.24
10-year US T-Bond4.15%
crude oil$95.10/barrel
gold$787.00/ounce
silver$14.51/ounce
platinum$1,453.20/ounce
palladium$365.85/ounce
copper$0.19759375/ounce
natgas$8.001/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.3754/gal
heatingoil$2.5871/gal

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

2007-11-17

Not much worthy of note happened.
 

2007-11-18

2007-11-18
Steve Sailer _V Dare_
The IQ Gap, The "Test Gap", And Jack O'Connell

2007-11-18
Marc Guttman _Joe Cobb_
The meaning of the support for Ron Paul

2007-11-18 (originally published 2001-09-28)
Bob Woodward _Washington DC Post_ pg A1
in hijacker's bags, a call to planning, prayer and death
 

2007-11-19

2007-11-19
Christine Harper _Bloomberg_
Share-owners have lost $74G this year, but brokers will take $38G in bonuses
"Share-holders in the securities industry are having their worst year since 2002, losing $74G of their equity.   That won't prevent Wall Street from paying record bonuses, totaling almost $38G.   That money, split among about 186K workers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos., equates to an average of $201,500 per person, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.   The five biggest U.S. securities firms paid $36G to employees last year.   The bigger bonus pool derives from a record $9G of fees for arranging acquisitions and $5G for underwriting initial public offerings and sales of junk bonds, the most lucrative securities, Bloomberg data show.   Bankers' record fees help explain why 2007 will prove to be the industry's second- most profitable after the sub-prime mortgage market collapse led to losses at Merrill and Bear Stearns.   The last time bonuses declined was 2002 when the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 23%, and Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. went bankrupt...   The industry's bonuses are larger than the gross domestic products of Sri Lanka, Lebanon or Bulgaria.   The average $201,500 bonus is more than 4 times the $48,201 median household income in the U.S. last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics."

2007-11-19 13:35PST (16:35EST) (21:35GMT)
_AP_/_Forbes_
Clintonistas hired by ITAA to lobby for more of the already vastly excessive H-1B visas
Houston Chronicle
CNN/Money
"The Information Technology Association of America, whose more than 300 members include MSFT Corp., Dell Inc. and Yahoo Inc., hired PLM Group LLC to lobby the federal government on immigration matters, according to a disclosure form.   The firm will lobby on issues related to the H-1B visa program... according to the form posted on-line Nov. 13 by the Senate's public records office...   Congress also is questioning the use of the visa program by 9 India-based companies, who collectively used nearly 20K of the H-1B visas available last year.   Some law-makers said the program has been subject to fraud and abuse.   Among those registered to lobby on behalf of ITAA are: Andrew Kauders, former senior adviser to senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ; Walter Pryor, who was legislative director for senator Mark Pryor, D-AR; and John Scofield, former communications director for the House Appropriations Committee.   PLM Group is a joint venture between 2 lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and the Livingston Group."

2007-11-19
Sheila Casey _Daily Scare_
Are Conspiracy Theorists Out of Their Gourds?

2007-11-19
Paul B. Farrell _MarketWatch_
17 reasons a recession would be good for the USA

2007-11-19 (5768 Kislev 19)
Jonathan Tobin _Jewish World Review_
Is Surrender Not an Option?
"Bolton earned bipartisan applause for his forthright advocacy of America's positions on human rights, Darfur and his ardent support of the U.S.-Israel alliance."
 
 

  "You may think that the Constitution is your security -- it is nothing but a piece of paper.   You may think that the statutes are your security -- they are nothing but words in a book.   You may think that elaborate mechanism of government is your security -- it is nothing at all unless you have sound and uncorrupted public opinion to give life to your Constitution, to give vitality to your statutes, to make efficient your machinery." --- Charles Evans Hughes  

 

2007-11-20

2007-11-20
David Weidner _MarketWatch_
Hired or fired, Street CEOs give thanks: Lay-offs mount as lavish rewards are heaped on execs

2007-11-20
major general Paul E. Vallely & Fred Gedrich _Human Events_
Iran Policy Must Match the Threat
"The U.S. has never adequately responded to Iran's repeated acts of war against U.S. troops, citizens and interests.   It's a fact not lost on the American public and it's one reason why a Zogby Poll (released on 2007 October 29) reports that 52% of surveyed Americans support a military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons."

2007-11-20
Lynn Franco _Conference Board_
Consumers in a Festive Mood as the Holiday Season Approaches, The Conference Board Reports: Plan to spend an average of $471 on gifts
report tables (pdf)

2007-11-20
Fenwick & West LLP
California government reduced compensation schedule for software professionals
"Effective 2008-01-01, the minimum hourly rate for exempt computer software professionals will be $36, down from this year's minimum of $49.77.   On an annualized basis (based on 40 hour work-week), the new minimum would be $74,880 (down from $103,521.60)...   To qualify as an exempt computer software professional, in addition to satisfying the duties test, the computer worker must receive the minimum rate for each hour worked, even if he or she is compensated on a salary basis.   For example, a computer worker who receives a set annual salary of $85K but works a 50-hour week would not qualify for the exemption for that week, as the worker's hourly rate for the week would be $32.69, below the $36/hour minimum for 2008.   Thus, employers must be careful to take into account the computer worker's entire work schedule when assessing qualification for the exemption...   compilations of non-confidential business information may constitute protectible trade secrets. In San Jose Construction, Inc. v. S.B.C.C., Inc...   The [Socialist Insecurity Abomination (SIA)] announced this month that it will not issue 'no-match letters' this year."

2007-11-20
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Cisco exec blurts out truth on H-1B
Every once in a while someone from the industry or an industry ally blurts out the truth about H-1B and related issues.   Enclosed below is a real doozy [from a propaganda piece in MentorNet]:
 
While some students may believe IT won't provide a long-term career path because so many positions are out-sourced to other countries, McGrath indicated this simply isn't true. "There are limits [albeit vastly excessive] on the number of foreign nationals that can be hired due to H1-B visa caps.   IT is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.A."

 
IOW, McGrath is admitting that the H-1B program DOES displace American workers.   If the cap were higher, he is saying, then those young people's fears that they would lose their jobs to foreign workers would be valid.   He is saying that employers would shun (even more) American workers in favor of H-1Bs if only Congress would allow them to do so.   And concerning the current level of the cap, even the most charitable interpretation of his remarks would be that the present cap is not hurting Americans but a higher cap would harm them.
 
BTW, though McGrath spoke of H-1Bs in his reply, the question had actually been about off-shoring.   So, his comment was not only a great blurt but also a possible Freudian slip.


Norm
-30-
 

2007-11-20
Frosty Wooldridge _Op Ed News_
Too Many People in the USA
News with Views
"The human raced quadrupled from 1.6G to 6.7G in the last century.   The United States jumped from 75M to 300M."

2007-11-20
Eric Peters _National Motorists Association_
Cost Is No Objet When It's For Our Own Good

2007-11-20 (5768 Kislev 10)
Frank J. Gaffney _Jewish World Review_
Staticidal zealotry
"Under present and foreseeable circumstances, the best that can be hoped for from such a meeting is failure. For success will result in a new safe-haven for terror that is a mortal threat not only for Israel, but for the United States, as well."

2007-11-20 (5768 Kislev 10)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
How can the politicians in Washington, DC and Jerusalem be so irresponsible?
"According to foreign reports, Israel destroyed a nuclear weapons installation in Syria in September.   Never has a larger story been pushed under the rug by so many so quickly...   As Loftus summarized, 'The gist of the new evidence is this: Roughly one-quarter of Saddam's WMD was destroyed under UN pressure during the early to mid 1990s.   Saddam sold approximately another quarter of his weapons stockpile to his Arab neighbors during the mid-to-late-1990's.   The Russians insisted on removing another quarter in the last few months before the war.   The last remaining WMD, the contents of Saddam's nuclear weapons labs, were still inside Iraq on the day when the coalition forces arrived in 2003.   His nuclear weapons equipment was hidden in enormous underwater warehouses beneath the Euphrates River.   Saddam's entire nuclear inventory was later stolen from these warehouses right out from under the Americans' noses.'...   European intelligence sources and claimed that in late 2004 Syria began developing a nuclear program near its border with Turkey.   Syria's program, which was run by President Bashar Assad's brother Maher and defended by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards brigade, had by mid-2006 'reached the stage of medium activity'.   The Kuwaiti report stated that the Syrian nuclear program was based 'on equipment and materials that the sons of the deposed Iraqi leader, Uday and Qusai transferred to Syria by using dozens of civilian trucks and trains, before and after the US-British invasion in 2003 March'.   The program, which was run by Iranians with assistance from Iraqi scientists and scientists from the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union, 'was originally built on the remains of the Iraqi program after it was wholly transferred to Syria'...   Last week, the IAEA acknowledged that Iran is currently operating 3K centrifuges.   At this rate of uranium enrichment, Iran will be capable of producing an atomic bomb in a year."

2007-11-20 (5768 Kislev 10)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Income confusion
"People in the bottom fifth of income-tax filers in 1996 had their incomes increase by 91% by 2005.   The top 1% -- 'the rich' who are supposed to be monopolizing the money, according to the left -- saw their incomes decline by a whopping 26%.   Meanwhile, the average [tax-victims'] real income increased by 24% between 1996 and 2005...   comparing the top income bracket with the bottom income bracket over a period of years tells you nothing about what is happening to the actual flesh-and-blood human beings who are moving between brackets during those years.   That is why the IRS data, which are for people 25 years old and older, and which follow the same individuals over time, find those in the bottom 20% of [income extortion] filers almost doubling their income in a decade.   That is why they are no longer in the same bracket.   That is also why the share of income going to the bottom 20% bracket can be going down, as the Census Bureau data show, while the income going to the people who began the decade in that bracket is going up by large amounts...   Following trends among income brackets over the years creates the illusion of following people over time.   But the only way to follow people is to follow people."
 

2007-11-21

2007-11-21 05:30PST (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 325,024 in the week ending Nov. 17, a decrease of 30,304 from the previous week.   There were 367,690 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Nov. 10, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,301,535, an increase of 13,975 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.7% and the volume was 2,269,427.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Nov. 3."
graphs

2007-11-21
Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
Report confirms dire need for far fewer H-1B visas
"'U.S. students have generally performed above average in comparisons with students in other industrialized nations.'   As far as a shortage in computer science graduates to fill available jobs in the States the study concludes that 'the education system produces qualified graduates far in excess of demand'.   Finally the reports concludes that, 'assessing the claims of labor market shortages is crucial.   Purported labor market shortages for scientists and engineers are anectdotal and also not supported by the available evidence.'"

2007-11-21
John Whitesides _AlertNet_
Americans enter holidays in dark mood
Reuters
Macon Daily
San Diego Union-Tribune
"The Reuters/Zogby Index, which measures the mood of the country, fell for the third consecutive month, dropping from 96 in October to 94.9 on new growth in the number of Americans dissatisfied with the economy and pessimistic about the future.   President George W. Bush rebounded slightly from last month's record low, with the number of Americans who give him positive marks climbing to 28% from 24%.   But Congress remained stuck with a dismal positive rating of 11%, tying its record low."

2007-11-21
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
plant in the Daily Princetonian
Some of my H-1B activist friends occasionally say in their e-mail discussions, "We should contact university student newspapers, to explain that the H-1B program may reduce students' employment opportunities after graduation."   Well, as far as I know, they've never done this [yes, several of us have done this], but it's clear that the industry lobbyists are pursuing this very avenue.
 
Last year 2 articles ran almost contemporaneously in the Harvard and Yale newspapers.   The one at Harvard was entirely pro-H-1B, and the Yale piece had only a bit of a dissenting voice.   There was another one last week at Harvard, this time even objecting to the scholarship fee proposal by senators Grassley and Sanders.   Now we see an article at Princeton.   There was one recently at Kansas State University, one at Duke and so on.   Knowing how the industry lobbyists work, this is no coincidence.   (You can always get an up-to-the-minute list of all pro-H-1B articles and opinion pieces at the industry lobbyists' web page [while we have these pages and these pages and Dr. Matloff's pages].)
 
Being a professor myself, I get especially irritated at the lobbyists for exploiting the trusting nature of these idealistic students, who don't realize that only a tiny fraction of H-1B tech workers are "the best and the brightest", and have no inkling of the fact that a number of university and government studies have revealed that these foreign workers are typically paid much less than Americans (and in full compliance with the law, due to gaping loop-holes).
 
For student journalists who might read this posting (I've cc-ed one of them, and I archive most of my postings on the web), note that I have always strongly supported bringing "the best and the brightest" from around the world, and have acted personally on that in many ways.   But only a small minority of H-1Bs are in that league, and there is a special O-1 visa available for such people anyway, with no cap.   See [Dr. Matloff's] detailed analysis of H-1B.
 
Shame on the lobbyists.   Let them pick on Congress, where people at least know they're being hood-winked (even if they don't care).
 
Norm
-30-
 

2007-11-21
_MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment down from 80.9 in October to 76.1 in November

2007-11-21
James Carlini _Midwest Business Technology News_
Connectivity is a non-partisan American issue
"How come the great journalists asking the questions don't ask where Barack Obama stands on a national broadband initiative or where Rudy Giuliani thinks we should head with gigabit infrastructures to support regional economic development and sustainability?   The answer is simple: They are all being coached by people who don't know it's a national issue and a global competitive requirement.   First, there needs to be a real definition of broadband connectivity.   Unfortunately, the FCC is so far behind.   Its definition of broadband is 200 Kbps.   Get real.   California's 'One Gigabit or Bust' motto for broadband deployment by 2010 is pretty good to adopt nationally.   As for the FCC, we should fire many of them and let them try to find a job with their limited skill sets.   If connectivity was a war, they would be suggesting crossbows when the enemy has laser-guided Gatling guns...   The incumbent [monopoly] phone companies don't want to upset their cash cow of copper even though we live in a world of fiber and wireless...   If the space program began today, would mission control be made up of H-1B visa workers and everything at the launch pad written in English and Spanish?   Would rocket parts come from China with the leaded paint on the multi-stage rocket looking great but actually toxic and peeling off?   Should the shuttle have to accommodate illegal aliens?...   It's a long-term process.   You build for tomorrow and not for today.   You don't put enough in the ground for growth for only 2 years.   You put into the ground enough so you do not have to retrench for 20 years.   Gamers in a multi-billion-dollar industry that eclipses Hollywood's motion-picture industry would tell you in a heart-beat that they need more speed and that would help the outcome in their game with others.   Hollywood could revolutionize its whole distribution process if it could down-load first-run movies in less than 10 seconds on a gigabit line to subscribers directly.   People trading stocks always want an edge.   If they can get a 100Mbps connection, it might play a big role in getting an edge against those who only have DSL at 1.5Mbps.   What about faster gigabit speeds to transmit CAT scans or CAD drawings?...   To all the campaign strategists who think they have a pulse on the issues, wake up.   This is a real national issue, and so far, none of you have a clue.   I am tired of hearing about issues that were either settled 20 years ago or are questionable as to being real or junk science.   Having a second-rate national network infrastructure and losing economic sustainability in both rural and urban regions is real today.   Ask anyone who has had to take a job at 50% of their salary in the last 5 years.   Forget the unemployment figures.   Underemployment of highly skilled workers is rampant and is a real problem.   Can't figure it out?   Try looking at sky-rocketing foreclosures, slumping new car sales and other economic indicators that the 'experts' can't seem to piece together.   This isn't rocket science.   Economic development equals broadband connectivity, broadband connectivity equals jobs and jobs equal votes.   Get your candidates up to speed or get them out of the race."

2007-11-21
_University of Texas_
2007-2008 Fall/Spring Tuition Costs
"In the early 1970s the state paid for nearly 85% of the cost of running the educational side of The University of Texas at Austin.   Today, the state-appropriated fraction of the total budget for UT Austin is below 20%.   The growing gap between what it costs to run the university and what the state is able to contribute has been covered in part by private donations, efficiency and other actions taken by the university."

2007-11-21 (5768 Kislev 11)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
The Greatest Generation
"When the greatest generation was born, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.5%.   As they are now dying off, federal spending is 20% of GDP and that doesn't include government meddling.   If the grand-parents of the greatest generation were asked to describe their contacts or relationship with the federal government, after a puzzled look, straining their recollection faculties, they might answer, 'I used to chat with the mailman once in a while.'   Today, there is little any American can do without some form of federal control, whether it's how much water we can use to flush a toilet, what kind of car we drive or how we prepare for retirement.   Congress manages our lives in ways unimaginable to our ancestors through agencies created by the greatest generation, such as Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration and a host of alphabet agencies such as EPA, DoL, BLM, CDCP and DoT...   A society's first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values.   These behavioral norms, mostly transmitted by example, word-of-mouth and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error.   They include important thou-shalt-nots such as shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and cheat, but they also include all those courtesies one might call lady-like and gentlemanly conduct...   If there's an American generation that can justifiably be called the greatest generation, it's that generation responsible for the founding of our nation -- men such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington and millions of their fellow countrymen.   This is the generation that threw off one form of oppression and laid the foundations for unprecedented human liberty."

2007-11-21
Bob Champman _Gold $eek_
International Forecaster 2007 November (#6) - Gold, Silver, Economy + More
"We have often reported that since 1971/08/15 it has been all down hill for the American economy.   That is the date we left the Gold Standard...   Our low and moderate-income earners have been virtually shut out from upward income and social mobility.   Those with high school educations or less are confronted with stiff competition from illegal aliens...   Their wages and purchasing power has been decimated and business and corporate profits have exploded.   It's nothing less than a form of corporate enslavement.   Those who go to university and put themselves into debt find those good paying jobs under free trade and globalization have been offshored or outsourced to some distant land...   Employers do not even have to offer a livable wage.   There are plenty of illegal aliens or people in [Red China], India or Mexico who will do the job for less.   Labor unions are almost extinct and workers overall have little bargaining power.   We often see college graduates earning $32K to $50K a year.   As we look back 1945 to 1971, were the golden years of employment and upward mobility.   Hard work, brains and education are no longer a ticket to a better life.   This is why we promote an end of illegal immigration and a reintroduction of protective tariffs, because without them we cannot survive economically, financially and culturally.   Above all in addition we badly need a major political upheaval.   Most Republicans and Democrats in national office are either bought off by campaign contributions or are compromised.   We need a third party to break what is essentially a one-party monopoly.   We have to stop H-1B type programs because they are used to bypass American workers so business can hire foreigners for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost.   The program should be terminated..."

2007-11-21
Bernhard Warner _Times of London_
Stuck in net's slow lane
"while travelling through Seoul and Tokyo, hearing a fair number of references to 100 megabit-per-second (Mbps) home connections.   I kept quiet: I poke along at about 5Mbps here in Rome for a service that Telecom Italia advertises as 20Mbps.   [Sprint/Embarq, meanwhile, offers only 0.512Mbps to most customers.]...   According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF [pdf]), the Japanese zip around the net at an average speed of 61Mbps.   The Koreans clock in, on average, at 45.6Mbps.   In Europe, the speediest countries are Finland, Sweden and France, with average broadband speeds of 21.7, 18.2 and 17.6Mbps respectively.   Across the Atlantic, Canada rings up 7.6Mbps and the United States, in the middle of the pack, comes in at 4.8Mbps.   And what about Britain?   Near the bottom, with a plodding 2.6Mbps."

2007-11-21 (5768 Kislev 11)
John Stossel _Jewish World Review_
Tragedy of the Commons part 1

2007-11-21
DJIA12,799.04
S&P 5001,416.77
NASDAQ2,562.15
10-year US T-Bond4.02%
crude oil$97.29/barrel
gold$798.60/ounce
silver$14.42/ounce
platinum$1,467.20/ounce
palladium$357.95/ounce
copper$0.1805/ounce
natgas$7.55/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.4371/gal
heatingoil$2.6874/gal

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

2007-11-22

There wasn't much of note for today.
 

2007-11-23

2007-11-23
Ryan Grim _Politico_
Guest-worker rules challenged
"Representative George Miller (D-CA) sent a strongly worded letter earlier this week to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, objecting to an administrative attempt to loosen rules on companies that hire guest workers.   The Department of Labor rejected Miller's assertion that its interpretation is illegal.   At issue is whether agricultural employers can hire foreign guest workers without first doing multistate recruiting of U.S. citizens or other legal residents.   Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, argues that the law is clear and that the agency must require recruiting.   The Labor Department says not necessarily.   Immigration reform proved too difficult an issue for Congress to deal with this session; the squabble over the... guest-worker program -- known as H-2A -- shows how tough comprehensive reform will be.   The recent jostling over recruitment is just the pre-season.   The Department of Labor is set to announce broad reforms any day now, although agency spokes-woman Jennifer Coxe said she is not sure when the regulations -- which are almost finished -- will be released...   The major problem the farms have with the current requirement, she said, is the costly 'pages and pages' of newspaper ads that have had to be taken out in urban areas.   'These people are not going to leave a city environment to join a migrant stream and go into a rural area for temporary and seasonal jobs.   They're looking for full-time employment.', she said."

2007-11-23
DJIA12,980.88
S&P 5001,440.70
NASDAQ2,596.60
10-year US T-Bond4.01%
crude oil$98.18/barrel
gold$824.70/ounce
silver$14.735/ounce
platinum$1,483.00/ounce
palladium$361.50/ounce
copper$0.1869375/ounce
natgas$7.70/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.467/gal
heatingoil$2.7042/gal

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

2007-11-24

2007-11-24
Cliff Shirk _Lodi News-Sentinel_
FBI agents raided the offices of NORFED
"both the United States Mint and the Federal Reserve have admitted that what the company was doing was perfectly legal...   Earlier this year the company began minting two new coins, the 2008 'Peace Dollar' with the words 'STOP THE WAR' on the reverse side and the 2008 coin commemorating the presidential campaign of Ron Paul.   The Feds just have to stop representative Ron Paul somehow, since he is the only presidential candidate who is pro-liberty."
Liberty Dollar .org

2007-11-24
Adrian L. Arp, PhD _Ag Weekly_
Taxes and wolves need to go
"Unfair trade has resulted in the loss of 3.2M manufacturing jobs since 2000 as U.S. companies move production and jobs over-seas and caused our trade deficit to escalate to $763.6G in 2006.   The Border Tax Equity Act (HR2600) will correct inequities that currently disadvantage U.S. producers to a cost of $379G a year!   The Value Added Tax (VAT) averaging 15.7% is used by 94% of foreign countries to cheat the U.S.A.   First, foreign companies are subsidized through a tax rebate that export to the U.S.A.   Secondly, U.S. exporters are subject to double taxation.   They pay direct U.S. taxes and are VAT taxed to get products and services admitted into foreign countries.   The Canadian Gray Wolf was never native to Idaho and was dumped on us illegally and should be exterminated!...   The Wildlands goal is to make 50% of the U.S.A. into a game preserve.   This, along with the man-cause global warming fraud, is a United Nations power grab disguised as an attempt to save wildlife and the environment!   Congress should pass HR2600, stop funding The Wildlands Project, and pass HR1146, sponsored by presidential candidate representative Ron Paul, to get out of the United Nations!"

2007-11-24
"Thor H. Asgardson" _American Chronicle_
Liberty Teeth for Turkey Day
"The Supreme Court -- you know, the same people who brought us Kelo v. The City of New London, and the Dred Scott Decision -- have announced that they will 'decide' whether to circumvent the mandate given by The Father of Our Country, for the American people to possess firearms, 'everywhere'...   The American people have had a bellyful of collectivist theories as of late, for we perceive our government to now be a communist entity, which permits the American nation to be devoured by the corporate carcharodon, and occupied by waves of foreign invaders...   The modus operandi to this erosion of American sovereignty, is the proposed NAU/SPP, combined with the LOST treaty, which will hit our nation with a double whammy, for the final knock-out punch to our super-power status...   'If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation then by deflation, the banks and the corporations will grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.   The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.' -- Thomas Jefferson, The Debate Over The Recharter of the Bank Bill (1809)   It is the United Nations, which would give us global taxation without representation, and have us pledge allegiance to the New World Order.   It is the United Nations which would cripple the United States as a maritime power, by imposing the Law of the Sea Treaty.   And it is the United Nations which has set the precedent for invasion of the sovereignty of any state by the world community, with the invasion of Iraq."

2007-11-24
Donald A. Collins _V Dare_
As 66th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Approaches, Democrat Calls For WWII Action On Immigration

2007-11-24
_KY2 Springfield MO_
Parents Look for Toys Made in USA
"Americans have seen recall after recall, and most of those toys are made in [Red China].   So Chamberlain is shopping the specialty toy store, Gold Minds, hoping to find toys made in the USA.   They have a few, like some wooden letter trains, a wooden puzzle toy made for small children, and Do-a-Dot art supplies, but most of the toys, even there, are made in [Red China]...   At K-Mart, we found a plastic bowling set, and several games like Candyland and Sorry.   Buying American made may make shopping tougher this year, but parents say it's worth the work...   most Playmobil toys are made in Germany, and most Legos are made in Denmark.   But it's tough to find toys made in the USA, because about 80% are made in [Red China]."
links to info about goods made in the USA
 

2007-11-25

2007-11-25
Richard Daughty _Gold $eek_
Economic He** to Pay
"In fact, musician Steve Dore, troubadour of real money and now of Ron Paul's candidacy, sang the immortal line about recessions and busts that follow monetary booms, which is that, 'It's not a matter of if, but when.'"

2007-11-25
Michael Woodhead _Times of London_
Germany firms that off-shored work to Poland and Romania are rapidly retrenching
"In the Czech Republic, research costs were 12% lower, and in Poland wages only a sixth of comparable German jobs.   In Hungary, by 2005 German companies accounted for a third of all inward investment...   By 2004 employment in German subsidiaries in eastern Europe rose to 750K, a 20-fold increase over the early 1990s...   The last straw was the Polish penchant for stealing German cars...   An incentive to return has been the long-awaited German recovery.   After 6 years of stagnation the economy picked up significantly last year.   Unit labour costs have fallen by more than 3% and wages have barely risen, held down partly by the threat from management to relocate abroad.   East Germany is undergoing something of a revival as a result.   Growth this year in the former communist state is expected to be 3%, higher than the predicted 2% for the whole country."

2007-11-25
_San Diego Union-Tribune_
Candidates for president on the issues
"Representative Duncan Hunter of Alpine: Says health insurance would be more affordable if it were available across state lines.   Voted against increasing funding for State Children's Health Insurance Program.   Voted to limit damages in medical malpractice suits.   Voted to ban physician-assisted suicide.   Representative Ron Paul of Texas: Voted against capping malpractice damages.   Voted for tax-exempt medical savings accounts.   Voted against a ban on physician-assisted suicide.   Favors abolishing Medicare and leaving it to the states...   Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado: Favors health insurance pools for people not covered by employers.   Voted to limit malpractice damages.   Voted for tax-exempt medical savings accounts.   Voted to ban physician-assisted suicide."

2007-11-25
Frosty Wooldridge _Op Ed News_
Water Scarcity Is Here Now
"If ever a wake-up call, the vanishing waters of the lake portend water shortages for 5M people -- today.   Nonetheless, the Peach State expects to grow from 9M people in 2007 to 16.4M by 2050.   Hello!   Anybody with a brain at home?"

2007-11-25
Lew Rockwell
Re: National Review on Ron Paul backers
"There is no religious test or, more important, no anti-religious test. Just our political creed of personal freedom, economic freedom, sound money, tolerance, and peace."

2007-11-25
_Monsters & Critics_
Ron Paul's growing poll numbers vex main-stream media
"Ron Paul keeps going and going; his supporters are seemingly impervious to the barbs that paint them as disenfranchised...   Dr. Paul is a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate, he has called for abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA and several Cabinet-level agencies.   Dr. Paul is a staunch opponent of abortion, he nonetheless believes that federal bans violate the basic principle of delegating powers to the states.   Dr. Paul is in favor of increased immigration enforcement and a border wall with Mexico and he is the only GOP candidate to come out against any form of national ID card.   Dr. Paul's demands for a constitutionally pared-down government has won an interesting array of supporters, including singer-songwriters John Mayer and Barry Manilow.   On ABC's 'This Week' George Will cautioned fellow pundits, 'Don't forget my man Ron Paul', in the New Hampshire primary.   Jake Tapper added: 'He really is the one true straight talker in this race.'...   All of these facts are unsettling to main-stream organizations and lobby members of special interests who would fall under a Paul presidency.   The authoritarian establishment feels threatened according to some observers."

2007-11-25
Lew Rockwell
Fred Flails at Fox
"Thompson accuses the Neocon Network of slamming him from the beginning (though it's been kid-gloves compared to the Fox assaults on Ron Paul, of course).   But since Judith Regan has revealed just how pro-Rudy Fox is, I am sure Fred is right.   Indeed, from now on, I will think of of Fox as Fiuliani."

2007-11-25
David Sirota _San Francisco Chronicle_
Was Perot right about NAFTA?
"But Clinton's flippant comments and feigned memory lapse about NAFTA were the bigger mistakes in that they insulted the millions of Americans (Perot voters or otherwise) harmed by the trade pact.   These are people who have seen their jobs outsourced and paychecks slashed thanks to a trade policy forcing them into a wage-cutting war with oppressed foreign workers.   Why is Clinton desperate to avoid discussing NAFTA?   Because she and other congressional Democrats are currently pushing a Peru Free Trade Agreement at the behest of their corporate campaign contributors -- an agreement expanding the unpopular NAFTA model.   When pressed, Clinton claims she is for a 'time-out' from such trade deals -- but, as her husband might say, it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is, because she simultaneously supports the NAFTA expansion.   Of course, this deviousness is precisely why it is worth asking about Perot's predictions: to make sure America has an informed and honest discussion about impending new trade policies before they are enacted...   In 1993, the Clinton White House and an army of corporate lobbyists were selling NAFTA as a way to aid Mexican and American workers.   Perot, on the other hand, was predicting that because the deal included no basic labor standards, it would preserve a huge 'wage differential between the United States and Mexico' that would result in 'the giant sucking sound' of American jobs heading south of the border.   Corporations, he said, would 'close the factories in the U.S.A. [and] move the factories to Mexico [to] take advantage of the cheap labor'...   The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports, 'Real wages for most Mexicans today are lower than when NAFTA took effect.'   Post-NAFTA, companies looking to exploit those low wages relocated factories to Mexico.   According to the Economic Policy Institute, the net effect of NAFTA was the elimination of 1M American jobs."

2007-11-25
Steve Sailer _V Dare_
IQ, Immigration, Fertility & Effects of Over-Population

2007-11-25
Ian Brockwell _American Chronicle_
Choose the best deal: Liberty
"No one likes the idea of being controlled, but it has always been that way (since the beginning of time).   However, if this is how it is going to be, we should choose the option that is best for us.   Russian's have made that choice, they really do see Putin as a leader who can give them the future they are looking for.   American's can do the same, if they stop voting for the politicians the media select for them, and choose a candidate they truly believe can give them the deal they are looking for.   Ron Paul seems to offer that opportunity, but do the people have the courage to follow their own hearts, or the suggestions of the media?"
 

2007-11-26

2007-11-26 04:51PST (07:51EST) (12:51GMT)
Andrea Thompson _Live Science_
Fake Photos Alter Real Memories
Yahoo!
"researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Padua in Italy showed 299 people aged 19 to 84 either an actual photo or an altered photo of two historical events, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and the 2003 anti-war protest in Rome...   detailed in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.  'It's potentially a form of human engineering that could be applied to us against our knowledge and against our wishes, and we ought to be vigilant about it.', said UC Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, who designed the study.   'With the addition of a few little upsetting and arousing elements in the Rome protest photo, people remembered this peaceful protest as being more violent than it was, and as a society we have to figure how we can regulate this.'"

2007-11-26
_HomeLand Security Today_
USCG HQ Pieces Together Verification Puzzle: Data-Base Integration
"The US Coast Guard (USCG) continues to lead the way in providing access control and identity authentication in the Department of Homeland Security.   The USCG Headquarters Support Command, for example, has integrated four systems together to fulfill the goal of verifying the identities of everyone entering the building.   Wayne Truax, the headquarters' chief of security and safety, directs the systems to provide a means to meet the requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, which commands most federal agencies to install systems that permit physical and logical systems access to authorized individuals only...   Maxxess authenticates more than 58K entries per month, Truax reported...   Finally, USCG Headquarters uses an authentication system from L-1 Identity Solutions to verify the identities of people who do not possess a building access card or CAC card.   About 3K credentials a month are verified through the Authenticate Document Reader, originally offered by Viisage Technology Inc., now a part of L-1 Identity Solutions...   Last June, iAuthenticate detected a string of fake IDs being used to access the loading dock at USCG Headquarters through laborers.   The Coast Guard called in the Federal Protective Service, which launched an investigation with DC police.   They traced the fake IDs back to a ring in Washington and arrested 5 people who created the IDs."

2007-11-26
Frosty Wooldridge _Border Fire Report_
Methods for Average Citizens to Stop Alien Invasion
"Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said, 'Western civilization is at stake over massive, unrelenting immigration.'...   Kathleene Parker [said] 'There is a great deal of stark data, domestically and internationally, with which I am sure most of you are familiar, but that this is not being reported on massively illustrates what is either the profound ignorance of the media or the blatant prejudice of the media.'"

2007-11-26,br /> Heather Timmons & J. Adam Huggins _NY Times_
NY Man-Hole Covers are Molded By BareFoot Workers in India and Bangladesh
"Seemingly impervious to the heat from the metal, the workers at one of West Bengal's many foundries relied on strength and bare hands rather than machinery.   Safety precautions were barely in evidence; just a few pairs of eye goggles were seen in use on a recent visit.   The foundry, Shakti Industries in Haora, produces manhole covers for Con Edison and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, as well as for departments in New Orleans and Syracuse.   The scene was as spectacular as it was anachronistic: flames, sweat and liquid iron mixing in the smoke like something from the Middle Ages."

2007-11-26
R.J. Stove _V Dare_
Enter the Dragon: Australia Imports a New Elite
"Peter Wilkinson, editor of the quarterly Independent Australian, brought out The Howard Legacy: Displacement of Traditional Australia from the Professional and Managerial Classes (Independent Australian Publications, Post Office Box 8, Essendon 3040, Victoria, Australia, 2007, 170 pp).   A past president of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute , Dr. Wilkinson comprehensively knows whereof he speaks.   The Howard Legacy is entirely unmarred by the crank-pamphlet Gestalt.   Its author has concentrated severely upon number-crunching (Steve Sailer will enjoy reading this study).   It bears no personal rancor towards the Chinese immigrants whose invasion he chronicles.   When a government is foolish enough and short-sighted enough to roll out the welcome mat regardless of the possibilities for long-term assimilation, then, as Dr. Wilkinson says, "Who can blame people for taking advantage of these policies if they can?'   In table after table, diagram after diagram, Dr. Wilkinson explains the trends.   Once John Howard first obtained office in 1996, he immediately cut back on immigration from all sources.   In the 1995-96 fiscal year 99,139 immigrants were admitted; the annual total fell to 85,732 in 1996-97 and then to 77,327 in 1997-98.   But then it crept up after Howard's narrow victory in the 1998 election to a postwar peak of 107,366 in 2000-01.   Another cut-back followed this peak; the totals for 2001-02 and 2002-03 were respectively 88,900 and 93,914 immigrants.   But by 2003-04 the total was ballooning again: in 2005-06 we had another postwar peak of 131,593.   (A much more detailed statistical break-down of immigrants; arrival patterns over the last decade can be found here.   [Settler arrivals 1996-1997 to 2006-2007 Australia States and territories (PDF)])   To give Howard credit, he remained tough on illegal immigration, ever since his deeds in 2001.   It was legal immigration that he encouraged and increased to record levels.   But his 2001 success meant that his opponent declared his own opposition to illegal immigration, too.   [Rudd to turn back boat-people, By Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 2007 November 23]...   Dr. Wilkinson takes us on a guided tour of the giggle-house now euphemistically known in Australia as 'university education', with its zeal for handing out degrees to even the most inept foreign students.   He quotes the surreptitious (and, necessarily, anonymous) confessions of the academics faced with such students: such as 'I give them 51% to get them out of my hair.', and 'An audit demonstrated that it was almost exclusively international students who appealed against penalties.'   The little darlings are impressively gifted in plagiarism also.   Encouraged, no doubt, by the plagiarism-mania already flourishing locally at the highest levels, thanks to the likes of David Robinson, former boss of Melbourne's Monash University, who resigned after the third time he was caught committing plagiarism."

2007-11-26
David Berlind _Ziff Davis_
Privacy of health records is low

2007-11-26
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Leaderless and Clueless America Heads for the Trash Can of History
 
 

  "It is of more importance to the community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world that all of them cannot be punished, and many times they happen in such a manner that it is not of much consequence to the public whether they are punished or not.   But when innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, 'It is immaterial to me whether I do well or ill, for virtue is no security.'.   And if such sentiment as this should take place in the mind of the subject there would be an end to all security whatsoever." --- John Adams  

 

2007-11-27

2007-11-27
_News & Observer_
U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords to Discuss High-Tech Visa Deform Legislation at Optical Engineering Firm Breault Research

2007-11-27
Chris Strohm _Government Executive_/_National Journal Technology Daily_
Prints of 10 fingers to be required at some ports
"The department will require foreigners arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, DC, to provide 10 finger-prints under an expanded version of the US-VISIT migrant-tracking system.   The system will be deployed at 9 other airports by next March, a US-VISIT spokes-woman said...   According to the department's schedule, the upgraded US-VISIT system will be deployed at 107 other airports by Dec. 31, 2008.   Additionally, the department will begin collecting 10 finger-prints of international travelers at seaports and land ports by that date.   The system is only used during secondary screening procedures at land crossings."

2007-11-27 07:15PST (10:14EST) (15:14GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Conference board consumer confidence sank to 2-year low of 87.3
"The percentage saying conditions were bad increased to 19.1% from 16.6%, while those saying conditions are good fell to 22.3% from 23.2%.   The percentage who believes hiring will slow in the next 6 months increased to 23.1% from 20.2%, while the percentage who thinks hiring will pick up fell to 10.8% from 13.3%.   Consumers think inflation will worsen in the year ahead.   The 12-month inflation expectation rose to 5.7% from 5.1% in October."

2007-11-27 08:42PST (11:42EST) (16:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Home prices down 4.5% since a year ago: Some cheer while others are despondent

2007-11-27 11:05PST (14:05EST) (19:05GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _MarketWatch_
FCC chief's cable crack-down resisted
"Chairman Kevin Martin wanted to use a new FCC study detailing the size of the cable industry's market share as a springboard to tighten regulations.   His stated goal is to lower cable prices for consumers...   At issue is the so-called 70/70 provision in a 1984 federal law governing the cable industry.   The provision gives more power to the FCC to regulate the industry if the agency determines that cable is available to 70% of U.S. households, and that 70% of those who can receive cable actually subscribe.   As recently as last year, the FCC's own calculation put the cable industry's market share at slightly under 60%.   Yet the new FCC study was expected to report that cable's share actually topped 70%, relying on questionable data from one independent research firm...   A few recent studies commissioned by consumer-interest groups that back tighter regulation on the industry claim that cable has surpassed a 70% market share...   In the most recent third quarter, for example, stiffer competition and the slowing U.S. economy cost cable leader Comcast Corp. about 65K basic cable customers, while Time Warner lost 83K.   The biggest source of competition is the satellite industry, mainly DirecTV and EchoStar Communications Corp.   The pair cater to more than 30M customers and both gained subscribers in the third quarter, though at a slower rate."

2007-11-27 14:19PST (17:19EST) (22:19GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Fed doesn't want to cut, but continuing credit woes may force its hand

2007-11-27
Chuck Baldwin _V Dare_
More Reasons To Beware Of Mike Huckabee: Mexican Consular Scandal And Other Ethical Questions

2007-11-27
Michelle Malkin _V Dare_
Fuzzy Math: A Nationwide Epidemic

2007-11-27
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Impending Destruction of the US Economy

2007-11-27 (5768 Kislev 17)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
That "Top One Percent"
"Virtually anyone who owns a home in San Francisco, no matter how modest that person's income may be, can join the top 1% instantly just by selling their house.   But that's only good for one year, you may say.   What if they don't have another house to sell next year?   Well, they won't be in the top 1% again next year, will they?   But that's not unusual.   Americans in the top 1%, like Americans in most income brackets, are not there permanently, despite being talked about and written about as if they are an enduring 'class' -- especially by those who have overdosed on the magic formula of 'race, class and gender', which has replaced thought in many intellectual circles.   At the highest income levels, people are especially likely to be transient at that level.   Recent data from the Internal Revenue Service show that more than half the people who were in the top 1% in 1996 were no longer there in 2005.   Among the top 0.01%, three-quarters of them were no longer there at the end of the decade."

2007-11-27 15:31PST (18:31EST) (23:31GMT)
Jon Tevlin _Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Tech workers see reality reflected in "Chuck"
"'The difference between the show and us is they actually do things on the weekends, while we read technical maintenance manuals.', said Alex Smith, a large guy whose hair is combed into a large dorsal fin atop his head. 'And he actually gets to go on dates. I'm still working on that one.'...   Chuck, played by Zachary Levi, somehow gets the entire U.S. intelligence data-base downloaded into his brain. So, despite being an amiable wonk under-employed by a giant retailer, Chuck becomes a subject of national security, and a government agent."

2007-11-27 (5768 Kislev 17)
Daniel Pipes _Jewish World Review_
Will Palestinians accept Israel as the Jewish State?
 

2007-11-28

2007-11-28
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Weakness in high tech: Durable goods orders down again
"orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell for the third straight month in October, falling 0.4%, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday...   Durable-goods orders fell a revised 1.4% in September...   Orders for computers and electronics (excluding semiconductors) fell 8.4%."

2007-11-28 (5768 Kislev 18)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Bitter Partisan Politics
"Some people complain about bitter partisan politics.   I welcome it.   The greater the number of decisions made in the political arena the greater the conflict...   With these strong preferences for particular cars and computers, we never see people arguing or fighting in an effort to impose their preferences for cars and computers on other people.   There's car and computer peace.   Why? You buy the car and computer that you want; I do likewise and we remain friends...   Suppose our car and computer choices were made in the political arena through representative democracy or through a plebiscite where majority ruled...   I guarantee you there would be nasty, bitter conflict between otherwise peaceful car and computer buyers.   Each person would have reason to enter into conflict with those having different car and computer tastes because one person's win would necessarily be another person's loss.   It would be what game theorists call a zero-sum game.   How would you broker a peace with these parties in conflict?   If you're not a tyrant, I'm betting you'd say, 'Take the decision out of the political arena and let people buy whatever car and computer they wish.'...   Prayers in school, sex education and 'intelligent design' are contentious school issues.   I believe parents should have the right to decide whether their children will say a morning prayer in school, be taught 'intelligent design' and not be given school-based sex education.   I also believe other parents should have the right not to have their children exposed to prayers in school, 'intelligent design' and receive sex education.   The reason why these issues produce conflict is because education is government-produced...   Just as in the car and computer examples, the solution is to take the production of education out of the political arena.   The best way is to end all government involvement in education.   Failing to get government completely out of education, we should recognize that because government finances something it doesn't follow that government must produce it.   Government finances F-22 Raptor fighter jets, but there's no government factory producing them.   The same could be done in education.   We could finance education collectively through tuition tax credits or educational vouchers, but allow parents to choose, much like we did with the GI Bill.   Government financed the education, but the veterans chose the school.   Government allocation of resources enhances the potential for human conflict, while market allocation reduces it.   That also applies to contentious national issues such as [Socialist Insecurity] and health care.   You take care of your retirement and health care as you please, and I'll take care of mine as I please."

2007-11-28
Thomas Brewton _View from 1776_
One-World Socialism vs. The English Language
"House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has found a Constitutional right for immigrants not to learn English.   Auguste Comte, a principal progenitor of socialism in the 1830s, advocated the Religion of Humanity, in which all the world's peoples were expected to worship at the altar of atheistic materialism, uniting under the tutelage of French intellectuals.   Following Comte's lead, liberal educators since John Dewey's day have taught students that the world is inevitably evolving toward a single world government encompassing all peoples and all cultures.   In the last presidential election campaign, liberal Senators John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy declared that American foreign policy is not legitimate unless it is validated by the UN.   Only the use of the English language seems to be following that universalist script.   Some years ago, when the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer was still the McNeil-Lehrer News Hours, Robin McNeil produced a 13-segment program on 'The Story of English'.   Among other things, Mr. McNeil noted that English is de facto now the world's universal language, spoken and understood in more parts of the world than any other language.   Even Japanese commercial pilots landing in Tokyo communicate with airport control towers in English..."

2007-11-28
Phillip Milano _Jacksonville Florida Times-Union_
Nursing is not a hot career choice today
"Nursing evolved into a strictly knowledge-based profession, and managed-care companies now see the loving, caring aspect as unimportant; what they seek is efficiency -- covering 5 patients instead of 2, he said.   'Nurses feel cheated because they can't care for patients.', Dworkin said.   'There's nothing to make her special.   You become a grunt who works hard but feels as if you have no distinctive identity -- you're just another provider, like orderlies or maintenance people.'"

2007-11-28 13:12PST (16:12EST) (21:12GMT)
_Reuters_
Congress threatens to pass fast-track if evil Doha agreement is reached
"Top Brazilian and Indian trade officials have recently complained the White House's lack of trade promotion authority -- also known as fast track trade legislation -- was an impediment to finishing the 6-year-old world trade talks."

2007-11-28
Jerome R. Corsi _World Net Daily_
Publicity has put a crimp in SPP/North American Union plans: Taking an even lower profile
"'The opposition in all 3 countries has exposed the SPP North American integration agenda.', wrote Stuart Trew, a researcher and writer for the Council of Canadians.   'But it is not fair to say the SPP has died altogether.'   He said the SPP 'as an over-arching project may have suffered from being exposed, but progress in North American integration will continue in many different areas of public policy as long as the trilateral working groups remain in place and the bureaucrats from the 3 nations keep meeting'...   Trew noted John Nay, the U.S. general consul in Toronto, earlier told the Marie Chamber of Commerce in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the North American Forum is a 'sister organization to the SPP'.   The 2006 speech is archived on the web site of the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, and includes Nay's reference to the SPP, 'Recently Banff was host to a sister organization, the second meeting of the North American Forum.   For those of you who are not familiar with the North American Forum, it is a less official group that sprang up as a parallel structure to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.'"
From Nay's 2006-10-19 Speech: SPP & Forum
 
Our 2 governments also have cooperated to ensure that the border respects the American concern for security while not hindering the prosperity that comes with trade.   In 2005, our 2 country's leaders, along with President Vicente Fox of Mexico, entered into the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the SPP, which envisions these 3 dynamic countries working together to increase the prosperity of all our citizens while strengthening our borders against those who wish to derail it.   The 3 leaders met again in Cancun this Spring and Canada plans to host the 2007 meeting.
 
Recently Banff was host to a sister organization, the second meeting of the North American Forum.   For those of you who are not familiar with the North American Forum, it is a less official group that sprang up as a parallel structure to the security and prosperity partnership of North America.   Originally it began as a forum to bring opinion makers together.   Business, academic and community leaders gathered together with government officials from the 3 countries of North America to begin to discuss North American security and to develop and put forth suggestions to see if there was some way that together the governments -- working with the private sector and universities and NGOs -- could begin to create a vision for North America and spell out how governments could work together better to fashion more productive cooperation and address the kinds of problems we saw in the immediate aftermath of September 11.
 
It was particularly appropriate that the conference in Banff immediately followed Secretary Rice's visit to Halifax to thank the people of Canada for their hospitality for stranded air passengers on September 11.   The timing linked the tragic events of September 11 to what has come out of it, which is a real examination of what North America is and an effort to understand how we, as different as we are in our identities and as different as we are in our national sovereignty -- Canada, the United States, and Mexico -- share a common place.   Increasingly we share a common market, and are connected demographically and culturally, and it is only by understanding this relationship and looking for ways to enhance that degree of connectedness that we are going to remain competitive in the world.   Then we will be in a position to protect our open societies against threats to our values and our security -- threats that are not going away any time soon.   This leads me to my last topic, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

 

2007-11-28
Brenda Walker _V Dare_
Immigrants good and bad: Myth vs. Reality

2007-11-28
_CNN_
YouTube interview of Republican candidates for president: transcript part 1
part 2

2007-11-28 (5768 Kislev 18)
John Stossel _Jewish World Review_
The free market does it better

2007-11-28 (5768 Kislev 18)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Expanding Opportunities
"Professor Richard Vedder of Ohio University and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, says that there are already too many people going to college.   My own experience in academia leads me to agree with Professor Vedder.   Wanting to be in college is not the same as wanting an education...   More important, the negative effect of students who are not serious can be detrimental to the education of those who are.   I found this to be true in each of the 5 colleges and universities where I taught, as well as in each of the 3 universities from which I received degrees.   The sizes of the classes and the campuses can also have an impact...   It was not just that the remaining students were better than the ones who left, they were better than they themselves had been in a class atmosphere that was different when influenced by less serious students."
 
 

2007-11-29

2007-11-29 05:30PST (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 323,171 in the week ending Nov. 24, a decrease of 174 from the previous week.   There were 323,509 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.7% during the week ending Nov. 17, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,222,940, a decrease of 67,476 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 1.6% and the volume was 2,074,608.   Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending Nov. 10."
graphs

2007-11-29 08:05PST (11:05EST) (16:05GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims -- both initial and continuing -- jumped

2007-11-29
R.F. Blader _CounterPunch_
How Flex-Time Can Be Abused

2007-11-29
Dennis Behreandt _John Birch Society_
CNN relegating Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter to the shadows
link to source info
"CNN [played] favorites during its YouTube debate, largely ignoring 3 candidates with serious, well-considered positions on the issues of the day...   Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter were ignored in comparison.   The members of the latter trio differ on some issues -- as one might expect.   But what they have in common is a serious, well-considered, well-informed adult outlook on the issues.   It is possible that viewers might disagree with some of the various positions taken by Paul, Hunter, and Tancredo.   But what everyone should like about these three is that they are obviously capable of thinking for themselves and are seemingly unafraid to stand by their conclusions, even in the face of sustained opposition.   By comparison, the other sound-bite candidates are children, subservient to peer pressure, just going along to get along."
Here are our counts for how long each candidate spoke during the first part of the debate
Romney7:03, during 9 times
McCain5:09, during 4 times
Giuliani5:08, during 9 times
Thompson4:38, during 4 times
Huckabee4:14, during 5 times
Paul3:27, during 4 times
Tancredo2:20, during 4 times
Hunter2:16, during 3 times

2007-11-29
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
More Immigrants & Illegal Aliens on the Dole than Native US Citizens
"Both immigrants and illegal aliens are more likely to be poor and to use welfare programs than native-born Americans because they come to the country with lower levels of education, according to a new study looking at U.S. Census Bureau data.   'The problem here is not work, or a lack of willingness to work; it's not legal status; it's educational level at arrival.', said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, which is releasing the report today."

2007-11-29
Rachel Williams _Guardian_
Red Chinese government fully-engaged in cyber-war

2007-11-29
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1789
Indian-American organizations made lobbying push in October
A substantial lobbying campaign by a coalition of Indian-American special interest groups took place in Washington DC in 2007 October.   Details are almost non-existent, but I have been able to piece together a few things that occurred.   There is virtually nothing on the internet about this lobbying campaign, so the information is somewhat sketchy, and could contain minor factual errors.
 
--------------------------------------
Major organizations that participated
--------------------------------------
 
Indian American Forum for Political Awareness
National Federation of Indian-American Associations
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin
Immigration Voice
US India PAC
It's important to understand that these groups are not homogeneous.   Agendas and emphasis on issues were dependent upon which group managed each particular event.   For many of the participants the meetings were more of a social event where people shook hands and took photos.   For others though, it was far more than fun and games -- it was their chance to exert influence on Congress and the White House.
 
The NFIA represented an older demographic of Indian Americans who had fully integrated into American society and wished to preserve their lifesyles by limiting immigration.   Many of the NFIA people had children and were worried that the continued influx of cheap labor would affect their future careers.   As Richard Tax of the American Engineering Association wrote: "Today's Immigrant - Tomorrow's Victim".
 
USInPac, IAFPA, and ImmigrationVoice were younger and more concerned with expanding H-1B and green cards than other issues.   There was a clear generation gap between those Indians who were first or second generation citizens, and those that were Indian nationals with visas.
 
H-1B and immigration weren't the only issues of concern either.   Other hot topics included the following:
* Discussions on searches of Sikhs who wear turbans to airports.
* Race related hate-crimes against various portions of the Hindu/Indian/Muslim/Pakistan community.
* The Nuclear technology treaty.
* US-India relations under Bush and their hopes for the future.
 
The following is a brief summary of the itinerary and what happened.
 
------------------------------------
Congressional Luncheon (2007/10/18)
Rayburn 2168 11:00-14:30
------------------------------------
 
The NFIA has organized a Washington DC event every year for about 25 years.   The luncheon was mostly a social event and probably less organized than the meetings that followed it.   Ostensibly this meeting was to socialize but there was more to it than meets the eye.   Indian cuisine probably wasn't on the mind of the politicians who attended as much as the fragrant aroma of cash.   If there is any doubt in your mind about the capabilities of USINPAC to spread the payola go to this page to see pictures of our politicians as they pig out at the trough.
Unfortunately a complete list of attendees isn't available.   There were Republicans that attended but I don't have their names (note: I'm not picking on Democrats).   The following Representatives were definitely at the luncheon:
McDermott (D-WA)
Ackerman (D-NY)
Berman (D-CA)
Honda (D-CA)
Hoyer (D-MD)
Levin (D-MI)
Pallone (D-NJ)
Meeks (D-NY)
Van Hollen (D-MA)
Davis (D-IL)
Royce (R-CA)
 
------------------------------------
White House Briefing Gold Room
2007/10/18 15:30-17:00
------------------------------------
The purpose of the White House briefing was to have a dialogue with Bush's people.
 
Bush staff in attendance:
1) Brian McCormack
2) Todd Bronstein
3) Deborah Nirmala
 
H-1B was the major issue of this event.   The Bush staffers gave boiler plate speeches on the importance of guest worker visas.   They also talked about how hard they had tried in their individual ways to get an expansion of visas and they lamented the fact that the Comprehensive Immigration Bill went down in flames.
 
---------------------------------------------------
Indian-American Forum on Political Awareness (IAFPA)
Rayburn Bldg, 17:30-22:00
---------------------------------------------------
 
Most of the legislators from the luncheon attended as well as a few Senators such as Cornyn (R-TX).
 
"Representative" Pallone, founder and co-chairman of the Congressional India Caucus, addressed the group.   Much to the disappointment of his audience Pallone said that they should not expect any progress on their immigration issues until after 2009.   He said the debate is too politically heated to make progress.   This was a stunning admission from a politician that has accepted generous amounts of cash donations from many of those who were sitting in the crowd.   Pallone must have been biting his tongue when he confessed that he failed to deliver the goods!
 
Senator Cornyn didn't offer the crowd comfort either -- he echoed what Pallone said.   Cornyn complained that many of his colleagues have suffered politically following fax and phone call blitzes to their offices by angry voters.   Cornyn must have been referring to various fax programs run by groups such as NumbersUSA, CAPS, JBS, and Washtech.   Cornyn's complaints should encourage and inspire all of you that have had doubts about the efficacy of the fax programs that they do work and they are heard on Capitol Hill.
 
Cornyn blabbered a lot about the need to "educate" the American public so that they will accept more H-1B visas.   That's quite funny because it seems that there are at least a few Americans who are educated on the subject, as evidenced by the fax blitzes that Cornyn whined about.
 
In conclusion, the Indian lobby groups probably didn't get much satisfaction for their efforts on the H-1B and green card issues.   They still haven't won an increase, but on the other hand, the cap of [over] 85K a year (not including exempts) hasn't been reduced either.   No meaningful reforms that would help American workers such as the Pascrell bill have been passed, and visas such as L-1 are still unlimited.
 
These ethnocentric special interest groups have at least succeeded in maintaining the status quo.   If there are no changes they win, even if it's not at the rate they would prefer.
 
The lobbying campaign was pulled off for a mere $2K.   That's quite impressive considering the large number of politicians they got access to.   Their largest expense was to cater the food at the Rayburn House.   Participants paid for their own travel and lodging.   They kept the expenses down by getting group rates at cheap motels like the Comfort Inn which cost around $60 per night.

It goes without saying that these organizations have members and a constituency who not only have a good understanding of our political system but also have the motivation to spend the time and effort necessary to make the event happen.
 
Contrast the efforts of the Indian lobbyists to that of American high-tech workers.
 
So far, after almost 18 years of H-1B, there hasn't been a single large scale face-to-face lobbying effort in Washington DC to counter the cheap labor lobby, although there have been some heroic efforts by a few individuals who have gone to Washington DC at their own expense to battle on the behalf of high-tech workers.   [Not surprising when you consider that such expeditions are expensive and impoverished Americans don't have the resources to carry them out.]
 
We can only speculate why high-tech workers have remained so silent.   Most of the Americans who are affected by H-1B, and who seem to have everything to lose by not taking action, seem to be in an apathetic malaise, and perhaps they are still overly optimistic about their future career prospects.   Meanwhile at least 300K American jobs are lost every year to H-1B, L-1, and EB green cards.
 
(Note from Rob: This page has two pictures of the luncheon meeting)
NFIA CONGRESSIONAL LUNCHEON AND THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING A SUCCESS
alternate link
The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), an umbrella organization comprising of more than 200 association members [claiming to represent] 2.3M American who trace their roots to India held a Congressional Luncheon attended by over a dozen Congressmen at the Capital Hill on 2007 October 18.   It was followed by a White House Briefing in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building.
NFIA delegates a the Capital Hill (above) and at the White House (below)
On the following day, Ambassador Ronen Sen hosted lunch for the NFIA delegates.
 
Indian American Forum For Political Education
25th Anniversary Celebration (pdf)

2007 October 18
The Capital Hill, Washington DC
Click here to Register and Buy Tickets
Program:
16:15-17:00 Registration
17:00-18:00 Panel of appointed IA's
Panelists:
Anoop Prakash, Assoc. Administrator, S.B.A; Natwar Gandhi, CFO, City of Washington,DC; Richard Verma, Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to Sen Reid; Prakash Khatri, CIS, Ombudsman, US Dept of Homeland Security; Arshi Siddiqui, Chief Economic Aide to Speaker Pelosi; Dino Teppara, Chief Aide to Cong Wilson; Korok Ray, Council of Economic Advisors, The White House.
6:00-7:00 pm Panel of US Congressmen
Panelists: McGovern (MA); Wilson (SC); Pellone (NJ); Davis (VA)
7:00-9:00 pm Reception and Keynotes
Keynote: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (invited)
Venue: Rayburn House Office Building (B 338/339)
--30--
 

2007-11-29
Patrick Thibodeau _NetworkWorld_
Grassley questions NIH and FNMA about abuse of H-1Bs
CIO
ComputerWorld
eWeek
"During fiscal 2006, which ended in September of last year, the NIH 'hired or otherwise employed' 322 people through the H-1B visa program, according to Grassley.   Fannie Mae had 141 H-1B workers during the same period, he wrote.   Grassley said in a statement that the NIH and Fannie Mae were the only federal or government-chartered entities among the top 200 users of H-1B visas in fiscal 2006, with the NIH making the top 100.   'I'm asking questions today to find out how many [tax-victim] dollars are being used to recruit foreign workers and how invested our government-backed entities are in this visa program.', Grassley said in a statement...   The senator is also seeking detailed descriptions of the steps that the NIH and Fannie Mae take to hire American workers before filling jobs with H-1B holders, plus information on the number of lay-offs made by the 2 organizations since 2002, including the job titles of affected employees...   New York City's public school system was issued 642 visas that year, putting it in 22nd place on the list of visa [abusers]."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Senator Grassley puts NIH on the spot

 
The article [above] reports on another much-appreciated move by senator Chuck Grassley to question the outrageous scam known as H-1B.   His concern, that two government agencies are big users of H-1Bs, is right on the mark.   However, he will need to go one level deeper if he wants to get at the real truth in this case.
 
Grassley found that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Fannie Mae were the only federal agencies [that are on] the list of top H-1B employers.   Here I will focus on the NIH, though similar statements could be made for Fannie Mae.
 
The NIH is our nation's chief funder of biomedical research.   This ranges quite broadly, involving not just core biology but also areas that are indirectly involved, such as epidemiology and statistics.
 
What kinds of positions is NIH filling with H-1Bs?   The answer is that most of these jobs are for research scientists, with titles like Research Fellow, Staff Scientist and soon.   (See the DoL H-1B data base)

I can tell you right now what NIH will say in reply to the senator:
 
We at NIH always prefer to hire U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and indeed H-1Bs comprise only 5% of our work force.   However, a large percentage of the enrollment in U.S. PhD programs in the sciences consists of international students.   Sadly, American students do not pursue doctoral study in sufficient numbers to produce a sufficiently large labor pool for us to draw upon, hence our need for the H-1B program.   This in turn can be traced to the poor showing of our children in international test scores in math and science.   The long-term solution is to put more emphasis on science and math at the K-12 level, and indeed NIH is funding some innovative programs aimed at bolstering instruction there.

 
Regular readers of this e-newsletter know that all of this is entirely misleading.   As I've mentioned many times, the reason American students aren't keen on doctoral study is that it just doesn't pay.   Just look at the data-base above, and you'll find that many of those positions pay only $40 or 50K.   Yes, $40 or $50K for people who hold a PhD!   Indeed, they also probably have several years of post-doctoral experience under their belts by the time they apply to NIH.
 
And once again, THIS IS BY DESIGN; the National Science Foundation, in pushing Congress to establish the H-1B program back in 1989, stated explicitly that the program was "needed" in order to hold down PhD salaries.   The NSF noted that the low salaries would then discourage American students from pursuing a PhD, and of course that is exactly what happened.
 
In summary: The reason NIH has so few American applicants for those jobs is that the salaries it pays are too low to be attractive.   So for the NIH to tell senator Grassley, as I'm sure they will, that it's not their fault that they are forced to resort to hiring H-1Bs, they're lying.   They know they could get tons of Americans in the field if only they paid attractive salaries.
 
And there's more.   [Go to Opportunities at the NIH for Non-U.S. Citizens.]   Yep, NIH aggressively pursues foreign nationals, and has a special program for them, Title 42.   IOW, Congress actually created the program, and the program is clearly aimed at hiring cheap foreign labor.   Indeed, the same web page discourages potential foreign applicants from applying for the better jobs, Title 5 positions, "as it is extremely rare that no U.S. citizens would be qualified for these positions".   You can be sure that the Title 5 jobs pay a lot more, so of course there are sufficient numbers of Americans to fill them.
 
NIH also notes that U.S. citizens may apply for the Title 42 jobs, and those who do fill such jobs undoubtedly get the same pay as the H-1Bs; but it is the same LOW pay, and that's NIH's whole goal, to hire cheap labor.
 
H-1B is about cheap labor, folks, from start to finish.   I fervently hope that senator Grassley does not meekly accept NIH's reply.
 
Norm
-30-

 
 

2007-11-30

2007-11-30
Alex Veiga _Dayton Daily News_
USA foreclosure filings up 94% from 2006 October
St. Petersburg Times
Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram
San Bernardino Sun
Detroit News
Youngstown Vindicator
NJ Star-Ledger
Akron Beacon Journal
Bradenton Herald
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Manchester Union Leader
Toledo Free Press
Martinsburg, WV Journal
"A total of 224,451 foreclosure filings were reported in October, up 94% from 115,568 in the same month a year ago, Irvine, CA-based RealtyTrac said Thursday. The number of filings in October rose 2% from September's 219,850. The U.S. had one foreclosure filing for every 555 households in October, RealtyTrac said. The filings include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. In all, 45 states saw an increase in foreclosure filings over last year. One alarming trend in October was an increase in the number of homes that were repossessed by lenders after they failed to sell at trustee auctions. 'About 35% of the total filings we collected this month were notices of bank repossession.', Sharga said. 'Historically, on average, that number is more like 20%.'   New Jersey had 4,844 filings for the month, down 1.2% from a year ago. In Ohio 45% of all foreclosure filings during the month were notices of bank repossessions. Florida had one foreclosure filing for every 273 households, the third-highest rate in the nation. The state reported 30,190 foreclosure filings last month, down more than 9% from September, but up nearly 165% from October 2006's total. Over the months, RealtyTrac has tended to exaggerate the problem in Florida. For example, the company reported 13,562 foreclosure filings in the Tampa Bay area between July 1 and September 30, but revealed that the number included multiple filings on single properties. The actual number of properties affected was a third lower at 9,436. California's foreclosure rate was one filing for every 258 households. CA reported the most foreclosure filings of any single state with 50,401, down 2% from September but more than triple the number from October of last year. Ohio reported one foreclosure filing for every 290 households. The state had 17,276 filings last month, up nearly 10% from September and 136% from 2006 October. There were 2,506 foreclosures in Wisconsin in October, a 67% increase from September. The foreclosure rates were 1 in 532 households in Illinois, 1 in 516 in Indiana, and 1 in 334 in Michigan. The highest rate was in Nevada, where 1 in 154 homes was in foreclosure in October. Price declines were steepest in California (down 3.6%), Massachusetts (2.3%), Michigan (3.7%), Nevada (2.4%) and Rhode Island (2.2%)."

2007-11-30
_Taipei Times_
Cyber War heating up around the world
"The computer security firm McAfee said governments and government-allied groups were engaging in increasingly sophisticated cyber spying, with many attacks originating from [Red China]...   In September, the Guardian newspaper reported that [Red Chinese] hackers, including some believed to be from the state military, had been attacking the computer networks of British [and US] government departments, including the UK Foreign Office.   [Red China] has spelled out in a white paper that 'informationized armed forces' are part of its military strategy.   McAfee, whose report was compiled with input from NATO, the FBI and the UK's Serious Organized Crime Agency, said that according to NATO insiders, the wave of cyber attacks that hit Estonia earlier this year, disrupting government, news and bank servers for weeks, was the tip of the iceberg.   In May, the Baltic state said that at least 1M computers had been used in the cyber warfare, which saw hundreds of thousands of hits bombarding Estonian web sites to jam them and make them unusable.   The method used was known as distributed denial of service."

2007-11-30 07:46PST (10:46EST) (15:46GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US real incomes fell, spending flat in October
"Nominal incomes rose just 0.2% last month despite strong job growth.   But after accounting for a 0.3% rise in prices, October's real after-tax incomes fell 0.1%.   Meanwhile, consumer spending increased 0.2% in nominal terms and was flat after adjusting for inflation.   Spending was the weakest since March."
BEA press release
"Real DPI -- DPI adjusted to remove price changes -- decreased 0.1% in October, in contrast to an increase of 0.2% in September.   Real PCE -- PCE adjusted to remove price changes -- decreased less than 0.1% in October, in contrast to an increase of 0.1% in September.   Purchases of durable goods decreased 0.6%, in contrast to an increase of 0.7%.   Purchases of motor vehicles and parts accounted for most of the decrease in October and for most of the increase in September.   Purchases of nondurable goods decreased 0.1% in October, in contrast to an increase of 0.3% in September.   Purchases of services increased 0.1%, in contrast to a decrease of 0.2%.   The price index for PCE increased 0.3% in October, the same increase as in September.   The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.2% in October, the same increase as in September."

2007-11-30
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Past Columns Are Still Paying Dividends 6 Years Later
"About a year ago, a reporter friend resigned from the Sacramento Bee and left California to take another newspaper job in New England.   Because her experiences with the Bee were mostly unpleasant, she made no effort to follow the goings on at her old employer.   But when word reached her that Bee Senior Vice President and Executive Editor, Rick Rodriguez 'resigned' last month, she was curious about the details and Googled 'Rick Rodriguez +Sacramento Bee'.   My friend called to tell me that of the first 5 items returned by Google, 2 were the VDARE.COM columns that I wrote in 2005 May and July exposing the Rodriguez scandal and what precipitated it -- his dishonest pet Diana Griego Erwin's articles quoting fabricated sources..."

2007-11-30
DJIA13,315.00
S&P 5001,481.14
NASDAQ2,668.01
10-year US T-Bond3.991%
crude oil$98.18/barrel
gold$789.10/ounce
silver$14.165/ounce
platinum$1,444.10/ounce
palladium$348.65/ounce
copper$0.1973125/ounce
natgas$7.302/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$2.2591/gal
heatingoil$2.5296/gal

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

  "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." --- u.S. Constitution  

 
 

2007 November

2007 November
Andrew Purvis _Smithsonian_
Diversity in Marseille
"There were fewer than one million Muslims in Western Europe after World War II before guest-worker programs fueled immigration. Today there are 15M Muslims, 5M in France alone."

2007 November
Steven A. Camarota _Center for Immigration Studies_
Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population (with tables & graphs)
pdf version
"The nation's immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9M in 2007.   Immigrants account for 1 in 8 U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years.   In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.   Overall, nearly 1 in 3 immigrants is an illegal alien.   Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.   Since 2000, 10.3M immigrants have arrived -- the highest 7-year period of immigration in U.S. history.   More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6M) are estimated to be illegal aliens...   Of adult immigrants, 31% have not completed high school, compared to 8% of natives.   Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14%, and all other workers by 3%...   The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33%, compared to 19% for native households.   The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17%, nearly 50% higher than the rate for natives and their children...   Immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades.   In 2007, there were 10.8M school-age children from immigrant families in the United States.   Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship -- 13% of natives and 11% of immigrants are self-employed.   Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the nation’s age structure.   Without the 10.3M post-2000 immigrants, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36.5 years."

2007 November
Mark Krikorian & Philip Martin _Center for Immigration Studies_
Teleconference on Farm Labor

2007 November
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark
 

  Ohio Constitution
Article 1 Section 1
   All men are, by nature, free & independent, & have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying & defending life & liberty, acquiring, possessing, & protecting property, & seeking & obtaining happiness & safety.
Article 1 Section 4
   The people have the right to bear arms for their defence & security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, & shall not be kept up; & the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Article 10 Section 1
   All citizens, residents of this state, being 17 years of age, & under the age of 67 years, shall be subject to enrollment in the militia & the performance of military duty, in such manner, not incompatible with the Constitution & laws of the United States, as may be prescribed by law.
 

 



Proposed Bills 2007



Presidential candidate fund-raising, expenditures, and debt
 
  "The exercise of popular, majoritarian politics has 2 distinct dimensions: the number of people who favor a particular political position, and the intensity with which they favor it.   In the final analysis, it is intensity and not bare numbers that translates into effective political power...   In politics intensity is a product of financial commitment, organization, and a single-minded purpose." --- Richard Neely, WV Supreme Court  

Movies Coming Soon
 

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