2009 March

3rd month of the 1st quarter of the 20th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub-Obummer economic depression

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updated: 2016-05-01
 

  "In a yeshivah run by money gained dishonestly, no matter how diligent the students are in their studies, they will not remember what they learn." --- Rav Aharon _MiDevar Sheker Tirchak_ pg 146, quoted by R. Daniel Travis  

 
 
2009 March
UMTWRFS
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22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

 
  "The Bais HaLevi explains that there is a straightforward connection between these two parshayos.   Before a person gives charity with his money, he or she must first ensure that his or her money was acquired honestly, and not through theft or dubious business practices.   If not, the 'charity' will be of no benefit to the giver, meaning that it will not be considered a Mitzvah at all.   One cannot take a stolen Lulav and do a Mitzvah.   One cannot take stolen money and give it to charity.   The principle is the same -- one cannot do a mitzvah with stolen goods." --- R. Yaakov Menken (citing a book by Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik of Brisk) Terumah  

 
 

 

 


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

2009 March

3rd month of the 1st quarter of the 10th year of the Clinton-Bush-Obama economic depression


 
 
  "The world cheats those who cannot read...   In the affairs of others even fools are wise.   In their own business even sages err.   To no one else would I dare to speak my heart.   So my wild words are addressed to my nephews and nieces." --- "A Mad Poem Addressed to My Nephews and Nieces" 835AD  

 

2009-03-01

2009-03-01
Diane Cochran _Billings MT Gazette_
More reason to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid

2009-03-01
_NY Times_
Protectionist India Maintains Sense of Optimism and Growth
"India's trillion-dollar economy remains a relative bright spot, some say, in part because the country's bureaucracy and its protectionist polices have kept it insulated from the fall-out of the global down-turn."

2009-03-01
_CNN_
7K turn up at Dodgers stadium job fair to apply for 500 part-time temporary jobs

2009-03-01
Lalita Aloor Amuthan _Central Jersey_
Edison school district's trip to India cost $62,552 for 13 people
"The 12-day trip, which cost $62,552, was funded by a federal grant the school district received in 2007 May specifically to help introduce its Hindi language program in the 2008 Fall semester.   The grant included a $54K travel budget for the trip."

2009-03-01
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Locarno Redux?
2009-02-24: Bret Stephens: Wall Street Journal: Post-Post 2009/09/11 Looks Just Like Pre-World War 2

2009-03-01
_NY Times_
From executive pay to hourly janitorial services
CIO Today
"Nine months ago he lost his job as the security manager for the western United States for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing a budget of $1.2M and earning about $70K a year.   Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes in what is known in unemployment circles as a 'survival job' at a friend's janitorial services company.   But that does not make the work any easier...   Working 5 days a week, 09:00 to 18:00, MC is not counted by traditional measures as among the recession's casualties at this point.   But his tumble down the economic ladder is among the more disquieting and often hidden aspects of the down-turn."

2009-03-01
Robin Abcarian _Los Angeles Times_/_Seattle Times_
Farewell e-mail messages
 
 

  "The [NSF] model also suffers from a more generic short-coming.   Most of the simulation models used to assess these labor markets assume that markets do not equilibrate; that if an imbalance occurs between supply and demand, nothing will occur to correct it.   In fact, history demonstrates that these labor markets do tend to equilibrate (Richard B. Freeman 1976 January 'A cob-web model of supply and starting salary of engineers' _Industrial and Labor Relations Review_ vol30 #2; Eli Ginzberg 1986 _Scientific and Engineering Personnel: lessons and Policy Directions_ pp 25-42 "The Impact of Defense Spending in Non-Defense Engineering Labor Markets")...   the PRA model is not very useful for policy formulation." --- Alan Fechter 1990 Autumn "Engineering Shortages and Short-Falls: Myths and Realities" _The Bridge_  

 

2009-03-02: Texas Declaration of Independence 1836-03-02

2009-03-02 (visited)
_Margate City NJ Board of Education_
FAQ
"Q: What percentage of cost per pupil is for instruction?
A: 69% of the total cost is for instruction which includes professional staff, support staff, text-books, supplies, and other resources.
Q: Where does the rest go?
A: The cost of maintenance, food service, equipment, crossing guards, community education and recreation, and administration.
Q: So what numbers do I look at to decide where we stand?
A. School taxes represent 35 cents of every dollar of your taxes.   A Margate house assessed at $500K will pay $1,755 in school taxes, a house assessed at 1.3M dollars will pay $4,563 in school taxes and a house assessed at 4.3M dollars will pay $15,093 in school taxes.   Margate school taxes are the lowest, except for Longport, in Atlantic County."

2009-03-02 (visited)
_Metuchen NJ Catholic Schools_
tuition and fees
Percentage of Cost Covered by Tuition and Fees74.8%
Percentage of Cost Covered by Parish Subsidy12.7%
Percentage of Cost Covered by Fundraising and Donations12.5%
The ideal breakdown of operating costs for any Diocese of Metuchen Catholic school should be covered as follows:
Tuition and Fees70%
Parish Subsidy15%
Fundraising & Donations15%

2009-03-02 (visited) Catherine E. Watt, Ph.D., Frank Fusco & Gary M. McCombs _Clemson University_
The Public's Investment: The SC Funding Process for Higher Education (pdf)
"In 1982-83 all institutions received more than 40% of their operating budgets from State general appropriations, and 8 institutions received more than 60% of their operating funds from state support.   By fiscal year 2007, no institution received more than 36% of its budget from appropriations."

2009-03-02 11:17PST (14:17EST) (19:17GMT)
Ronald D. Orol _MarketWatch_
U.S. to provide another $30G to AIG
"The new addition brings the total U.S. assistance to AIG to $163G, a government official said.   However, AIG no longer has to pay dividends on the government-owned securities, which should ease its financial burden and assure rating agencies will not immediately cut AIG's credit rating."

2009-03-02 (5769 Adar 06)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
Funds and fundamentals

2009-03-02
_Dice_
Dice Report: 54,301 job ads

Total54,301
UNIX7,425
Windoze9,365
Java9,267
C/C++9,881
body shop23,545
full-time temp35,570
part-time temp1,211

 
graphs
 
 
  "NAFTA required limits on the safety and inspection of meat sold in grocery stores; new patent rules that raised medicine prices; constraints on local government's ability to zone against sprawl or toxic industries; and elimination of preferences for spending your tax dollars on U.S.-made products or locally-grown food.   Calling NAFTA a 'trade' agreement is misleading, NAFTA is really an investment agreement.   Its core provisions grant foreign investors a remarkable set of new rights and privileges that promote relocation abroad of factories and jobs and the privatization and deregulation of essential services, such as water, energy and health care." --- Public Citizen 2004 January "The 10 Year Track Record of the North American Free Trade Agreement: US Workers' Jobs, Wages and Economic Security"  

 

2009-03-03

1865-03-03: battle of Natural Bridge, Florida

2009-03-03
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
Wadhwa survey, titled "America's Loss Is the World's Gain"
 
I've written here often about studies conducted by Vivek Wadhwa with various co-authors.   (Due to the fact that Vivek's co-authors change from study to study, and judging by statements he's made, many using the first-person singular, I believe most of the work is his, so I will refer simply to him and not the co-authors.)   To review, here is where he and I agree and disagree (with some citations for each, possibly not the best ones, but good enough):
 
A. He and I agree that the H-1B work visa problem is widely abused by tech employers.   He even graciously admits that he himself drastically under-paid his H-1Bs during his tech CEO days.   See
* 2008-01-04: Beryl Lieff Benderly: Science: Feeling the Elephant (pdf)
* Norm Matloff: Case Study of H-1B Under-Payment
* 2007-07-14: Alice LaPlante: Information Week: Are we facing an IT shortage of crisis proportions, or systematically destroying a skilled and capable home-grown work-force?
 
B. He and I agree that there is no tech labor shortage.   See
* Norm Matloff: Duke University Studies of Off-Shoring
* 2007-07-14: Alice LaPlante: Information Week: Are we facing an IT shortage of crisis proportions, or systematically destroying a skilled and capable home-grown work-force?
 
C. He and I agree that the vast majority of foreign workers in the U.S.A. tech industry are NOT "the best and the brightest".   See
* 2008-01-04: Beryl Lieff Benderly: Science: Feeling the Elephant (pdf)
* 2007-04-30: National Socialist Radio: Engineer Shortage? Duke Study Says No
* 2007-02-08: Vivek Wadhwa: BusinessWeek: Let's Keep Skilled Immigrants & Non-Immigrants in the USA
* 2007-09-02: Norm Matloff: Wadhwa III
 
D. He and I agree that older engineers and programmers -- this is age 35, not 55, mind you -- have trouble getting work, and that the H-1B program, which consists overwhelmingly of young workers, is a major cause of the older Americans' difficulty.
* 2008-01-15: Vivek Wadhwa: BusinessWeek: High-Tech Hiring: Youth Matters
 
E. But he and I disagree on "fast track" green cards for foreign tech workers.   He says we need them; I say see points B-D above, which show that we don't need them.
 
I admire Vivek in many ways, e.g. for his versatility -- CEO, journalist, researcher, and even financing (or some other involvement) Bollywood films.   Thus it pleases me to know that he agree on 5 of 6 issues above.   Hey, I wish my wife and daughter would agree with me so often.   :-)   But Issue E really does contradict A-D.
 
Vivek's newest report, discussed in the NYT blog below, finds that many Chinese and Indian tech workers in the U.S.A. plan to return home, which he believes will be a huge loss to the U.S.A.   Of course, this kind of message is something the press loves to pick up, and Vivek's gotten very broad media coverage on it.
 
Though Vivek's numbers are skewed by the nature of his survey methods (e.g. most of his respondents are young and either childless and with very young children, thus more mobile) and thus are over-stated, I do agree with his contention that a number of these workers, especially the Indians, will be going home soon.
 
But Vivek's characterization of this exodus as "America's Loss", is quite baffling.   Again, see points B-D above.   He agrees that most are not the "best and the brightest"; he agrees that we don't have a tech labor shortage; and he agrees that the young foreign workers are crowding older American workers out of jobs.   So where's the loss?
 
The enclosed blog might seem to provide one answer:
 
Mr. Wadhwa and his associates found that immigrants were the chief executives or chief technologists at 1 of every 4 technology and engineering companies started in America from 1995 to 2005, and 52% of Silicon Valley start-ups.
 
But more than 50% of Silicon Valley engineers are immigrants, so on a per-capita basis they aren't any more entrepreneurial than the natives.   If the natives hadn't been displaced, the natives would have founded about the same number of companies.   So no loss there.
 
What about patents?   Same issue here.   Vivek has stated that his research on patenting, though showing lots of immigrant patents, did not find that immigrants have higher per-capita rates of patenting than natives (Industry Centers discussion list, 2007 January 4; there is [more] relevant information.   (BTW, I still haven't found a block of time needed to go through professor Kerr's 8-page response to my critique of his study on immigrant patenting, but my university's quarter break is coming soon, and I plan to read it carefully then.)
 
MOST IMPORTANTLY, Vivek is missing what should be the most salient point.   He says that the biggest factor motivating people to return home is job opportunities, which they find better back home than in the U.S.A.   This is absolutely correct.   But the reason WHY they see bleak job prospects in the U.S.A. is ISSUE D ABOVE; ironically, the very H-1B program that they enjoyed early in their careers will IMPEDE their ability to find work after age 35.   (Note the example of Mr. Liu, a Chinese-American engineer from China in my report of a few days ago.)
 
Finally, what I found most startling about the news reports on Vivek's survey today was his statement in the South Asian Journalists Forum, kindly brought to my attention by an Indian-American reader (BTW, nice picture of you, Vivek):
 
Policies like those which the U.S. just enacted which prevents some banks from hiring foreign workers will have the opposite effect from what they intended -- they will send jobs abroad and scare away top talent.
 
The policy he's referring to is of course the one regarding H-1B hiring by TARP bail-out recipients.
 
[This policy does not prevent banks from hiring foreign workers when US workers able and willing to do the work don't exist.   It even allows them to hire foreign guest-workers when able and willing US workers do exist.   All it does is require the banks to go through the "charade" (as the association of immigration lawyers called it) of pretending to go through the motions of recruiting US candidates for the jobs, even when they have no intention to hire any US candidates, regardless of their abilities...jgo]
 
Since this involves H-1B and not green cards, I wonder if Vivek is changing his mind on Issue A above.   And his claim to SAJA that this policy will make the banks "send jobs abroad" contradicts his statement to the NYT in the [linked] blog that the banks don't have open jobs.
 
Norm
Steve Lohr: NY Times: The Immigrants & Non-Immigrants Are Leaving

2009-03-03
Owen Thomas _Gawker_
CEO accused of sexual battery by guest-worker
eMedia Wire
PR Web
"Shenkman's company, Exigen Group, has 2K employees stretching from Latvia to Australia.   Like many off-shore IT firms, it uses cheap over-seas labor to deliver software and IT services more cheaply than local firms can.   But Iryna Kharchenko, Shenkman's former executive assistant, has accused her boss of seeking other services over-seas."

2009-03-03
Eric Krangel _Silicon Valley Business Insider_
MSFT to Grassley: Still using H-1Bs, Deny moral imperative to employ able and willing US citizens

2009-03-03
Clair Johnson _Billings Gazette_
Surviving relatives of Crow leaders recently killed sue FBI and attorneys alleging discrimination in investigating and prosecuting crimes involving American Indian victims

2009-03-03
Kathy Sanborn _CounterPunch_
The Lazy Man's Guide to the Economic Crisis

2009-03-03
Larry Dignan _Ziff Davis_/_CNET_/_CBS_
AMD and Nvidia release new graphics cards

2009-03-03
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Being Told: We Know What's Best For You

2009-03-03
Moira Herbst _Business Week_
The prospect of something more closely resembling proper oversight of H-1B visa program worries executives

2009-03-03
Hanah Cho _Baltimore Sun_
Young workers join unemployed older workers

2009-03-03
Chuck Baldwin _V Dare_
Montana Has It Right On Second Amendment

2009-03-03
Michelle Malking _V Dare_
"Going Galt" -- America's Wealth Producer vs. Wealth Redistributors

2009-03-03
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_
Which firms got how many H-1B visas in FY2008
NextGov
Washington Technology

2009-03-03 (5769 Adar 07)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Change has come

2009-03-03 (5769 Adar 07)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Is talk cheap?
Town Hall
 
 

  "The United States accounts for 40% of total world R&D spending and 38% of patented new technology inventions by the industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), employs 37% (1.3M) of OECD researchers (FTE), produces 35%, 49%, and 63%, respectively, of total world publications, citations, and highly cited publications, employs 70% of the world's Nobel Prize winners and 66% of its most-cited individuals, and is the home to 75% of both the world's top 20 and top 40 universities and 58% of the top 100." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 18 in pdf  

 

2009-03-04

2009-03-04
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
vested interests decry "protectionist" Grassley/Sanders amendment
 
[Linked] below are an article from an HR magazine, and an editorial by the Washington Post, blasting as "protectionist" the recent legislation that placed restrictions on hiring of H-1Bs by TARP recipients.   The "P-word" is always invoked in these contexts by the parties with vested interests, and thus might be dismissed as such, but really it's much ado about nothing.
 
The fact is that any immigration policy of any major nation is protectionist.   Moreover, that protectionist nature is fully accepted by the citizens of said nations.
 
For example, U.S. immigration policy disallows the immigration into the USA of people with criminal records or with tuberculosis.   To my knowledge, no organization promoting immigration -- not even the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), not even MALDEF, not even the Southern Center on Law and Poverty [SPLC], not even the ACLU, not even the Cato Institute -- has ever advocated changing this policy.   There may be an individual case here and there in which these organizations get involved, but none of them has ever advocated dropping laws barring these categories of people from immigrating.
 
My point is that these laws are protectionist -- their purpose is to PROTECT the people who are already here (both natives and earlier immigrants).   So we are all protectionists, yes, even the Cato Institute.
 
There of course is a question as to where to draw the protectionist line.   We protect people's safety and health, so we might wish to protect people's economic well being too -- or we might not.   After all, barring criminals from immigrating protects virtually all of us, whereas at least in theory employment-based immigration might have substantial numbers of both winners and losers.
 
So yes, a discussion on employment-based immigration might be held -- and in fact, it already has, with the conclusion that some protection for Americans' economic health is appropriate.   That's why H-1B law, for instance, requires that employers pay the foreign workers "prevailing wage".   That law is riddled with loop-holes, but the point here is that none of the above immigration-promoting organizations has argued that the "prevailing wage" requirement should be dropped.   So we are all protectionists, even those who are now decrying the recent legislation on H-1B as protectionist.
 
Indeed, those objections constitute rank hypocrisy.   The industry lobbyists on H-1B (including, as always, the AILA), have repeatedly stated that the current worker protections in H-1B law are proper.   Just today MS, in answering a letter from senator Grassley regarding MSFT's lay-off policy for H-1B workers, included the by-now obligatory statement that fraud in the H-1B program must be stamped out.   Again, the problem is gaping loop-holes, not fraud or other violations of the law, but the point is that MSFT is tacitly agreeing that USA workers ought to be protected.   Indeed, every major entity lobbying Congress for a higher H-1B cap has made such statements on numerous occasions.   Given that, how can they use the word "protectionist" now?   (I'll comment on the MSFT letter tomorrow.)
 
Some in India have even claimed that the recent legislation violates international trade agreements.   They may be surprised to know that the legislation, which merely applies the existing H-1B-dependent employer restrictions to TARP recipients, is actually part of the GATT.   And that section in the GATT applies to ALL employers of H-1Bs.   So congress, by enacting the recent legislation, was not in violation of the GATT at all; on the contrary, the USA has been in violation of the GATT all these years, by not applying its rules to ALL employers.
 
I've mentioned before that personally, I believe we should not bar foreign goods or services of higher quality than we have in the USA   My wife and I have bought nothing but Japanese cars, throughout our entire working lives, because we believe the quality is better.   Similarly, I have always supported bringing in "the best and the brightest" from around the world.   But only a small percentage of H-1Bs are in that league, and I don't support bringing in foreign goods or services simply because they are cheap.   And that is precisely the reason why the vast majority of H-1Bs are hired -- for cheap labor.
 
The enclosed article claims that the new law will in practice prevent the banks from hiring foreign "geniuses".   Again, only a tiny fraction of H-1Bs are outstanding talents, but what about those few that are?   Will the legislation effectively block the banks from hiring them?   The answer is no.
 
First of all, that hypothetical new Stanford PhD in the article could be hired for 29 months -- immediately, no questions asked -- under the OPT program.   Second, the bank could hire that Cardinal Einstein under the O-1 visa, which is specifically for those of outstanding talent.   Third, PhDs and other top professionals have their own fast-track green card program.
 
Both the HR article and the editorial in the Post (a newspaper whose board includes Mrs. Bill Gates) are chock full of all the industry lobbyists' favorite lines, every single one of them false or misleading.   As I've addressed all these lines many times in my writings, I'll limit myself to just one here -- the claim that H-1Bs are not used for cheap labor.   Here is an excerpt from the HR article:
 
"Congress buys the idea that these employees are brought in to work for lower wages.", Paparelli says. "That's a false perception.
 
"The vast majority of employers using these visas are law-abiding employers who incur high fees and costs and additional risks and subject themselves to criminal liability because they need these workers and cannot find suitable employee here."

 
Yes, the employers are indeed law abiding -- but the law itself is full of huge loop-holes that allow the employers to pay the H-1Bs lower wages in full compliance with the law, as even a GAO report found.   Just as any firm, from the tiniest startup to the giants like Intel, will make aggressive use of loop-holes in the tax code, they do the same for H-1B.   And the employers pay Mr. Paparelli big bucks to exploit those loop-holes.   And of course there is no criminal liability for using a loop-hole, which is by definition legal.   And the American Immigration Lawyers association, through their lobbying of both Congress and the executive branch, put those loop-holes in the statutes and regulations.   Mr. Paparelli, a very well-dressed man with a CEO-smooth personality, is dissembling to the n-th degree here.
 
As senator Grassley said, "No one should be fooled."
 
Norm
Fay Hansen: WorkForce: Protectionism Sweeps Over H-1Bs as Recruiters Sort Out Stimulus Regulations
Washington Post
[And it's even more ridiculous in light of the fact that the measure is a mere token.   It does not prevent anyone from keeping or bringing in people on E-3, F OPT, H-1B, J, or L visas.   It only applies to a few banks.   And even those banks need only go through the motions of placing some job ads in places where they're not likely to get responses from the vast pool of able and willing US workers with specialized skills... and then come up with a few pretexts to declare all who do apply to be "disqualified", just as we were shown in the case of PERM change of status processing, by prominent law firms and the association of immigration lawyers.   As they noted, it's all a charade...jgo]

2009-03-04
John Parry _Reuters_
Challenger: US firms announced 186,350 planned lay-offs in February
Chris Reidy: Boston Globe
Conde Nast
Catherine Clifford: CNN
Times of the Internet/UPI
Rex Nutting: MarketWatch
Chicago Daily Herald/Bloomberg
"Employers announced plans to cut 186,350 jobs in February, down 23% from 241,749 in January, out-placement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Wednesday in its monthly report, but 158% of the 72,091 lay-offs announced 2008 February.   So far this year, lay-off announcements have totaled 428,099 job cuts, up 191% from the first 2 months of 2008.   For all of 2008, 1.22M job reductions were announced.
 
February lay-offs were led by the automotive sector, which announced 61,288 planned cuts, or about one-third of the monthly total.   The next biggest sectors were industrial goods industries with 19,462, retail with 18,759, and financial with 13,550 (after only 1,448 in January).   1,982 announced cuts in construction under-scored the housing-market problems.
 
Michigan had 50,212.   California announced 12,943 lay-offs.   6,389 were in Texas.   3,753 lay-offs were announced in Virginia, 1,695 in Maryland, and 94 in DC.
 
On-campus recruting has decreased as much as 50%, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
---30---

2009-03-04
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
MS plans to hire more H-1Bs as it lays off thousands of US workers and guest-workers: Politely thumbs nose at senator
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee: Information Week/UBM
Domain-B
Nancy Gohring: IT World/IDG
IT Examiner
TopNews
"However, [MS General Counsel Bradford L. Smith] clarified that the company's plan to cut 5K jobs will most impact the employees working in the company's Redmond, Washington based work-force, which has the U.S. citizens in majority."

2009-03-04
Jason Gale _Bloomberg_
India's lack of sanitary infrastructure hampers other economic improvement

2009-03-04
Gary Kelly _View from 1776_
Anesthetized: Complacency Has Destroyed the American Way of Life

2009-03-04
James Parks _AFL-CIO_
Solis investigating guest-worker visas on Florida hotel project

2009-03-04
Edwin Koc & Mimi Collins _NACE_
College Hiring Fell 22%

2009-03-04 (5769 Adar 08)
Martin M. Bodek _Jewish World Review_
Last but not least: on surnames

2009-03-04 (5769 Adar 08)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Sweden's government health care
 
 

  "Total federal R&D spending grew at 2.5% per year from 1994 to 2004, much lower than its long-term average of 3.5% per year from 1953 to 2004 (in real terms, i.e., after correction for inflation).   Yet federal R&D accounted for only $86G of $288G total U.S. R&D expenditures in 2004.   Industrial R&D expenditures, the largest source of R&D, grew rapidly, at an average rate of 5.4% and 5.3% per year for the periods 1953–2004 and 1994–2004, respectively, and accounted for most of the growth in total R&D (4.7% and 4.4% for the periods 1953–2004 and 1994–2004, respectively).   As a result, growth in total R&D was on par with the world's average growth: Measured in dollars at purchasing power parity (PPP), U.S. R&D expenditures grew at an average rate of 5.8% per annum from 1993 to 2003, close to the world's average of 6.3%.   Further, total basic research showed the greatest rate of increase, at an average of 6.2% and 5.1% per year (4.7% and 4.4% for total R&D) for the periods 1953–2004 and 1994–2004, respectively.   Also, federally funded basic research grew by 3.4% per year over the period 1970–2003 and 4.7% per year over the period 1993–2003.   As industrial and federal R&D grew, universities and colleges managed to increase their R&D by an average of 6.6% and 5.1% per year for 1953–2004 and 1994–2004, respectively." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 20  

 

2009-03-05

2009-03-04 16:52PST (2009-03-04 19:52EST) (2009-03-05 00:52GMT)
Jeff Poor _News Busters_
Glenn Beck mocked union bosses' winter retreat in Miami
Glenn Beck: Fox
Breitbart
Heritage Foundation
Darrell Delamaide: MarketWatch
Post Chronicle

2009-03-05 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 640,601 in the week ending Feb. 28, an increase of 34,933 from the previous week.   There were 345,165 initial claims in the comparable week in 2008.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.6% during the week ending Feb. 21, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 6,209,294, an increase of 100,896 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,380,987.   Extended benefits were available in Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island during the week ending Feb. 14."
graphs
more graphs

2009-03-05
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
MSFT responds to senator Grassley
 
As many of you know, when MSFT announced it would be laying off some of its workers, senator Grassley sent the firm an open letter, asking them to lay off H-1Bs before Americans.   MSFT has now replied, in the letter enclosed below.
 
Nothing surprising, of course, the usual "We don't hire many H-1Bs, but the few that we do hire are crucial to our success, etc."   That includes the standard line, "We recruit largely from U.S. university campuses [but not very many of them], and since not enough Americans study computer science, we must hire the foreign students."   The industry lobbyists long ago decided that the American public would accept hiring a foreign worker as long as he/she has a degree from a U.S. university.   I've never understood the logic behind that, but in any event, here it is in the current MSFT letter:
 
...as one recent study found, in 2005 temporary residents earned more than 40% of the engineering and computer science degrees at U.S. higher education institutions.   For doctoral degrees, that number was even higher, as temporary residents accounted for 59% of the degrees awarded in these fields that year.
 
That 40% figure is blatantly false.   You can get exact figures in the Digest of Educational Statistics, published by the U.S. Dept. of Education, Select Degrees, then look at the tables whose titles include the phrase "degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by sex, race/ethnicity, and major field of study."
 
The percentages of foreign students are in the single-digit range for bachelor's degrees, in the 30s for master's, and around the high 50s for PhDs.
 
For example, here are the figures for 2005-2006 in Computer and Information Sciences (Tables 275, 278, 281):
leveltotal degreesforeign student degrees% foreign
bachelor's47,4803,0937%
master's17,0556,64939%
PhD1,41686561%
total65,95110,60716%

 
So the percentage is 16%, not the 40% MS claims.   The engineering figures are similar.
 
In the CS area, there is also data available in the Taulbee Reports, issued every year in May.   These data are for the "better" universities, where the foreign student percentages are somewhat lower.
 
Now, why did MS send Grassley wrong numbers?   Here are some possibilities:
 
1.   MS misread the study it's quoting.
 
2.   The author of that study, likely Stuart Anderson, got his data merely by casually asking a couple of his friends who gave him an off-the-cuff guess.   Anderson has often made such statements in his H-1B studies ("People in the industry tell me...").
 
3.   MS is being deliberately deceptive, which it demonstrably has been in the past, such as:
 
* At the same time MS claimed they need H-1B to keep jobs in the U.S.A., and only resort to off-shoring if they can't find workers here, they said in an internal presentation made to managers, "Pick something to move off-shore today."
 
* At the same time MS claimed they couldn't find software developers and thus needed H-1Bs, they asked their contractors to take a week's furlough to save money.
 
* MS admitted that most of the developers it hires are young.   As I've often mentioned, it is not generally understood, even by critics of the H-1B program, that H-1B is largely used as a way to avoid hiring the older (age 35 or 40) American workers.
 
Concerning the high percentage of foreign students at the PhD level, I must once again point out that this was deliberately planned by the National Science Foundation with the explicit goal of keeping PhD salaries down.   The NSF was advocating bringing in large numbers of foreign students in order to swell the job market and thus restrain salary growth.   The NSF recognized that the effect the greatly slowed salary growth would be to drive away the domestic students, and that's exactly what happened.   See quotes [in my article on foreign students and green cards and the news coverage from the 1980s].
 
Back on the age issue, when I mentioned the other day that the rampant age discrimination in this field is fueled largely by the H-1B program, which provides a large pool of young workers, a reporter that a reader sent my posting to questioned it.   The reporter pointed out that he had written about age discrimination in tech in the 1980s, before the advent of H-1B and the Indian bodyshops.   But H-1B merely replaced the earlier work visa, H-1, which was very similar and which was highly popular during the 1980s.   As to the bodyshops, once again I must point out that most H-1Bs are NOT employed by bodyshops, and that the abuse of the program comes at the hands of all the big mainstream firms too, not just the bodyshops.
 
Norm
MS response to senator Grassley
---30---

2009-03-05
Tom Lutey _Billings MT Gazette_
Montana farmers warming to wheat genetically modified to be more drought resistant

2009-03-05
Bernie Sanders & Charles Grassley _Washington Post_
Putting American Workers First
"During the past several months, the largest banks in this country have announced 100K job cuts.   Reportedly, those same banks requested H-1B visas for more than 21K foreign guest workers over the past 6 years.   Just who is this "top talent from over-seas"?   Most of it is junior investment analysts, human resource specialists, corporate lawyers and vice presidents.   These are hardly the specialized, high-tech jobs envisioned by the H-1B visa program.   With many thousands of financial services workers unemployed, it's absurd to claim that banks can't find top-notch American workers to perform these jobs.   Nothing in our provision takes away the ability of these banks to hire H-1B guest workers; we simply ask that those taking American [tax-victim] funds give priority to qualified Americans and not replace laid-off American workers with temporary guest workers.   With unemployment rising, why shouldn't we demand that our money be invested in American workers?"

2009-03-05 09:01PST (12:01EST) (17:01GMT)
David Weidner _MarketWatch_
Greenberg & AIG

2009-03-05 12:45PST (15:45EST) (20:45GMT)
Norm Matloff _Numbers USA_
Companies Seek H-1B Foreign Worker Primarily Because of Age Discrimination

2009-03-05
Katharine Zaleski _Huffington Post_
White House announced Vivek Kundra as CIO

2009-03-05 10:16PST (13:16EST) (18:16GMT)
Andria Cheng _MarketWatch_
February retail sales were the best in 5 months

2009-03-05 14:10PST (17:10EST) (22:10GMT)
Kate Gibson _MarketWatch_
Mark to market isn't a problem

2009-03-05 15:57PST (18:57EST) (23:57GMT)
Marshall Loeb _MarketWatch_
AAA American Flag Decorating Company: business peaked in early 2008

2009-03-05
Robert Higgs
Recession and Recovery -- 6 fundamental errors of Keynesians
 

  "The percentage of the U.S. population (ages 25–64) that has attained at least upper secondary education, 88%, compares favorably with an average of 67% for the OECD industrialized nations." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 21  

 

2009-03-06

2009-03-06 08:23PST (11:23EST) (16:23GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Seasonally adjusted, pay-rolls dropped 651K and unemployment rate at 8.1%
graphs

2009-03-06 13:45PST (16:45EST) (21:45GMT)
Laura Mandaro _MarketWatch_
Price to Earnings ratios are near record lows, but investors are still shy (with table)

2009-03-06
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
business channel doesn't understand concept of price????
 
A reader brought to my attention today's panel discussion on the Power Lunch program on CNBC.
 
The discussion concerned senator Grassley's request to MS that the firm give American workers retention priority over H-1Bs in lay-off decisions, as well as the recent enactment of the Grassley/Sanders restrictions on hiring of H-1Bs by TARP recipients.
 
All six discussants took it for granted that employers hire H-1Bs because they are of superior quality.   Even though one of the 6 seemed to be supportive of Grassley, as the discussant's techie brother had been laid off, even this one did not question the notion that the H-1Bs "must" be better ("5 times more productive", one said) than the Americans.
 
It did not occur to a single one of these discussants, nor to host Bill Griffeth, that price might be a factor, i.e. that employers hire the H-1Bs simply because they are cheaper.   It boggles the mind that a major business channel, CNBC, could show ignorance of such a fundamental principle.   Griffeth in fact has run news items on H-1B as cheap labor in the past, so he at least knows that there are people who assert that H-1B is about cheap labor.   Odd that he didn't speak up.
 
My colleague, UCD economics professor, actually showed the same ignorance.   He's a great guy, and will be quite successful I believe, but it's even odder to see such an attitude from him than from a bunch of business journalists.
 
Clearly, ideology can be blinding.
 
Norm
---30---

2009-03-06
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Centrists Are Concerned

2009-03-06
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1987
Krohn says key to election was Dems' use of the web
 
Cyrus Krohn thinks he knows why Barack Obama won the election.   According to Krohn, who was the most respected technocrat in the Republican Party, and the RNC's eCampaign director, the Democrats "dot bombed" the RNC because they had superior web sites.   He claims that the RNC lost the battle of the nerds, and therefore the election, because a shortage of programmers hindered them from building good enough web sites.   Apparently [in his mind] the lopsided election results had nothing to do with the fact that McCain was a lousy candidate.
 
Change comes quickly online and the tide will turn again in favor of the GOP, once we hone our message and harness emerging technologies.   To do that, we must match Democrats, programmer-for-programmer.   Regrettably, we're in terribly short supply of professionals focused solely on building platforms and applications.   This is where we got dot bombed in 2006 and 2008.   Maybe we should start providing computer science scholarships in exchange for a commitment to serve our party?
 
Krohn's shortage shouting is nonsensical because the Democrats were able to hire all the programmers they needed to get the job done. Perhaps the real reason the RNC got "dot bombed" was because the U.S. has a shortage of good managers!
 
Krohn isn't even a programmer -- he earned a communications degree from Lynchburg College.   When you read the next quote, just remember he is the one who wants more computer science scholarships!
 
"He wouldn't take exams, wouldn't study.   He was totally uninterested in academics.", said his father, Charles, a former Army officer and Vietnam War veteran.   "But he did very well in lacrosse."
 
Unlike many future tech executives, Krohn wasn't a geek.   He was a goalie.

 
Krohn spent 10 years doing something at MS, but that's probably not why the technophobes at the RNC hired him.   He got a reputation in the Republican party as an internet whiz kid while working for Mr. Potato head:
 
As an intern for then-Vice President Dan Quayle in 1992, Krohn was asked to run an ISDN telephone cable under the rugs from one end of the Old Executive Office Building to the other so computers could talk to one another.
 
Three articles are included below. The first one was posted yesterday, and probably should have been titled "cry baby Krohn resigns from his cushy RNC job".   The second one was published before the election.   It's rather interesting to note that even before the election Krohn acknowledged that the Democrats were doing a better job with their web sites.   At that time Krohn never mentioned a thing about having problems finding programmers -- on the contrary his eCommerce division was staffed with six people, which seems more than adequate to build a couple of web pages -- that is of course assuming that they weren't all communication majors from Lynchburg college.
2009-03-05: Jose Antonio Vargas: Washington Post: The GOP's top Internet official is leaving the RNC
2008-07-23: Jose Antonio Vargas: Washington Post: The GOP's Cyrus Krohn Has His Sites Set On Updating the Party's Internet Connection
2009-01-20: News-Buzz/LATimes: Internet whiz connects Grand Old Party to what's new
 
[The trouble with this theory is that, if it were true, the Ron Paul, with his legion of tech-savvy backers, would have beaten all other candidates hands down...jgo]
---30---

2009-03-06 14:26PST (17:26EST) (22:26GMT)
Don Sears _eWeek_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities laying off Americans piece-meal to stay under the radar
Steve Lohr: NY Times
Lay-Off Maps

2009-03-06
Rob Evans _Manchester Guardian_
British firms dinged for running/using black-listing data-base

2009-03-06
Robert Higgs _Lew Rockwell_
Recession and Recovery: Six Fundamental Errors of the Current Orthodoxy

2009-03-06
Victor Davis Hanson _Real Clear Politics_
Accounting for California's suicide

2009-03-06 (5769 Adar 10)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
How Obama, Hillary and Kerry will, ultimately, bring peace to the Middle East

2009-03-06
DJIA6,626.94
S&P 500683.38
NASDAQ1,293.85
10-year US T-Bond2.86%
crude oil$45.52/barrel
gold$942.70/ounce
silver$13.323/ounce
platinum$1,078.70/ounce
palladium$203.50/ounce
copper$0.10503125/ounce
natgas$3.945/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$1.3322/gal
heatingoil$1.2294/gal
dollarindex88.850
yenperdollar98.37
dollarspereuro1.2641
dollarsperpound1.4008
swissfranksperdollar1.1597
indianrupeesperdollar51.75
MorganStanleyHighTechIndex307.54

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Commodities" and "Metals" and "Currencies" columns.
 
 
 

  "Scientists and engineers are paid substantially more (about a 25% wage premium) and have the same unemployment as the non-S&E work-force for similar levels of education.   Judging by recent versus past wage and unemployment trends, there is no evidence of a current shortage of S&E workers." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 21  

 

2009-03-07

2009-04-07
Michelle Malkin
Tea Parties planned for Green Bay, Lafayette, Olathe and Harrisburg

2009-03-07
Moira Herbst _Business Week_
Are H-1B workers being duped?
"By 2004, VG was in Bloomington, IL, working for Patni at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the largest car insurer in the country.   But this was no dream job come true.   VG's base salary was $23,310, about half the $44K that Patni had said it would pay on the visa application, according to a lawsuit he has filed against the company.   When VG complained, one official said that Patni would brand him a 'trouble-maker' and that his parents in India would be harassed unless he stopped, the suit alleges.   Goel, who left Patni in 2005, filed suit in 2007 November, in federal court in Illinois.   He's suing along with a former colleague, PG...   According to the suit, State Farm paid Patni 'in excess of' $100K per worker.   State Farm has had lay-offs as it has brought in Patni workers.   Out-placement specialist Challenger, Gray & Christmas says the insurer has let go 10K workers nationwide since 1995...   GM is a U.S. worker who believes he was affected by the H1-B program.   A specialist in info tech security, he worked at State Farm from 2002 to 2004, when the company declined to extend his contract.   Now in Chicago, he's unable to find a staff position in his specialty.   'The whole industry is being out-sourced and contracted.', he says.   'The American IT worker is a dying breed.'"

2009-03-07
_Lexington Herald-Leader_/_AP_
11 indicted for visa fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, including one in KY
Marshalltown IA Times-Republican

2009-03-07
_Lorain county OH Chronicle-Telegram_
ArcelorMittal idling Cleveland steel plant
WCPN
Carolina Live
WCIV Charleston SC
Metal Center News
 
 

  "Much of the growth in S&E employment has come from foreign-born S&E workers who have studied in the United States or who migrated to the United States after completing graduate studies in their home country.   The share of non-U.S. citizens in the science and engineering work-force increased from 6% in 1994 to 12% in 2006.   (In contrast, the share of non-U.S. citizens in the non-S&E work-force remained constant at 5% for similar levels of education (bachelor's degree and higher).)   But alternative pathways, such as an increasing share of S&E graduates entering S&E jobs, the return of individuals holding S&E degrees who had earlier left for non-S&E jobs, and individuals without S&E degrees entering S&E jobs, may have also contributed." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 22  

 

2009-03-08

2009-03-08
"tonylogan1" _Motley Fool_
My response to 2 cents on immigration

2009-03-08
Alan Tonelson _American Economic Alert_
senator Grassley's split personality on trade issues

2009-03-08
Jim Simpson _Truth & Consequences_
Cloward-Piven Manufactured Crisis tactic series
 
 

  "The U.S. economy is the world's largest, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $13T in 2006, and much of the size of the U.S. economy is attributed to technological progress." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 38  

 

2009-03-09

2009-03-09
Kim Berry _Programmers Guild_/_PR Web_
Programmers Guild Calls for a U.S. Job Preservation Fee of $60K per H-1B visa
Programmers Guild

2009-03-09 04:47PDT (07:47EDT) (11:47GMT)
Pankaj Mishra _Business Week_
JPMorgan Chase to Increase Off-Shore Out-Sourcing to India by 25%
Richard Beales & Antony Currie: International Herald Tribune: Bank of India pours bail-out money into Red China
JPMorgan sends bail-out money to India
Citigroup ends $8G of bail-out money to Dubai

2009-03-09 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
Benjamin Duer _Canton OH Repository_
More than 800 people apply for $15/hour school janitor job
Chicago Sun-Times
Holland OH Sentinel
USA Today/Gannett
London Telegraph
Huffington Post
Coshoctton OH Tribune
UPI
MarketWatch

2009-03-09
D.K. Wright _WV State Journal_
Severtal to close its electric arc steel furnace at Mingo Junction indefinitely

2009-03-09 13:32PDT (16:32EDT) (20:32GMT)
Kate Gibson _MarketWatch_
Head-lines that would signal stock market bottom

2009-03-09 14:41PDT (17:41EDT) (21:41GMT)
Christopher Hinton & Shawn Langlois _MarketWatch_
Dow Chemical to merge with Rohm & Haas (the Plexiglas people)

2009-03-09
Amy Hoak _MarketWatch_
trimming wedding costs
"The national average cost of a wedding was $21,814 last year, down 24% compared with 2007, when a wedding averaged $28,704, according to data from The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks the industry. &nbp; In 2009, the cost of the average wedding is expected to be down another 10%."
$2K Wedding

2009-03-09
_Conference Board_
Employment Trends Index (ETI)™ fell sharply in February
The index fell 3.2% from the January revised figure of 94.0 to 91.0, and down 21.7% from a year ago.

2009-03-09 (5769 Adar 13)
N. Richard Greenfield _Jewish World Review_
Open your eyes!

2009-03-09 (5769 Adar 13)
Jeff Jacoby _Jewish World Review_
Intelligence is no guarantee of goodness
 
 

  "The United States accounts for 49% of citations, 63% of highly cited publications, and employs 70% of the world's Nobel Prize winners and 66% of the most-cited individuals.   According to the Shanghai Institute of Education, the United States is the home of 75% of the world's top 20 universities, 75% of the top 40, and 58% of the top 100." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 65  

 

2009-03-10

2009-03-10
_CIOL_
NASSCOM increases lobbying in Washington, DC

2009-03-10
Brett Philbin _CNN_/_Dow Jones_
For banks being bailed out, visa application rules don't amount to much
"In contrast, technology companies apply for thousands of H-1B visas every year; Infosys Technologies Ltd. applied for 4,559 in 2008, and MS Corp. applied for 1,037...   According to data from USCIS, petition approvals for banks in fiscal 2008 included Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which received 211, JPMorgan Chase & Co. 150, Morgan Stanley 125, Citigroup Inc. 210, [Bank of India Corp.] 33, and Wells Fargo & Co. 9.   The banks probably hired people for most of those petitions."
Richard Beales & Antony Currie: International Herald Tribune: Bank of India pours bail-out money into Red China
JPMorgan sends bail-out money to India
Citigroup ends $8G of bail-out money to Dubai
Richard Beales & Antony Currie: International Herald Tribune: Bank of India pours bail-out money into Red China
JPMorgan sends bail-out money to India
Citigroup ends $8G of bail-out money to Dubai

2009-03-10
William M. Welch _USA Today_/_Gannett_
Experts say illegal aliens may get 15% of stimulus jobs

2009-03-10
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1988
Wadhwa debates Hira on CNBC over Bank of India
 
CNBC hosted a debate over the Sanders/Grassley "Employ American Workers Act" (SA306) amendment to the Stimulus Bill [PL111-5].   The video is almost 5 minutes and the 2 combatants were Vivek Wadhwa and Ron Hira.   Use the link below to watch the debate.
 
An article appearing in an Indian publication called FT spurred the debate with a claim that the [Bank of India] withdrew job offers (and H-1B visas) to foreign MBA students graduating from US business schools.   The reason given for [BofI] not seeking the visas was because they were concerned about restrictions in SA306.   This kind of talk is pure hysteria but articles like the one in FT are appearing all over the world.
 
As I have explained in several previous newsletters, SA306 won't stop a single H-1B visa from being issued, although it will require a few employers in the financial service sector to fill out additional paper-work to get the visa approved (or to hire a shameless law firm like Cohen&Grigsby to do the dirty work).   If it's true that [BofI] withdrew offers to 50 foreign students it was more likely due to poor economic conditions, not SA306.   IOW, [BofI] wasn't going to hire these students anyway!
 
Ron Hira's main point is that [BofI] does replace Americans with H-1Bs, so they may have to jump extra hoops to hire H-1Bs in order to avoid violating the H-1B dependency requirements.
 
The debate was quite a spectacle to watch because Ron Hira was calm and scholarly, while Vivek Wadhwa was like a mad dog on meth.   The interviewers were very obnoxious and condescending towards Hira but he kept his cool.   In the middle of the discussion Wadwha took the low road by accusing Hira and everyone like him of being mean-spirited xenophobes.   I have witnessed Wadwha accusing people of xenophobia in the past, and it was always when he was losing an argument.
 
To find out more about Ron Hira and Vivek Wadhwa just google on their names.   There is plenty out there and this news-letter has mentioned their names many times.
Richard Beales & Antony Currie: International Herald Tribune: Bank of India pours bail-out money into Red China
JPMorgan sends bail-out money to India
Citigroup ends $8G of bail-out money to Dubai
---30---

2009-03-10 (5769 Adar 14)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Proud to be a leftist?

2009-03-10 (5769 Adar 14)
Rabbi Yonason Goldson _Jewish World Review_
Purim and the limit of imagination

2009-03-10 (5769 Adar 14)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Subsidizing bad decisions
Town Hall
 
 

  "In absolute terms, the United States increased its R&D spending by $126.3G (nominal value at PPP), from $166.1G in 1993 to $292.4G in 2003.   This increase is more than in any other region: Over the same period, the EU-15 added $76.6G, Japan added $38.3G, and [Red China] added $60.8G." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 72  

 

2009-03-11

2009-03-10 21:01PDT (2009-03-11 00:01EDT) (2009-03-11 04:01GMT)
Moira Herbst _Business Week_
2 charged in Iowa for scheme to under-pay H-1B grantees
"Part of that growth includes the U.S. head-quarters of Pacific West, an IT consulting firm that employs both U.S. and H-1B visa workers from overseas.   It is there, in a nondescript six-story office building at 2600 Aurora Ave., that dozens of skilled workers, mostly from India, were supposed to be working in 2004 and 2005.   But according to a federal law-suit filed on Dec. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, some of those who came to work for Pacific West didn't get to enjoy the town's charms, or the computer programing or engineering jobs they expected to fill.   A federal grand jury charges that in fact many of the workers wound up on the East and West coasts, working for companies that had nothing to do with technology."

2009-03-11 08:59PDT (11:59EDT) (15:59GMT)
_MarketWatch_
Google plans to step up rights violations

2009-03-11 14:35PDT (17:35EDT) (21:35GMT)
Sam Hananel _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Federal employment discrimination complaints hit record

2009-03-11
John Miano _Center for Immigration Studies_
Even Merely Symbolic H-1B Curbs Provoke Employer Outcry 2009-03-11
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1989
H-1Bs behind contaminated heparin deaths?
 
Remember all the news coverage about the deaths caused by a tainted anti-coagulant drug called heparin?   There were lots of news stories, but I'll bet most of you forgot about it.   I know I did.   Perhaps the news about heparin stopped getting national coverage because of who got caught, and who got away.
 
A scandal involving an Indian CEO and at least several Indian employees has resulted in indictments in North Carolina.   Dushyant Patel, who is the CEO of AM2PAT, master-minded the fraudulent scheme that involved shipping tainted syringes of heparin.
 
A criminal case was launched last Spring after the falsified reports were discovered.   The plant manager, Aniruddha Patel, and the quality control director, Ravindra Sharma, were sentenced to 4.5 years in federal prison Monday for their participation.   The Indian men, in the United States legally with work visas, said they feared they would lose their jobs and their U.S. residencies if they didn't go along with Dushyant Patel's scheme.
 
Dushyant Patel won't be serving any prison time unless India finds him and allows extradition.   That's because Patel fled the U.S.A. before he could be arrested.   Supposedly Interpol is involved in what is described as an international man-hunt to find Patel.   I have read dozens of news reports and a press release from the Dept. of Justice, but haven't seen a single explanation about how Patel escaped from the U.S.A.   The silence on Patel looks like a cover-up by several branches of our government that have bungled the AM2PAT case for a very long time.
 
As an example of the bungling: the FDA received complaints in 2005 that the companys "chief microbiologist" was a teenager who dropped out of high school, and that labs were filthy, and yet nothing was done to correct the problems.   My suspicion is that the FDA went easy on AM2PAT because the company is considered to be a minority owned business.   AM2PAT was based in Obamaland -- Chicago, Illinois, where Dr. Dushyant Patel practiced radiology.
 
Aniruddha Patel and Ravindra Sharma claimed that they went along with the fraud because they were afraid they would lose their H-1B status if they were fired.   That seems like a weak excuse for being involved in a conspiracy that resulted in permanent physical damage and deaths of many innocent American patients.   Both of these white collar mass murderers made plea agreements to fink on Dushyant Patel, which is the reason given for their light sentences.   Keep in mind that these two, and probably others at AM2PAT were involved in the conspiracy.
 
These men are described as Indian nationals who are in the U.S.A. on legal work visas.   I was not able to find information about the specific visas they had, but one thing for sure is that AM2PAT does hire H-1Bs.   You can see LCAs filed by AM2PAT by searching the DoL data-base.   Unfortunately there is no way to directly link the LCAs to specific individuals, but it is proof positive that the company wanted to hire H-1Bs.
 
Here are a few results by year.   As you can see, AM2PAT has been hiring H-1Bs for a long time.
 
10/01/2007, SENIOR PROCESS ENGINEER (MATERIALS ENGINEER), $52,998
 
02/28/2006, Materials Engineer, $55,307
 
07/29/2002, BUSINESS MANAGER, $45,000
 
Almost every thing about Dushyant Patel has been wiped off the web, but I found a little blurb about his medical practice which you can read below.   The drug scandal uncovered could be the tip of the iceberg.   Dushyant Patel was involved with several different companies including a few based in India.   It's truly a global conspiracy that involves both immigration and uncontrolled international trade.   Hopefully the FDA is doing a better job of checking out Astral in India than they did with AM2PAT in North Carolina.
 

 
"Astral is rapidly establishing a global foot-print.", said Dushyant R. Patel, CEO, Astral Pharmaceutical Industries.   "Collaborating with a partner of Sagent's caliber in the United States is a fantastic opportunity for Astral to quickly expand our science, quality and manufacturing expertise in injectable anti-infectives to the U.S. market."
---30---

2009-03-11
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
Bank of India, Wadhwa & Hira on CNBC

2009-03-11
_Carrie's Nation_
Ross School of Out-Sourcing
Patrick Cleburne: V Dare: Superb H-1B essay from Carrie's Nation

2009-03-11 (5760 Adar 15)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Good Ideas
 
 

  "the large increase of R&D expenditures in the life sciences appears to have had the unintended consequence of producing an over-supply of life science PhDs (see Section 3.3), worsening young investigators' career prospects in academia." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 102  

 

2009-03-12

2009-03-12
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
Wadhwa/Hira CNBC spectacle
 
This past Monday, CNBC ran a "debate" between Vivek Wadhwa and Ron Hira.   As many of you know, Vivek is a former CEO who now writes and does academic research on the tech industry, and Ron is a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and who also does research on the tech industry.
 
Though most viewers wouldn't know it, Vivek and Ron actually agree with each other on the issues at hand: Both are critics of the H-1B program, and both support expanding the employment-based green card program.   (I agree with them on H-1B but disagree regarding green cards.)   Both Vivek and Ron have made important research contributions to the H-1B issue, for the most part in mutually compatible directions.   (I still take issue with some of Vivek's research, but I have found much of it to be first rate.)
 
The subject matter in the debate was the recent enactment of legislation that would place certain restrictions on the hiring H-1Bs by employers who receive TARP financial industry bailout funds.   For example, these employers will now be required to try to hire an American for a position before filling it with an H-1B.
 
As someone who likes and respects both Vivek and Ron, the video clip was painful to watch.   Vivek got carried away, and said things I think he doesn't really believe.   Ron, by contrast, was very calm, with a "Why did I EVER agree to participating in this circus?" look on his face, but calm to the point of not aggressively defending his point of view.
 
I immediately decided not to post the incident to this e-news-letter, as it was (and is) embarrasing to write about a battle between two men who I hope I can call my friends.   However, I've changed my mind, and have now composed the comments below.   I can't go into the details why I reversed my original decision, except to say that I'm worried that the academic careers of both men might be harmed, to some extent or other.   I therefore wish to set the record straight, as I see it.
 
First, exactly what did occur?   You may be able to
watch the clip yourself.
 
I say "may," because CNBC has apparently removed the numerous sites at which they had had the video.   They seem to have overlooked the above URL, but I would guess that it will be gone pretty soon too.   And while it is viewable by most people, many find it won't play; if that happens to you, try another computer.
 
There were two issues that arose: (a) Vivek claimed that the TARP legislation was xenophobic, and (b) CNBC thought it "tragic" that the Bank of America had rescinded job offers to some new foreign MBAs due to the the new H-1B rules, thereby depriving the bank of genius talent just when it needs it most.
 
Let's take (a) first:
 
Vivek is an Indian immigrant, while Ron is the son of Indian immigrants, and many of Vivek's comments, delivered in a quite pointed tone, had the theme that the TARP legislation was anti-Indian.   Vivek hurled rather emotionally-toned remarks at Ron along the lines of, "Next, they'll come after you!"   And I suppose the implied subtext may also have been that Ron was somehow a traitor to Indian-Americans.
 
Such statements, in both substance, tone and body language, were uncalled for.   The fact is that far more Indian-Americans have been harmed by H-1B than have benefitted by it.   Come on -- the number of Indian-American bodyshop owners and political activists is dwarfed by the number of Indian-American programmers and engineers.   In short, the TARP legislation was, if anything, PRO-Indian-American, not anti-.
 
I wish to quickly add, though, that Vivek has a point.   Since H-1B has come to be perceived as an "Indian" visa (out-numbering, for instance, Chinese H-1Bs by an 8-to-1 margin the last time I checked), one should worry that the legislation might be misconstrued by some.   It would have been helpful if Senators Grassley and Sanders had explained that the VICTIMS of H-1B include many Indian-Americans, and for that matter, many others of non-European ancestry.   The politicians on the Hill, who seem to accept the industry lobbyists' claim that the ones who complain about H-1B are whites, would benefit by sticking their heads in a university computer science class, because they'd see tons of Asian-American (no, NOT Asian foreign-national) students.
 
Vivek should be making that same point.   It has been reported that Vivek has said that his own son was had had difficult finding IT work at one point, due to H-1B.   I don't know if this is accurate, but it is certainly safe to say that Vivek would agree that many Indian-Americans are victims of the H-1B program.   And he should have said so on CNBC, rather than unduly alarming Indian-American viewers that Congress was out to bash Indians.
 
Vivek, and for that matter Ron, should have also pointed out that the TARP legislation is not the abrupt, radical change that the industry lobbyists are portraying it to be.   It is merely an extension of existing law: It derives from the H-1B-dependency law, and probably more importantly in my context here, the TARP legislation's U.S. recruitment requirement for H-1B is, in essence, the same as the corresponding requirement for employment-based green cards -- a law in place for several decades.   Yes, the banks now will have some extra hoops to jump through, but they and all other employers have had to do that in a related context for many years.
 
(And if these workers are "the best and the brightest" as the lobbyists claim, why should the banks mind going through extra hoops, given the chance to hire "geniuses"?   BTW, I'm preparing a major posting on this erstwhile "best and brightest" claim, hopefully ready after this very busy week is over.)
 
Now for item (b):
 
Vivek was outraged that Ron flatly stated that the Bank of American was using H-1Bs as cheap labor.   But Ron was correct.   The Bank of America is not the poor, genius-deprived firm the lobbyists describe.   On the contrary, the BofA has an awful track record regarding the H-1B and L-1 visas (which, as Ron's research has shown and has been admitted by the off-shoring firms, is also used to facilitate off-shoring):
 
1.   In 1997, the following report came out: Michael Liedtke "BofA Tech Workers Fear Jobs Heading Off to India" Contra Costa Times (East San Francisco Bay Area newspaper), 1997 April 27.
 
Bank of America's technology center is in the early stages of an unsettling cost-cutting experiment.   The San Francisco-based bank is asking its computer engineers in Concord to undermine their own job security by helping to train potential replacment workers imported from India before shipping an untold number of positions over-seas...
 
The bank also maintains none of its Concord emloyees will be dropped from the pay-roll if the pilot program with the India workers proves to be a success.

 
That latter statement by the bank proved to be false.   After completion of the out-sourcing program, the bank did indeed lay off its IT workers in Concord and elsewhere in 2002 (Jim Gardner "Bank job: You're Fired, Now Go Train Your Replacement" San Francisco Business Times 2002 November 22):
 
Spreading some pre-holiday cheer, Bank of America this week announced that it is cutting 900 tech positions -- with the twist that some lay-off victims have to help train replacements if they want to get severance pay...
 
The job cuts, 232 of them in the Bay Area, come as BofA is out-sourcing an increasing amount of tech work abroad, particularly to India.   That has earned the Charlotte, NC-based institution the nickname of Bank of India among disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-employees.
 
Sure enough, dozens of Indian tech workers have been visiting BofA's major tech centers in Concord, Jacksonville, FL, and other cities around the country recently.   They're getting training on work they'll do back at home for about half what departing employees are paid.   The bank confirms that some laid-off workers are being required to help train new ones (and not speak to the media) as a condition of receiving severance.

 
Sadly, this also led to tragedy.
 
2.   The BofA did the same thing in Charlotte, converting jobs from BofA to HCL (an out-sourcing firm).   The workers were still working AT the BofA, but technically not FOR the BofA--and soon afterward, they weren't working at all, because HCL replaced them with H-1Bs for literally half their salaries.   This is detailed in the excellent case study by the Programmers Guild, titled, "How to Under-Pay an H-1B".
 
In short, the industry lobbyists blew it big time by using the Bank of America as their poster child.
 
BTW, CNBC repeatedly used the term "foreign-born" to describe the foreign workers, giving viewers the impression that they are immigrants.   This is false.   These workers are merely SEEKERS of a TEMPORARY WORK VISA.   Even if they do get that visa, it is, in immigration legal terminology, a NON-IMMIGRANT VISA.   The employers can, either simultaneously or later on, sponsor them for green cards, so some of these workers may hope to become immigrants later on, but they are not immigrants.
 
Having studied the industry lobbyists for so long, I know that they choose no word carelessly.   PR people want every word to have an effect, with the term "foreign-born" intended to misleadingly connote immigrants here, just like they insert the term "innovation" into the dialogue as often as possible to misleadingly convey the idea that H-1Bs are needed to innovate the U.S.A. out of its economic slump.   The frequent use of the word "xenophobia" is deliberate too, for obvious reasons.
 
(+ I meant to explain here that I don't consider the CNBC reporters to be industry lobbyists.   But they are "educated" by the lobbyists, with thick, glossy "information packets" about H-1B, and proselytized by the lobbyists in in-person meetings.   This is how the journalists end up using the lobbyists' strategically chosen, sublimally laden words. +)
 
Anyway, there you have it.   CNBC, with its in-your-face style, baited Vivek into an embarrassing televised tiff with someone whom he actually agrees with.   Some of you may be saying now that Vivek ought to apologize to Ron, but my own view is that CNBC ought to apologize to its audience.
 
Norm
James Fulford: V Dare: Assimilation and Conflicting Loyalties
Richard Beales & Antony Currie: International Herald Tribune: Bank of India pours bail-out money into Red China
JPMorgan sends bail-out money to India
Citigroup ends $8G of bail-out money to Dubai
---30---

2009-03-11 20:22PDT (2009-03-11 23:22EDT) (2009-03-12 03:22GMT)
Jerome Groopman & Pamela Hartzband _Wall Street Journal_
Nationalizing medical records is an attack on privacy, not a money-saving measure

2009-03-12 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 648,363 in the week ending March 7, an increase of 2,536 from the previous week.   There were 341,685 initial claims in the comparable week in 2008.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.8% during the week ending Feb. 28, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 6,396,429, an increase of 165,349 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,340,432.   Extended benefits were available in Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Washington during the week ending Feb. 21.   Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,179 in the week ending Feb. 28, an increase of 38 from the prior week.   There were 1,949 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 211 from the preceding week...   States reported 1,414,439 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Feb. 21, a decrease of 18,480 from the prior week.   The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Feb. 21 were in Michigan (7.7%), Oregon (7.4%), Idaho (7.2%), Wisconsin (6.7%), Rhode Island (6.5%), Pennsylvania (6.3%), Nevada (6.2%), Montana (5.9%), Alaska (5.7%), Indiana (5.7%), Massachusetts (5.7%), New Jersey (5.7%), and Vermont (5.7%).   The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Feb. 28 were in New York (+16,481), California (+7,765), Oregon (+4,001), Georgia (+3,313), and Wisconsin (+3,006), while the largest decreases were in Missouri (-3,350), Massachusetts (-3,263), New Jersey (-1,973), Florida (-1,559), and New Mexico (-1,005)."
graphs
more graphs

2009-03-12
_Billings Gazette_/_AP_
Wyoming jobless rate lowest in nation: Unemployment went up in every state except Louisiana in January

2009-03-12 07:50PDT (10:50EDT) (14:50GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Retail sales inched lower in February, but upward revision to January shows sales were much better than expected

2009-03-12
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
editorial - Mr. Obama's Trade Agenda - NYTimes
 
I urge all of you to write letters to the editor in response to the comment in the NYT editorial below on H-1B.   And get ready to write more!
 
This is really important.   Senators Sanders and Grassley need our support.
 
The rules for submission.
 
Please make sure your letter is coherent!!!!
 
Norm
NY Times: president Obams's Trade Agenda
---30---

2009-03-12
Ben Smith _Politico_
FBI raided office of DC's CTO, Obama's newly appointed CIO: 2 held on bribery charges
CBS 12
Huliq
Poli-Gazette
Mark Segraves: WTOP FM
Daily Herald Extra
Del Quentin Wilber, David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart: Washington Post
Mike DeBonis: Washington City Paper
Brad Reese: Network World
organization chart
"In 2008 August, Sushil Bansal received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Association of Indians in America.   Government records show Bansal is not a U.S. citizen and holds an H-1B visa, which is given to foreign workers in specialty occupations.   Yusuf Acar was involved in multiple schemes to defraud the DC government."

2009-03-12 11:35PDT (14:35EDT) (18:35GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US household net wealth fell 18% in 2008
"fall by $11.2T, or 18%, to $51.5T at the end of 2008...   Consumers lost $937G on the value of their real estate.   Their direct holdings of corporate equity dropped by $1.68T, while holdings in pension and life insurance reserve dropped by $1.46T.   Mutual-fund holdings fell by $730G...   peaking at $64.4T in the second quarter of 2007."

2009-03-12
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Bernie Madoff in the White House for the last 7 decades?

2009-03-12
_Grand Forks ND Herald_/_AP_
Florida-based body shop Sykes Enterprises to close Minot ND all center, dump 200 employees, after receiving $2.7M in incentives to set up shop there in 1996
Jeff Harrington: St. Petersburg FL Times
Kim Fundingsland: Minot ND Daily News

2009-03-12 _Work-Force Management_
Employment discrimination claims reached record high in 2008, says EEOC

2009-03-12
Jim Duffy _ComputerWorld_/_IDG_
Cisco quietly moves positions from US offices to bodies shopped here and off-shore
"Cisco said it has been restructuring the NMTG for up to a year.   Sources within Cisco said as many as 128 positions from the NEDC, Research Triangle Park, NC, and Scotland were out-sourced to Tech Mahindra Ltd. in India during that time."

2009-03-12
Rick Pearcey _Pearcey Report_
It Takes a Tyrant: "General Welfare" Myth Debunked
 
 

  "High school completion rates have increased from 83% in 1972 to 87% in 2004 (see Figure 3.10).   While Blacks and Hispanics continue to lag Whites, who had completion rates of 92% in 2004, both of the former 2 groups have made great improvements in high school completion rates: Black completion rates increased from 72% in 1972 to 83% in 2004, and Hispanic rates increased from 56% in 1972 to 70% in 2004." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 110  

 

2009-03-13

2009-03-13
_Yahoo!_
Memories can be read from functional NMR/PET brain scans
Brandon Keim: Wired
Fox
Discover
Jocelyn Rice: MIT Technology Review
Benjamin Lester: Science

2009-03-13 07:54PDT (10:54EDT) (14:54GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 56.3 in February to 56.6 in early March

2009-03-13 08:20PDT (11:20EDT) (15:20GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US trade deficit in January down to $36.0G: 6-year low

2009-03-13
Patrick J. Buchanan _Town Hall_
A Sell-Out of Our UnEmployed

2009-03-13
Patrick Cleburne _V Dare_
Bribery and curry in the air in DC
Patrick Thibodeau: ComputerWorld/IDG

2009-30-13
Eric Janszen _iTulip_
Flow of Funds 2008Q4: Debt Deflation Confirmation

2009-03-13
Peggy Abrahamson & Suzy Bohnert _DoL ETA_
U.S. Department of Labor proposes to suspend H-2A rule
Federal Register: 2009 March 17 (Volume 74, Number 50, Page 11408, 20 CFR Part 655, RIN 1205-AB55)
"the Department may wish to reconsider these policy positions in light of the rising unemployment among U.S. workers and their availability for these jobs, and continuing economic problems in this country."

2009-03-13
Dina Bass _Bloomberg_
MSFT, with $20G cash in the bank, gets $11M in "stimulus" money for bridge between office buildings

2009-03-13
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Red China puts US treasury on notice

2009-03-13 (5769 Adar 17)
Rabbi Berel Wein _Jewisn World Review_
The Golden Calf in all of its modern and secular manifestations still dances and prances among us: Were the ancients, in fact, really that different from us?
"one could hope that after 3321 years something might have been learned."

2009-03-13 (5769 Adar 17)
_Torah.org_
Returning Lost Objects part 9 (based on _Halachos of Other People's Money_ by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner)

2009-03-13
DJIA7,223.00
S&P 500756.00
NASDAQ1,432.00
10-year US T-Bond2.88%
crude oil$46.25/barrel
gold$930.10/ounce
silver$13.215/ounce
platinum$1,063.60/ounce
palladium$200.00/ounce
copper$0.10403125/ounce
natgas$3.932/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$1.3529/gal
heatingoil$1.1972/gal
dollarindex87.402
yenperdollar98.02
dollarspereuro1.2907
dollarsperpound1.3970
swissfranksperdollar1.1890
indianrupeesperdollar51.70
MorganStanleyHighTechIndex342.20

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Commodities" and "Metals" and "Currencies" columns.
 
 
 

  "the fraction of the population with a college or higher degree increased from 22% to 30% of the work-force between 1980 and 2000" --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 114  

 

2009-03-14

2009-03-14
Edmund L. Andrews, Peter Baker & Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
AIG planning to give themselves $100M to $165M in bonuses after 3rd bail-out by tax-victims
Central Florida News

2009-03-14
Patrick Cleburne _V Dare_
Curry and bribery in DC smelling worse
 
 

  "The National Research Council's Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in Careers of Life Scientists (National Research Council, 1998) reported that the average age at which a life science PhD is awarded is 32.   Students are entering slightly later and taking an average of 2 years longer to graduate relative to those in the 60s and 70s.   In addition, students are twice as likely to take post-doctoral fellowships.   As a result, many life science PhDs do not begin their first permanent job until ages 35-40.   The number of PhDs awarded in the life sciences grew by 42% over the 10-year period between 1987 and 1996.   This was supported by the large (and continuing) increases in the life sciences R&D budget (see Figure 3.5), much of which apparently has been spent on temporary jobs (PhD researchers, post-doctoral fellows, etc.), facilities, equipment, and expansion of existing laboratories but not on a parallel increase in permanent job opportunities.   Five years after receiving their PhDs, 38% of life sciences doctorates found themselves in non-permanent positions in 1990, primarily as post-docs and temporary academic staff, versus only 11% in 1973.   Ten years after receiving their PhDs, 61% of the 1963 and 1964 life science PhDs had achieved tenure appointments, while for the 1985–1986 cohort, this percentage was 38%.   The probability of working in industry for these cohorts increased from 12% to 24%, and the probability of working in a federal or government laboratory dropped from 14% to 11%.   Overall, there was a shift primarily out of academia into industry for those in permanent positions." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pp 123-124 note  

 

2009-03-15

2009-03-15
Lawrence Feidelman _Florida Sun-Sentinel_
Wanted: High-tech jobs
"We are in danger of losing our highly technically skilled young people because of the H-1B visas.   These visas allow foreigners to be employed by U.S. companies at significantly lower wages.   In particular, our computer companies use H-1B visas extensively.   The result is that there are fewer computer science students because of the lack of jobs.   The one industry that is our shining star will lose the U.S. capability because of business greed.   When will this destruction of our technically skilled work force end?   Without such a skilled work force, we will never get back on our feet."

2009-03-15
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Taxes Matter... Even to Hollywood

2009-03-15
_Fox_
Where AIG bail-out money went

2009-03-15
Richard Solash _Radio Free Europe_
Under the radar: Illegal aliens from central Asia and Georgia head to the USA

2009-03-15 15:56PDT (18:56EDT) (23:56GMT)
Peter Daut _Fox_
Abuse of H-1B program

2009-03-15
Michelle Malkin
Thousands converge on fountain square for Cincinnati tea party
 
 

  "More S&P 500 CEOs obtained their under-graduate degrees in engineering than in any other field." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 31 (citing Spencer Stuart 2005 "2004 CEO Study: A Statistical Snapshot of Leading CEOs")  

 

2009-03-16

2009-03-16
_Time_
Stores that Are No More

2009-03-16 06:32PDT (09:32EDT) (13:32GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Industrial production down 1.4% in February: capacity utilization down to 70.9%
Federal Reserve

2009-03-16 13:11PDT (16:11EDT) (20:11GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Bail-out anger creates perils for pols of both parties
"In the late 1980s, only 20% of American households held stock.   But that percentage has jumped to over 70% because of the advent of 401(k) plans, said pollster Scott Rasmussen."

2009-03-16
_PR News Wire_/_Center for Immigration Studies_
Immigration Enforcement in Meat-Packing: New Report Finds Wage and Employment Growth For Legal Workers After Swift Plant Raids
Sys-Con
MarketWatch
Center for Immigration Studies
The 2006 Swift Raids: Assessing the Impact of Immigration Enforcement Actions at Six Facilities: backgrounder 309 (pdf)

2009-03-16
Thom Senzee _San Fernando Valley CA Business Journal_
42-1 visa: Work visa abuse to suppress compensation
alternate link
"At the same time, separate legislation crafted to increase enforcement of existing rules that prohibit the hiring of foreign workers to fill jobs that could be done by Americans may be presented to Congress in coming months.   'I have a strong perspective on this.', said Phyliss Murphy, president of P. Murphy & Associates, a staffing company in Glendale specializing in the IT sector.   'Until the supply of people who live in this country who can do a job is exhausted fully, we should not be bringing people in from other countries to take those jobs.' &nbp; But Murphy says that is happening in large numbers every day through what [she] claims is abuse of the so-called H-1B Visa program...   'A foreign-owned company—many of them are from India—opens an office in say, Indiana or Nebraska, or somewhere wages are relatively low.', said Al Strong, president of Commercial Programming Systems, an IT placement firm in Studio City.   'They get contracts with companies in states where wages are much higher and supply them with IT workers who still work for the placement company while they're on assignment in, say New York.'   According to Strong, unscrupulous placement firms then pay workers at the going rate where the placement firm is physically located.   [This same sort of abuse was reported by Matt Wickenheiser in the Portland ME Press Herald in 2006.]...   'I'm not saying the workers are not good.', she said.   'Many of them are.   But foreign companies are importing them to U.S. shores and taking advantage of them.   It's long past time for revisiting H-1B.'"

2009-03-16 (5769 Adar 20)
Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz _Jewish World Review_
Lessons not learned from the Madoff affair
"We have in our midst people of sterling character, individuals who are intelligent, capable and resourceful, who can envision solutions and follow through on a project to completion.   These people realize that all their talents and possessions are gifts from the Divine.   They remain humble and G-d fearing and loving.   It's precisely this kind of person we need in positions of leadership."
 
 

  "The increase in the percentage of non-U.S. citizens in S&E has been the greatest among younger S&E workers.   Non-U.S. citizens now number one in five among S&E workers ages 21–35 (Figure 3.21).   The data suggest that non-citizens who work in S&E at younger ages tend to stay in the United States and continue to work in S&E at later ages, as discussed below.   Consistent with this perspective, Figure 3.21 shows that the increase in the percentage of non-citizens in S&E ages 36–50 is less than the increase in the percentage increase in non-citizens in S&E ages 21–35.   The increase in ages 36–50 could also reflect some immigration of foreign S&E workers ages 36–50.   In sum, the U.S. S&E work-force is indeed becoming increasingly reliant on foreign talent, with foreigners accounting for about 20% of the younger (ages 21–35) cohorts of scientists and engineers." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 136  

 

2009-03-17

2009-03-17
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
third West Coast Sloan conference -- summary
 
Last Friday I attended the third in a series of conferences sponsored by the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers, this one held at Stanford.   The first was held at UC Davis last year; see my summary.
 
The second conference was held at UCLA in January.   I did not attend, as it seemed to be focused on ethnic issues rather than on labor.   More on this point below.
 
This third conference concerned the educational quality of the foreign workers, whether H-1B or off-shore, with, it turned out, an emphasis on the latter.
 
The local organizer, Rafiq Dossani, did a great job, and he even included a tour of Google at lunch-time.   I really appreciated the atmosphere of the conference -- OT1H, very professional and thankfully non-polemic, and OTOH very informal.   One speaker, an Indian-American Silicon Valley CEO who off-shores some of his work, epitomized the informality by answering my question about H-1Bs as cheap labor by saying, "Well, since we're among friends here rather than testifying before the Senate, I would answer this way..."
 
Each one of the speakers was involved in off-shoring, most of them as CEOs or high-level managers.   Some of the firms were start-ups, others were mid-sized, and several were huge -- Intel, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro.
 
Several speakers viewed H-1B as an important vehicle for off-shoring, consistent with professor Ron Hira's research and the famous statement by the Indian Minister of Commerce that "H-1B is the out-sourcing [i.e. off-shoring] visa".   However, in answer to a question from Sloan's Michael Teitelbaum, the TCS speaker did say, "[H-1B] visa issues are pushing us to recruit some American workers."
 
As I've stated repeatedly, though H-1B is indeed "the out-sourcing visa" from India's POV, from the view-point of American employers, H-1B is "the age discrimination visa".   The visa is used to hire younger H-1Bs (median age 27) and avoid hiring older (age 35+) U.S. citizens and permanent residents.   Since older workers draw higher wages and cost more in health benefits (they are likely married with kids, and have 40-year-old health issues), the employers strive to hire the young; when they run out of young Americans to hire, they hire the young H-1Bs (often skipping even the young Americans, since the young H-1Bs are even cheaper).
 
Given that, imagine how my attention was riveted to one particular slide presented by the TCS speaker.   In discussing the working-age labor supply, the TCS speaker defined "working age" as having the range 20-35!   His upper bound of 35 coincided exactly with the cut-off point I always use in describing H-1B as a means for employers to avoid hiring older (yes, 35+) Americans.
 
Since I had asked a question about H-1B as cheap labor, one of the managers, Otto Schmid from NVidia (and previously a small firm later acquired by NVidia), approached me after the conference was over, saying, "In the late 1990s, I simply could not hire the engineers I needed.   It was NOT an issue of cheap labor.   I had to hire H-1Bs, because the Americans just weren't available."   My reply was, "You had that perception, but the reality is that HR was not forwarding the American CVs to you, especially those of Americans over the age of 35."   Fortunately, I had the TCS "20-35" slide to illustrate and confirm my point.   He had quite a look of shock on his face, and said nothing.
 
Once again, folks: H-1B is largely used as a way to get cheaper labor in the form of younger workers.   Some of you will recall the frank comments of an Intel manager on Straight Talk, a weekly television program produced by the Santa Clara County Democratic Club in Silicon Valley, 2000 June 10:
 
It's a matter of what are the mechanisms, how does a hiring manager in Silicon Valley get ahold of resumes? &nbp; What happens is, you get a lot of H-1B resumes.   I had to go out myself, instead of relying on the Personnel Dept., to go and advertise at several colleges where I thought I would be able to find some good employees.   And lo and behold, I found a very good one at Cal Poly, Pomona.
 
My colleague Phil Martin also noted that there is huge turn-over in this field.   There are boom/bust cycles, but once you're spit out during a bust, you generally can't get in during the next boom.   This of course again reflects the age issue.
 
Age IS one of the central issues of H-1B.   It would be really helpful if Congress, the press and even many critics of the H-1B program were to understand that.
 
Contrary to the image that only low-level grunt work is off-shored, most of the speakers, including the one from Intel, are off-shoring R&D.   However, contrary to the perennial "best and the brightest" claim we hear from the industry, several of the speakers noted that they avoid hiring graduates from the Tier I schools in India and [Red China].   There was an extended discussion of this, which even carried into the break time.
 
The speakers in several cases did not "do their home-work" well.   One quoted a long-discredited figure for the number of yearly engineering graduates in [Red China], and another insisted that the number of computer science students in the U.S.A. remains quite high, when in fact it is down 50% nationwide, due to student concerns about off-shoring and H-1B.   I had to cite , a consortium of major U.S. university computer science departments, before she finally let go.
 
Billl Pearson of Intel made a number of important remarks, none surprising but still important to me as support to various points I've made in my writings.   Unlike the claims of TCS et al that "We solve your problems while you sleep", he said time zone differences are big impediments to productivity, "...a challenge... Geography is important only in terms of time zone; good [software] developers are everywhere."
 
He said that he used the CMMI project management system in Intel, just as with TCS et al, but that it is mostly not used in the U.S.A.   (I consider its value to be greatly exaggerated, as even its inventor has stated.)   He said that Intel off-shores for cost savings, no surprise except to the industry lobbyists.   Passive, rote-memory oriented workers have been a big problem to him, as expected culturally in India and especially China, but he's been able to weed them out, and has retained some really good engineers.
 
Otto Schmid also said that managers in India and [Red China] need to provide much more direction to their engineers.   Asked about H-1B today, he said the current H-1B cap is not a problem, since the Optional Practical Training [OPT] section of the F-1 student visa has been extended to 2.5 years.   He said that domestic students and U.S.-trained foreign students are equally good.
 
Rafiq made an interesting comparison in computer science curricula between 3 top universities in the world:   Stanford (of course, since that was the conference site), Imperial College in London and the IITs in India.   The chart showed that the UK and Indian institutions require far more CS courses than does Stanford -- but Stanford requires far more outside-class work on projects.   He concluded that the American system is better on the whole, which I agree with, but the difference was striking.   (BTW, the chart also showed that Stanford requires far more courses in social sciences and humanities than do the other 2 institutions.)
 
As mentioned, I appreciated the friendly atmosphere, and had a very enjoyable day.   There were two mild exceptions, though.
 
First, one of the speakers, in spite of his friendly, gentlemanly personality, did finally resort to the "Americans are wimps, we Indians/Chinese are your saviors" attitude that I have often seen in Chinese and Indian immigrants in Silicon Valley.   This speaker, an Indian, said that Americans are lazy and will lose to India and China.   He even joked that he advised his son to learn Mandarin.   :-)   Needless to say, I have never been pleased with this attitude; I can point to lots of U.S.-native engineers who work long hours and give the company their all, only to be sloughed off from the industry at age 35.
 
Second, one of the speakers from the UCLA conference was an attendee to this one, and in his discussion with me at lunch, he took the party-line Ethnic Studies professor point of view:   Criticism of H-1B reflects negatively on Asian-Americans, and that's that, stop criticizing H-1B.   He knows my close ties to the Chinese-American community, and though I pointed out to him that the large numbers of Asian-American programmers and engineers means that they are prime victims of employers' use of H-1Bs, it didn't move him.   He also claimed that Lou Dobbs and Peter Brimelow are xenophobes, again ignoring my arguments to the contrary.   As I had seen and admired this professor's research in the past, I was taken aback by his flatly ideological view of things.
 
All in all, it was an excellent conference.   It's unfortunate that the selection of speakers resulted in an over-emphasis on off-shoring.   As I've shown statistically, there are just as many American programmers and engineers hurt by H-1Bs working here as by workers off-shore.   Moreover, as even Bill Gates has said, for many companies they need the work done here rather than abroad, to be close to the customers and management; their desire for cheap labor then translates to hiring H-1Bs instead of sending work off-shore.
 
Norm
Tata median salaries by city
Wipro median salaries by city
Infosys median salaries by city

2009-03-17
Laura Tode _Billings MT Gazette_
Schaff won gold in Junior Indoor Archery World Cup
"Schaff took his time, kept his nerves in check and won the gold with a score of 115, out-shooting Friberg's score of 112."

2009-03-17 12:55PDT (15:55EDT) (19:55GMT)
Darrell Delamaide _MarketWatch_
We've been had on bail-outs and stimulus

2009-03-17
Mike Shedlock _Global Economic Analysis_
GM, Toyota, Honda, and Grocery Store Price Wars

2009-03-17
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_ #1991
Kundra is another bad appointment by Obama
"Kundra, who was born in New Delhi, is a 34-year-old Indian American that became a naturalized citizen.   Kundra held a similar position for the city of Washington, DC.   Kundra took a leave of absence soon after the FBI raided Kundra's office.   Kundra is being investigated for corruption, bribery, favoritism, and bid rigging for city contracts.   Lots of work in Washington, DC has gone to Indian contractors and it appears that Kundra is one of the main reasons.   As the FBI raid took place, Kundra was giving a speech at FOSE -- an annual government technology expo -- about changing the way the government purchases materials from vendors..."

2009-03-17
_Front Page Magazine_
Barack Obama's Newest Radical Leftist Spiritual Advisor

2009-03-17
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
The Regressive Paradigm

2009-03-17
Carolyn Duffy Marsan _NetworkWorld_/_IDG_
CRA Taulbee report says Computer Science enrollments are up
USA Today
"For example, Carnegie Mellon University received 2,600 applications for 130 freshman openings in its computer science department for next Fall, said professir Peter Lee, head of the department.   The applications were up 11% from last year and down only slightly from a peak of 3K received in the late 1990s...   Carnegie Mellon University, for example, received 1,400 applications this year for 26 Ph.D. slots opening in the fall, Lee says...   Harsha says the CRA data showed that this year's newly minted doctorates may have a tougher time finding academic jobs due to hiring freezes at many universities, but that demand remains solid in industry."

2009-03-17 09:05PDT (12:09EDT) (16:09GMT)
_CNN_/_Reuters_
Caterpillar cut 2,454 jobs
"In January, Caterpillar announced 22K lay-offs, and in February, the company offered voluntary early retirement packages to another 2K production workers."

2009-03-17 (5769 Adar 21)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
Israel's balance of delusion

2009-03-17 (5769 Adar 21)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
How Hamas became "kosher"

2009-03-17 (5769 Adar 21)
Frank J. Gaffney _Jewish World Review_
Will Obama embrace Shariah as part of his "respect Islam" campaign?

2009-03-17 (5769 Adar 21)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
False solutions and real problems

2009-03-17 (5769 Adar 21)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Republicans in conflict
 
 

  "from 1993 to 2005... the percentage of non-citizens in the S&E work-force has climbed from around 7% to 12%" --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 141  

 

2009-03-18

2009-03-18
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
more on last week's Sloan conference
 
I forgot to mention that a couple of the speakers in the Sloan conference raised the question, "What is an Asian engineer?"   In case that phrasing confuses you, it was an allusion to the notion of trans-nationalism that is currently hot in some circles.
 
Two or three speakers mentioned it, but one in particular high-lighted the point.   His point, as I understood it, was that he is neither Indian nor American; he's just transnational.   I assume he's a naturalized U.S. citizen, but he doesn't view himself that way.   He views the labor market as a global one, and by extension he views national boundaries as artificial nuisances.
 
This was the subject of a book by UC Berkeley professor Aihwa Ong (_Flexible Citizenship: the Cultural Logics of Transnationality_, Duke University Press, 1999), and a book on related topics by A. Aneesh of Stanford (_Virtual Migration: the Programming of Globalization_, Duke University Press, 2006).   The Journal of International Migration and Integration invited me to write a review of Aneesh's book last year.
 
Norm
---30---

2009-03-18
_Yahoo!_
Chris Dodd admitted inserting bonus loop-hole into "stimulus" bill
Anne Davies: Sydney Morning Herald
Helen Ubinas: Hartford CT Courant
Josh Kraushaar: Politico
Trish Turner: Fox
CNN

2009-03-18
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Was the Bail-Out Itself a Scam?

2009-03-18 (5769 Adar 22)
Anne Bayefsky _Jewish World Review_
Time for Obama to stop stalling about UN's hateful anti-hate conference

2009-03-18 (5760 Adar 22)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Prosperity Lost
 
 

  "Other approaches... pale in importance to the earnings and attractiveness of S&E careers as major determinants of the supply of U.S.-born students to S&E." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 160  

 

2009-03-19

2009-03-19 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 594,121 in the week ending March 14, a decrease of 58,515 from the previous week.   There were 335,917 initial claims in the comparable week in 2008.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.7% during the week ending March 7, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 6,332,272, a decrease of 29,082 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,297,238.   Extended benefits were available in Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin during the week ending Feb. 28."
graphs
more graphs

2009-03-19 04:38PDT (07:38EDT) (11:38GMT)
_Wall Street Journal_
Indian CEOs Raise H-IB Visa Issue With Obummer regime
"The issue was raised by the visiting CII's CEO Mission led by Bharati enterprise chairman Sunil Bharati Mittal, who among others met Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, at the White House yesterday."

2009-03-19
_Conference Board_
Leading and Coincident Economic Indices slightly down

2009-03-19
Malcolm Maclachlan _California Capitol Weekly_
attorney who challenged local bonuses to judges has been debarred, jailed

2009-03-19
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Labor Unions as American Nazional Sozialists

2009-03-19 (5769 Adar 24)
Fred Burton & Scott Stewart _Jewish World Review_
Counter-terrorism funding: old fears and cyclical lulls
"It has been [only] 11 years since a U.S. Embassy has been reduced to a smoking hole in the ground...   terrorism is a tactic and not an entity.   One cannot kill or destroy a tactic.   Historically, terrorism has been used by a wide array of actors ranging from neo-Nazis to anarchists and from Maoists to jihadists.   Even when the Cold War ended and many of the state-sponsored terrorist groups lost their funding, the tactic of terrorism endured."
 
 

  "The United States added 20M college-degree workers to the labor force, and the college-educated work-force more than doubled, between 1980 and 2000.   But high growth of the college-educated work-force is unlikely to be sustained, and only 8M additions to this work-force are anticipated between 2000 and 2020 (Ellwood, 2001)." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 161  

 

2009-03-20

2009-03-20
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
"the best and the brightest" again
 
One of the industry lobbyists' favorite lines is that the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest" from around the world.   Although I do support the immigration of top talents, only a small percentage of H-1Bs are in that league.   I've shown this in great detail [
in this CIS back-grounder and in my Univerity of Michigan Journal of Law Reform article (pdf)].
 
But the lobbyists keep pushing it, hence my current posting.   Here I'll give you a look at some other aspects, including the back-ground of some of those who are making the "best and brightest" claims.
 
Let's start with Dan Siciliano, a lecturer in Stanford University's law school.   He made the following comments to the Wall Street Journal 2006 June 30:
 
Economists worry about another place owning the very next big thing" -- the next ground-breaking technology, If the heart and mind of the next great thing emerges somewhere else because the talent is there, then we will be hurt...   [an increase in the H-1B cap is needed] to avoid irreversible damage to the economy.
 
So, what are Siciliano's qualifications for making such strong claims about the innovative quality of the H-1Bs?   Here are his "qualifications":
 
Siciliano was previously an immigration lawyer with Bacon and Dear, one of the most prominent immigration law firms in the nation; Sun Microsystems retained Roxanne Bacon when Sun engineer Guy Santiglia sued Sun after they laid him off while keeping H-1Bs.   Siciliano also is CEO of LawLogix, a firm that develops software systems for immigration lawyers.   To top it off, Siciliano is on the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Law Foundation, which is the research arm of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.   He is also a research fellow with the AILF.   Note by the way that the vice chair of that board is Kirsten Schlenger, with whom I participated in a TV debate on H-1B.
 
So Siciliano has a vested interest, to put it mildly.   Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to mention these things when he talks to the press.   In the above WSJ article, for instance, he was described as "a Stanford economist".   When he was on CNBC on March 6, he was asked his views "as an educator", and though his affiliation with the Immigration Policy Center was mentioned, there was no mention of IPC's connection to AILA/AILF.
 
On that CNBC show, Siciliano referred to ">my CIS study, and grossly (though not necessarily deliberately) misinterpreted my findings.   Here is what happened:
 
As one of several approaches I took to assessing the industry lobbyists' claim that the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest", I compared actual salary to legal prevailing wage.   If the H-1Bs were indeed outstanding talents, they would be paid well above the legal prevailing wage, so I calculated the ratio of actual wage to prevailing wage, calling it the Talent Measure (TM).   Just as I suspected, the TM value was a hair above 1.0 for the industry as a whole, and for almost all prominent tech firms.
 
MS was an exception, with TM equal to 1.19.   Siciliano, who was debating CIS Fellow John Miano on the CNBC segment, tried to refute Miano's claim that H-1Bs are under-paid, saying "CIS's own study found that MS's pays 19% above prevailing wage".   This of course ignored the fact that MS's 1.19 figure was very unusual, and much more importantly, it ignored the disclaimer in my study:
 
Typically the employer will cite government data as the source.   The legal definition of "prevailing wage" in both the law and regulations contains major loop-holes (see my previous Backgrounder mentioned above), but the industry lobbyists insist that the foreign workers are not under-paid.   Since here the focus is on another industry claim, that the foreign workers are of outstanding talent, for the purpose of the present analysis, it will be assumed that the "prevailing wage" is the real market wage [though we know that it is well below the real market wage].
 
In other words, to address the industry claim that the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest", my approach was to take at face value the industry's claim that legal prevailing wage is the real market wage, and then investigate what they are paying the H-1Bs relative to prevailing wage.   If the answer is that they are paying no higher than legal "prevailing wage", one must conclude that one of their two claims is wrong -- either they are under-paying the H-1Bs or the H-1Bs are not outstanding talents.   The TM figures should be used only to assess the "best/brightest" claims, not to determine whether these firms are paying their foreign workers market wages.
 
Since I and others have found a 15%-30% difference between the prevailing wage and real market wage, that 1.19 figure for MS could in fact be as low as 0.90.
 
Siciliano ignored all this, or didn't read the study he was citing in the first place.
 
Now let's turn to the recent Washington Post op-ed by Vivek Wadhwa...   Unlike Siciliano, Wadhwa has actually done research on H-1B and related topics, and though I've found fault with some of his work, he has done some very good studies.   Yet Wadhwa has chosen some odd poster children for his own claim that we are losing "the best and the brightest", ostensibly because they weary of the long wait for green cards.
 
The claim is unfounded in the first place.   The employer-sponsored green card categories used by the tech industry consist of 3 levels, EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3, in order from most to least talented.   The fact is that there have been long waits in recent years only for EB-3, which is for ordinary workers of no special talents.
 
As mentioned, Wadhwa's examples here don't support his "best and brightest" assertion.   His first example, Sandeep Nijsure, attended mediocre universities in both India (per my web search) and the U.S.A. (per Wadhwa's op-ed).   And though I dislike judging someone by the schools they attended, there certainly is no indication that Nijsure plays in the "best and brightest" league.
 
Another example Wadhwa offers us is Girija Subramaniam, a test engineer at Texas Instruments.   Come on, Vivek -- a test engineer???? This is no job for geniuses.   So this example doesn't work either.
 
His third example, Meijie Tang, may be different.   She's mentioned a lot in an NYT article and she seems to be an interesting person.   After acing a bunch of China's standardized tests she gained some fame in that country before she came to the U.S.A. for study.   I'm not a fan of those tests, but maybe she does qualify as "the best and the brightest" in some senses.   OTOH, it's not in the technology sense; Tang is an econ major, according to the web.   And look what our best-and-brightest economists have done to the world recently.
 
So, the Best and Brightest count is two no's and one maybe.   Is that the best Wadhwa could come up with?   Again, I strongly support facilitating the immigration of outstanding talents, but I don't regard these as the type I have in mind.
 
Before I go on, I'd like to point out that many U.S. native "best and brightest" are being displaced.   Gene Nelson won a National Science Fair award when he was in high school, which arguably makes his case somewhat similar to Tang's.   He later earned a PhD in biophysics, but once he got older (remember, even 35 is "old") the jobs started drying up for him -- and taken by H-1Bs.
 
I've mentioned before my former student, whose innovative engineering work at a major name-brand firm got him a mention in the Wall Street Journal, arguably also a best-and-brightest quality.   He was sloughed off by the industry a few years ago, around age 36, and after working only sporadically for several years, he finally bit the bullet and switched to another profession.
 
I've got several readers of this e-news-letter with degrees from MIT who find it hard to get tech work too.   Presumably MIT only admits the best and brightest too.
 
A man who earned his PhD in computer security in my department about 10 years ago is out of work, has been for almost a year.   He was a top student academically, had prior industry experience before coming back to grad school, and is personable and articulate.   He's willing to take any tech job, and I'm sure he can do many jobs occupied by H-1Bs better than they can.
 
And let's not forget Douglas Prasher, the almost-Nobel laureate who's working as a van driver for a Toyota dealer.   He could do a lot of those research jobs in biotech that are filled by H-1Bs.
 
So H-1B is crowding out many of our own best and brightest, and causing many of the best and brightest college students to avoid tech in the first place.   (Some of you may have seen news articles the last couple of days showing that computer science enrollment is finally up somewhat this year.   What they don't tell you is that in many cases this was accomplished by lowering the bar for admission.)
 
As I have shown in the studies cited at the outset of this posting, the vast majority of H-1Bs are NOT in the best-and-brightest league.   On the contrary, many are rote-memory trained and quite lacking in the insight needed to develop a good product.   Here is an incident reported to me recently by a reader of this e-news-letter (posted with his permission):
 
In 2003, I was an employee (U.S. citizen) at a major retail firm's IT shop.   A team of Indians from Covansys was developing a Java-based stores POS application.   The application was running painfully slow -- 6 minutes to process a single transaction.   The Indians' performance recommendation was to buy a larger, faster server.   Management called me in to give performance tips.   I looked at the code.   The Java application was creating a String object, then modifying it 100K times.   As any Java programmer and most Java students should know, Strings are immutable.   Each time a String is modified, a new object is created.   After modifying a String 100K times, this application had 100,001 String objects consuming memory, which naturally crippled performance.   I asked the Indian guys why they didn't use StringBuffer instead of String.   StringBuffers are mutable and only create one object, i.e., after modifying a StringBuffer 100K times, you still have only have one object in memory, not 100,001.   The fewer objects clogging memory, the faster everything will run.   That one quick change improved the POS application's performance by 60-fold, saving the cost of buying a faster, bigger server.
 
Once again, I do strongly support bringing in the best and the brightest, but if H-1B were limited to that, as it was (at least on paper) for the old H-1 statute, a yearly cap of 10 or 20 thousand would be plenty.
 
Norm
---30---

2009-03-20 13:28PDT (16:28EDT) (20:28GMT)
Benjamin Pimentel _MarketWatch_
Techs stocks slide

2009-03-20 13:42PDT (16:42EDT) (20:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
CBO expects slow growth, few jobs, red ink

2009-03-20
_Hasidic Outreach_
Is This Mistake Keeping You From Success?
"B"H
In life, we constantly dance between two opposite roles: teacher and student.
These roles find many forms:
 
Child -- Adult
Student -- Teacher
Apprentice -- Master
Employee -- Boss
Follower -- Leader
There is always someone above us to learn from and someone below us to teach..."

2009-03-20 14:15PDT (17:17EDT) (21:15GMT)
Jill Treanor & Julia Finch _Manchester Guardian_
Stock-owners may vote against big pay-out to former RBS chief; but he'll take it anyway

2009-03-20 (5769 Adar 25)
Rabbi Chaim Silver _Jewish World Review_
Worshipping oneself and calling it religion: The Bible's warning against political correctness

2009-03-20 (5769 Adar 25)
James Owen _National Geographic_
Druids, human "sacrifice", and cannibalism

2009-03-20
DJIA7,278.38
S&P 500768.54
NASDAQ1,457.27
10-year US T-Bond2.65%
crude oil$51.06/barrel
gold$956.20/ounce
silver$13.84/ounce
platinum$1,114.20/ounce
palladium$210.90/ounce
copper$0.11225/ounce
natgas$4.227/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$1.457/gal
heatingoil$1.3834/gal
dollarindex83.701
yenperdollar95.95
dollarspereuro1.3582
dollarsperpound1.4456
swissfranksperdollar1.1296
indianrupeesperdollar50.645
mexicanpesosperdollar14.2125
MorganStanleyHighTechIndex355.15

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Commodities" and "Metals" and "Currencies" columns.
 
 
 

  "Non-cognitive skills relate to personal or 'social beliefs', motivations, and attitudes of the individual such as general motivation, perseverance, tenacity, [emotional stability] etc; cognitive skills relate to thinking, reasoning, and other intellectual abilities." --- Titus Galama & James Hosek of RAND Corporation 2008 "US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" for US Department of Defense pg 161  

 

2009-03-21

2009-03-21
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring News-Letter_
Gotcha! -- yet another H-1B loop-hole
 
Yesterday the USCIS announced its regulations implementing the new statute, EAWA, that places some restrictions on H-1B hiring by TARP bail-out fund recipients.   It turns out there is a major loop-hole.
 
I'll first explain the problem, and then show why the loop-hole is not quite as large as it might seem.   I wish to again state that I believe that the legislation is very beneficial, both in its own right and as a marker for further H-1B reform, but I wish that USCIS had not ruled as it did.
 
The key passage in the announcement, enclosed below, is
 
EAWA does not apply to H-1B petitions seeking to change the status of a beneficiary already working for the employer in another work-authorized category.
 
Why is this so important?   Isn't it just a grandfather clause?   Well, no.
 
Recall that after EAWA was enacted, the industry lobbyists screamed that now banks could not hire new foreign-student MBAs.   Of course, that wasn't true, since EAWA merely requires TARP-recipient employers to give hiring priority to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders); it does not impose a flat ban on foreign workers.   But EAWA is the type of restriction the banks don't want, as they can hire the foreign workers more cheaply.
 
However, the above USCIS ruling, which stems from a clause in EAWA, means that these banks would still be able to hire those foreign students WITHOUT recruiting Americans after all.   They can simply hire the student under OPT (the Optional Practical Training section in the F-1 student visa), and then move them to H-1B.   Since OPT is "another work-authorized category", this hire would be exempt from EAWA.
 
So why were the lobbyists screaming?   One reason may have been that there was no guarantee that USCIS would interpret EAWA in this manner.   The language in the legislation includes
 
(2) DEFINED TERM. -- In this subsection, the term ''hire'' means to permit a new employee to commence a period of employment.
 
USCIS could have ruled that OPT workers don't count as "employees", as OPT is technically akin to an internship.   The industry lobbyists, especially the immigration lawyers, usually lobby furiously to get new laws watered down through lax implementation, i.e. weak regulations.   A highly educational example is immigration lawyer Jose Latour's [2001-01-05 web log] on the history of the reg implementing the H-1B dependency law; it's no longer on his site, but for now you can access it in the Wayback Machine cache.
 
Yet the lobbyists could have failed in this case, so they may have been worried.
 
But much more importantly, OPT is not so attractive to employers who wish to exploit foreign labor, because OPTs have complete freedom of movement -- unlike H-1B.   Though the cheap labor aspect of H-1B is well known, another point that is very important to employers but not often mentioned in the H-1B debate is that H-1Bs are de facto indentured servants, largely immobile.   Technically an H-1B can switch employers, but since the visas are in short supply, it's quite difficult to do so.
 
Employers love this "loyalty", as they don't want someone to leave them in the lurch in the midst of a big project.   I go into this in detail in my University of Michigan law journal article, but just to give you an idea of how important this is, here's a quote from Work-Force Magazine, a publication for HR executives, 1999 May:
 
...There are two good things about H-1Bs.   First, they allow you to travel the globe while you identify technical professionals who want to work in the United States.   Second, the H-1B is valid only for the employer who arranges it.   If you bring a technical professional into the country and he or she decides to jump ship, its likely that the ship he or she will have to jump on is the one thats going back to the home country.   If the person wants to come back, he or she has to start the immigration process all over again.   As a result, most H-1B visa holders demonstrate remarkable loyalty.
 
The point, then, is that OPT does not provide employers with this "loyalty", and thus the loop-hole in EAWA is not as large as it may seem.   But it is definitely there, and will be used.
 
Norm
USCIS Announces New Requirements for Hiring H-1B Foreign Workers Changes Apply to Companies that Receive TARP Funding

2009-03-21
William Anderson _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Natasha Richardson and "Medical Capital"

2009-03-21
Andrew Clark _Manchester Guardian_
AIG execs express fear as result of criticism, but still laugh as they drag away exorbitant hauls for failure

2009-03-21
Ye Xie _Bloomberg_
Dollar declined most since 1985 Plaza Accord on Fed bond buying

2009-03-21
Steve Gilbert _Sweetness & Light_
Cloward-Piven, ACORN and AIG

2009-03-21
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Local opposition is stalling federal government planners' "green" energy projects

2009-03-21
Michael Iikoff & Dina Fine Maron _NewsWeek_/_MS_/_GE_
Bail-out money comes out of tax-victims' earnings, to the banks, and back into congressional campaign coffers

2009-03-21
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_/_IDG_
Recession taking bite out of pay-for-performance out-sourcing: Emphasis remains on the cheap
 
 

  "Young mathematicians have been facing dismal job prospects throughout the 1990s.   The Fall unemployment rate for new Ph.D.s in the U.S.A., as measured by the AMS-IMS-MAA Annual Survey (Second Report), rose from 2.5% in 1990 to a peak of 13.2% in 1994.   Unemployment rates have fallen moderately since to the current level of 9.5% in 1996.   This is not the first time that labor market problems have plagued mathematics.   The early 1970s saw a similar situation.   The Ph.D. glut of the 1970s had far-reaching consequences...   Changes in funding levels, recent immigration legislation, and the finances of higher education have all played a role in the present problems faced by Ph.D.s." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pg 1307 (1 in pdf)  

 

2009-03-22

2009-03-22
Paul Harris _Manchester Guardian_
AIG execs took 32% more than earlier reported
"But now documents obtained by Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, where AIG has offices, show the firm in fact has in fact paid out $218M in bonuses, 32% more than previously thought."

2009-03-22
Ted Nugent _Waco TX Tribune_
Of Crockett and de Tocqueville
 
 

  "Not surprisingly, an 8% decline in real 9-month teaching and research salaries for new Ph.D.s has accompanied the increase in Ph.D. supply between 1989 and 1996.   Moreover, a more subtle change is occurring.   There is a hidden downward trend in total compensation for new Ph.D.s that is occurring as the types of jobs held by new Ph.D.s change.   New Ph.D.s in academia are increasingly employed as temporary rather than tenure-track employees.   Between 1990 and 1995 the number of full-time non-tenure-eligible faculty in traditional math departments (Groups I–III) increased by 37%.   At the same time the number of tenure-track faculty fell by 27%.   Temporary faculty now comprise 56% of all non-tenured faculty in traditional math departments.   In addition to having no job security, temporary workers receive fewer benefits than tenure-track employees do.   Furthermore, temporary employment delays entry onto the tenure-track salary ladder.   Each year on post-doctoral-level wages delays the transition to assistant professor salary levels by one year and results in one less year as a full professor.   Thus, total life-time earnings of new doctorates have been depressed." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pp 1308-1309 (2-3 in pdf)  

 

2009-03-23

1775-03-23
Patrick Henry
Liberty On-Line
History Place
History.org/Colonial Williamsburg
American Rhetoric
University of Oklahoma College of Law
"Gentlemen may cry Peace! Peace! But there is no peace.   The war is actually begun... Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?   What is it that gentlemen wish?   What would they have?   Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?   Forbid it, Almighty God!   I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

2009-03-23
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
India, Inc. got meeting with Larry Summers in White House
IT World
Network World

2009-03-23
Steve Hamm _Business Week_
Americans Angry Over Visa Abuse and Off-Shoring

2009-03-23
Frosty Wooldridge _American Chronicle_
Edwin S. Rubenstein's _Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure_
News with Views
OfficialWire
the report from The Social Contract

2009-03-23
Michael Barkoviak _Inside Tech_
Terrafugia Transition flying car undergoes flight tests

2009-03-23
Max Borders _Technology, Commerce, Society Daily_
Financial problems are more about politics than economics

2009-03-23 (5769 Adar 27)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
The ethics of ending patronizing a business in its time of need
 
 

  "[William F. Massy] and co-author Charles Goldman report that '...faculty express concern about the labor market for Ph.D.s and will do what they can to place their own students -- but their concern does not lead to adjustments in doctoral student intakes.   Faculty tend to believe that more scientifically-trained manpower is better than less, and that job opportunities will materialize somehow.   In any case, the department's short-run requirements for inexpensive research and teaching labor, and the desire of faculty to replicate their own skills, is of stronger relevance to admissions decisions than the more abstract and distant concept of labor market balance.'   Massy and Goldman found that the primary factors used to determine Ph.D. program size are the number of faculty advisors available, the number of teaching assistants needed for staffing classes, the amount of research money available for funding assistantships, and the quality of the applicant pool." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pp 1308-1309 (2-3 in pdf) (citing William F. Massey & Charles A. Goldman 1995 August "The production and utilization of science and engineering doctorates in the United States" _Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research_)  

 

2009-03-24

2009-03-24
Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_
TARP to have little effect on H-1B hiring

2009-03-24
Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
An incensed public is too quick to violate US constitution and rights

2009-03-24
George F. Will _Washington Post_
The Toxic Assets We Elected

2009-03-24 12:41PDT (15:41EDT) (19:41GMT)
Deborah Levine & Lisa Twaronite _MarketWatch_
Treasury securities turn up after Fed said it would start buying

2009-03-24
Grant Schulte _Des Moines IA Register_
Legal proceedings against 11 for visa fraud and related charges continues
"Prosecutors allege that software company officials, including Andapally, submitted false work papers to state and federal agencies to claim they had foreign employees in Iowa. In reality, authorities say, the workers were stationed in larger coastal cities but paid typical wages for Iowa."

2009-03-24
_Contrarian Profits_
Dow index just had its best 10 days since 1938

2009-03-24 (5769 Adar 28)
Wesley Pruden _Jewish World Review_
Trouble in ToyLand: monetary insanity

2009-03-24 (5769 Adar 28)
Dennis Prager _Jewish World Review_
Why doesn't Communism have as bad of a reputation as Nazism?

2009-03-24 (5769 Adar 28)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Cheap Political Theater
"Securities based on risky mortgages are what toppled financial institutions but it was the government that made the mortgages risky in the first place..."
 
 

  "The Immigration Act of 1990 [IMMACT1990] contains provisions, included at the behest of such organizations as the Association of American Universities to counteract projected Ph.D. shortages, which give university employers special privileges in hiring non-citizen faculty members.   This legislation may well have contributed to an increase in immigration." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pg 1311 (5 in pdf) (citing William Kirwan testimony to House sub-committee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law of the committee on the Judiciary and the Immigration Task Force of the Committee on Education and Labor 1990-02-21, 1990-03-01, 1990-03-07, 1990-03-13, 1990-03-14, Congressional Record H341-39, H521-30)  

 

2009-03-25

2009-03-25
Andy Sullivan _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
FBI says "stimulus" and bail-outs will lead to more fraud
News Max

2009-03-25 06:54PDT (09:54EDT) (13:54GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Durable goods orders increased 3.4% in February

2009-03-25 08:53PDT (11:53EDT) (15:53GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
New-home sales were up 4.7% in February

2009-03-25 09:13PDT (12:13EDT) (16:13GMT)
Todd Bishop _Puget Sound Business Journal_
Government officials try to defend giving stimulus money to MSFT for bridge between their offices
UPI
Eric Lai: ComputerWorld/IDG
Patrick Oppmann: CNN
Tara Gowland: Seattle Jobs Examiner
MarketWatch

2009-03-25
Bob Unruh _World Net Daily_
Lawyer who questioned Obama's eligibility claims he and his family being closely followed, noting government vehicles

2009-03-25 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Peter Huber _Forbes_
Uncle Sam, Tech Investor: The high-tech industry should tell Washington to keep its money where the sun doesn't shine

2009-03-25
Denise Dubie _Network World_
As H-1b frenzy approaches experts mull extremely minor TARP effect

2009-03-25
Keith Herron
repairing Mac OS X fle permissions and ACLs from the command line

2009-03-25 (5760 Adar 29)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
States Rebellion Pending
 
 

  "The science community tremulously follows every nuance of the annual National Science Foundation (NSF) budget negotiations.   To be sure, these negotiations are important ones: NSF funding levels determine the availability of research assistants, summer salaries, and the speed of our computers.   Even more important to our community is the financial health of the overall higher-education system, yet to this central issue we pay relatively little attention." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pg 1312 (6 in pdf)  

 

2009-03-26

2009-03-26 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Scott Gibbons & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
current press release
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 585,897 in the week ending March 21, a decrease of 15,266 from the previous week.   There were 316,598 initial claims in the comparable week in 2008.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.8% during the week ending March 14, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 6,433,406, an increase of 76,204 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,254,650.   Extended benefits were available in Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin during the week ending March 7."
graphs
more graphs

2009-03-26
Douglas A. McIntyre _Time_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities dumping another 5K employees, increasing off-shoring

2009-03-26
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities lay-offs raise ire in NY State Assembly

2009-03-26
Don Sears _eWeek_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities employees sound off

2009-03-26 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
_BLS_
Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers
table of contents
"The foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants.   The survey data, however, do not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories...
 
In 2008, men made up a larger proportion of the foreign-born labor force (59.8%) than they did of the native-born (52.3%) labor force.   Also, a higher proportion of the foreign-born than the native-born labor force was made up of 25- to 54-year-olds (76.6% and 66.0%, respectively); labor force participation is typically highest among persons in that age group.   In 2008, Hispanics comprised 49.4% of the foreign-born labor force compared with 7.8% of the native-born labor force.   Asians made up 22.4% of the foreign-born labor force compared with 1.3% of the native-born labor force...
 
26.4% of the foreign-born labor force 25 years old and over had not completed high school in 2008, compared with 5.8% of the native-born labor force.   Similar proportions of foreign-born and native-born persons in the labor force had a bachelor's or higher degree (31.7% and 34.6%, respectively).   Foreign-born workers were less likely than native-born workers to have some college or an associate degree.
 
In 2008, 68.1% of the foreign born were in the labor force, 0.4 percentage point lower than in 2007.   The labor force participation rate of the native-born workers held steady at 65.6% in 2008.   Both the number of foreign-born labor force participants (24.1M) and their share of the U.S. civilian labor force (15.6%) were little changed from 2007 to 2008.   The labor force participation rate of foreign-born men was 81.4%, compared with 71.4% for native-born men in 2008.   In contrast, 54.8% of foreign-born women were labor force participants, compared with 60.3% of native-born women.   Among the major race and ethnicity groups, labor force participation rates of foreign-born whites (60.3%) and Hispanics (70.7%) were down over the year.   The rates for foreign-born blacks (73.2%) and Asians (68.2%) showed little change in 2008."
---30---

2009-03-26
Winter Casey _National Journal_
MSFT hires former senator from Arkansas, David Pryor, to lobby the US senate

2009-03-26 (5769 Nisan 01)
Daniel Pipes _Jewish World Review_
Palestinians who helped create modern Israel
 
 

  "All analyses of supply and demand should be formulated in conjunction with a stringent review process to avoid potential conflicts of interest.   The notion that the supply of and demand for scientists and mathematicians can be predicted at all has been called into question by an infamous NSF study that projected a cumulative short-fall of 675K scientists and engineers between 1991 and 2006 [19].   A follow-up article by one of the study's authors predicted a cumulative short-fall of 153,600 science and engineering Ph.D.s between 1995 and 2010 [20].   Despite strong criticism of the study's methodology from experts both inside and outside the NSF, the study was broadly distributed to policy-makers.   Howard Wolpe, chairman of a 1992 congressional investigation into the release of the study, writes, 'In 1987 the NSF adopted a plan to double its budget in 5 years.   There is no doubt in my mind that this shoddy science was knowingly disseminated by the federal government's premier scientific agency to further the attainment of this goal.' [21] Wolpe's sub-committee found that criticism of the study 'was ignored and even suppressed within the Foundation...   The NSF publications office... prevented the study from being printed as an official NSF document for over 2 years because of questions about credibility, until the director finally forced its publication.' [22]   The lesson to be taken from the NSF study is not that the future is completely unforeseeable.   Rather, it is that great care must be taken in light of the potential for serious conflicts of interest involved in projecting Ph.D. supply and demand." --- Geoff Davis 1997 November "Mathematicians and the Market" _Notices of the American Mathematical Society_ pg 1313 (7 in pdf) (citing [19] "The state of academic science and engineering" Division of Policy Research and Analysis, National Science Foundation, Washington, DC, 1990.   [20] Richard C. Atkinson 1990-04-27 "Supply and demand for scientists and engineers: A national crisis in the making" _Science_ pp 425–432.   [21] Howard Wolpe 1992-06-13 Bogus study about scientists, _Washington Post_ p. A19.   [22] Howard Wolpe 1992-04-08 Chairman, Hearing before the Sub-committee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 102nd Congress.)  

 

2009-03-27

2009-03-27
Simon Johnson _Atlantic_
Quiet Coup (with graphs)

2009-03-27
Nedra Pickler _Yahoo!_/_AP_
US judge orders Iran to pay $25M for capture and killing of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman by Hamas in 1994
Maximum Edge
Town Hall
News Max

2009-03-27
Moira Herbst _Top Tech News_/_MarketWatch_/_Business Week_
Ill-Begotten Monstrosities cuts jobs as it seeks stimulus money
CNN

2009-03-27 07:18PDT (10:18EDT) (14:18GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Inflation-adjusted disposable incomes and wages fell 0.4%, and consumer spending fell 0.2% in February
BEA report

2009-03-27 07:25PDT (10:25EDT) (14:25GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from from 56.3 in February to 57.3 in late March

2009-03-27
James E. Challenger _Midwest Business Technology News_
College Grads Expect Slow Job Market: Recruiting on campus down

2009-03-27
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Another wave of destruction of IT jobs and compensation is coming (with graphs)
"A bellwether is [Ill-Begotten Monstrosities].   Its work-force in the U.S. declined 5% last year to 115K, but its work-force in Brazil, [Red China], Russia and India grew 15% to 113K.   The vast majority of these workers are in India."

2009-03-27 (5769 Nisan 02)
Caroline B. Glick _Jewish World Review_
How and why Muslims riot in liberal democracies

2009-03-27 (5769 Nisan 02)
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg _Jewish World Review_
Do thoughts count?: Intent, action and responsibility

2009-03-27
DJIA7,776.18
S&P 500815.94
NASDAQ1,545.20
10-year US T-Bond2.77%
crude oil$52.38/barrel
gold$923.20/ounce
silver$13.263/ounce
platinum$1,128.00/ounce
palladium$223.70/ounce
copper$0.11475/ounce
natgas$3.947/MBTU
reformulatedgasoline$1.4879/gal
heatingoil$1.4813/gal
dollarindex85.225
yenperdollar98.12
dollarspereuro1.3284
dollarsperpound1.4283
swissfranksperdollar1.1426
indianrupeesperdollar50.20
mexicanpesosperdollar14.33
MorganStanleyHighTechIndex369.43

I usually get this info from MarketWatch and the "Commodities" and "Metals" and "Currencies" columns.
 
 
 

  "By one estimate, from the 16th century to the present, scientific centers in the West have shifted, with an average period of scientific prosperity of about 80 years (Yuasa, 1962).   Italy led in science from about 1540 to 1610, England from 1660 to 1730, France from 1770 to 1830, Germany from 1810 to 1920, and the United States from 1920 to the present -- already a period of more than 80 years." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 11 (citing Mitsutomo Yuasa "The Shifting Center of Scientific Activity in the West" _Japanese Studies in the History of Science #1 1962 pp 57-75 and 1974 N. Shigeru, L. Swain & Y. Eri _Science and Society in Modern Japan: Selected Historical Sources_)  

 

2009-03-28

2009-03-28
_Yahoo!_/_AP_
Red Chinese spies breaking into government computers around the world
CNN
Ben Worthen: Wall Street Journal
Albuquerque Express
New Straits Times
PC World/IDG
Phil Muncaster: Secure Computing

2009-03-28
Jacqueline Simmons & Josh Fineman _Bloomberg_
Bank of India may increase salaries for investment bankers
 
 

  "Solow's 1957 contribution to the _Review of Economics and Statistics_, in which he presented a model of consumption, investment, and growth, with technological progress being a given.   Solow found that technological progress accounted for 80% of the growth in U.S. output per worker since the turn of the last century (though subsequent estimates have been somewhat lower).   Warsh recounts how Romer (1990) developed a model with endogenous technological change in which the pace of discovery was the result of individual actions taken in response to economic incentives.   The Romer model significantly improved the understanding of the nature of economic growth through technological change.   Eaton and Kortum discuss the concept, characteristics, and importance of knowledge in creating economic growth..." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 13 (citing R.M. Solow 1957 "Technological Change and the Aggregate Production Function" _Review of Economics and Statistics_ vol39 #3 pp 312-320; P.M. Romer 1990 "Endogenous Technical Change" _Journal of Political Economy_ vol98 #5 pp 71-102; David Warsh 2006 _Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery_)  

 

2009-03-29

2009-03-29
Linda Halstead-Acharya _Billings MT Gazette_
Montana tends to lag in falling into recesion, and in recovery (with graphs)

2009-03-29 06:56PDT (09:56EDT) (13:56GMT)
Dan Peterson _Live Science_
Optimal Running Pace
"Overall, the optimal speeds for the group were about 8.3 mph (about a 7:13 minutes per mile) for males and 6.5 mph (9:08 min/mile) for females.   The most interesting finding: At slower speeds, about 4.5 mph (13 min/mile), the metabolic efficiency was at its lowest.   Steudel explains that at this speed, halfway between a walk and a jog, the runner's gait can be awkward and unnatural."

2009-03-29
Steve Williams _Billings MT Gazette_
Legislators complain about AIG while accepting its money
 
 

  "Loss of comparative advantage to a low-wage competitor, [Richard B. Freeman] argues, can substantially harm an advanced country, as it must shift resources to less desirable sectors and monopoly rents from new products or innovations shift from the advanced to the poorer country." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 14 (citing Richard B. Freeman "Does Globalization of the Scientific/Engineering Work-Force Threaten US Economic Leadership?" NBER working paper #11457 http://papers.nber.org/papers/w11457 )  

 

2009-03-30

2009-03-30
Katie Fairbank _Dallas TX Morning News_
Dallas schools and area firms sought hundreds of H-1B and L-1 visas amid job losses

2009-03-30
Christine Young _Times Herald Record_/_Hudson Valley Media Group_/ _Ottoway Newspapers_
While firing thousands of Americans, Ill-Begotten Monstrosities filed for copyright on system to drive off-shoring while protecting tax breaks
"As IBM was firing thousands of American workers last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Big Blue's application to copyright a computerized system that calculates how to offshore jobs while maximizing government tax breaks.   In their application to patent a 'method and system for strategic global resource sourcing', 5 Hudson Valley IBMers describe how it weighs such plans as '50% of resources in China by 2010', against such factors as labor costs, infrastructure and the 'minimum head count to qualify for incentives'.   The 5 Westchester County inventors, Ching-hua Chen-ritzo, Daniel Patrick Connors, Markus Ettl, Mayank Sharma, and Karthik Sourirajan, submitted the application to the patent office in 2007 September, but it took a year and a half for that patent to be published on-line."
Now, they say they've withdrawn the application
The Standard
FAQs

2009-03-30
Paul Strom _Billings MT Gazette_
Over-paid congress-critters no better than AIG execs
"I find it interesting that our senators and representatives are upset by large bonuses to AIG employees.   These government employees are in charge of a $1.8T deficit this year alone.   They also receive automatic pay raises and untaxed benefits too numerous to list.   AIG employees have only lost billions over the life of the company.   I have not heard of any Republican or Democrat offer to giving back their automatic raises or benefits."

2009-03-30
_Conference Board_
The Conference Board Reports Online Job Demand Down 100K in March
"Historical data for 2005 May through 2007 July have been revised to incorporate an improved Standard Occupational Coding (SOC) methodology; revised data for 2007 August forward had been released earlier.   With the completion of the SOC coding update for the full historical series, testing has now started for the production of seasonally adjusted occupational time series data for Table 7 on the pdf of the HWOL press release."

2009-03-30 12:26PDT (15:26EDT) (19:26GMT)
Jim Bradley _WSOC TV_
Foreign workers displacing US Wachovia and Bank of India employees in Charlotte
"The loop-hole is that a Charlotte business can use third-party consultants to find workers in other countries instead of hiring foreign workers directly.   Those consultants provide foreign workers their H-1B Visas, fly them to Charlotte and pay for their apartments before sending them to work in a local job.   But because the Charlotte business is paying that contractor and not the employee directly, it's not a violation of the bailout law.   Neither Wachovia nor Bank of America would tell Eyewitness News if they're still using foreign workers hired by third-party vendors, but Eyewitness News obtained internal Wachovia documents showing workers already on-shored to Charlotte.   An organizational chart shows a Wachovia work group where 12 of 22 software engineers were brought to Charlotte by a technology consulting company called Synechron.   Jeff said it's common knowledge within Wachovia that Synechron brought all 12 of those workers from India to take Charlotte jobs.   'Within my department, it's mostly on-shored foreign resources, and the software we built is basically being handed over to them.', he said.   Synechron wouldn't comment on how many foreign workers it's brought to Charlotte or what they're paid.   University of North Carolina at Charlotte labor economist Ron Madsen said while federal law requires paying the 'prevailing local wage' for on-shored workers, that's often not the case.   'What I've looked at suggests that we're looking at about a 25% discount between the total cost on-shore versus domestic.', he said.   Still, Madsen said there aren't enough on-shored workers in Charlotte -- he estimates fewer than 500 -- to significantly impact the local economy."

2009-03-30
James E. Challenger _MidWest Business Technology News_
NACE survey shows business executives disconnected from job market reality

2009-03-30 13:46PDT (16:46EDT) (20:46GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Negotiating a better severance package
"In the survey, 69% of companies surveyed said avoiding future litigation is a 'key driver' of their severance policy, while 43% said standing out as an employer of choice and 25% said viewing employees as potential customers.   Just 7% said treating laid-off workers 'fairly/respectfully' was a key driver, according to the survey."

2009-03-30
Robert Herguth _Chicago Business_
Political clout wins at Navy Pier
"Niranjan Shah's Globetrotters International Inc. joined forces with Philadelphia's Aramark Corp. to win a 5-year, $78.3M renewal of Aramark's contract with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the government agency known as McPier that oversees both venues.   The winning team also was the only bidder to enlist the help of a lobbyist -- Terry Teele, a former top aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley.   The governor and the mayor appoint McPier board members, who approved the deal last Fall.   Globetrotters, Mr. Shah, his daughter and another Globetrotters exec donated at least $97K over the past decade to Mr. Blagojevich, and some of that money came during the bidding process.   Mr. Blagojevich also appointed McPier CEO Juan Ochoa, who has raised money for the former governor.   McPier officials say the process was fair and political donations didn't influence the decision."

2009-03-30 (5769 Nisan 05)
Rabbi Doctor Asher Meir _Jewish World Review_
Should I snitch to the boss?

2009-03-30 (5769 Nisan 05)
Barry Rubin _Jewish World Review_
What Britain can teach the West about dealing with Islam
 
 

  "Economic studies conducted even before the information technology revolution have shown that as much as 85% of measured growth in US income per capita was due to technological change." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 19 (citing work of Robert Solow and of Moses Abramovitz from the 1950s)  

 

2009-03-31

2009-03-31
_Conference Board_
Consumer Confidence mixed
Ruth Mantell: MarketWatch
"The percentage of consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' increased to 48.7% from 46.9% in February, while those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' was unchanged at 4.6%."

2009-30-31
David Broder _Billings MT Gazette_
From FDR to Kennedy to LBJ to Nixon to Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama congress-critters continue to cook the US budget books

2009-03-31 06:43PDT (09:43EDT) (13:43GMT)
Jason Scott _Cumberland county PA Sentinel_
Unemployment rate reached 25 year record of 6.8% in February

2009-03-31
_Philadelphia Inquirer_
Cognizant agreed to pay over $500K in back wages to H-1B guest-workers

2009-03-31
Scott Ott
President to fire Reid, Pelosi, Flake, Franks, Schumer, Geithner for incompetence?
DC Examiner

2009-03-31
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Grassley, Durbin plan to renew H-1B fight in Senate: Two visa critics will reintroduce bill requiring 'good faith' effort to hire U.S. citizens

2009-03-31
Josh Meyer & Anna Gorman _Hartford CT Courant_
Focus will shift more to employers of illegal aliens
"Michael Cutler, a retired senior special agent with 30 years working on immigration, sharply criticized the proposed change, saying the administration needs to go after workers and employers to send a message that it will not condone illegal immigration.   Cutler, now a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, said it would be 'dumb' to 'go after employers and not the illegal aliens.   That means they are going to make very few arrests.   And the message that sends is that if you can make it across the border, you're home free, no one is going to be looking for you.'"

2009-03-31
_FIRE_
Thought Control on the American Campus

2009-03-31 (5769 Nisan 06)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
A Rookie President
 
 

  "The committee found that multi-national companies use such criteria as the following in determining where to locate their facilities and the jobs that result: Cost of labor (professional and general workforce).   Availability and cost of capital.   Availability and quality of research and innovation talent.   Availability of qualified workforce.   Taxation environment.   Indirect costs (litigation, employee benefits such as healthcare, pensions, vacations).   Quality of research universities.   Convenience of transportation and communication (including language).   Fraction of national research and development supported by government.   Legal-judicial system (business integrity, property rights, contract sanctity, patent protection).   Current and potential growth of domestic market.   Attractiveness as place to live for employees.   Effectiveness of national economic system." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg 21  

 
 
 
 
  "The United States is today a net importer of high-technology products.   Its trade balance in high-technology manufactured goods shifted from plus $54G in 1990 to negative $50G in 2001.   In one recent period, low-wage employers, such as Wal-Mart (now the nation's largest employer) and McDonald's, created 44% of the new jobs while high-wage employers created only 29% of the new jobs.   The United States is one of the few countries in which industry plays a major role in providing health-care for its employees and their families.   Starbucks spends more on health-care than on coffee.   General Motors spends more on health care than on steel.   US scheduled airlines currently outsource portions of their aircraft maintenance to China and El Salvador.   IBM recently sold its personal computer business to an entity in China [Suckers!!!].   Ford and General Motors both have junk bond ratings.   It has been estimated that within a decade nearly 80% of the world's middle-income consumers would live in nations outside the currently industrialized world. China alone could have 595M middle-income consumers and 82M upper-middle-income consumers.   The total population of the United States is currently 300M and it is projected to be 315M in a decade.   Some economists estimate that about half of US economic growth since World War II has been the result of technological innovation.   In 2005, American investors put more new money in foreign stock funds than in domestic stock portfolios." --- Titus Galama, James Hosek, Sloan Fader, Lindsay Daughterty, Meg Blume-Kohout et al. 2006-11-08 "Conference Proceedings: Perspectives on US Competitiveness in Science and Technology" pg  

 



Proposed Bills 2009


Congressional candidate fund-raising, expenditures, and debt
 
 
  "The DoL recognizes a wide variety of sources of wage data from which the employer can choose in claiming prevailing wage for a given position.   These sources include both government agencies -- the State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) -- and wage surveys conducted by numerous private firms.   Moreover, different data sources are collected in different manners, using different definitions of job titles, different granularities in categorization of workers, and so on.   As a result, there is wide variation from one survey to another, thus allowing the employer to select the lowest of many widely varying figures.   Job titles, most of which are far too coarse, are not standardized across data sources.   A given job title might encompass many quite different jobs with very different wage levels.   For example, in some surveys the category Software Engineer could include both programmers who do operating systems kernel work -- one of the most challenging types of software development -- and those who write very simple application software.   An employer of an H-1B kernel programmer could use the average salary of all Software Engineers as the prevailing wage, even though it would be far lower than what kernel programmers make.   Even more importantly, a programmer could have job titles such as Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Member of the Technical Staff, and so on.   The employer can then exploit the fact that these titles are defined differently in different surveys, and then simply assign to the H-1B a job title for which one of the surveys quotes a lower average salary.   In the open labor market, specific software skills play a major role in determining salary.314   Yet most surveys do not take specific skill sets into account, and the employer of an H-1B can simply choose a survey which doesn't do so. In this way, the employer can hire an H-1B programmer who has a 'hot' skill worth, say 20% more in the open market, but pay him the salary of a general programmer -- all in full compliance with DoL regulations.   Levels of experience, education, skill sets and so on are also generally tabulated in a very coarse manner, if even tabulated at all.   For example, an employer who wishes to hire an H-1B who has a Master's could choose a survey which doesn't take education into account, and thus get a Master's-level worker for the price of a Bachelor's level worker.   As an example, taking simple information from an entry from the DoL's On-line Wage Library 315 for 2002 wages of Software Applications Engineers in Santa Clara County, California (i.e. Silicon Valley), the data reveals much about the H-1B program.   The entry lists Level I (0–2 years of experience) and Level II (more than 2 years of experience) mean wages of $62,171 and $97,864, respectively.   First, the prevailing wage pertains to the job, not the worker.   The employer can define the job to be Level I even though the worker may have 4 or 5 years of experience.   The employer thus hires a more-experienced worker for the salary of someone with less experience.   As immigration lawyer Sean Olender puts it, 'This disparity often results in very experienced candidates being under-paid.' 316   Oleander goes on to say that the disparity can result in 'very inexperienced candidates being over-paid', but more likely the employer will choose a different wage survey, or simply hire the worker under another job category.   Another possibility is to try the Service Contract Act data, also available through DoL; this data, for instance, defines four experience levels for the Programmer title, rather than just two.   Second, note that education and skill sets are not mentioned in this SESA entry at all, again because the prevailing wage is based on the job.   For instance, as long as the job does not require a Master's degree, the employer need not account for the H-1B's Master's degree in determining prevailing wage.   Moreover, even though the employer may be hiring the H-1B because she may have experience using the XML data language, the general job category Software Applications Engineer would not have such a requirement, and thus the prevailing wage determination need not account for XML experience.   These points were well illustrated in an investigation of actions by the Bank of America by John Miano of the Programmers Guild." --- Norm Matloff 2003-12-12 "On the Need for Reform of the H-1B Non-Immigrant Work Visa in Computer-Related Occupations" _University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform_ vol36 #4 pp88-90 [311. Mike McGraw 1995-07-16 "Boon or Boondoggle: Visa Programs Hurt U.S. Workers, Foster Abuse" _Kansas City Star_; 312. Therefore, the laws imposing penalties on employers who violate the law are virtually useless.   Most employers who use H-1Bs for Type I salary savings have nothing to fear, as they are in full compliance with the regulations.   The law actually states that the employer must pay the higher of the "prevailing wage" and the actual wage, the latter being the average wage of similar workers in the same firm.   This too is subject to abuse via a myriad of loop-holes.   See, e.g., Fragomen, supra note 24.   313. Also known as State Workforce Agencies (SWAs).   314. See Table 4. 315. U.S. Dep't of Labor, Employment Training Administration, Online Wage Library, at http://www.flcdatacenter.com (last visited 2003-09-17).   316. Oleander law office "Prevailing Wage Analysis" http://www.usvisalaw.com/prevaili.htm (last visited 2003-01-09).   317. John Miano, How to Under-Pay H-1B Workers (last visited 2003-01-08).]  

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