Tuesday, July 12, 2011

newt gingrich affair

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  • sc3
    07-14 12:18 PM
    Bear this in mind. We are not opposing because EB2 is getting the number, we are opposing because USCIS arbitrarily changed the law -- without any legislative approval. Remember, they changed the OPT rules and they are now facing lawsuit.

    You seem to be saying that we are petty in making our demands, and also suggestion (I have got personal comments) that we are causing a rift among the team. I say NO. We are not causing the rift. You did that, we are just highlighting our plight.

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  • gomirage
    06-08 12:47 AM
    It is very nice discussion.

    I am in process of buying forclosure home in SUWANEE ( Atlanata) area. I based on my survey and research feel that I am getting good deal(175 K price for 2800 sqft, 2004).by th

    Recently interest rates are gone up. Does any one has any idea that it will come down in a week or two due to possible federal intervention to keep houising going further down? can some one point to the relevant articles?

    Also if you know this area and have any reference for the good lenders?

    Also any points to keep in mind while buying foreclosure? apart from routine home inspection, termite inspection etc. Does survey is required for lot and property?

    Also is it good to put higher down payment or not? How much is better to put, assuming no financial constrain. Is it wise to put 20% down or not? Is it wise to purchase points to get interest rates down?

    Thanks for your continuing suggestions and discussions.

    Interesting questions. What are your plans for buying the house ? Just looking to take advantage of the good deals ? Do you have the conditions and like the area to settle there 5-10 years ?

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  • punjabi
    08-08 07:53 PM
    hey, this happened right in front of eyes!! I can NEVER EVER forget it!!

    My colleague was getting laid off in a month, so she was trying to find a project elsewhere. She was sitting a few yards away from me when she got a call for an interview. And I saw her coming towards me with a total white face (if there is an expression like this).

    I asked her what happened..

    She said "How can they do that?"
    "This is not good."
    "Don't they know how to talk to a woman?"

    I asked "what happened"

    she said, "might be a prank call, but I'll talk to my employer about it."

    Her next sentence had me rolling over the floor for the next hour.

    She said "After asking some technical questions, they wanted to ask some general ones"
    and he asked "why is a manhole round?"

    She LITERALLY had no meaning for manhole (gutter/sewerage can). And you can imagine her embarassement when I told her!

    Abe.. lets call it "manhole".

    coz these days the environment is no better than that :D:D:D

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  • funny
    10-01 05:17 PM
    I was thinking of buying a car but I have decided to hold off on it untill the presidentials elections are over. If obama is elected president I will not buy the car and will basically go into 100% saving mode because you never know when Obama\Durbin might kick us out. Nobody knows what sort of draconian rules are going to be put in place for EB community by Obama and Durbin. I have no confidence in Obama\Durbin to show any compassion\fairness towards Eb community. There might be hundreds of thousands of people holding off on purchasing a house, car or any big ticket item because of Obama\Durbin cir and there hostility towards Eb community. Hope I am proven wrong but I have not heard a single positive thing out of obama regarding EB community. Even when he was specifically asked about the green card delays faced by EB community he gave a evasive reply. He is always boasting about support for legal immigartion i.e family based immigration and not eb. I am not a obama hater nor a mcccain supporter but just a worried EB guy worried about his bleak future with Durbin lead cir.

    It is not clear what will happen to the existing applications, I don't think it would be simple to throw all the pending EB based GC applications out of the window and have everybody fall in line again in the new point based system....


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  • chanduv23
    03-23 03:50 PM
    well..you hit nail..yes..I initially worked with that company that started with S**..but I changed them after 1 year after coming to US

    So, keep cool. Talk to an Attorney. use a good Attorney for everything from now. You can forward the email request to the Attorney and go from there.

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  • alien2006
    05-24 10:05 AM
    He is just using this to play illegals vs legals. If you watch his lousy program, he is constantly ranting that this CIR bill will increase immigration by 100 million plus in the next few years. Some time back he also said that the CIR is a covert operation to increase H1Bs and legal immigration, not just about illegal immigrants. You can tune out what Lou says, he's doing what he can to improve his ratings.


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  • Munna Bhai
    07-08 07:47 PM
    I applied for GC under schedule A in may06 .My husband filed as derivative.He received a notice of intent to denial last month .Reason being he did not have paystubs for a period of more than 6 months during 2000 and 2001.His employer at that time did not pay him even after he worked for 4 months then he took few more months to change his company(more than 180 days)In 2002 he went to India and came back .and in 2004 filed for a GC as primary petitioner and me as a derivative .last year he withdrew the petition after he received several RFE`S fearing the worst.Even though he no longer has GC filed as primary petitioner he received notice of intent to deny for the petion filed through me saying that his H1 was not legal as could`nt show proof for several months and that when he filed for AOS he used those years as work experience.
    and now another problem is I applied for EAD in march and have not received new ead.my old ead expired 10 days ago.and now Iam not working.
    We bought a house last year thinking that under schedule A we`ll get GC in no time.Now we know it is a terrible mistake.Now both of us can`t work and had to take my son out of daycare. and we have house payments to make.We put our house for sale weeks ago and so far no offers.I contacted local representative to expedite My EAD and also contacted USCIS to expedite it,
    citing financial burden.We are spending sleepless nights and have no clue what to do for my EAD and his AOS.pLEASE HELP.
    Did anyone face similar situation .Any suggestions are welcome.

    What made them to ask paystub for during 2000 and 2001?

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  • Macaca
    05-29 08:22 PM
    The Newest Lobbying Tool: Underwear (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/28/AR2007052801091.html) By Cindy Skrzycki (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/cindy+skrzycki/), Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    It was inevitable. In the Internet age, interest groups seeking influence in Washington are joining presidential candidates in discovering a new electronic tool to press their agenda: YouTube.

    "Send your underwear to the undersecretary'' urges the actress in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's stinging 66-second anti-regulatory video posted on YouTube, a free video-sharing site that is a subsidiary of Google. The video blames a 2001 Energy Department rule for an energy-efficiency standard that it says has made new models of washing machines more expensive while getting laundry less clean.

    The underwear video illustrates what other advocacy groups are finding out: YouTube is a cheap, creative way to get a message to a potentially vast audience. This slow migration is in addition to more traditional lobbying approaches, such as direct mail, Web sites and scripted phone calls to federal officials.

    "This is the next step,'' said Missi Tessier, a principal with the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm. She said her company is working on a YouTube piece pushing for more federal funding for basic research for one client, the Science Coalition, a group of research universities. "We are always trying to find ways to get our message out.''

    Concerned Families for ATV Safety, which wants to keep children off all-terrain vehicles, turned to YouTube to lobby for more federal oversight at the agency and congressional level. One of the parents produced the video and posted it May 18.

    "We decided to put it on to raise awareness about how dangerous the machines are,'' said Carolyn Anderson of Brockton, Mass., who lost a son in an ATV accident and is a co-founder of the group.

    Some of the presidential candidates already have calculated that YouTube postings will reach the same younger audience that regularly visits social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. A few federal agencies have taken the plunge, too.

    Officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it expects its YouTube messages to be ridiculed, laughed at, remade and spoofed. And they are. Its anti-drug message is also reaching the right demographic.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission realizes that YouTube would be a great way to broadcast product recall and safety messages, though it has not produced a video for it.

    "There are a tremendous amount of people who use that Web site,'' said Scott Wolfson, an agency spokesman. "But we worried about the integrity of the message being changed by users.''

    The YouTube audience hardly seems like a demographic that would be interested in washing-machine efficiency. Still, the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposes energy-saving fluorescent bulbs and increasing the gas mileage of cars and trucks, has 43 videos on the site. Many of them are snippets of speeches and testimony with few user "hits."

    And then there's the underwear video.

    "We figured we would try a very fast, inexpensive campaign that would go viral," said Sam Kazman, general counsel at the CEI and head of its Death by Regulation project. The video went up May 16 and had 1,306 hits in the first week, a respectable showing, especially considering the subject matter.

    Kazman said the campaign cost virtually nothing. He wrote the script and one employee did the acting and another filmed it.

    The CEI Web site links to the video and to a June Consumer Reports magazine article that rated top- and front-loading washing machines for energy efficiency and performance. The magazine found that since the Energy Department issued an efficiency rule in 2001, the performance of various machines has varied widely.

    "Not so long ago, you could count on most washers to get your clothes very clean," the article says. "Not anymore. Our latest tests found huge performance differences among machines. Some left our stain-soaked swatches nearly as dirty as they were before washing. For best results, you'll have to spend $900 or more.''

    Kazman, who said he owns a 21-year-old Whirlpool washing machine, took this as confirmation that predictions his group made in 2001, that the rule would wreck a "low-priced, dependable home appliance," have come true.

    The manufacturers of home appliances, energy-efficiency groups and regulators who are being mocked in the video disagree.

    Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports, said the underwear campaign takes the ratings out of context. "We support energy standards for washing machines,'' she said. "There are alternatives that will wash as well as older machines. They cost more to buy but not to operate."

    "I think it's obnoxious; I don't think this dog barks,'' said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project in Boston, a coalition of industry, consumer, environmental and state interests.

    DeLaski, who was involved in the negotiations that led to the 2001 rule, said it was expected at the time that prices would go up but that consumers would save on utility bills.

    "That's a regulation working pretty damn well," he said, adding that consumers can expect to save $80 annually on utility bills with the new models.

    Michael McCabe, a senior engineer at the Energy Department, said that nine out of 10 models Consumer Reports tested are in the price range the department predicted when it issued the rule, an extra $250.

    On the underwear front, Kazman said he sent his own (clean) underwear to the Energy Department. The department said the mailbox of Undersecretary Dennis R. Spurgeon is still empty.

    Kazman blamed the late delivery on another government policy, which subjects packages to irradiation.


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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-26 07:34 PM
    You've heard of the Air Force's ultra-high-security, super-secret base in Nevada...

    ..., known simply as "Area 51?"

    Well, late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

    The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

    By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

    The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, they surrounded the plane... only this time there were two people in the plane.

    The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night!"

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  • GCKaMaara
    01-07 10:13 AM
    Looks like Israel goofed up this time:


    Oh really? Thats how they bombed the school and killed more than 40 kids?


    If Israel want to kill terrorist, they have every right to kill those terrorist who kill Isrealis. Instead they are bombing kids. Which is not acceptable by any people or any nation.


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  • ksr
    08-09 07:04 PM
    since u r the primary applicant choose option 1

    Thanks Priti.

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  • prioritydate
    01-10 10:18 PM
    First of all, thanks for converting my argument about Europeans and native peoples into Muslims and non-Muslims. Shows us where our respective prejudices and biases lie. I am very happy when my comments on any situation are turned into a broad 'us vs them' thing. It just shows us that our primitive and primal instincts from the time when we split from the apes are still alive and kicking in some people. Its pretty fascinating for me.

    Secondly there is a difference between military strikes (retaliatory or otherwise), and acts of massacres. Pretty much the same as there is a difference between military confrontation and ethnic cleansing. If you condone and defend the latter, then you are pretty much defending ethnic cleansing. Striking Hamas targets are military strikes. Holing up a hundred members of an extended family into a house, and then destroying the house is an act of massacre. When we defend acts like the latter one, we defend ethnic cleansing.


    Why you are not raising hue and cry for Sudan massacre? Oh! muslims killing muslims or muslims killing Xians! May be that is fine with you!


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  • Macaca
    08-07 07:38 PM
    Tougher Rules Change Game for Lobbyists (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/washington/07lobby.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK New York Times, August 7, 2007

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 � H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, founder of one of the biggest lobbying firms in Washington, spent an anxious morning with his lawyer last week assessing the far-reaching ethics and lobbying rules Congress had passed the day before.

    The first worry was what lobbyists are calling the new �temptation rules.� Not only do they bar lawmakers and aides from accepting any gifts, meals or trips from lobbyists, they also impose penalties up to $200,000 and five years in prison on any lobbyist who provides such freebies.

    And worse still for Mr. Van Scoyoc, under the new law he is required to certify each quarter that none of the 50 lobbyists in his firm bought so much as a burger or cigar for someone on a lawmaker�s staff.

    �You are basically asking people to certify, with big penalties, that nobody has lied on their expense accounts,� Mr. Van Scoyoc said, marveling at the complexity of policing such casual contact between lobbyists and Congressional aides. �These are people who are sharing apartments together, playing on the same softball teams, each other�young people with active social lives.�

    The new law has quickly sent a ripple of fear through K Street. It comes amid signs that federal prosecutors are taking a newly aggressive approach to corruption cases � including treating campaign contributions as potential bribes.

    By requiring them to certify the good behavior of their employees, the law puts lobbyists at new legal risk and could subject them to new pressure from prosecutors. And new centralized disclosures of lobbyists� campaign contributions, fund-raising activities and even their achievements � in the form of Congressional earmarks in spending bills � make it only easier for federal investigators to paint unflattering portraits of lobbyists� influence.

    �It will be easier to connect dots,� said Ted Van Der Meid, a Washington lawyer who was counsel to Representative J. Dennis Hastert when he was House speaker. �Even if there shouldn�t be a connection, you are going to have to explain to them how the way they connected the dots is not what you intended. You are going to have to basically prove your innocence.�

    Stanley Brand, a longtime Washington defense lawyer who usually represents Democrats, said the law was a sea change. �It should send shivers down lobbyists� spines,� Mr. Brand said. �It is a minefield now.�

    These are hardly the first restrictions, of course. Internal rules already barred lawmakers or senior staff members from accepting a gift or a meal worth more than $50 from a lobbyist. But the rules were rarely, if ever, enforced and did not govern lobbyists.

    President Bush has not said whether he would sign the bill, but it is already changing the culture of Capitol Hill in myriad ways, beginning with more Dutch treats and fewer steak dinners.

    Lobbying firms are racing to train employees in the new rules. One firm, fearful that prosecutors might try to use the expanded disclosures to link official actions to campaign contributions, has sent letters to its clients advising them how to respond if a lawmaker brings up fund-raising in a conversation about policy or procurements. �We would love to have this conversation, but it would have to be at another time� is the short answer.

    One lobbyist, who would speak only anonymously to avoid attracting the attention of prosecutors or rivals, said he had started sending himself date-stamped e-mail to create a record of every phone conversation he had with a lawmaker. Then he stopped making campaign contributions.

    Another lobbyist recently scaled back the menu at a breakfast briefing for lawmakers, offering bagels and cream cheese instead of ham and eggs. The rules permit lobbyists to provide refreshment of �only nominal value.� The House ethics committee guidelines suggest �light appetizers and drinks, or soda and cookies,� a standard that is known as �the toothpick test.�

    The firm also advised a client distributing flashlights on Capitol Hill � to promote government openness � to make sure not only that they cost less than $10 each but also that they looked cheap, to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

    And the �staff briefing� � in which a lobbyist enticed Congressional staff members to hear a talk about some dry legislative concern by offering pizza � has become extinct. No one will come without the free food.

    Lobbyists complain that Congress is unfairly punishing them for the misdeeds of its own members, not to mention ruining the social lives of innocent and underpaid staff members.

    �All those people who grew up in the system � who aren�t evil-doers, just good people � used to be able to entertain and have fun,� lamented Jim Ervin, a veteran military industry lobbyist.

    Jan Baran, a longtime Republican lawyer whose clients include lobbyists, said: �There is a great deal of resentment. It�s �the devil made me do it,� and the devil this time happens to be lobbyists. They get tarred with corruption, and the next day they get mail from all the same lawmakers who are blaming lobbyists saying, �I have a fund-raiser next week � don�t forget to contribute!� �

    Many lobbyists say the rules pose dilemmas. Blocking them from buying dinners or trips for lawmakers, lobbyists say, will only force them to spend more time and money at political fund-raisers to get the same access.

    For lawmakers, one of the most contentious elements of the package is the requirement that candidates disclose the names of federally registered lobbyists who solicit and �bundle� contributions. But lobbyists say the recognition may only encourage them to bundle. Ties to lawmakers are calling cards for clients.

    �That is not going to be viewed as the mark of Cain or anything,� Lawrence O�Brien III, a Democratic lobbyist and fund-raiser, said dryly. �It could be perceived as bragging rights.�

    Other lobbyists, though, worry that prosecutors� new tactics could make fund-raising more perilous. In plea agreements involving the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Representative Randall Cunningham, prosecutors have treated certain campaign contributions as bribes for official favors, something almost never done before.

    For lobbyists � who live at the nexus of contributions and favors � it is an alarming trend. �They might as well just pull up the paddy wagon outside the Capital Grille,� one lobbyist said, referring to a clubby steakhouse near the Capitol that is a well-known K Street hangout.

    Between the ban on buying dinners and the scrutiny of fund-raising, �It is a lose-lose situation,� said James Dyer, a lobbyist at Clark & Weinstock.

    A self-described �earmarks guy� who specializes in spending items, Mr. Dyer said the new rules were an invitation to scandal hunters. For the first time, the law will require disclosure of both the lawmakers who sponsor such items and the campaign contributions of the lobbyists who seek them.

    �It is a road map that says, �Hey, come look at me; I have got my name against an earmark,� � he said.

    Some loopholes exist. At the annual Aerospace Industries Association trade show in Paris last month, for example, military contractors treated a gaggle of senators to luxurious receptions at galleries, parks and hotels � all permitted under an exception for �widely attended events.�

    But John W. Douglass, the group�s president, said the new rules were putting a damper on such events. �Who wants to go to a hot, crowded cocktail party,� Mr. Douglass said, �and have to worry every time the guy brings the hors d�oeuvres tray up, �Should I do this or not?� �

    Still, some lobbyists and lawyers wondered privately how long the new carefulness would last.

    At the Capital Grille the evening after final passage of the new lobbying bill, private wine lockers by the door still bore the names of several prominent lobbyists. Two mounted stag heads were the only sentries policing the dimly lit bar. Shaking a Belvedere Vodka martini for a lone defense contractor, a bartender leaned in to offer his thoughts.

    �What happens at the Capital Grille,� the bartender said, �stays at the Capital Grille.�

    Fundraisers Tap Those Who Can't Say No (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601403.html) 'Bundlers' Look to Associates, Employees for Campaign Cash By Matthew Mosk Washington Post Staff Writer, August 7, 2007
    Draining the 'Swamp' Is Not So Easy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601298.html) Skeptics Question Bite of Ethics Rules By Elizabeth Williamson Washington Post Staff Writer, August 7, 2007

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  • redgreen
    12-17 02:41 PM
    What is there in his remarks to be so 'terrorised' about? Where is 'Muslimism' here?

    I hope as far as there are people like you and some others who commented as if 'Muslim means Terrorist' (but you won't tell that directly), there will be more terrorists; and it is quite understandable.

    This is exactly I hate. To divert focus of terrorism to Hindu group, Muslim leader comes out - WOW!

    Sounds like LeT informed Hindu group in advance that they are going to attack so as a by-product they can kill Karkare. Ha ha ha.

    Times Of India Headline: Antulay raises doubts over Karkare's killing


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  • gcgreen
    08-06 12:59 PM
    Same as you, I saw your post and couldn't help responding :-)

    For what its worth, I too have a PhD, and one would generally agree my academic credentials are impeccable, etc. etc. (Honest, I am not tooting my own horn)

    But I think Rolling Flood is wrong. Way off base. The reason is simple. Work experience COUNTS. You are a fresh Ph.D. graduate, but believe me even you will feel the difference 5 years down the line (3 years in your case :-). If a person gains experience, the USCIS believes that allows a person to be eligible for a job that falls under EB2 classification.

    Now as a very separate and distinct matter, the law says if a person already has a prior approved I140, then that priority date rules. That is the law.

    Now the logical conclusion of the two separate concepts above is that if a person is the beneficiary for an EB2 job, which by dint of experience, he/she simply is per USCIS and most companies (which is why people get promoted to senior/management positions :-), then that person is allowed by law to port their priority date.

    What RollingFlood and the other so-called (RollingFlood: I am not calling you one, but others have called you something similar ;-) smarter-than-thous are making a mistake on is to conflate two separate issues and making a ego-oriented mess in the process. Make no mistake, RollingFlood is very clear in delineating the skill of a person from the job requirements, which many of the EB3 IVians appear to have missed. But nonetheless, his logic is a bit mixed up on the law. It is incontrovertible (assuming that we have correct citations) that the language of the law is saying that an earlier priority date rules. The only issue is whether 5 years or more of experience required for a job makes that job worthy of an EB2 classification. RollingFlood has not explained why a job that requires 5 years or more experience in addition to a B.S. does not make it eligible for EB2. Without that he is likely going to waste a lot of money on lawyers.

    I agree with "singhsa".
    I was reading through this thread and couldn't help replying.

    Before i voice my opinion, i would like to mention that I have a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering (2002-2006 from a very reputed univ. in the US). My husband's employer (non-IT) had applied for his GC in EB3 - in 2005 which makes sense since the job required a B.S (Even though he was MS and was working for this company since 2002). We have our 485s filed and are using our APs/EADs. Now, i haven't applied for GC through my employer yet, but if i apply, it would most likely be EB1 or 2, and would love to port my PD of 2005. The reason i haven't done that is because i personally do not think that getting a GC couple of years earlier is going to make my life any different than it currently is.

    Having said that, I completely understand what "rolling flood" is trying to say. And I also agree to what his point of view is. When a person who initially agreed to apply with EB3, changes his mind/company/ or whatever and wants to apply in EB2, he should theoretically start over. Why is it reasonable that he/she cuts in line ahead of a person who was already there. There is a reason why these categories are formed.

    Shady means or non-shady means, EB2 means that u have superior qualifications and you are more desirable in the US.
    EB3 means there are a lot like u, so u gotta wait more. Period.

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  • JunRN
    09-26 02:09 PM
    OBAMA is for lesser H1B but more EB GC. He prefers workers who are entering the US to have intention to stay permanently than temporarily because it helps the economy.

    That's the wisdom of Durbin amendment. Lesser H1B because you will get GC instead.


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  • Refugee_New
    01-07 04:07 PM
    Dunno man.....them people are raising their kids to be terrorists....i am worried what they would do to innocent people when they grow up. Go search on YouTube or LiveLeak for Palestine Children and its disturbing what these school kids are learning to become. I don't know of any culture that raises their young ones to hate like that.

    You asked me and i tell you this. This news article was written by one of well known journalists around the world. His name is Robert Fisk. Just read this to get some understanding.

    Robert Fisk: Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask. This is not published in any Muslim media but one of the well known in Britain called "The Independent". You won't read such things in CNN or Fox or BBC.


    Who Robert Fisk is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Fisk. He is one of the very few journalists who speak the truth.

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  • Alabaman
    08-13 08:11 AM
    ... nonetheless, we should all contact CNN or even his show to make a point.. I'll try to fill out his form. I can't believe how CNN has degenerated itself to today's standings..

    better still, we should contact Fox news... they would be glad to talk about this and CNN would then have to respond ;)

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  • thomachan72
    08-06 04:28 PM











    well most of us guessed the answer because as soon as we read about the barber we were thinking of asking whether you knew his address!!

    12-27 06:59 PM
    India chasing a U.N. chimera (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article995760.ece) By K. S. DAKSHINA MURTHY | The Hindu

    In recent years it has become standard practice for the Indian media to ask visiting foreign dignitaries where they stand on New Delhi's claim to a permanent seat in the UNSC. If the answers are in the affirmative, there are smiles all round and the glow is then transmitted to readers or viewers as the case may be.

    Among the Permanent Five in the Council, the United Kingdom has long affirmed support, so have France and Russia. China has remained non-committal. So the United States' stand was deemed crucial. When President Barack Obama, during his recent visit, backed India for a permanent seat, the joy was palpable. The media went to town as if it were just a matter of time before India joined the select group of the World's almighty. The happiness lasted a few days until the first tranche of WikiLeaks punctured the mood somewhat.

    The revelation of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's classified whisper, describing India as a self-appointed front-runner exposed Washington's innermost thoughts on the subject. Though the embarrassing leak was subsequently sought to be played down, it opened the curtain to a larger truth which is that the U.S. and the other four have never really been interested in real reforms to the Security Council.

    Public pronouncements, positive affirmations and slap-on-the-back relationships don't necessarily translate into action on the ground.


    Jakob Silas Lund of the Centre for U.N. Reform Education states a few individuals within the process believe that some of the Permanent Five countries “are more than happy to see reform moving at near-zero-velocity speed”.

    The reforms are open to interpretation. Broadly, they mean democratisation of the Security Council to make it representative and in tune with the contemporary world. This, for some, means more permanent members. The Group of four — India, Brazil, Japan and Germany — has been the most vocal in demanding it be included.

    What is surprising, especially where India is concerned, is the hope and optimism that it is heading towards a permanent seat. In reality, a committee set up by the United Nations 17 years ago to go into reforms shows little signs of progress.

    The first meeting was held in 1994 of the U.N. group, a mouthful, called the “Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council”. Until now, this group has completed four rounds of negotiations, just on preliminaries.

    A brief peek into the past will make it clear that the addition of more veto-wielding permanent members to the Council is a veritable pipe dream. For any amendment to the U.N. charter, two-thirds of the General Assembly needs to acquiesce. This may be possible but the next requirement, that of ratification by the Permanent Five, is the real obstacle.

    Since the formation of the United Nations in 1945, there have been only a handful of meetings of the Security Council to discuss the original charter, and even that, merely to discuss minor amendments. One of some significance came about in 1965 when the membership of temporary, non-veto powered countries in the Council was increased from six to 10 and the number of votes required to pass any decision increased to nine from seven.

    As academic and U.N. commentator Thomas G. Weiss wrote in the Washington Quarterly, “Most governments rhetorically support the mindless call for equity, specifically by increasing membership and eliminating the veto. Yet, no progress has been made on these numerical or procedural changes because absolutely no consensus exists about the exact shape of the Security Council or the elimination of the veto.”

    The argument for a bigger, more representative Council is undoubtedly valid but the issue is who will implement it and how.

    U.S. is the prime mover

    In today's global equation the U.S. is the acknowledged prime mover. It has already had to sweat it out to convince the other four members to go with it on several issues, like the sanctions against Iran. If more countries are allowed to join the Council the difficulties for U.S. interests are obvious, even if those included are vetted for their closeness to Washington.

    Real and effective reforms should have meant democratisation of the Security Council to reflect the aspirations of all its members. Ideally, this should mean removal of permanency and the veto power to be replaced with a rotating membership for all countries, where each one big or small, powerful or weak gets to sit for a fixed term in the hallowed seats of the Council. This is unthinkable within the existing framework of the United Nations. At the heart of the issue is the reluctance of the Permanent Five to give up the prized veto power.

    The situation is paradoxical given that democracy is being touted, pushed and inflicted by the U.S. across the world. But democracy seems to end where the Security Council begins. The rest of the world has no choice but to bow to its decisions. The consequences for defying the Council can be terrifying as was experienced by Saddam Hussein's Iraq through the 1990's. Iran is now on the receiving end for its defiance on the nuclear issue.

    Not just that, the credibility of the Security Council itself took a beating over its inability to prevent the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Having failed to convince France, Russia and China to vote for invading Iraq, the U.S. went alone. The Council was reduced to a bystander. It failed to fulfil its primary task, that of ensuring security — to Iraq.

    What this also implies is that Council or no Council, in today's unipolar world, the U.S. will go with what it decides and no one can stop it. This has been the case particularly since the end of the Cold War. “With a U.S. global presence as great as that of any empire in history, Security Council efforts to control U.S. actions are beginning to resemble the Roman Senate's efforts to control the emperor,” writes Weiss.

    Instead of trying to clamber onto a patently unfair arrangement it would have made more sense if the four self-appointed front-runners along with the rest of the world had demanded a more equitable and representative Council.

    To achieve this, academic and U.N. expert Erik Voeten suggests pressure tactics to counter veto power. One tactic is for countries en bloc to ignore the decisions taken in the Security Council. Another is for Germany and Japan, which are among the largest contributors to the United Nations, to turn off the tap.

    Despite this, if nothing happens, countries may have no choice but to look for, or at least threaten to float, an alternative U.N.-like organisation whose structure would be more in tandem with the contemporary world. Idealistic, perhaps. But this should force the Permanent Five to sit up and take real notice.

    K.S. Dakshina Murthy was formerly Editor of Al Jazeera based in Doha, Qatar

    04-08 08:02 PM
    IBM and Oracle will survive without H1B as they will hire US workers and set back will be temporary for them. So this bill is targeting the Indian bodyshoppers who are running company just by H1b persons. This was expected for long time. If it is not happening now it is going to happen in a few years. We knew that hundreds of US companies went out of business after 2000 as they were not able to compete with Indian consulting companies because of rate.

    If this bill passes as it is, then the impact will be much greater than targetting bodyshoppers. To reiterate, problematic aspects of this bill are -

    1. Requires a labor certification like process for all H1B applications regardless of whether application is for new employment, transfer to a new job or an extension of a previous job. This will lead to greater job insecurity for the H1B worker as there will be multiple chances provided to prove availability of US workers instead of the single step process today for the formal labor certification for a green card. This process would be similar to the bully who insists on multiple chances to provide the right answer, and the right answer is pre-determined.

    2. Prohibition of consulting due to prohibition of outplacement.

    3. No differntiation between the role H1B plays as a market access mechanism for foreign companies and as a bridge to the green card for domestic companies.

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