Monday, July 11, 2011

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  • Macaca
    05-11 05:34 PM
    Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/world/asia/11jasmine.html) By ANDREW JACOBS and JONATHAN ANSFIELD | New York Times

    Do not be lulled by its intoxicating fragrance or the dainty, starlike blossoms whose whiteness suggests innocence and purity. Jasmine, a stalwart of Chinese tea and the subject of a celebrated folk song often heard while on hold with provincial bureaucrats, is not what it seems.

    Since Tunisian revolutionaries this year anointed their successful revolt against the country�s dictatorial president the �Jasmine Revolution,� this flowering cousin of the olive tree has been branded a nefarious change-agent by the skittish men who keep the Chinese Communist Party in power.

    Beginning in February, when anonymous calls for a Chinese �Jasmine Revolution� began circulating on the Internet, the Chinese characters for jasmine have been intermittently blocked in text messages while videos of President Hu Jintao singing �Mo Li Hua,� a Qing dynasty paean to the flower, have been plucked from the Web. Local officials, fearful of the flower�s destabilizing potency, canceled this summer�s China International Jasmine Cultural Festival, said Wu Guangyan, manager of the Guangxi Jasmine Development and Investment Company.

    Even if Chinese cities have been free from any whiff of revolutionary turmoil, the war on jasmine has not been without casualties, most notably the ever-expanding list of democracy advocates, bloggers and other would-be troublemakers who have been pre-emptively detained by public security agents. They include the artist provocateur Ai Weiwei, who remains in police custody after being seized at Beijing�s international airport last month.

    Less well known are the tribulations endured by the tawny-skinned men and women who grow ornamental jasmine here in Daxing, a district on the rural fringe of the capital. They say prices have collapsed since March, when the police issued an open-ended jasmine ban at a number of retail and wholesale flower markets around Beijing.

    Zhen Weizhong, 47, who tends 2,000 jasmine plants on about an acre of rented land here, said the knee-high potted variety was wholesaling at about 75 cents, one-third last year�s price. �Even if I could sell them, I would lose money on every plant,� he said, glancing forlornly at a mound of unsold bushes whose blossoms were beginning to fade. Asked if he knew about the so-called Jasmine Revolution and whether it had played a role in collapsing demand, Mr. Zhen shrugged. �I don�t know anything about politics,� he said. �I don�t have time to watch television.�

    Much like the initial calls on the Internet for protesters to �stroll silently holding a jasmine flower,� the floral ban is shrouded in some mystery. The Beijing Public Security Bureau declined to answer questions about jasmine. But a number of cut flower and live-plant business owners said they had been either visited by the police in early March or given directives indicating that it had become contraband.

    Several of those who run stalls in one large plant outlet, the Sunhe Beidong flower market, said the local police had called vendors to a meeting and forced them to sign pledges to not carry jasmine; one said she had been instructed to report to the authorities those even seeking to purchase jasmine and to jot down their license plate numbers. (She said she had yet to detect any subversives seeking to buy jasmine at her stall.)

    Although some vendors were given vague explanations for the jasmine freeze � that the plant was �symbolic� of those people who wanted to sow rebellion � most people involved in the flower trade have been largely left in the dark about why they should behave with such vigilance, and some professed ignorance of the ban altogether. Thanks to a censored Internet, most Chinese have never heard of the protest calls in China, nor are they aware of the ensuing crackdown.

    In the absence of concrete information, fantastic rumors have taken root. One wholesale flower vendor at the Jiuzhou Flower and Plant Trading Center in southern Beijing said he heard the ban had something to do with radiation contamination from Japan. A young woman hawking floral bouquets at Laitai, a large flower market near the United States Embassy, said she was told jasmine blossoms contained some unspecified poison that was killing people. �Perhaps you�d like some white roses instead?� she asked hopefully.

    Wu Chuanzhen, 53, a farmer who tends eight greenhouses of jasmine on the outskirts of the city, said other growers had insisted that adherents of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement deemed an �evil cult� by the authorities, might use the flowers in their bid to overthrow the governing Communist Party. �I heard jasmine is the code word for the revolution,� she said. Her laughter suggested she thought such concerns were absurd.

    Many sellers, however, were less than eager to discuss jasmine with a foreigner, particularly at the Sunhe Beidong market, where a policeman could be seen last month nosing around the bouquets. Most quickly steered the conversation to more promising topics. �You don�t want to buy jasmine. It�s just not trendy this year,� said one clerk at the Laitai market, pointing to pots of lavender and rosemary.

    As is often the case in China, controls have a tendency to wilt in the face of mercantile pressures. After two months with little sign of jasmine at the markets, a few vanloads of the plants, their branches thick with blossoms, began to show up at wholesale centers last week. They were priced so low, the buyers could not resist. One retailer, who asked that only her surname, Cui, be printed, acknowledged that the original order had not been officially lifted but that the authorities had yet to interfere.

    Another vendor waved away talk of revolution and broke into a rendition of �Mo Li Hua,� a version of which was played each time medals were presented during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing:

    A beautiful jasmine flower,

    A beautiful jasmine flower,

    Perfumed blossoms fill the branch,

    Fragrant and white for everyone�s delight.

    Let me come and pick a blossom

    To give to someone,

    Jasmine flower, oh jasmine flower.



    US lambasts Chinese repression of dissidents as 'trying to stop history' (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/us-lambasts-chinese-repression-of-dissidents-as-trying-to-stop-history-2282122.html) By Clifford Coonan | Independent
    Chinese Crackdown on Domestic Critics Extends to Writer Barred From Traveling (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/world/asia/10writer.html) By KEITH BRADSHER | New York Times
    A Cardinal's Warning on China (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704132204576285221267394028.html) By MARY KISSEL | Wall Street Journal
    China: A sharper focus (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/849f75dc-7b36-11e0-9b06-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1M2hLbDiL) By Jamil Anderlini and Kathrin Hille | Financial Times
    Fire and Ice
    Ai Weiwei�s cutting edge art, blogging, and sacrifice on behalf of freedom in China. (http://www.tnr.com/article/the-picture/88115/ai-weiwei-china-artist-arrested-moma-exhibit)
    By Jed Perl | The New Republic
    The Great Firewall of China (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/10/the-great-firewall-of-china/) The Washington Times Editorial
    Anish Kapoor Dedicates Art Work to Ai Weiwei (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/11/anish-kapoor-dedicates-art-work-to-ai-weiwei/) By Margherita Stancati and Josh Chin | IndiaRealTime
    A Tale of Nanjing Atrocities That Spares No Brutal Detail (http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/movies/city-of-life-and-death-from-lu-chuan-review.html) By MANOHLA DARGIS | New York Times





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  • tanu_75
    07-28 03:09 PM
    Atleast republicans listen to Microsoft, Google etc and gives some visa etc...AllObama does is warn about Indians and Chinese growth

    Frankly he has a lot more serious problems to worry about than our issues. from the backlog, we are around 0.25 million and you have 300 million people in this country and 10% of them unemployed. So yeah, blame him all you want but any sane politician in his position would do the same.

    Let's consider this for example. Imagine you were in India and you had a few 100,000 decently skilled immigrants from some other country, who were waiting for their green card. Now you are the PM and you have to choose your focus between fighting terrorism, fighting inflation, high budget deficits with healthcare costs, high unemployment rate or giving green cards to these 100,000 people. I would think there would be a lot of pissed off countrymen in India who would scream at you when you are ignoring real issues and focussing instead on giving green cards to foreigners especially when you already have a sky high unemployment rate. Wouldn't be a great political strategy, would it? But maybe you would still do it, perhaps if you have a vested interest in getting it done.

    Still, next year you can bet that he'll do something on immigration since the states have started legislating on their own now and they can't afford this to continue.





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  • natrajs
    10-01 09:30 AM
    If Obama becomes Prez

    1)Sen. Durbin will play major role in immigration policy which may take us to Stone Age.
    2)CIR is only resolution for the immigration ( Bills like HR 5882 will go away)

    If McCain becomes Prez

    1)Anti �immigrant lobbyist will take center stage and will not allow CIR to pass through
    2)Smaller measures like HR 5882 will have chances to pass through

    This is my opinion and it may differ from others. Its like catch 22, I have very little hope on either of them, more over based on the current economic situation. whoever the prez their focus will be on fixing the economy rather than immigration - my 2 cents





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  • Macaca
    12-29 08:01 PM
    It is thus crucial for socially-engaged activists, even if they do not subscribe to religion personally, to enter the terrain of religious discourse and contest and critique the claims of those who speak in its name and deploy it as a tool to promote hatred against what are defined as the religious and national 'other'.

    Efforts to improve relations between India and Pakistan, and Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, can hardly make any headway if this indispensable task continues to be so sorely neglected.


    How Terrorism Still Looms Over Asia (http://the-diplomat.com/2010/12/29/how-terrorism-still-looms-over-asia/) By Luke Hunt | The Diplomat



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  • GCKaMaara
    12-17 05:14 PM
    the mumbai incident was a terrible one. the guilty must be punished to the fullest extent, be it people from any background doing it in the name of religion.

    In the same way the people in this forum should have been angry/troubled over the killings in orissa where innocent christians were beaten, raped, killed, burned alive, home destroyed and chased from the homes to the jungles just because of their faith. this sort of crimes against christians is taking place throughout many parts of India. I am sure this will not go unpunished on the people who did/do these terrible things. the punishment may be delayed, but I am 100% sure it's going to be devastating on the people. mark my words. 'Coz I believe there is a God above, who watches and at the appointed time the punishment will come.

    But the bible also says that God is forgiving. The Bible says the following:
    "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John; chap 1 verse 9)

    Also it says in the book of John (chapter 3 verse 16):
    "For God so loved the world (mankind) that he gave his son Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice (for the sins of mankind), that whoever believes in Him (and repent), shall not perish but have eternal life".

    Any innocent killed must be stopped. My faith is any person who does it or supports it must and will be punished by God.





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  • kaisersose
    04-15 02:12 PM
    I am on H1B and I485 is pending. I just bought a mid-price house and I will recommend to buy only if your I140 is approved. I waited for many years but finally bought one. Buying the house was a big decision but I am glad that I took it. I have a 3 year old daughter and she being able to run in our own backyard is worh of some financial risk. The house prices are lower (still I think a little higher than it should be) and the interest rate is good too. So, go for it and good luck.

    Per iwantmygreen you (just like me) are here to hurt his/her emotions. Apparently we get a kick out of that.



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  • QuietFlowsTheDon
    04-15 06:42 PM
    if you are in DFW metroplex it is a good time to buy.
    prices are holding up in most suburbs. interest rates are pretty good right now.
    when you look at the inflation rates, interest rate could probably go up.
    so if you have been thinking about owning a home for some time, i would say this is the best time in the last couple of years.





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  • texcan
    08-05 01:43 PM
    Agree with you...
    Also let me share a story ....

    Once upon a time, two ferries were taking passengers to an Island called Green Land. First ferry was calle EB2 and the other ferry was Eb3. Both these ferries were jam packed with little or no room. But EB2 was in slightly better position with few spaces to spare.

    These ferries were navigating at legendary slow speed because the crew and the drivers (read USCIS) were very slow. Also the fuel (read visa numbers) was not enough so now and then it needed to get some assitance from the base (read lawmakers).

    The base has put out an option to move from one ferry to another. So the people in Eb3 ferry decided to swim to EB2. One who could not start cursing their fate and the ones in EB2 boat start screaming to prevent that happening.

    Soon the passengers forgot that the reason why the ferries are running slow and start blaming each other.

    An old man on the shore sighed and said to himself, wouldn't it be nice if these people had concentratred their effort on the right place.


    Sunnysurya,

    Thanks for giving me ear, and thought to my points.

    Indians(myself included) were ruled by British for years, i never believed history that people can fight so much with each other that they forget to work together; now i know better.

    We got to get togther and work with each other (add efforts), but sometimes we are working together but ironically against each other and net result is wasted effort.

    Lets not waste energy by stopping people from actions even if we may not like their tools or techniques. Lets work more and get something done.


    Thanks SunnySurya.



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  • unitednations
    03-24 01:16 PM
    You are wrong - many other categories are allowed to be adjusted to the status while being in the country. For example look into latest CSR report - you will know that in year 2007, USCIS adjusted 621,047 foreign nationals to LPR status among this number EB's are only around 160K remaining or in other statuses.



    The family based immigration is important and can be very painful for some cases - like spouses and sons/daughters - and that is why congress has correctly amended laws to make these cases as exceptions (there are no numerical limits and also no country quotas). That was a correct thing to do and any wait in those relationships is much more painful. But for other categories in the family based immigration - like the cases you gave as examples (like brother and sister of a US citizen) - I dont really consider them as more painful than ours actually I dont even consider them as even comparable to ours. I dont know your case, but I came to US in late nineties with couple graduage degrees and acquired one more here - started my career here and justifiably feel that I considerably contributed to success of atleast one company which grew to 200+ people at one point. I emotionally and careerwise invested here. Now after 10+ years still no greencard and know how many career moves I had to let go becuase of this. While the decision to pursue the greencard is mine and I am not trying to blame anyone here, I dont think that our pain is less than someone who is "waiting" because his brother or sister sponsored him/her doesnt make sense (note: well I do have brother and sister and cherish those relationships but expecting a lifelong/career move based on their location of living is not there; and even if there is an expectation I wont consider that even comparable to someone living there and letting go many opportunities despite of talent just because of administrative issues).

    You are right - things are getting worse - there may not be any congressional activity on this issue for sometime and if USCIS try to screw us in other ways - then its going to be a rough ride. But the EB community activism (congressional or otherwise) will actually help in at least staying things more fair towards us.



    Yes; I read all of the reports and I have intimate knowledge of how all of this works.

    Fact only dual intent visas are H/L/O and K visas.

    All other visas are non immigrant intent. Therefore, how do we have so many 485 approvals.

    Just about all family base i-485 adjustment of status approvals are people who overstayed their visitor visas, student visas, etc and adjusted status by marrying a US citizen or used 245i to forgive their unlawful status and got greencard through a different way.

    Many people who got aged out and weren't able to come with their parents wanted reunification but it would take many, many years for them to come to USA. They get student visa; lie that their parents are not in USA and when they get here then they go through EB route.

    Many people who overstayed their visas got 245i protection through a family member and then went through EB route because it was faster then family route. Here is an example;

    Person comes from India in early '90s. Wants to stay and winds up overstaying. Lawsuit is filed against 1986 amnesty and people win that USCIS has to open it up and allow people to file even though it is many years after 1986. People start faking things to show that they were here during that time. At same time they get 245i protectin by getting relative to file petition for them. They see none of it goin anywhere and then get labor substitution through eb and go this route and finally get greencard this way.

    There is so much of this that goes on with immigration and in USCIS heavy handed way they go after everyone to try to get the people who they think are dirty.

    I think everyone needs to understand that this is employment base immigration. It is not on your merits it is based on an employer needing you. H-1b was created to mainly get poeple here because it took too long for an employer to get a body by going through consular route; same concept with K-3 visas;.

    In many of the compalaints I see on the forums; people start thinking that EB greencard is a humanitarian greencard. It is very simple and employer needs you on a permannet and full time basis. If they have the resource then they generally do not care how long it takes you to get the greencard. Like it or not this is the way it currently is.

    I remember taking a local office appointment with San Jose local office to determine where my file was. It mistakenly got sent to San Diego office. Officer said I should write to San Diego and get them to transfer it to San Francisco which had jurisdiction to where I was living. I told here why doesn't she request it and I made the comment that I had been waiting for four years since I had filed the 485. Her response with a straight face was hey that's not too bad; some people are waiting for last 20 years.

    Talk to a normal American and they are not going to think that you are being disadvantaged because you are allowed to live and work here while waiting for the greencard.

    If there was no h-1b or no seventh year extensions and employers couldn't get the workers then you would really see some action because employers wouldn't be able to get the resources.

    Nurses generally weren't able to get h-1b's and they had to go through consular route. Since, employers couldn't get the resources then that is why they set aside extra 60k greencards for them a couple of years ago. It had nothing to do with the individual but rather the employer needs in getting the resources.





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  • ak27
    01-28 09:54 AM
    Lou Dobbs has found an audience who oppose any form of immigration. Lou picks and choose facts which support his point of view and no one at CNN is stopping him because his ratings have gone up with his rant...



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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-06 12:48 PM
    How to tell the sex of a fly

    I stopped at a friends house the other day and found him stalking around the kitchen with a flyswatter.

    When I asked if he had gotten any flies he answered, "Yeah, 5 .... 3 males and 2 females."

    Curious, I inquired as to how he could tell the difference.

    He answered, "It's easy, 3 were on a beer can and 2 were on the phone.





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  • soni7007
    08-06 10:04 AM
    Personally I think "Obviously" response was derogatory and not funny at all.

    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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  • ashkam
    04-15 02:59 PM
    Are people seriously arguing that a child will not be happier in a bigger home, everything else remaining constant? Seriously, is someone actually arguing this?

    And money can't buy happiness? Really? Are you saying everything else remaining constant if I gave you money it would make you sad? Seriously? Who is this person who would be sadder if I gave him money? I would like to meet him.

    You people need to stop reminiscing about your childhood days and how happy your childhood was even though you had no money. I have a feeling that your child doesn't really care. Sure, give your child lots of love, but for Christ's sake, if you can afford it, don't make him / her spend his / her childhood in a small cramped apartment just because you had to.





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  • reddog
    01-06 12:49 PM
    Now the killing has gone mad. Apart from killing the innocent civilians, crazy war mongers started bombing schools and killing innocent school kids. Today two schools were bombed and more than 40 children have been massacred.

    Its sad to see school children being brutally killed by missles and tanks. I don't understand how people could blow up innocent kids, women and men under the name of self-defence?

    This world has gone crazy and there's no one questioning about this in-human atrocities committed against fellow human being.

    Lets us pray for those who are going thru this hardship, and for an immediate end to this war crime.

    How many more innocent civilians including children they are planning to kill?. All these so called peace loving nations blocking the UN from making a cease-fire resolution. Looks like so called freedom lovers want more innocent lives.

    When Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, whole world was united and supported the victim(India). Now the same world is against the victim and encouraging more killing by not stopping the attrocities.

    And look at what India is going thru. Each and every year, bomb blasts in multiple cities.

    There are hundreds of polls taken in Indian cities and a majority of the people living in cities say that they are terrified. They are constantly living under the fear of the next terrorist attack.

    Indians support a military action against Pakistan as they know that the state of Pakistan is involved in these terrorist activities.
    And even if the state not knowing about these people does not relieve them from accountability.
    So how different would it be if India initiates a military strike on Pakistan, will they guarantee that not a single innocent live will be taken?

    Israelis feel much safer in their country, even after being surrounded by enemies from all side.

    I am not justifying anything, I am just saying that Israel does not love to go and kill innocent people, they are not the Stalin or the Nazi clansmen.

    Or are you saying that they love killing people?



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  • sledge_hammer
    06-25 03:06 PM
    No one investment vehicle is the BEST. There are pros and cons. But for you to trash real estate by comparing it to renting is foolishness. One needs to diversify. So one should invest in stocks, bonds, gold, home, cash, etc. What percentage of each? Well that is a personal choice. But home is definitely one way to build wealth.

    Do you know a single well known rich guy that still rents (and owns zero real estate)? If you are so sure that you have the math right, go ahead and name some names!
    There are many homeowners who are underwater but not foreclosed. That does not make it a good investment. All I'm pointing out is unless your property's rent covers your monthly mortgage+property tax+insurance+maintenance and upkeep it can not be called a good investment. You should have positive (at least non negative) cash flow out of your rental properties. Is this a general case? I think not. At least in my area I'm 100% sure rent does not cover mortgage and the difference between the two is significant.

    If you have a negative cash flow on your rental properties then the only thing you are betting on is price appreciation of your properties (above inflation) in future which is speculation again.





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  • willigetagc
    08-05 08:40 AM
    The said person should have been aware of what he or she was getting into. Blaming your hardship on other people and trying to get mileage out of it is hardly an honest way............would you agree?

    I dont think your proposal is fair. PD belongs to the person whether he is EB2, 3 or 10.

    In fact, if you think about it an EB3-to-EB2 convert would spend more time in the queue than a full EB2 and less than a full EB3.
    But what you are proposing will make a 3-to-2 convert spend more time in the queue than a full EB3.

    You know the GC queue is a dynamic one. You need to look at the total time spent in queue to determine whats fair.



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  • ita
    01-03 11:10 PM
    But doing circles doesn't make it any less complex...one long post or may be few more (if one had something new to say ) would be any day better than doing circles. Anyways suit yourself if you are getting a kick out of it.

    Thank you.


    I try to avoid long posts, as well as obviously silly ones. I also pick and choose sometimes.
    Otherwise it takes up a lot of time.

    Let me try to sum up my logic, and my beliefs. I'll try to be brief.

    1) There are militants running around in Pakistan that want to provoke India into a conflict with Pakistan. These are the same people who blew up Marriot in Islamabad, and killed Benazir, and tried to kill Musharraf twice.
    2) If they succeed in starting an India/Pakistan 'cricket match', that would provide them with relief, and give them more room and more chances to grow.
    3) If they don't succeed, they will probably try again, and again, until they DO succeed, which would be a disaster. And therefore, it is absolutely necessary that Pakistan investigates and gets to the bottom of Bombay.
    Unfortunately, in Pakistan, I am seeing denial. That is not good.
    4) Steps that convert the situation into an India-Pakistan cricket match must be avoided. In the past, India and Pakistan have tried to score points against each other, and supported insurgencies and tried to destabilize the other country. Some of that probably goes on today as well. So, this childish and silly cricket match should stop.

    So, that probably sums up what I think. I don't know if I contradict myself anywhere; maybe I do. But its a very complex situation, with no easy answers.





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  • dontcareanymore
    08-05 01:58 PM
    Why, what is difference? Why was labor substitution bad. It was perfectly legal after all.

    Yes IT WAS. You either have not seen through the issue or can't distinguish the cases.





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  • Macaca
    12-28 08:03 AM
    House Members Spent $20.3M on Mailings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122700903.html?hpid=sec-politics) By DENNIS CONRAD | Associated Press, Dec 28, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- U.S. House members spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents what's often the government equivalent of junk mail _ meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging.

    They sent nearly 116 million pieces of mail in all, many of them glossy productions filled with flattering photos and lists of the latest roads and bridges the lawmaker has brought home to the district, an Associated Press review of public records shows.

    Some offered advice on topics one would more commonly expect to see in a consumer-advice column.

    "Keep your car properly maintained" to improve mileage, suggested Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., in a newsletter on how to deal with rising energy prices.

    Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., offered tips on home improvements.

    And Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., who lost her primary race last year, sent out a taxpayer-funded newsletter a few months before the election that included this simple observation:

    "Convicted felons can vote," she said, if "your" prison sentence has been served, parole or probation completed and fines paid. While campaigning, McKinney, who is black, noted that blacks make up a disproportionately large share of the prison population, which she said dilutes their voting strength.

    A dozen House members spent more than $133,000 each to send 9.8 million pieces of mass mailings. Total cost? $1.8 million.

    Sometimes the lawmakers' taxpayer funded mailings topped what they paid for direct mail through their campaign funds.

    Of the 64 House members with at least $100,000 in taxpayer-funded mailing expenses _ and overwhelmingly for mass mailings _ 42 were Republicans and 22 were Democrats, the AP review found.

    In sharp contrast, 59 lawmakers in the 435-member House _ 35 Republicans and 24 Democrats _ spent nothing on mass mailings. They tended to be the more experienced House members, often with 14 or more years of service.

    Mass mailings cannot be blatantly political, but they still can have political benefits, said Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers' Union, which has condemned mass mailings.

    "A taxpayer-financed mailing doesn't have to say 're-elect me' to have an impact on voters," Sepp said. "A glossy newsletter splashed with the incumbent's achievements in Congress can build useful credentials a lawmaker can take with him to the ballot box. The franking privilege is one of the main cogs in Congress' PR machine."

    Franking, practiced since the early days of the republic, lets members of Congress send mail with just a signature where the postage would normally be affixed. Although the mailings are regulated by a congressional commission to guard against overt political appeals and cannot go out within 90 days of an election, they still sometimes take a dig at the opposition.

    In a June 2006 newsletter, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., noted that under the Republican majority, Congress had passed tax cuts that "benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families."

    Stark has been a regular among the biggest users of the congressional franking privilege. For 2006, his mass mailings alone cost $172,357, an amount large enough to rank him among the top congressional mailers. House documents reported his overall mailing costs to be about $37,000 less. The AP received no explanation for the apparent discrepancy from spokesmen for Stark, the House Administration Committee and House administration staff.

    Some lawmakers defend the newsletters as a vital way of communicating with constituents.

    "One of the biggest complaints my constituents had (with) my predecessor was that they never knew what was going on in Washington," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla. "They never had the opportunity to do surveys, etc. I promised I would communicate with them regularly."

    Brown-Waite is one of the biggest users of bulk mail, with 657,951 pieces at a cost of $129,428 last year. That surpassed the approximately $110,000 her campaign spent on direct mailings and related costs.

    One taxpayer-funded mailing featured a picture of her and the headline: "Medicare Prescription Drug Update: The Time to Act is Now." Another, entitled "Constituent Service Guide for the 5th District," included a survey and information about how to obtain U.S. flags, assistance from federal agencies and an appointment to a military academy.

    The House Democratic Caucus encourages members to use the mailings to communicate with constituents, spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said. She said it was a good way for congressmen to focus on an issue or, if survey questions are used, get a handle on what constituents are thinking.

    That argument doesn't persuade Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., who said he has never used the mailings in 13 years in Congress. "It's a waste of taxpayers' money," he said. "I don't believe in this self-promotion."

    LaHood argues that franking should be used only to answer constituent mail. He has repeatedly introduced bills to ban mass mailings and just as often the legislation dies in committee.

    For the House and Senate combined, the cost of taxpayer-paid mailings, including mass mailings, letters to individuals and groups of up to 500 people, was $34.3 million for fiscal year 2006, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. In 1988, before more restrictions were imposed on the use of mailings, the figure was more than three times larger, $113.3 million.

    The biggest senders in the AP analysis included freshmen in tight re-election fights and veterans who coasted to victory.

    Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., had the most pieces of mass mailings: 1,257,972. His mass mailings' cost of $171,286 was among the highest in the House, as was the overall cost of his franked mail, at $177,706.

    Murphy, who advised constituents to maintain cars, was one of the House leaders in sending out bulk mail, with 1,003,836 pieces. The price tag: $165,650.

    Among legislative leaders, the biggest spender was Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., who last fall became chairman of the House GOP Conference. He spent $133,053 to mail 844,336 pieces.

    Other leaders in the last Congress and the current one were not big users.

    The cost of postage is not the only expense for taxpayers. Printing and reproduction can add tens of thousands of dollars to a mailing's cost. The printing cost for one mailing from McCotter was $30,259.

    There is a practical limit on how much can be spent on mailings.

    Funding comes from a congressman's office budget, which ranges from $1.2 million to $1.4 million for payroll and other expenses. The more spent on mass mailings, the less money is available for such needs as staff, salaries and district offices.

    Senators can also send franked mail, but the amount for each senator is specific and generally based on the number of addresses in a senator's state. At no point may it exceed $50,000 a year for mass mailings. For fiscal year 2004, overall mail allocations ranged from $31,746 to $298,850.

    Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who mailed 906,788 pieces last year and won re-election with 60 percent of the vote, sees the mailings as helping him do his job.

    "Ours is a representative government, requiring an active dialogue between elected officials and those they serve," Stearns said in a statement.

    Mike Stokke, a political aide to recently resigned Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., when he was House speaker, said he would advise congressmen to send out mailings when they've fulfilled an important promise, such as getting money for a bridge in the district.





    abracadabra102
    07-14 02:11 PM
    "Should" has no place in this. That is your opinion. A lot of things should happen in my view, that does not mean they are the law. It would be rather presumptous of us to tell the US legislators or Gov't how things "should" be.

    The laws are made the way they are for a reason, that is what US lawmakers consider to be in the best interest of their country. As for the spillover question, what is clear is that the real shaft was on Eb2I for the past 2 yrs, when all the spillover was erroneously going to EB3ROW. Eb3I was nor is in contention for those numbers. Sadly for EB3I, the country is oversubscribed and that too in a lesser priority category.

    Write this letter if you must, but it will cause the EB3 community to lose credibility with a lot of people, including the executive branch. They do not respond well to illogical letters and those that second guess their right to set the laws as they wish. It will turn out to be a massive distraction and turn into a joke.

    The focus of the EB3 community should be squarely on visa recapture. Technically that will help EB3I the most. Those affected most stand to gain the most as well. Failing this, I am not sure anything you guys do will make an iota of difference.

    Nice post alterego. Some people never respond to logic and reasoning. They are intent on shooting themselves in the foot no matter what everyone says.





    thomachan72
    08-06 04:28 PM
    THERE IS THIS GOOD OLD BARBER IN SOME CITY IN THE AMERICA....

    ONE DAY A FLORIST GOES TO HIM FOR A HAIRCUT. AFTER THE CUT, HE GOES TO PAY THE BARBER AND THE BARBER REPLIES: "I AM SORRY. I CANNOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM YOU.I AM DOING COMMUNITY SERVICE." THE FLORIST IS HAPPY AND LEAVES THE SHOP.

    THE NEXT MORNING WHEN THE BARBER GOES TO OPEN HIS SHOP, THERE IS A THANK YOU CARD AND A DOZEN ROSES WAITING AT HIS DOOR.

    A POLICEMAN GOES FOR A HAIRCUT AND HE ALSO GOES TO PAY THE BARBER AFTER THE CUT. BUT THE BARBER REPLIES:"I AM SORRY. I CANNOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM YOU. I AM DOING COMMUNITY SERVICE." THE COP IS HAPPY AND LEAVES THE SHOP.

    THE NEXT MORNING THE BARBER GOES TO OPEN HIS SHOP, THERE IS A THANK YOU CARD AND A DOZEN DONUTS WAITING AT HIS DOOR.

    AN INDIAN SOFTWARE ENGINEER GOES FOR A HAIRCUT AND HE ALSO GOES TO PAY THE BARBER AFTER THE CUT. BUT THE BARBER REPLIES: I AM SORRY. I CANNOT ACCEPT MONEY FROM YOU. I AM DOING COMMUNITY SERVICE. THE INDIAN SOFTWARE ENGINEER IS HAPPY AND LEAVES.

    ..Enjoy

    THE NEXT MORNING WHEN THE BARBER GOES TO OPEN HIS SHOP, GUESS WHAT HE
    FINDS
    THERE...

    CAN YOU GUESS?

    DO YOU KNOW THE ANSWER YET?

    COME ON, THINK LIKE A INDIAN....

    A DOZEN INDIANS WAITING FOR A HAIRCUT........!!!!!
    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!!



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