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  • pappu
    08-06 11:10 AM
    PS.: When there is flood in Gangaji then it is not revered, only when it is within its banks it is revered and does good for society

    Wow. That was deep. :D





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  • Macaca
    11-29 08:39 PM
    Trade groups question new lobbying law (http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/trade-groups-question-new-lobbying-law-2007-11-28.html) By Jim Snyder | The Hill, November 28, 2007

    Trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say a new lobbying law could require the release of their member lists, violating freedom of association protections granted by the Constitution.

    The Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Society of Association Executives wrote Senate Secretary Nancy Erickson and House Clerk Lorraine Miller on Wednesday asking for clarification in how the new law will be applied.

    The potential problem relates to a section in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 that would impose new lobbying disclosure rules.

    The trade groups said Congress wrote the section of the law to shine light on so-called �stealth coalitions� that often use innocuous-sounding names to anonymously represent specific industries.

    But the imprecision of lobbying definitions in the law could mean disclosure requirements would fall on a variety of trade groups, the groups said in the letter.

    Groups that fail to accurately disclose their lobbying activities now will face criminal penalties, the letter also notes.

    �The price for being wrong is extremely high,� said Steven Law, senior vice president and chief legal officer for the Chamber.

    The letter was signed by Law; Jim Clarke, senior vice president of public policy for the American Society of Association Executives; and Jan Amundson, senior vice president and general counsel at NAM.

    The lobbying law, passed in response to scandals surrounding Jack Abramoff and ex-Rep. Randy �Duke� Cunningham (R-Calif.), would require disclosure of any organization or entity that �actively participates in the planning, supervision, or control� in lobbying activities and contributes more than $5,000 per quarter for those efforts.

    The �breadth and vagueness of the provision� require further clarification in how the new law will be applied, the letter stated.

    The groups noted Supreme Court rulings that they say prohibit the government from forcing groups to disclose their membership without a compelling government interest in doing so.

    �We take seriously the constitutional rights of our members to associate freely without government looking over our shoulders,� Law said.

    Brett Kappel, a campaign finance and government ethics lawyer, said Congress wrote the provision to target ad-hoc associations that are formed to lobby on a particular issue.

    �These typically spring up when there is legislation that would have a major economic impact on a small number of companies from a specific segment of the economy. That�s when they form the Coalition for Apple Pie and Motherhood and lobby against it,� said Kappel, who practices at the firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.

    The new law �wasn�t designed to get at trade associations,� he said.

    Law said the lobbying law gives the clerk and the secretary broad powers in implementing the new requirements. He said he expected further guidance from those offices by Dec. 10.





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  • neverbefore
    09-30 01:44 AM
    Folks, it is indeed sad that perfect is turning out to be the enemy of good here, metaphorically speaking.

    Surely if the powers-that-maybe turn out to be antagonistic to highly skilled legal foreign workers in this country, it is a given that they are likely to turn this country into a place where none of us ever wanted to be.

    America has always been about opportunity for the smart and hard workers regardless of their background. It has attracted people because they saw their future brighter here. Take that away and not much else gets left behind.

    I have been in this country for 6 years now and still do not have more than a toehold here despite having put in my tax dollars which in some small fraction have helped pay for what some (who knows) people born here required help with getting. Moreover, if allowed to remain here, my project will yield for this country and the world a device that will help people save their eyesight.

    "The highly skilled legal working community is an asset, Mr Obama and Mr Durbin. We carry tremendous calorific value for this country. You will make a smart move by promoting and encouraging what has already been legal in this country of yours: immigration of skilled foreigners.

    As you might have noticed, a huge chunk of your support base is made up of young and energetic students and professionals. They are with you only because they trust you to remain sincere to the welfare of this country. I am positive that you will not let myopic opinions and interests cloud your long-term vision and will reach out to embrace new partners for further advancement of this country, for really, it is not about wealth preservation but about wealth creation."





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  • s_r_e_e
    07-14 04:29 PM
    What would happen this time before it retrogress again is, some low hanging EB2s from 2005 end & 2006 will get GC while many 2002 & 2003 EB2 are still waiting. More frustration and even more stress with tracking , soft LUDs, Hard LUDs, info pass , uscis calls!! what a mess!



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  • Macaca
    12-28 07:44 PM
    Why Nobel laureate Obama will not cry for Binayak Sen (http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Main-Street/entry/why-nobel-laureate-obama-will-not-cry-for-binayak-sen) By Shobhan Saxena | Times of India

    Liu Xiaobo is locked up in a dark cell in a notorious Chinese prison whose walls are so thick that even the news of him winning the Nobel Peace Prize hasn�t reached his ears. Liu has been to jail four times. His crime: speaking up against China�s current system. Liu was picked up by the police in June 2009 on "suspicion of inciting subversion of state power," a crime under Article 105 of China's Criminal Law. According to Xinhua, Liu was arrested because he had incited the subversion of �state power and the overturn of the socialist system through methods such as spreading rumours and slander�.

    But Liu's real crime was his participation in drafting �Charter 08�, a letter written by more than 300 Chinese intellectuals who demanded �more freedom of expression, human rights, more democratic elections, for privatizing state enterprises and land and for economic liberalism�. In a country where a Communist party runs the world�s second-biggest capitalist economy, it�s a heinous crime to challenge the state.

    But, let�s look at what�s happening in our own backyard. Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor and human rights activist, has been sent to jail for sedition under Section 124A. According to this notorious law, invented by British imperialists, �Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.�

    The charge against Liu was that he had written �Charter 08�. He has not denied the accusation. The charge against Dr Sen is that he was a courier of letters �for imprisoned Naxal leaders and was sympathetic to their cause�. Dr Sen has been given life sentence.

    Though Liu and Sen are very similar � both are intellectuals fighting for human rights, there is a huge difference in their positions. The day Liu was supposed to receive the Nobel, US President Obama called on China to release him. "Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was," Obama said. "All of us have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes the inherent rights and dignity of human beings��

    In recent months, Obama has spoken for protecting the freedom of democracy activists. The list is long: Liu Xiaobo, Aung San Suu Kyi, Dalai Lama and Shireen Abadi of Iran. Himself a Nobel winner, Obama has been using his poetic words to show that he cares for human rights. Surprisingly, on the Binayak Sen issue, he has been totally silent. Forget the US president, even American human rights organization, magazines and bloggers have not raised this issue. Dr Sen may not be a Nobel laureate but he is a well-known figure.

    Why is that the Americans� heart begins to bleed when a Chinese dissident is held, but they keep quiet when after a kangaroo court-style trial India sends a human rights activist to jail. Not that it matters, nor should we worry about the Americans' view interest on our internal affairs, but Obama�s deafening silence on the Binayak Sen�s case says a lot about the world�s oldest democracy and the biggest democracy and the conspiracy of silence between them. Why America loves Liu Xiaobo but ignores Binayak Sen? Why even a slight violation of human rights in Tibet rattles the US but it looks away when systematic torture in Kashmir is brought to light? Why Washington begins to scream if the Iranian police use tear gas on the streets in Tehran but keeps quiet when the Indian security forces kill young boys, rape women and raze entire tribal villages?

    Why the Americans don�t treat Sen at par with Liu?

    The answer lies in their politics. From his writings, Liu comes across as a pro-West intellectual. "Modernization means whole-sale westernization, choosing a human life is choosing Western way of life. Westernization is not a choice of a nation, but a choice for the human race," he once said in an interview. In his articles, Liu has argued that the �free world led by the US fought almost all regimes that trampled on human rights �." Liu has defended US policies in the Israeli�Palestinian conflict and supported George W Bush's war on Iraq. No wonder when Liu got the Nobel, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "We raise human rights in every meeting that we have between the US and China, and we will continue to do so."

    Clinton comes to India at least 10 times a year, but she never raises the human rights issue. Of course, she cares two hoots if a doctor who has been working among the poor tribals of Chhattisgarh for 30 years lives or die. For the Americans and their MNCs, Chhattisgarh is a goldmine of business opportunities. In recent years, almost all American ambassadors have made trips to Raipur. American MNCs have signed hundreds of MOUs with Chhattisgarh government. The content of these MOUs and the agenda of US ambassadors� visit remain secret. Why?

    Dr Sen�s crime was that he spoke against Salwa Judum, a private militia created by Chhattisgarh government with the objective of forcing the tribals to give their land to mining barons and MNCs. Till a few years ago, Salwa Judum was on a rampage, killing people, raping women and burning down villages. As Salwa Judum�s atrocities became unbearable, Dr Sen exposed their crimes. Dr Sen in his jail on sedition charges because he spoke against the state that kills its own people.

    But, the Americans love Chhattisgarh government as it is making the state safe for profiteering (a coincidence if its sounds like �Making the world safe for democracy� � Hollywood�s favourite punch line). That's why this client state privilege to India. That�s why they are quiet about Dr Sen, who will never get the Nobel because that will force the Americans to speak for him. That will be embarrassing for another Nobel laureate: Barack Husain Obama.



    Verdict against Sen (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/article995829.ece) Letters | The Hindu
    Call to free India rights activist Binayak Sen (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12084785) BBC
    Dr Binayak Sen: Tribal doctor (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7397734.stm) BBC
    Jailed rights activist wins award (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7361046.stm) BBC





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  • styrum
    08-11 12:02 PM
    great find yabadaba. Thanks. I have sent this link to someone who can do some data analysis in our favor. However we are looking for EB GC data.

    do you/anyone know of any data sources for EB greencard applications on USCIS site/someone has already done stat research based on uscis data?

    The USCIS's "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics" is a valuable source of info in any immigration debate!
    http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/index.htm

    One can catch on lies a lot of anti-immigration jerks and even the USCIS themselves using their very own data! You can clearly see how the number of employment based Green cards changed, for example, how sharply it dropped in 2003 for some reason (not in 2002 which could be explained by 9/11!). They have no explanation for this. Apparently they were told to do so. The sabotage is obvious. There are more interesting facts there. Say, one can check if a particular country really has contributed too many immigrants in the last years to be excluded from the GC lottery or not, while another country is for some (political) reason still eligible despite it exceeded the limit.



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  • Macaca
    12-14 11:33 AM
    The Delta House Congress (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010993) The politics of futile gestures, Dec 14, 2007

    In the movie "Animal House," the fraternity brother known as Otter reacts to the Delta House's closure with the classic line, "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." To which Bluto, played by John Belushi, replies, "We're just the guys to do it." The movie ends by noting that Bluto becomes a Senator, so perhaps this explains the meltdown among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

    As they careen toward the end of their first year in charge, Congressional leaders seem capable of nothing but futile gestures. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid failed once again to get enough votes for an energy bill, having refused to remove a $21.8 billion tax increase on energy that President Bush has promised to veto in any case. Mr. Reid was vowing to try again as we went to press.

    Meanwhile, in Nancy Pelosi's House of self-inflicted pain, the Blutarsky strategy played out yesterday in one more hopeless attempt to pass a tax increase to "pay for" Alternative Minimum Tax relief. The Senate has already voted 88-5 against any such tax hike, so this House bill is dead before arrival. But Ms. Pelosi's troops are just the guys to do it anyway.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Say what you will about Tom DeLay, at least he knew how to run the joint. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are letting their left-wing troops and interest groups run all over them, with the result that their signal achievement this year is a higher minimum wage. Considering most of their policy goals, this failure is good for the country. But the dysfunction amply shows that Democrats are attempting to govern with an agenda that is too far left even for many in their own party, never mind the country.

    Start with trying to end the war in Iraq, which Democrats claimed was their mandate from voters last November. That was a misinterpretation of their victory, which had as much to do with GOP corruption and overspending. But Democratic leaders nonetheless wasted weeks and no fewer than 63 votes trying to impose withdrawal deadlines, strategy changes, and other war-fighting micromanagement on Mr. Bush. Their only achievement has been to reinforce their image of national-security weakness for opposing the Baghdad "surge" that has been such a success. Recall Mr. Reid's memorable declaration in April that "This war is lost."

    Even today, Democrats are caught between their antiwar left, which wants more futile gestures, and Members from swing districts who want to fund the troops. Democrats have delayed funding for so long that the Pentagon is issuing furlough notices to 100,000 civilian employees so it can shuffle operations funding to keep the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in ammunition.

    Then there's the AMT fiasco. Without action by Congress, that hated second tax system will engulf 22 million middle-class Americans next year, most of them in high-tax, largely Democratic states. Congress has already been so dilatory that the IRS has said it may have to delay tax-return processing that is supposed to start in January. But so determined are House Democrats to raise taxes on somebody, anybody, to "pay for" this relief that they are holding out for Senate Democrats to walk the tax plank with them. In the end the House will surely back down, but not before Ms. Pelosi has put her moderate Members on record as tax raisers. Bluto strikes again.

    And don't forget the warrantless wiretap program against al Qaeda that expires early next year if Congress fails to act. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is hardly dominated by hawks, passed a bipartisan bill in October. But it is now bogged down because Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy refuses to provide retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that cooperated with the U.S. government in the uncertain days after 9/11. The House bill is a similar bow to the ACLU, MoveOn.org and the party's antiwar left. If Republicans wanted to design a political battle that made Democrats look weak on security, they couldn't do it any better.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    We could keep calling this roll: farm subsidies that are as egregious as anything the DeLay Republicans passed, the Schip health-care bill and its budget gimmicks, eliminating secret ballots for union organizing, spending bills that keep courting vetoes because they exceed Mr. Bush's targets. On nearly every issue, Democrats have been intent not on getting something done but on making a stupid, futile gesture to please their base.

    As for Mr. Bush, one lesson is that his veto strategy has been a political and policy success. Though widely called a lame duck, he continues to dominate the debate on security and defense. He is also on the cusp of controlling spending growth far better than he ever did when Republicans controlled Congress.

    We hope GOP leaders on Capitol Hill don't give Democrats a last minute reprieve on spending in order to be able to collect their own "earmarks." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looked shaky on that score earlier this week. The best GOP strategy is to put the responsibility to govern squarely on the Democratic majority, and support Mr. Bush's vetoes as a tool for improving policy. If Democrats keep following Delta House rules, Republicans will be back in the majority sooner than they ever imagined.





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  • unseenguy
    06-20 05:49 PM
    I went from 3 green's to 6 red's. I am not sure what I did to deserve this. I just expressed my opinion and provided facts on which I based my opinion.

    How do I know who gave me the red's?

    There are some people here who will indulge in tarnishing your reputation when they do not agree with your post. I gave you green to get your reputation back or enhanced. I think your post was very respectable and a free opinion and it did not deserve any red dots.



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  • bondgoli007
    01-06 04:24 PM
    Hamas position??? Huh.. Did Hamas members came and told you that Isreal shouldn't exist? Did we hear all these from those people? When did we last hear from Palestinians on thier position and what they think about Isreal? Its media and nothing but jewish media propagate this. What do they acheieve by doing these kind of propaganda??? They win people like you who would support killing on innocent civilians and school kids. PERIOD
    WOW!!!

    Can you read how much hate you are spewing in your posts? against jews, against hindus...against anyone who disagrees with the mostly wrong opinion you have. Where do you get your information from by the way? I mean the REAL TRUTH?? Have you been to Gaza?

    Read Hamas's charter....it is clearly mentioned in there "calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip"





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  • raj2007
    04-15 09:56 PM
    The evidence is overwhelming. The housing will go down so much that there will be hard lessons learned. No one will talk about investing in housing for a long time. I want to buy a house too. I just don't think you pay whatever the inflated price is demanded and throw away my hard earned money. You pay what is worth. Why do you insist that everyone has to participate in this ponzi scheme:confused: and keep the price inflated? Housing should be affordable and come to sane levels and I believe it will.

    TX and NC didn't went up much during bubble so it should be fine to buy there.

    CA is really getting down.
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-homes16apr16,0,1614205.story



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  • whoever
    07-17 01:55 PM
    United nations, some days back I sent you a private message. could you please please reply to that private message as a private message? thank you.





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  • sledge_hammer
    03-25 01:23 PM
    I thought my contribution paid for the disk space occupied by my very insightful and valuable posts on IV!!!

    Where is my refund?!?!?!

    :D

    Winner, You truly are with this comment....

    On a lighter note, UN and Sledge, we charge you $ for post from now on in this thread...Running out of diskspace.....



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  • satishku_2000
    08-09 01:21 PM
    Actually; I didn't think it was courageous at all. I had to practice what I preach.

    One of the reasons they ask for tax returns, w2's is they want to assess your intentions; if tax returns, etc. , is out of line with offered wage then it can make them think that it is not believable you will be doing that job once greencard gets approved.

    Once 485 is filed; you are in a period of authorized stay. At that point; you can sit around and do nothing; switch jobs, etc.; However; to keep working you need to have authorization (ie., EAD card if you don't hold H-1b).

    I didn't prepare my personal tax returns on purpose because uscis could have assessed my intentions differently. When I asked him why he wanted to see the tax returns for 2005 and 2006; even though I have unrestricted employment and I can do nothing if I please; he responded it was to assess intention. Since he saw I was self employed; if my tax returns were out of line with the offered job I was going to take upon greencard approval then they may not believe it.

    Now; I didn't give him any financial data for 2005 and 2006. Although this is legal; if I was going to port to self employment then he could have assessed whether I was going to become a public charge or how I was living in 2005 and 2006. I had all my financial documents (ie., bank balances, brokerage account); just in case he went down this road.

    he didn't but just in case he wanted to; I was ready for it.

    UN,

    Did you face any questions about "Same or Similar" in the interview particularly for the time period when you were self employed?

    Can you throw some light on how to handle the scenarios where the proferred wage is much lower than the current wage and once someone invokes AC21 the offered wage can be much higher . I understand that this scenario can be problematic in case of "future job" GCs.

    My understanding of AC21 is this .. Dont invoke AC21 unless otherwise absolutely necessary?





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  • GCOP
    08-05 01:57 PM
    Friends,
    There is no reason for us to create dispute among ourselves . Let us all work with unanimity, and take constructive steps to succeed for Visa Recapture Bill.



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  • SunnySurya
    12-22 11:28 AM
    A supporter of terrorism left a red dot with this message:
    "if u r so concerned about india and attacks on india,,,what are u doing in US? U should be in politics in india if u think so bad about the indian politicians,,,go get ur hand dirty in it first then blaim the politicians"

    My very simple reply to that person.
    ---

    I am in every right to express the concerns for my country of origin. Of course not blindly. It takes for ever to hang Afzal Guru and almost no concrete repsonse to the bombings in Delhi, Gujrat, Karnataka, Hyedrabad etc etc, which directly affect my freinds and family over there. If it is not politics then what it is.

    Finally, if Jews can express their concerns for Israel (which I also support full heartedly and unconditionally) so can we, with the same passion.





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  • mbartosik
    04-09 12:39 PM
    we've found that the more compelling arguments tend to be those related to US competitiveness. If I was to use the housing argument in a meeting, I would use it in a light hearted way while making a serious point. But it would certainly not be an issue that would be worth focusing on.

    You said it in post above -- e.g. competitive with European blue card.
    (The Blue Card is not like GC, however, comparing with UK and right to remain after a fixed 5 year period would be an argument more compelling than housing)

    Which are the most compelling arguments will also depend on the law maker's background. For some family issues are a factor, then housing can be brought into the mix with other issues like age out. However, law makers with which the family issues hold greater sway also are more likely to hold us hostage for CIR and relief for the undocumented.

    For most, common sense of justice is an issue, in which case housing can be brought up, but again, not an issue to focus on too much, more in the context of 'it is ironic that many of us want to buy houses but GC wait is what prohibits that, not the credit crunch'. Can be mentioned in passing, but not worth focusing on.



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  • unitednations
    08-02 06:58 PM
    this is interesting: If I invoke AC21, and get a letter from a new employer, they can still ask me for a letter from old employer saying they intended to hire me?? The fact that they submitted a future employment letter with my 485 and did not revoke the approved I-140 for 6 months not enough to prove that the intent remained at the end of 6 months?
    Did the USCIS officer suspect fraud or something? Is there a specific legal basis for this denial? I thought past 6 months there is no dependency on that old employer (future-employment or otherwise) and all depends on your new employer and his employment letter.


    People always read what they want to read.

    Read the memo and they always mention "intent", "good faith".

    USCIS always leaves significant wiggle room for themselves when they want to deny cases.





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  • lskreddy
    12-27 09:52 PM
    As much as terrorism is an evil thing, surgical strikes and stuff won't do crap. It will further alienate and give fodder to the mullahs to create more Kasab's. Really, do you think we can stop 20 yr old guys who are willing to kill themselves, think again? These guys are just washed out completely, there is no retribution, pain, all they see is a target and blow themselves out.

    Instead, we should concentrate on the war within that we face. Be it from communal/political/socio-economic violence or lack of regard for the common man's life. By no means I am saying inaction but war is certainly not the solution. Pakistan will meet its fate sooner than later if they continue the path they have chosen. We don't have to hasten it.

    200 Indians dying is painful but look at these figures to put things into perspective.

    Accidents in India:
    http://morth.nic.in/writereaddata/sublinkimages/table-6408184011.htm

    AIDS
    http://www.avert.org/indiaaids.htm

    Infant Mortality:
    http://www.indexmundi.com/India/infant_mortality_rate.html

    Rapes
    http://keralaonline.com/news/india-ranks-rape-cases_12144.html

    These are all staggering numbers and something none of us have to depend on a third country to seek the cure.

    I hope India continues to apply diplomatic pressure and show the world the parasite Pakistan it has become. As Zardari today acknowledged, they have a cancer within the country, its eating up. If they don't, its just a matter of time. To cure that, if they find mullahs as their doctors, time will be up pretty soon..





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  • NKR
    03-28 08:06 PM
    Job is never guaranteed ..so watch out !! I agree it is highly personal - so if you can and have purchased it --good for you. I was giving my opinion and also to educate about the myth that home is a great investment ..it is not ..it is just a place to live..and so is an apartment..I guess both have advantages and disadvantages ..
    to answer yr question on top ...do you mean to say kids won't grow up in an apartment ?? I feel at v.young age they find more friends in apartments.
    or do u mean to say young kids ( 2 - 6) years lead inferior lives in apartments ?? I big NO ..by renting I come home early and spend more time with kids and they love that ..now if you are able to buy house near your work then that is good for you ...but where I stay (and for many) they cannot do that because of the bubble !!
    to answer yr other post ..actually you should have framed it this way ...would I buy an house if I get green card (SINCE I BELIEVE I WILL GET GC BEFORE PRICES GO UP ..i.e. with in next 2 years). my answer ..
    if I get GC ..yes ...irrespective of price going up or not ..within a period of 6 months after getting GC, I would buy house ..credit is good and have downpayment.
    on EAD and I need more space ...(I would need extra space only when my son grows up and he needs his own space and room)..before this happens I believe I would get a GC ..if I don't get GC then I would try to rent a home.
    EAD and don't need 2000 sq feet (i.e. sons are still small) ..then I would continue to rent (and watch the falling prices !! and perhabs thank USCIS just for this i.e. preventing me from buying a house at inflated prices !!).

    You keep mixing up things, You are both for/against in your own post. On one hand you say that apartment is good for kids since they find other kids to play with, on the other hand you say that if you get a GC, you will buy a house within six months. So what exactly are you trying to tell. If the market is good, is buying a house good thing or bad thing.

    Home might not be a great investment, after a couple of years it becomes a necessity. Living in a house is not a great thing, nor living in an apartment is less pleasant. Like I have said it all depends on one�s situation and what one wants. A person and his/her family including kids should be happy wherever they are, it�s all that matters.





    Macaca
    05-01 05:49 PM
    The New Virtual Political System (http://www.cfr.org/china/china-new-virtual-political-system/p24805) By Elizabeth C. Economy and Jared Mondschein | Council on Foreign Relations

    As uprisings spread throughout the Middle East during the early months of 2011, a small band of Chinese citizens and expatriates began to call for their own Jasmine Revolution. Like their African and Middle Eastern counterparts, these activists used the Internet to urge people to gather in support of political change. However, unlike in Tunisia, Egypt, or Libya, security forces in China quickly locked down the proposed demonstration sites and arrested anyone thought to be a potential source of unrest. The demonstrations proved ephemeral, with many more police than protesters. It was a massive deployment of China�s public security forces that signaled not only the power of the country�s security apparatus but also the enormous insecurity of the country�s leaders and their concern about the organizing power of the Internet.

    While the Internet may not have produced a revolution in China�s political system, it most certainly is producing an evolution. The Internet has become a virtual political system, providing an almost unprecedented level of transparency, rule of law, and official accountability. With over 450 million Chinese Internet users�and the number is increasing daily�information crosses gender, age, professional, and provincial boundaries in ways that Beijing often considers threatening. News of government corruption and cover-ups go viral in a matter of minutes, forcing the government to think quickly and flexibly and react decisively�not traditionally strengths of China�s political system.

    Netizens Demand Change

    What do the Chinese people want? Nothing unusual. They want their concerns heard and addressed. Chinese nationalists, for example, often rally support for their causes via the Internet. Anti-Japanese sentiment, in particular, has been a recurring theme among online Chinese nationalists. Periodically, Chinese nationalists have taken to the Internet and the street�often in very large numbers�to protest historical inaccuracies in Japanese textbooks and to call for retribution. Nationalists have also initiated anti-Japanese protests after recent territorial disputes in the South China Sea, perhaps encouraging the government to adopt a tougher stance in its negotiations with Japan.

    Yet online activism in China is the domain not only of the nationalist but also of the political reformer. Much of what transpires on the Web in China is bringing transparency to the political system. In late 2010, Chinese netizens contradicted official reports by covering a significant environmental disaster in Jilin province, where thousands of barrels of pollutants were dumped into a water source by a local chemical plant. In the ten days that it took Chinese officials to admit to the disaster, thousands of citizens were informed of the cover-up via the Internet. They responded by purchasing a massive amount of bottled water and angrily denouncing the government�s inaction. It was only after citizens refused to believe the official stories that the government finally acknowledged the disaster and handed out free bottles of water to those in the afflicted areas. Similarly, a year earlier in Guangzhou, online transparency had caused a reversal in local government policy. Middle-class-led protests over a planned incinerator were picked up by young online netizens, who then spread the news through social media websites. Even though the activists, themselves, were not affected by the plans, they wanted the word to get out. Once enough citizens became involved, the government agreed to halt the project until a full environmental assessment was completed.1

    The Internet has also become a means of holding officials accountable. In a now-famous case, in October 2010, Li Qiming, the son of a local deputy police chief. Li Gang, ran over two Hebei University students in his car while drunk�fatally injuring one and breaking the other�s leg. As he tried to escape the scene, he yelled out, �Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!� Communist officials attempted to suppress information about the event but failed, as netizens from all over the country latched onto Li Qiming�s threat. Despite official reports alleging that the victim�s families were content with the government�s handling of the situation and with public apologies from both father and son, the online activists demanded (and got) more: Li Qiming was sentenced to six years in prison, his family was forced to pay over $70,000 to the families of the two students, and much of China�s online population has adopted the phrase �My father is Li Gang� as a shorthand for the widely held belief that the powerful and politically connected do not have to face the consequences of their actions.

    In this way, online activism can also promote a form of the rule of law�albeit one that often resembles vigilante justice. During the summer of 2010, for example, Chinese reporter Qiu Ziming was forced into hiding after police placed him on a wanted list for writing critical stories about a local business. Qiu took his case to his blog, and a poll on Chinese website Sina.com recorded that of the more than thirty thousand people polled, 86 percent opposed the police pursuit of Qiu.2 Bowing to public pressure, the government rescinded the order of arrest and ordered the police to apologize to the reporter.

    Microblogs such as Twitter and Weibo, despite being heavily censored or even blocked, have become particularly politicized Internet venues, especially among middle-class urban youth. According to the popular netizen Michael Anti, microblogs are the most important political organizing force in China today. Anti notes that through Twitter, over 1.4 million yuan were raised for the Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng), an NGO of rights defense lawyers. He also points to the uncensored discussion held between the Dalai Lama and Chinese citizens in May 2010 as an example of the political influence that Twitter can exert. According to Anti, the people who participated stopped referring to the Dalai Lama as Dalai and now call him by the more respectful Dalai Lama.3 With over 120 million microblogs in China, censors haven�t yet discovered a viable long-term response and are generally reduced to attempting stop-gap measures to block certain news from going viral.4

    The Party�s Response: Nailing Tofu to the Wall

    Despite the inherent challenge of �trying to nail Jell-O to the wall,� as former president Bill Clinton once characterized China�s attempts to regulate cyberspace, China�s leaders are committed to controlling this evolving virtual political system. While they see the advantage of the Internet as a medium for better understanding the views of the Chinese people, their overwhelming objective is to prevent the Internet from contributing to a broad-based call for political change. To this end, Beijing has deployed both Internet police to monitor traffic and insert government opinion and the full range of technical solutions to shut down websites or blogs that the party views as particularly destabilizing.

    Beijing has also sought to use the Internet to engage with the populace as a transmission vehicle from the party to the people. In what is now commonly referred to as �AstroTurf advocacy,� Internet police often add favorable opinions of the government to various social media websites under the guise of grassroots support by anonymous citizens. The party has also had its top leaders participate in Internet chats in a bid to show its engagement with the growing online community. Both President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have engaged in online chats, with the latter receiving almost ninety thousand questions from a massive online audience in only two hours. However, efforts to make such Internet engagement a permanent feature of Beijing�s interaction with the Chinese people have faltered in the face of often politically sensitive questions from the Internet public.

    For China�s leaders, who are already confronting over one hundred thousand protests annually,5 the Internet adds another layer of uncertainty in their bid to manage an increasingly restive society. While Beijing haltingly pushes greater transparency, the rule of law, and official accountability within the political system, the Internet forces it upon them. In the end, political evolution via the Internet may produce its own form of system revolution.

    Malcolm Moore, �China�s middle-class rise up in environmental protest,� Daily Telegraph, November 23, 2009.
    �Public outcry forces Chinese police to revoke arrest warrant on journalist,� Times of India, July 31, 2010.
    Elizabeth C. Economy, �Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo and the Future of Political Reform in China,� testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, November 9, 2010.
    Keith B. Richburg, �In China, microblogging sites become free-speech platform,� Washington Post, March 27, 2011.
    Murray Scot Tanner, �Unrest in China and the Chinese State�s Institutional Responses,� testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, February 25, 2011.





    Macaca
    05-09 05:44 PM
    Still, Sometimes, a Great Nation (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/us/07iht-currents07.html) By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS | New York Times

    The commando who shot Osama bin Laden just above the left of his doe eyes could forever remain a ghost to Americans. His name may never be revealed; his tell-all may never be written; he, unlike other American eminences, may never be featured on �Celebrity Apprentice.�

    But this ghost is a hero to a nation in need of a little stimulant. For many Americans this week, it was at once grisly and lovely to receive a reminder, courtesy of a revenge killing, that American vigor still has its moments.

    These have been tough years for American power: years of a sick economy that cannot easily be healed; of wars that cannot, tactically or definitionally, be �won�; of new powers that have risen under the shelter of the Pax Americana and now will not be told what to do. Great numbers of Americans now fear that their children will not lead lives as bounteous and carefree as theirs.

    And then there they were: dropping from their ladders, clearing and holding corridors, shooting to kill, escaping before anyone could interfere. The unseen scene resonated so well, perhaps, because Americans have been trained to know what it looked like. This, at least as the White House narrated it, was a standard-issue action movie midnight raid.

    A raid of this dramatic kind is one of those things at which America remains unrivaled, in cinema and in real life. And so it was a moment to relive a feeling of unmitigated American supremacy. In this domain at least, there is no country like America on earth.

    The trouble with the killing of Bin Laden, though, is that the triumph is an island. Victory in Abbottabad does not foreshadow greater victories in Iraq or Afghanistan, or over terrorism in general. As in so many areas of American life today, the country can do spellbinding things no other one can do, but it often struggles to perform the more prosaic feats on which its long-term fate may more heavily depend.

    Consider the realm of technology, in which America, once again, has the finest elite commandos: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Apple, Pandora. Time and again, when breakthrough technologies come, they come from America. What is the chance of a Chinese search engine displacing Google, or a game-changing device like the iPhone sprouting in France?

    And yet America does not lead the world technologically in the more prosaic ways. It does not have the best or most cost-efficient mobile phone networks. The average American Internet hookup is two and a half times slower than that in South Korea. The country lacks adequate retraining programs to move people from waning professions like telemarketer and sewing machine operator into new roles in the technology sector.

    It is the same with education. America is home to the greatest concentration of research universities in the world, with the best laboratories and faculties as well as, arguably, the top students. More Nobel laureates inhabit certain American campuses than live in certain moderately sized countries.

    But beyond the elite corridors of American education, it is a different story. Last year, the results of the standardized Program for International Student Assessments, given to 15-year-olds worldwide, found the United States behind 16 other countries in reading and 22 in science. In response, the American education secretary, Arne Duncan, spoke of �the brutal truth that we�re being out-educated.� And that was before the recent round of budget cuts and teacher layoffs across the country, which might well make it even harder for America to be middling in the world.

    And so it is in health care, where America has, at one end, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital, which the richest patients in the world still choose over most alternatives; and, at the other end, tens of millions of uninsured people, a condition that is all but unique in the industrialized world.

    So it is with immigration, where the United States continues to attract the brightest immigrants in the world, while failing year after year to resolve the massive and messy question of illegal immigration. So it is with banking, in which the United States is the leader in employing complex transactions like credit-default swaps, but has struggled with the more basic task of pairing businesses with loans.

    The commandos of Abbottabad are, then, like the commandos in any number of American fields � elite troopers who play at the highest levels in the world, but whose successes are wholly their own, not easily replicated beyond their little world.

    This duality of the world-beating Americans and the world-trailing ones perhaps suggests an emerging reality of U.S. life after globalization: It may be that America the country can remain vitally competitive, even as vast numbers of Americans � perhaps a majority � have a lower quality of life than prevails elsewhere. As with the U.S. Navy Seals in Pakistan, so dynamic is America�s elite that its dynamism can offset the lagging behind of others. If a country gains a $20-million-a-year hedge fund job and loses 400 $50,000-a-year industrial ones, after all, its national income figure stays the same.

    But there is the problem of the 400 people � and of the 40,000 and the 40 million. There is a sense in many corners of America of there no longer being space for the ordinary, a sense of the collapse of the middle. Parents find themselves wondering how hard to push their children in this dawning age: wondering how clever and focused and dogged they will have to be to remain ahead of the world rather than chase behind it.


    Memo to India, China: The U.S. Still Matters (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/09/economics-journal-memo-to-india-china-the-u-s-still-matters/) By Rupa Subramanya Dehejia | IndiaRealTime
    Free trade agreements don�t kill jobs (http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/04/trade-agreements-dont-kill-jobs/) By Ryan Young | The Daily Caller
    If You Have the Answers, Tell Me (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/business/economy/08view.html) By N. GREGORY MANKIW | New York Times
    Woman of the World (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/06/hillary-clinton-201106) By Jonathan Alter | Vanity Fair
    What�s a college education worth?
    Engineering and accounting degrees may provide most opportunity (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whats-a-college-education-worth-2011-05-03)
    By Jennifer Openshaw | MarketWatch
    The Best Cities For Jobs (http://blogs.forbes.com/joelkotkin/2011/05/02/the-best-cities-for-jobs/) By Joel Kotkin | New Geographer
    Firms Feel 'Say on Pay' Effect (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704473104576293140070753066.html) By JOANN S. LUBLIN | Wall Street Journal
    As Labor Costs Rise, Spotlight Is on Benefits (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704473104576293583385838072.html) By JOE LIGHT | Wall Street Journal



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