nedeľa, 3. júla 2011

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  • damialok
    03-31 01:50 PM
    Example: $ 500,000/- purchase price (3000 sq ft single family home)
    Land cost: 80,000/- ( defined by county - assessment record)
    Construction cost: 1,40,000/- (If you do home work you can easily
    derive current construction cost)
    Let's say you give the order to somebody to construct: Add his 25%
    profit which is reasonable)

    I am currently looking to build my home in SF Bay Area and these figures dont look that encouraging. Here is what I have got and this is due to severe crunch in construction industry.

    Land: $600,000 (it was listed for $850K 12 months back, thats after 25% drop)
    Construction Cost: $190/sqft (It was $280~$350 2 years back) - for 3000sqft - $570,000
    City Permits and Architectural fees - $120,000

    A grand total of $1.3 Million. But this if if you were to build it, the run-of-the-mill tract home builders can get it much cheaper, say around $1million.
    Again these figures vary by region but generally give a picture of cost breakdown in California.


    Land - 46%
    Construction- 44%
    Permits - 10%




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  • alahiri
    07-15 11:01 AM
    Like anything else there are people of all kinds...there are h1b's who own a house and BMW's (and stock options in the valley) and there are h1b's that share a apartment with a couple of roomates to save some money.I have been here for 10 years and I have seen all kinds...basically what a h1b does depends on wether he is bachelor,family man ,his age , experience and his priorities in life etc..the only thing common is that everyone of them can be much more productive if they get permanent residency.A GC will give them a lot of choices and will give them wings to fly.

    Wish everyone the best ...keep up the spirit and the good work.




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  • singhsa3
    08-05 04:42 PM
    Don't worry guys, this is just a time pass while people are waiting for Nebraska to issue some green cards..;)




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  • nk2006
    10-07 11:40 AM
    Asain-Americans seems to favor Obama overwhelmingly as per this survey. its interesting to read the survey - these immigrants who have gone thru the process themselves and might have friends/relatives in the process - didnt mention immigration as one of their important topic to decide on the vote. Understandably economy is the top topic but was expecting to see immigration atleast behind economy.
    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=44144



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  • gcseeker2002
    12-27 10:49 PM
    I myself am originally from Mumbai so please dont doubt the deep sense of outrage that I feel. But amid all this talk about going to war, here are a few things to ponder

    1. Think about how long it takes to construct a single runway of an airport. In the developed countries, it takes about 2-3 years, for India safe to say 5-6 years. One of Paki's first responses would be take out entire airports not just runways. Can you imagine how long it would take us to recover

    >>>>>It will be the same if terrorists take out entire airports by their terror actions, which they were about to do in Mumbai that failed on 11/26. So no point worrying about what if.

    2. Why should India kill Pak when it is killing itself every day. At this rate, just imagine how long this country will last. Sitting back and being a spectator could just about be the best option

    >>>>>At this rate they will take another 50 years to kill themselves, but will continue to torment India till they die, they are like a cockroach that keeps wriggling till it dies, and does not matter if you just cut off its legs, etc.

    3. If we are outraged by 200 civilians/police/NSG dying, do we really have the stomach to absorb 1000s, lakhs ........

    >>>>>If we dont destroy the Pakis now, tomorrow their terrorists will take out 1000s, lakhs while we sit and wait.

    4. Talking of "surgical strikes" - surgical strikes on what? Even the dumbest terrorist knows that its probably not a good idea to be in a terror camp right now.

    >>>>>That is a true statement, but who cares, look at Israel that takes out Hamas buildings even though no hamas terrorists are in those buildings.

    5. Do we really want to unite all those crazy Punjabis, Balochis, Taliban and the Paki army

    >>>>>They are already united, it is Indians who are divided.

    6. Ok, what about assassinating Kayani. Wonderful, we have destroyed the last institution in Paki land. Get ready to welcome millions of refugees

    >>>>>No comments.

    I know I know that I am not coming up with any good course of action, just pointing out the flaws in the rest of them. But thats all my layman's strategic vision gives me. Maybe with just 1/100th the cost of war, we can improve our border/maritime security and also our intelligence apparatus

    Personally, I think war is going to happen. I just wish people even remotely understand what it is that they are asking for.

    War is bad but required to quell bad people, some people just dont get it the soft way.




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  • engineer
    01-03 12:31 AM
    Writer, Shuja Nawaz
    http://www.shujanawaz.com/index.php?mod=about


    Brinksmanship in South Asia: A Dangerous Scenario
    December 26, 2008 10:32 | PERMALINK (http://www.shujanawaz.com/blog/brinksmanship-in-south-asia-a-dangerous-scenario)
    Reports of military movement to the India-Pakistan border must raise alarums in Washington DC. The last thing that the incoming Obama administration wants is a firestorm in South Asia. There cannot be a limited war in the subcontinent, given the imbalance of forces between India and Pakistan. Any Indian attack across the border into Pakistan will likely be met with a full scale response from Pakistan. Yet, the rhetoric that seemed to have cooled down after the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks is rising again. It was exactly this kind of aggressive posturing and public statements that led to the 1971 conflict between these two neighbors. Pakistan has relied in the past on international intervention to prevent war. It worked, except in 1971 when the US and other powers let India invade East Pakistan and lead to the birth of Bangladesh. What makes the current situation especially dangerous is that both are now nuclear weapon states with anywhere up to150 nuclear bombs in their arsenal. If India and Pakistan go to war, the world will lose. Big time. By putting conventional military pressure on Pakistan, is India calling what it perceives to be Pakistan�s bluff under the belief that the United Sates will force nuclear restraint on Pakistan?
    The early evidence after the Mumbai terrorist attack pointed to the absence of the Pakistan government�s involvement in the attack. Indeed, the government of Pakistan seemed to bend over backwards to accommodate and understand Indian anger at the tragedy. But, in the weeks since then, as domestic political pressure mounted on the Indian government to do more, talk has turned to the use of surgical strikes or other means to teach Pakistan a lesson. It was in India�s own interest to strengthen the ability of the fledgling civilian government of Pakistan to move against the militancy within the country. But it seems to have opted for threats to attack Pakistan, threats that, if followed up by actions, may well derail the process of civilianization and democratization in that country. India must recognize the constraints under which Pakistan operates. It cannot fight on two fronts. And it lacks the geographic depth to take the risk of leaving its eastern borders undefended at a time when India has been practicing its emerging Cold Start strategy in the border opposite Kasur. Under this strategy, up to four Integrated Battle Groups could move rapidly across the border and occupy a strategic chunk of Pakistani territory up to the outskirts of Lahore in a �limited war�.
    For Pakistan, there is no concept of �limited war�. Any war with India is seen as a total war, for survival. It risks losing everything the moment India crosses its border, and will likely react by attacking India in force at a point of its own choosing under its own Offensive-Defensive strategy. (That is probably why it is moving some of its Strike Force infantry divisions back from the Afghan border to the Indian one.) As the battles escalate, Indian�s numerical and weapon superiority will become critical. If no external intervention takes place quickly, Pakistan will then be left with the �poison pill� defence of its nuclear weapons.
    The consequences of such action are unimaginable for both countries and the world...
    The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) conducted an analysis of the consequences of nuclear war in South Asia a year before the last stand-off in 2002. Under two scenarios, one (with a Princeton University team) studied the results of five air bursts over each country�s major cities and the other (done by the NRDC alone) with 24 ground explosions. The results were horrifying to say the least: 2.8 million dead, 1.5 million seriously injured, and 3.4 million slightly injured in the first case. Under the second scenario involving an Indian nuclear attack on eight major Pakistani cities and Pakistan�s attack on seven major Indian cities:
    NRDC calculated that 22.1 million people in India and Pakistan would be exposed to lethal radiation doses of 600 rem or more in the first two days after the attack. Another 8 million people would receive a radiation dose of 100 to 600 rem, causing severe radiation sickness and potentially death, especially for the very young, old or infirm. NRDC calculates that as many as 30 million people would be threatened by the fallout from the attack, roughly divided between the two countries.
    Besides fallout, blast and fire would cause substantial destruction within roughly a mile-and-a-half of the bomb craters. NRDC estimates that 8.1 million people live within this radius of destruction.
    Studies by Richard Turco, Alan Robock, and Brian Toon in 2006 and 2008 on the climate change impact of a regional nuclear war between these two South Asian rivals, were based on the use of 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear devices of 15 kiloton each. The ensuing nuclear explosions would set 15 major cities in the subcontinent on fire and hurl five million tonnes of soot 80 kilometers into the air. This would deplete ozone levels in the atmosphere up to 40 per cent in the mid-latitudes that �could have huge effects on human health and on terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems.� More important, the smoke and sot would cool the northern hemisphere by several degrees, disrupting the climate (shortening growing seasons, etc.) and creating massive agricultural failure for several years. The whole world would suffer the consequences.
    An Indo-Pakistan war will not cure the cancer of religious militancy that afflicts both countries today. Rather, India and Pakistan risk jeopardizing not only their own economic futures but also that of the world by talking themselves into a conflict. The world cannot afford to let that happen. The Indian and Pakistani governments can step back from the brink by withdrawing their forces from their common border and going back to quiet diplomacy to resolve their differences. The United States and other friends of both countries can act as honest brokers by publicly urging both to do just that before this simmering feud starts to boil over.
    This piece appeared in The Huffington Post, 26 December 2008 (http://www.shujanawaz.com//)



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  • mpadapa
    08-05 10:39 AM
    Rolling_Flood, great idea to benefit just U'r own GC cause. If you are positive about U'r logic why don't you go ahead and file a lawsuit. Looks like your true intention of creating this thread is to create a divide among IV members. Already members had a tough few weeks (in terms of unity) after the Aug bulletin. Now you are poking another rift.

    The EB classification is for a future job. Since the person is qualified, he ports to EB2 midway so what. The GC is for a future job, and when the person gets his/her GC, he/she is qualified for that position at that time. So what is U'r logic??


    If you want to truly fight the system them fight for a common basis for EB classification. There are cases where the same job title has been classified under all 3 categories. Example

    Senior Programmer (say Bachelor's with 5 yrs exp)

    Files under EB1 : because he/she came L1, qualification might be few yrs exp.
    Files under EB2 : because he/she has 5 yrs of exp and the attorney was smart to classify it as EB2.
    Files under EB3 : because of company policy or based on bad attorney advice (conservative approach).

    The above example shows that if U'r company and attorney is smart U can get U'r GC faster.

    If you are keen on doing a lawsuit why not
    File one against USCIS for wasting thousands of visa's over the past few years, which is the source of this backlog.
    Or file one against DOL for taking n number of years to get the LC done.
    Or file one against 245 filers who clogged the USCIS system which is causing USCIS to be inefficient.

    Friends,
    I need to find out how many people are interested in pursuing this option, since the whole interfiling/PD porting business (based on a year 2000 memo) can seriously undermine the EB2 category.

    I am currently pursuing some initial draft plans with some legal representation, so that a sweeping case may be filed to end this unfair practice. We need to plug this EB3-to-EB2 loophole, if there is any chance to be had for filers who have originally been EB2.

    More than any other initiative, the removal of just this one unfair provision will greatly aid all original EB2 filers. Else, it can be clearly deduced that the massively backlogged EB3 filers will flock over to EB2 and backlog it by 8 years or more.

    I also want to make this issue an action item for all EB2 folks volunteering for IV activities.

    Thanks.




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  • mbartosik
    04-08 10:40 PM
    I remember the 1990's UK housing crunch
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7336010.stm

    I often call the British "mortgage slaves", that was actually a factor in my move here. I could see people putting every penny they earned into their mortgages. When my parents bought their house 35 years ago, you had to put a hefty deposit down. After the housing crunch of the early 1990's which really killed off the economy (largely because people could not move to where the jobs were because of negative equity). I saw the same happening there again. Even being well paid in the UK does not mean that you can afford more than a cardboard box. Whenever interest rates drop there, housing prices shoot up, I considered an interest rate drop to be a disaster. The majority of the population thought that high house price inflation was great, but didn't consider that either the bubble must burst or their children will never be able to afford a house. People just pay the same percentage of salary into mortgage when interest rates are low, so prices go up. In the UK fixed rate loans are not the norm like here, more normal would be a 35 year variable rate loan (up from 25 years in 1980's). So when interest rates go up people are crippled. I see the UK economy as being underpinned by the emperor's clothes. People get 35 year variable rate mortgages for 125% of value on a salary when they can barely cover interest let alone capital, if one of them (assuming couple - because single cannot afford house) loses job they are screwed.

    In the UK a house I could afford would be about 1000 sq ft. Here my house is 1800 sq ft (nicely sized but not McMansion), and net zero energy -- with a huge amount of solar power and ground source heat pump heating http://tinyurl.com/2jzbfq

    Then around 2002 I saw the same starting to happen here. I must have brought the British disease here with me!! :eek:
    I should have been quarantined :eek:

    So other than a rant what's my point:
    * Buy something that you can afford, without becoming a mortgage slave.
    * Buy something that you really like.
    * Buy something that you are prepared to live in for a long time.
    * Think of your house as your home, not an investment (or at least a very long term investment -- like 10 years plus).
    * Use the down housing market to your advantage to find something that you really like (without over extending yourself).
    * You decide what you can afford, but the bank or Mortgage broker. Mortgage broker tried to tell me that I could afford more, I told him where to go, I want to live not just pay mortgage. I would recommend not going above x3 salary or x2.5 for a couple.

    If you think this way market timing is less of an issue. It is hard to judge the market timing just right in any market.

    Being an energy saving geek, I also recommend buying something with a large south facing roof (for lots of solar panels).



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  • GCBatman
    01-06 04:53 PM
    Hey guys,
    If all the topics can be posted here and anyone can start any unrelated thread (No Offense to "Refugee_New" because there are others also who did the same in past and it looks like all the moderators are sleeping.)
    So I am thinking of posting unrelated issue.
    Here is the question?
    I have to buy the tires for my car (15")
    Which tires are best Michelin or Goodyear
    Please no reds and sincere answers only.
    Thanks,




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  • Madhuri
    05-16 11:08 AM
    Very well said Sanju. You put everything in right perspective.



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  • cagedcactus
    04-07 05:43 PM
    I wonder if big names like Mircrosoft and others are aware of this. I am sure they will have a huge loss if this bill went through. May be it is time Bill Gates dropped his gloves and fight for us too.




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  • nojoke
    05-04 02:13 PM
    House...forget it......


    It will never reach those highs again...

    In US..RE is done.

    Not 485...look at the number of foreclosures.....and inflation.....

    untill the war is over...forget...

    I saw a news article that says Bangalore real estate is down 20% this year. And another one that says Delhi is down 20%. What happened in India is also a part ponzi scheme. All the NRIs buying at whatever prices. How can any local guy afford at those prices:confused: Unless inflation goes sky high and wages multiplying to catch up with the inflation.
    If I buy a flat in Bangalore at 50 lakhs and expect 15 thousand for the rent, it comes to 2 lakhs approx. a year return. If I do a fixed deposit in the bank at 10% interest, I get 5 lakhs return. I can rent for 15 thousand and invest the 3 lakhs back into a fixed deposit. Over the years, flats depriciate and in 20-25 years it will be close to valued at nothing. Where as a wise investment in the bank would have multiplyied by 4 times. :(



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  • h1techSlave
    12-26 09:59 PM
    Like a few of us are pointing out here, a full fledged war between India and Pak is only good for China.

    What India should do is
    1. Increase internal security. Our performace in tacking those 10-11 guys were pathetic, to put it mildly. Sure it is no mistake of those brave folks who actually fought the terrorists, but India has no political will power to tackle terrorits strongly (neither Indian politicians nor the voters who elect those politicians).

    2. Join NATO forces in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. We had earlier turned down invitation from Americans to fight in Afghanistan because our rulers fear the Muslim vote bank. It seems (looking at the Muslim response to latest terror attacks), Indian Muslims also are fed up of the cross border terrorism. So if we join the NATO forces and fight islamists in Afghanistan; on one hand, the jihadis will be weakened and on the other hand, India will not be directly blamed by Muslims all over the world.

    My take on this is that there are two options

    Option-1:- Go for an all out war as i specified...however the risk here is that it could go on and on and on...like we have seen in otherparts

    Option-2:- Work with like minded countries (work with them covertly), to completely eliminate terror camps (difficult it may seem cause its the bread/butter and cheese of those who run the neighbouring country)

    Option-1, if we can come up with a quick operation (remember 26/11 took 60 hours), otherwise option-2, but we have to be on the ball and make sure we get one of the two done otherwise as i said the next strike could not be far away on one of our major cities....
    Also Option-1 should be directed at the Terror infrastructure (by infrastructure i mean man power included cause otherwise they will disperse and regroup like they do in the western border in the war that the superpower is waging)




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  • americandesi
    08-06 02:09 PM
    After making a trip of South India, Santa Singh, his wife and his son were returning to Punjab in Tamilnadu Express.

    Santa Singh was occupying the lower berth, his wife the middle berth and his son the top most berth in the train. When the train stopped at one of the stations on the way back the son requested Santa Singh to bring him a cup of Ice cream to which Santa readily agreed. When Santa and his son returned they found that a South Indian who couldn't understand Hindi had occupied his son's berth.

    Outraged, Santa Singh called the TT and asked him to help. TT requested that he could not understand Hindi/Punjabi so it would be better if Santa Singh explained the whole situation to him in English.

    Santa Singh explained, "That man sleeping on top of my wife is not giving birth to my child."



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  • django.stone
    09-26 07:03 PM
    I agree with 485Mbe4001 and many other folks on this thread that have talked about the results of Obama victory - USA would face socialist policies and personally our GCs could be affected by protectionist agenda. I have never understood why Indians (even 2nd generation) by default support Democrats, when all the values and rational reasons point us towards Republicans. I am libertarian in my views and a staunch supporter of republicans.

    Reasons for Indians to support Democrats -

    1. Generally religion neutral and not influenced by christian right wing
    2. Generally tolerant of people from other cultures rather than being a party of white folks run by white men
    3. Tendency to help human/environment suffering
    4. Afraid of military draft that could recruit our kids

    Reasons for Indians to support Republicans -

    1. Supportive of outsourcing which is one of the many reasons our home country is flourishing these days
    2. Supportive of entrepreneurship, which many if not all Indians plan to pursue at some point in their life time in USA
    3. Lower taxes so you can spend your money rather than have govt spend it for you in things you don't need (such as bear research in Montana for $3MM)
    4. Privatize social security so you can keep you own contributions rather than throw it into the common pool. Let me explain this a bit here. Indians contribute to SS all their life until 65, but never get to enjoy it as rarely we live past 65. Life expectancy of Indian women is around 60 and men is around 55, rarely we live up to 75+ like Caucasians. What happens to the money we contribute to the common pot? It is enjoyed by somebody else, if we had private accounts, you can retire around 55 and enjoy your contribution till you live.
    5. Family values of Indians very much like the value system of middle-america's republican base - religious, hard working, humility, respect for elders, american dream of owning a 3bed-2bath house with a yard, cul-de-sac and basketball etc.
    6. Aligned with Indian govt's views on fighting terrorism
    7. Allow your kid to go to private school of your choice with your tax dollars, rather than force you to send your kid to public school in your area

    Immigration

    Now coming to the issue on hand, overall roughly 60% to 80% of americans do not want any kind of immigration (check wikipedia). That is the unfortunate truth! We should all be lucky to be here due to generally business friendly laws that allows for H1B visas and EB GCs for skilled labor. If left to public, immigration would be banned. Hence, I believe both parties use this as a posturing issue during elections to their favor. khodalmd in the previous thread explained the breakdown of republicans/democrats accurately. Logically speaking, republicans can be convinced about its need to sustain economy and generate taxes as more baby boomers retire, but this logic is these days trumped by mix up with illegals.

    If Obama wins, economy/stock market would tank, more jobs would be outsourced. My fear is that during those times, any kind of immigration law would not pass. If god forbid, layoffs start to roll, then many of us may have to start from scratch, hence I call it perfect storm.




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  • amitga
    01-28 10:33 AM
    There has never been a mention of the H1b visas approved and those that do not fall under the quota....

    This guy is just after his ratings nothing else...his book explicitly quotes that H1b and L1 visa holders do not pay any taxes and transfer all the money home. (CNN has a few hundreds of them on H1b)

    When there was a huge debate on illegal immigration he quoted he was all for legal immigration. The only way one can legally immigrate with skills is via H1b visa and he is against it.


    Can't Lou be sued for intentionally having false information in his book. At lease we should all add negative comments about his book on Amazon.com reviews. His book rating on Amazon is 4 and we should add 30-40 comments to bring the rating to at least 2-3 star.

    Lou's Book (http://www.amazon.com/War-Middle-Class-Government-Business/dp/0670037923/sr=8-1/qid=1170001461/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9355488-1919237?ie=UTF8&s=books)



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  • smisachu
    12-31 11:20 AM
    I agree to the first part. We have to make corruption a capital punishment and enforce it..
    Don't subscribe to the second part. See Hitler exported terror, which is what Pakistan is doing now and the Allies used violence in retaliation but were ultimately successful in bringing long term peace. India has never been the aggressor but we should at least defend ourselves. Pakistan is unable to shut down the terrorist camps, we have to do it or else we will keep on bleeding..



    India needs to look inwards for answers.

    We elect (those of us who actually vote) brigands, murderers and looters and expect leadership. They loot us, abuse our martyrs (re: the Kerala CM), and in turn, expect our mute subservience. Where is the interest in protecting the tax-paying citizen? Who cares? Look at how these vultures behave - Narayana Rane, Vilasrao Deshmukh, that ass-clown in Kerala. What a disgrace!

    Corruption has taken root in the administration and even some parts of our military services. Nothing gets done without someone's palms being greased first - openly and without shame. My friends in the IAS live like kings. When they visit New York, they live in the Waldorf Astoria! Meanwhile, our brave soldiers are called upon to give all they have in avoidable debacles like what we witnessed in Mumbai.

    One thinks twice before reporting a crime to the Police for fear of persecution. Journalists who catch Politicians accepting bribes on video camera are chastized. Many parts of India remain as backward and undeveloped as the day we kicked the British Raj out. Some might say they've regressed even further. I sometimes wonder if Churchill was right when he said that we'd only mess things up if they gave us Independence.

    Yet, since 50 milliion Indians are enjoying relative economic well-being, we believe that India is shining.

    Will attacking Pakistan really make India safer? Really? I have yet to see a single instance when violence was not met with more violence. Look at the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Iraq, Colombia, Peru - the list goes on and on and on.

    The fix is internal. Our freedom fighters came up against what was then thought to be an unmovable object and somehow moved it. There must be a way to leverage the tools they used with today's technology to help us bring change and conduct our affairs with dignity and courage. Attacking Pakistan will only bring to India the problems that overran them. They are pitiful.

    Peace to all.




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  • seattleGC
    05-16 05:18 PM
    That's called pandering. To unions like IEEE and hispanic vote base. These ppl don't have any interest in America's competitiveness or interests of people at large rather work in the interests of their party and their re-election.

    But I am suprised at the attitudes of some forums members who want to screw the ppl behind us.
    Anyway I agree, we should be worried about delays to i-485 processing if 11 million ppl are added to USCIS queue.


    I know where Senator Durbin stands on illegal immigration issue , he is totally for amnesty/legalization of illegal/undocumented people in the country. According to him its ok if someone is totally undocumented and stays here but its not ok if someone does consulting and documented and pays taxes while working and waiting for the green card to be approved. Isn't it height of hypocrosy?

    Where do people like mbdriver and senthil stand on the issue of legalization/amnesty for illegal/undocumented people in the country? If the legalization were to happen these are the kind of people who complain saying illegal aliens have slowed down our green card petetions. If legalization were to happen processing of every petetion at USCIS will slow down considerably. I will not surprised if 485 takes 4.85 years or 48.5 years or 485 years ...:)

    Which one is a bigger problem 12 to 15 million people totally undocumented or perceived misuse of visa petetions by few bad apples.




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  • Macaca
    12-20 08:07 AM
    Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats' Year (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902643.html?hpid=topnews) By Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane | Washington Post, Dec 20, 2007

    The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments, from the first increase in fuel-efficiency standards in a generation to the first minimum-wage hike in a decade.

    But Democrats' failure to address the central issues that swept them to power left even the most partisan of them dissatisfied and Congress mired at a historic low in public esteem.

    Handed control of Congress last year after making promises to end the war in Iraq, restore fiscal discipline in Washington and check President Bush's powers, Democrats instead closed the first session of the 110th Congress yesterday with House votes that sent Bush $70 billion in war funding, with no strings attached, and a $50 billion alternative-minimum-tax measure that shattered their pledge not to add to the federal budget deficit.

    "I'm not going to let a lot of hard work go unnoticed, but I'm not going to hand out party hats, either," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.).

    On Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday: "Nobody is more disappointed with the fact that we couldn't change that than I am." But Pelosi was not about to accept Republican assertions that her first year as speaker has been unsuccessful, saying: "Almost everything we've done has been historic."

    Unable to garner enough votes from their own party, House Democratic leaders had to turn to Republicans to win passage of a $555 billion domestic spending bill after the Senate appended $70 billion to it for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war funding passed 272 to 142, with Democrats voting 141 to 78 against it.

    The Democratic leaders again had to appeal to Republicans to win passage of a measure to stave off the growth of the alternative minimum tax, because fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats were in open revolt and refused to go along. The Blue Dogs insisted that the Senate offset the bill's cost with tax increases on hedge-fund and private-equity managers.

    Needing two-thirds of the House to pass under fast-track rules, the tax measure was approved 352 to 64, with all 64 "no" votes coming from Democrats standing by their pledge not to support any tax cut or mandatory spending increase that would expand the national debt.

    The year's finale angered the entire spectrum of the Democratic coalition, from the antiwar left to new Southern conservatives who helped bring Democrats to power last year.

    "This is a blank check," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). "The new money in this bill represents one cave-in too many. It is an endorsement of George Bush's policy of endless war."

    Still, the Democrats delivered much of what they promised last year. Of the six initiatives on the their "Six for '06" agenda, congressional Democrats sent five to the president and got his signature on four: a minimum-wage increase, implementation of the homeland security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, college cost reduction, and an energy measure that requires conservation and the expanded use of renewable sources of energy.

    Federal funding for stem cell research was vetoed by Bush.

    Congress also boosted spending on veterans' needs. Just yesterday, Democrats unveiled a proposal to create the first nonpartisan ethics review panel in House history and passed the most significant gun-control legislation since the early 1990s, tightening the instant background-check process.

    Beyond those, Democrats secured the biggest overhaul of ethics and lobbying rules since the Watergate scandal. And they passed a slew of measures that have received little notice, such as more money for math and science teachers who earn more credentials in their field, tax relief for homeowners in foreclosure, a doubling of basic research funding, and reclamation projects for the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast.

    With the exception of the new energy law, Pelosi characterized most of the year's accomplishments as a cleanup after years of Republican neglect or congressional gridlock.

    But the long-awaited showdown with Bush on the federal budget fizzled this week into an uncomfortable draw. The president got his war funding, while Democrats -- using "emergency" funding designations -- broke through his spending limit by $11 billion, the amount they had promised to add after Republicans rejected a proposed $22 billion increase in domestic spending.

    Remarkably, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) praised the final omnibus spending bill in glowing terms, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called keeping federal spending at Bush's preferred level "an extraordinary success."

    "Our work on holding the line on spending gave us an omnibus that is better than I've seen in my 17 years here," Boehner said yesterday. Twelve of those years were spent under Republican rule.

    But the disappointments have dominated the news, in large part because Democrats failed on some of the issues that they had put front and center, and that their key constituents value most.

    The military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open. Bush's warrantless surveillance program was actually codified and expanded on the Democrats' watch. Lawmakers were unable to eliminate the use of harsh interrogation tactics by the CIA.

    Democratic leaders also could not overcome the president's vetoes on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, despite winning over large numbers of Republicans. Policies that liberals thought would be swept aside under the Democratic majority remain untouched, including a prohibition on U.S. funding for international family-planning organizations that offer abortions.

    Efforts to change Bush's Iraq policies took on the look of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. From the first days of the 110th Congress to its last hours this week, Bush prevailed on every Iraq-related fight, beginning with February's nonbinding resolution opposing the winter troop buildup and ending with this week's granting of $70 billion in unrestricted war funds. Emanuel tried to call the $70 billion funding a partial Democratic victory because it was the first time the president did not get everything he sought for the war. Bush had requested $200 billion.

    Some senior Democrats have grown so distraught that they do not expect any significant change in Iraq policy unless a Democrat wins the White House in 2008. "It's unfortunate that we may have to wait till the elections," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) said yesterday.

    This has left many Democrats resorting to openly political arguments, picking up a theme that Republicans hurled at them -- obstructionism -- during their many years in the minority. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) conceded that it is time for Democrats to forget about trumpeting accomplishments that voters will never give them credit for -- and time to change the message to a starkly political one: If you want change, elect more Democrats.

    Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate Democratic whip tasked with trying to find 60 votes for a filibuster-proof majority, acknowledged this week that Democrats' biggest failure stemmed from expecting "more Republicans to take an independent stance" on Iraq. Instead, most of them stood with Bush.

    "Many of them will have to carry that with them into the election," Durbin said.




    Beemar
    12-30 09:35 PM
    It is preposterous to compare Mumbai attacks with a speculative India involvement in Baluchistan.

    The principal actors, i.e. the actual fighters on the ground in Baluchitan are all Baluchis. Were Qasaab and his other 9 companions Kashmiris? What locus standi these west punjabi fighters have to attack Mumbai?

    Baluch conflict is limited primarily to armed skirmishes between Pakitani army and BLA (and may be some other Baluch nationalist groups). In military terms it can legitimately be called fair fight because both parties are armed. But can shooting unarmed civilians in the back who are sipping coffee or eating dinner or just waiting for a train be called a fair fight? Can the rules of engagement of any country, or the morals of any religion permit that? Isn�t this a text book example of pure unadultrated terrorism.



    I think I agree with quite a lot of what you say. But I think there is some truth in Pakistani fears that India is already supporting anti-state actors in Pakistan, like in Balochistan.



    I don't think we all want that.
    I don't think even all Indians want that.
    I don't think its in the interest of India, or anyone else for that matter, to have a huge Afghanistan on its Eastern border.




    vijay0101
    07-14 05:30 PM
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/media/press/whd/whdpressVB2.asp?pressdoc=seattle/20051573.xml

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/media/press/whd/whdpressVB2.asp?pressdoc=seattle/20051573.xml

    News Release

    U.S. Department of Labor
    Wage and Hour Division
    Release Number: 05-1573-SEA (05-145)
    Date:
    Dec. 2, 2005

    Contact:
    Michael Shimizu

    Phone:
    1-866-4-USWAGE



    Ajay International of Bothell Ordered to Pay $65,830 in Back Wages to Three Employees
    SEATTLE -- Ajay International Inc., Bothell, Wash., has been ordered to pay $65,830 in back wages to three employees, the U.S. Department of Labor announced today. The department�s Wage and Hour Division also fined the company $18,400 in civil money penalties for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act�s H-1B visa program, including the failure to pay the prevailing wage to non-immigrant workers.


    Also, in a motion for summary judgment, the Administrative Law judge ordered the firm debarred from filing any new Labor Condition Applications under the Act for a period of two years.

    �This employer failed to pay the required prevailing wages to employees, misrepresented material facts, failed to provide notice of filing, accepted payment from an H-1B worker for filing fees, failed to maintain required records, and violated other provisions of the Act,� said Donna Hart, Seattle district director for the Wage Hour Division.

    The H-1B visa program permits employers to temporarily hire non-immigrants to fill specialized jobs in the United States. An employer must pay an H-1B worker at least the same wage it pays other employees who perform the same type of work or the prevailing wage in the area.

    Seattle area-based Ajay International is an employment agency in the high-technology field. The department's investigation covered the period April 1, 2003, through Jan. 31, 2005.

    The Wage and Hour Division recovered nearly $200 million in back wages in fiscal year 2004 for more than 288,000 workers nationwide. Average days to resolve a complaint during that time decreased from 108 to 92 days.

    For more information about the H-1B non-immigrant worker visa program and other provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Seattle District Office at 206-398-8039 or the department�s toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Information is also available at www.wagehour.dol.gov.


    ###

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The information in this release is available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape, and disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------"

    Hi Guys

    Be Careful with The Ajay International Inc www.ajay.com and The Real Technologies USA Inc web sites used www.realtechusa.com . And the Person Name "Sanjay Tyagi". This is the company recently black listed by DOL Seattle and then they opened a new company Name called �Real Technologies USA Inc" with web site www.realtechusa.com and doing the same thing to get the black listed. So I like to warn the guys who are working for them or considering working for them should have rethink about their decision. Please be very careful when you are dealing with this guy and the company.
    So spread the word.
    You can read the press release above in this post.



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