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  • Macaca
    02-25 07:01 PM
    �I am a .com success story because of you hard working H1B�s�-------- Dobbs.

    �But now I make a living by bashing them.�
    Is this a true statement? If yes, is there a URL for it? Thanks.





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  • Macaca
    05-27 06:05 PM
    The Audacity of Chinese Frauds (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/business/27norris.html) By FLOYD NORRIS | The New York Times

    To pull off a fraud that humiliates the cream of the global financial elite, you need to have some friends. And where better to have them than at the local bank?

    The fraud at Longtop Financial Technologies, a Chinese financial software company, was exposed this week in an amazing letter from its auditors, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. It appears to be a tale of corrupt bankers and their threats to auditors who had learned of the lies.

    Deloitte, which had given clean audit opinions to Longtop for six consecutive years, apparently was well on its way to providing a seventh, for the fiscal year that ended March 31. But for some reason � Deloitte did not say why �the auditor went back to Longtop�s banks last week to again seek confirmation of cash balances.

    It appears Deloitte sought confirmations from bank headquarters, rather than the local branches that had previously verified that Longtop�s cash really was on deposit. And that set off panic at the software firm.

    �Within hours� of beginning the new round of confirmations on May 17, the confirmation process was stopped, Deloitte stated in its letter of resignation, the result of �intervention by the company�s officials including the chief operating officer, the confirmation process was stopped.�

    The company told banks that Deloitte was not really the auditor. It seized documents, Deloitte wrote, and made �threats to stop our staff leaving the company premises unless they allowed the company to retain our audit files.�

    Despite the company�s efforts, Deloitte learned Longtop did not have the cash it claimed and that there were �significant bank borrowings� not reflected in the company�s books.

    A few days later, Deloitte said, Longtop�s chairman, Jia Xiao Gong, told a Deloitte partner that there was �fake cash recorded on the books� because there had been �fake revenue in the past.�

    The stock has not traded since that confrontation. The final trade on the New York Stock Exchange was for $18.93, a price that valued the company at $1.1 billion. At its peak in November, it had a market capitalization of $2.4 billion.

    It now seems likely that the stock is worthless. It is a real company, but its revenue and profits probably were a small fraction of the amounts reported. The existence of the �significant� debt means that whatever assets are left are likely to be owned by the banks, not the investors.

    Deloitte may have decided to check the numbers again because it knew a growing group of bears on the stock had been challenging the Longtop story as too good to be true, questioning both its financial statements and the claims it made for its software. A month earlier, Deloitte resigned as the auditor of another Chinese company, China MediaExpress, in part because of questions about bank confirmations.

    It is never good for an auditor to have certified a fraud, but Deloitte seems to have acted properly. It got bank confirmations, and it got them directly from the banks rather than relying on the company to provide them, as PricewaterhouseCoopers had done when it failed to notice a huge fraud at Satyam, an Indian technology company.

    But the confirmations were lies.

    �This means the Chinese banks were in on the fraud, at least at branch level,� says John Hempton, the chief investment officer of Bronte Capital, an Australian hedge fund. He was one of the bears who questioned Longtop�s claims and now stands to profit from the stock�s collapse.

    �This is no longer a story about Longtop, and it is not a story about Deloitte,� he added. �Given the centrality of Chinese banks to the global economy, it�s a story much bigger than Deloitte or Longtop.�

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has started an investigation, and no doubt more details will emerge, including the names of the banks involved. Just what, if anything, Chinese officials choose to do could provide an indication about whether defrauding foreign investors is deemed to be a serious crime in China.

    Fraud in Chinese stocks is not new. But it had seemed that the worst problems were in small companies without Wall Street pedigrees. Many of the fraudulent companies went public in the United States by the reverse-merger shell route, a course long favored by shady stock promoters. That route allowed companies to start trading without going though a formal underwriting process or having its prospectus reviewed by the S.E.C. And many used tiny audit firms based in the United States that seemingly did little if any work.

    What is stunning about Longtop and some other recent disasters is the list of smart people who were fooled.

    Longtop did not go public through a reverse merger. Its initial public offering, in 2007, was underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Morgan Stanley was a lead manager in a 2009 offering of more shares. Major owners of the stock included hedge funds run by people known as �tiger cubs� because they got their start at Julian Robertson�s Tiger Fund.

    On May 4, only a couple of weeks before the fateful struggle at Longtop offices, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, Carol Wang, wrote:

    �Longtop�s stock price has been very volatile in recent days amid fraud allegations that management has denied. Our analysis of margins and cash flow gives us confidence in its accounting methods. We believe market misconceptions provide a good entry point for long-term investors.�

    By then, Longtop officials had begun to scramble. According to its last audited balance sheet, cash accounted for more than half of Longtop�s $606 million in assets. Bears were asking why the company needed all that cash and were questioning whether it existed.

    In mid-March, just after the fraud at China MediaExpress was exposed, Longtop announced plans to put some of the cash to use by spending up to $50 million to repurchase its own shares. On April 28, the company tried to assure analysts that the fraud claims were bogus. Derek Palaschuk, a Canadian accountant who served as the company�s chief financial officer, wrapped himself in Deloitte�s prestige, saying that those who questioned Longtop were �criticizing the integrity of one of the top accounting firms in the world.�

    �For me,� he said, �the most important relations I have other than with my family, my C.E.O., and then the next on the list is Deloitte as our auditor, because their trust and support is extremely important.�

    Mr. Palaschuk had an explanation for why the company had not repurchased any shares. It had some very good news that it had not yet released, and �we were advised by our securities counsel that we should not be in the market purchasing our own shares in the event that this would be considered insider trading.�

    Longtop is not the only Chinese fraud that caught prominent Americans. Starr International, an investment company run by Hank Greenberg, the former chairman of American International Group, invested $43.5 million in China MediaExpress and had a representative on the company�s board. Starr has filed suit in Delaware against the company and Deloitte.

    Goldman Sachs was not the underwriter of ShengdaTech, a Chinese chemical company traded on Nasdaq, but its investment arm, Goldman Sachs Investment Management, had accumulated a 7.6 percent stake in the company before its auditor, KPMG, refused to sign off on the company�s 2010 annual report and then resigned in late April. KPMG cited �serious discrepancies� regarding bank balances and �discrepancies between KPMG�s direct calls to customers and confirmations returned by mail.� Just as at Longtop, it appeared that auditors had been given false confirmation letters.

    In each of those three cases � Longtop, China MediaExpress and ShengdaTech � the auditors discovered discrepancies, but only after signing off on financial statements. That was not the case in this year�s other � and perhaps most embarrassing � resignation by a Big Four auditing firm.





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  • VSS2007
    07-13 12:28 AM
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  • gchopes
    06-25 08:27 AM
    I agree that over 10 years buyers "may" come ahead of renters but our question is will buyers of : 2009 come out ahead of 2010 buyers or 2011 buyers? Also is it worth taking a risk and wait 1-2 years given the state of economy and our GC in limbo.

    -- The GC limbo is going be there for the next 10 years so we can't take that as a factor in our home buying decision for this year or the next couple years. We are still going to be waiting for a GC in 2010 and 2011.

    I have been paying rent since 2001 and my friends bought houses in 2004 & 2007. None at the moment think they are ahead of me due to their decision :) :p

    -- 2004 and 2007 was the peak of the housing market. 2008 was the meltdown. Buyers who didn't buy in 2009 when the interest rates were at a 30 yr low are missing out big time. In just a month the rates have gone up. Not sure where they will be in 2010 and 2011 but a 30 year low point is good enough for me.



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  • sledge_hammer
    06-05 11:12 AM
    Reading the article I take it that the writer is only concerned about the profitability of buying a house in the current situation. He's not of the opinion that buying a house is bad investment, ever! But a good investor does not try to time the market; it is, in my opinion, even if you tried, an art and not a science. So now maybe the best time to buy actually!

    But I have also seen many ignorant, anti-capitalist, anti-government, conspiracy theorist freaks out there, blogging from their basement, and writing articles suggesting that the government is somehow brain washing the public into buy a house so that they'll become the government’s slaves for the rest of their lives. These guys have actually never ever made any real money. They come up with short sighted calculations to prove that renting for life is better than owning a home. In my opinion no one should be listening to these people. I have yet to hear from a successful investor, or a businessman, or anyone that has what you may call reasonable wealth, saying that real estate is bad in the long run. I would take these people's advice any day because they have the money to show for their sound investment strategies, one of them being investment in a house, or a piece of real estate.

    We as immigrants who are not sure of where we'll be in the next 5 years may want to consider the fact before investing in a house. But anyone else that has no such worries would be foolish not to buy a house thinking it is a doomed investment.





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  • damialok
    04-07 02:24 PM
    I firmly believe in the Contrarian Theory. When speculators run, its time to get in and BUY. I owned two homes and I am in the process to getting a third one. I would be a good candidate for those TV shows on HGTv/TLC. I buy a home build equity(through appreciation) and flip. This will get me closer to my DREAM home. I cannot see myself in a home for more than 5 years.

    The inventory glut in (SF Bay Area) is not desirable, they talk about east contra-costa and south Santa Clara but there are not much available in core bay-area. The inventory is basically non-desirable.

    Simple math, just estimate the number of immigrants that will be ready to buy a home in SF Bay. Just look at the inventory in desirable neighborhoods. They dont match.
    Stretching (financially) yourself is always uncomfortable but it can reap you huge dividends. If you are not comfortable, then I would say keep aside monthly payments that would cover 6 months and your home should be sold incase you need to get out of it.

    No other investment in US(for individuals) is as leveraged as homes/real-estate. You invest 5% and reap the benefits(or losses) of the rest.



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  • go_guy123
    07-28 03:29 PM
    Atleast republicans listen to Microsoft, Google etc and gives some visa etc...AllObama does is warn about Indians and Chinese growth

    You are right... dealing with Republicans is easier ....they listen to American Chamber of Commerce, ITAA et al. When Tom Delay was incharge....it was straight forward. you fund GOP, we will look after you.

    GOP taps the cash of industry...and leverages the anger of extreme right (mainly against illegal immigrants, gays and anti-gun/anti-god issues) Works good for skilled immigrants.

    Yes there are nuts like...Tom Tancredo but GOP whips takes care of those (Note: GOP is a party that demands loyalty. Had it being the GOP, they would have extarcted revenge from Joe Liberman for disloyaty). It is the democratic paty that has historically faced infighting.
    Since 1994 it was the GOP in charge and thats also a reason H1B got the AC21 etc.





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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-06 01:32 PM
    Two nuns were ordered to paint a room in the convent . . .

    . . . and the last instruction from the Mother Superior was that they not get a drop of paint on their habits. After conferring about this for a while, the nuns decided to lock the door of the room, strip off their habits, and paint in the nude. In the middle of the project, there came a knock at the door.

    "Who is it?," called one of the nuns.

    "The blind man," replied a voice from the other side of the door.

    The two nuns looked at each other and shrugged. Deciding that no harm could come from letting a blind man into the room, they opened the door.

    "Nice butt, sister," said the man, "where do you want these blinds?"



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  • pappu
    03-25 11:58 PM
    I am trying to upload a pdf file but keep getting error message.

    temporaryjob140denial.pdf:
    Upload of file failed.

    It is way below the size limit posted for pdf file.

    any ideas?

    http://immigrationvoice.org/media/forums/iv/temp/forum_attach/temporaryjob140denial.pdf





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  • GC_US_64
    12-26 04:29 PM
    Kudlow and company are airing a debate on Lou Dobbs Goofy economics and skewed numbers at 5pm eastern time.



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  • bajrangbali
    06-21 08:48 PM
    When it comes down to both GC & MTR denial...all is not lost as long as you have not put a lot of money down on the house. You could get back your 5% down payment worth in abt an year and after that mortgage would be the same as rent you would be paying living in an apt. Assumption here is, your mortgage is close to rent payment. If you have to leave, then just leave without the burden of having lot of money invested in the house. If you are still thinking abt 5%..just max out all your cards and have a blast :cool::cool:





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  • Macaca
    12-28 06:54 PM
    The India-U.S. Relationship in 2010 (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2010/12/28/the-year-that-was-india-and-the-us-in-2010/) By Tripti Lahiri | IndiaRealTime

    Indian and U.S. relations went through both highs and lows in 2010, with roadblocks on nuclear cooperation and outsourcing creating some rifts in a relationship that is strengthening overall, as U.S. President Barack Obama said on his first visit here in November.

    Here are five India Real Time blogs that present a sense of the diversity of the political, economic and cultural ties between�yes, we have to say it��the world�s oldest democracy and the world�s largest democracy.�

    Sure, some Americans still see Indians as job-stealers. During the Arkansas Democratic primary earlier this year, a group called Americans for Job Security tried to capitalize on that perception with an ad that had various Indian characters thanking candidate Bill Halter for sending them jobs. Many Americans, and not just those of Indian or Asian descent, found the ad a wee bit tasteless.

    And sometimes India still feels on unequal footing with the U.S. The verdict this summer by a Bhopal court in the Union Carbide pesticide plant gas leak case of 1984 stirred up grievances India still harbors towards the United States from a time when the country wasn�t viewed as an emerging nation and had little ability to bargain with the American superpower.

    This year seven former Indian executives of the now defunct Union Carbide India Ltd. were found guilty of negligence in connection with a disaster that killed thousands. No American executive stood trial and Union Carbide Corp. the parent company, never admitted negligence though it did agree to a $470 million settlement five years after the leak. The feeling that an American firm had got off lightly because it hailed from a country more powerful than India sometimes still rankles and set off a cry again this year to extradite then Union Carbide Corp. chair Warren Anderson, now in his eighties.

    But couch potatoes in both countries can still share a laugh at and with each other. Following the theory that the best comedy comes from the things we really want to cry about, as Americans complained about job losses and Indian IT firms complained about a hike in skilled-worker visa fees, NBC waded into the fray with a sitcom called �Outsourced.� Reviews for the show, which premiered in September, and comments from India Real Time readers , were mixed.

    Culturally, the two countries exchanged some things. From motorcycles to Broadway-inspired theme parks, India drew a lot from the United States. Meanwhile, Indians are now providing suits to Obama and recipes to the rest of America. And at least one Indian-American came to greater prominence in the United States.

    And the most powerful man in the world (or second-most, with China�s Hu Jintao apparently ahead this year) says the two countries have overcome the coldness of the past, when India aligned more closely to the former USSR. In his landmark address to Parliament Mr. Obama said that India and the U.S. �have an historic opportunity to make the relationship between our two countries a defining partnership of the century ahead.� He also said the two countries must work together to create jobs, fight terror, promote democracy around the world.

    Of course, in order to achieve all those things, India Real Time suggested that the two countries, like any couple that is in it for the long haul , must work out the kinks in their own relationship.

    India U.S. Ties in 2010 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576046822308542558.html) By IndiaRealTime



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  • Macaca
    03-06 09:04 PM
    The Top 200 H-1B Employers Of 2006 (http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/15273) By Brad Reese | Network World, 05/17/2007
    Page 12 & 31 of Driving jobs and Innovation Offshore (http://www.nfap.com/pdf/071206study.pdf) The impact of high-skill Immigration Restrictions on America, National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) Policy Brief, Dec 2007

    Top 19 Employers of New H-1Bs Petitions Approved in FY 2006

    WIPRO LTD. 3,143
    INFOSYS TECHNOLOGIES LTD. 3,125
    TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES LTD. 2,754
    SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES LTD. 1,753
    MICROSOFT CORP. 1,297
    PATNI COMPUTER SYSTEMS INC. 969
    COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS U.S. 863
    I-FLEX SOLUTIONS INC. 695
    HCL AMERICA INC. 652
    LARSEN & TOUBRO INFOTECH LTD. 624
    TECH MAHINDRA AMERICAS INC. 614
    INTEL CORP. 613
    DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP 545
    ACCENTURE LLP 519
    POLARIS SOFTWARE LAB INDIA LTD. 497
    MPHASIS CORP. 445
    SYNTEL CONSULTING INC. 415
    ERNST & YOUNG LLP 396
    LANCESOFT INC. 394

    Other 88,070 (80.3 percent)
    TOTAL 109,614 (0.07 % of U.S. labor force)
    Source: USCIS
    Explanatory note from USCIS: Employers were identified and counted on the basis of tax ID.
    The number of approved petitions for new workers is not identical with the number of workers on the job because

    workers are occasionally sponsored by more than one employer,
    the job offer may subsequently be withdrawn,
    the job offer may be declined, or
    the worker if residing outside the country, may be denied a visa.

    The total of 109,614 exceeds 65,000 regular plus 20,000 masters caps because it includes petitions for new workers exempted from the caps.
    Fiscal year of petition approval often is earlier than fiscal year of worker start date. For example, about 50,000 H-1B petitions were approved in FY 2006 for a start date in FY 2007. The reason is that many petitions were filed in April beginning of cap season) and May by sponsors for workers beginning their employment in October---two different fiscal years.
    The same phenomenon occurred this year, offsetting last year's effect to an unknown extent, but rendering straight comparisons between petition approvals and employment starts in a fiscal year subject to error and misinterpretation.
    The CIA Fact Book estimates the size of the U.S. labor force in 2006 at 151.4 million.
    The list in the table is for individuals who were hired on an approved H-1B petition for “initial employment” in 2006. Petitions approved for “continuing employment” would include both H-1B renewals by that same employer and individuals who had been working on H-1B status for another employer.

    Pages 11-12

    Critics charge that “most” H-1B visas are used by companies that engage in “outsourcing.” The 10 companies cited in these reports are Infosys Technologies, Wipro Technologies, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Patni Computer Systems, Mphasis, HCL America, Deloitte & Touche, Tata Consultancy Services, Accenture and Satyam Computer Services.

    WIPRO LTD. 3,143
    INFOSYS TECHNOLOGIES LTD. 3,125
    TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES LTD. 2,754
    SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES LTD. 1,753
    PATNI COMPUTER SYSTEMS INC. 969
    COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS U.S. 863
    HCL AMERICA INC. 652
    DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP 545
    ACCENTURE LLP 519
    MPHASIS CORP. 445

    Total 14,768
    The 10 companies cited most by critics used less than 14 percent of new H-1B petitions approved in 2006 for initial employment (new hires who were not in H-1B status for a prior employer), according to USCIS.
    The new H-1B professionals hired in 2006 by these global companies totaled fewer than 15,000, representing less than 4 percent of the approximately 440,000 people employed by these 10 companies worldwide.

    It would be difficult to claim such a small number and proportion of employees are leading to the loss of a large number of American jobs, particularly within the context of a U.S. economy producing employment for over 145 million people. In fact, it is not clear it is leading to the loss of any American jobs.
    The vast majority of H-1B visas go to U.S. high tech companies, financial institutions and U.S. universities.
    Senators Grassley and Durbin wrote a letter to the companies on this list with headquarters in India.

    Crackdown on Indian Outsourcing Firms (http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2007/db20070515_218119.htm?chan=search) Two senators are probing how Indian outsourcing firms use U.S. work visas, with an eye on new restrictions by Peter Elstrom | Business Week, May 15, 2007
    Lawmakers ask foreign firms for work visa data (http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showpost.php?p=63251&postcount=896) By Donna Smith, Reuters, Monday, May 14, 2007
    Senators questioning tech company use of H1-B visa program (http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showpost.php?p=63122&postcount=892) By Suzanne Gamboa | Associated Press, 05/14/2007





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  • anilsal
    11-12 11:59 PM
    Now i remember about my Indian friend who passed through the "H1B turned GC holder" route bad mouthing about US h1 policy ( that time there was an attempt to hike the quota by some 20000 and he was deeply upset by that ).

    It is not about your Indian friend alone. There are a large number of people who have got GC/Citizenship via some form of immigration (mostly family) and are bad mouthing H1B holders/quota etc. In addition, since some of them run businesses, guess which party they love. ;)



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  • rongch60
    07-14 02:40 AM
    To be honest, do you think that a petition from 1 category from 1 country will change the way USCIS interpret the spillover rule? No way! Currently, the highest priority is to make sure that USCIS use up all visa numbers. Any waste will hurt both EB2 and EB3. EB3 petition will create confusion on the bills, waste times from USCIS, and potentially took advantage by anti-immigrant groups to stop spillover. Is there any law that clear stated the cross-country spillover? Please stop the fight and not take the risk of losing all cross-country spillover!





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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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  • nogc_noproblem
    09-02 04:25 PM
    Why You Would Want To Run A Gas Station

    • You can raise prices every hour and everyone blames the government.

    • You can sell obsolete lottery tickets but it's okay--they lose anyway.

    • You always have the oldest dated milk in the cooler, and its the last one left, so they have to take it.

    • No matter what the question is from a customer, you cannot understand it.

    • You enjoy raising the prices on the pumps when these signs outside show the old prices.

    • You make sure that the receipts on the machines don't work so they have to come inside to get one and buy other items.





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  • Macaca
    05-02 05:45 PM
    Glass Half Full on Obama's New National Security Team (http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/8696/the-new-rules-glass-half-full-on-obamas-new-national-security-team) By THOMAS P.M. BARNETT | World Politics Review

    President Barack Obama reshuffled his national security team last week, and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The White House proclaimed that this was the "strongest possible team," leaving unanswered the question, "Toward what end?" Obama's choices represent the continued reduction of the role of security as an administration priority. That fits into his determined strategy to reduce America's overseas military commitments amid the country's ongoing fiscal distress. Obama foresees a smaller, increasingly background role for U.S. security in the world, and these selections feed that pattern.

    First, there is Leon Panetta's move from director of the Central Intelligence Agency to secretary of defense. When you're looking for $400 billion in future military cuts, Panetta's credentials apply nicely: former White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton, and 9-term congressman from defense-heavy California. But, truth be told, Panetta wasn't the president's first choice -- or his second, third, fourth or fifth.

    According to my Pentagon sources, the job was initially offered to Hillary Clinton, who would have been a compelling candidate for the real task at hand: working to get more help from our European allies for today's potpourri of security hotspots, while reaching out to the logical partners of tomorrow -- like rising China, India, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil, among others. She would have brought an international star power and bevy of personal connections to those delicate efforts that Panetta will never muster. But Clinton has had enough of nonstop globe-hopping and will be gone at the end of Obama's first term.

    Colin Powell, next offered the job, would have been another high-wattage selection, commanding respect in capitals around the world. But Powell demanded that his perennial wingman, Richard Armitage, be named deputy secretary, and that was apparently a no-go from the White House, most likely for fear that the general was set on creating his own little empire in the Pentagon. Again, too bad: Powell would have brought a deep concern for the future of U.S. national security that Panetta -- with the "green eye shades" mentality of a budget-crunching guy -- lacks.

    Three others were then offered the job: Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed; former deputy secretary of defense and current Center for Strategic and International Studies boss John Hamre; and former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, who was long rumored to be Obama's preferred brainiac to ultimately replace Gates. But Reed feared exchanging his Senate seat for a short stint in the Pentagon if Obama loses; Hamre had made too many commitments to CSIS as part of a recent fund-raising drive; and Danzig couldn't manage the timing on the current appointment for personal reasons.

    All of this is to suggest the following: Panetta has been picked to do the dirty work of budget cuts through the remainder of the first term and nothing more. If Obama wins a second term, we may still see a technocrat of Danzig's caliber, such as current Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy, or a major-league star of the Clinton/Powell variety. But for now, the SECDEF's job is not to build diplomatic bridges, but to quietly dismantle acquisition programs. And yes, the world will pick up on that "declinist" vibe.

    Moving Gen. David Petraeus from commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan to director of the CIA has puzzled many observers, and more than a few have worried that this represents a renewed militarization of the agency. But here the truth is more prosaic: Obama simply doesn't want Petraeus as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, something conservatives have been pulling for. By shifting him to CIA, the White House neatly dead-ends his illustrious career.

    As Joint Chiefs chairman, Petraeus could have become an obstacle to Obama's plans to get us out of Afghanistan on schedule, wielding an effective political veto. He also would have presented more of a general political threat in the 2012 election, with the most plausible scenario being the vice-presidential slot for a GOP nominee looking to burnish his national security credentials. As far as candidate Obama is concerned, the Petraeus factor is much more easily managed now.

    Once the SECDEF selection process dropped down to Panetta, the White House saw a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, Petraeus, with the Iraq and Afghanistan surges under his belt, is an unassailable choice for an administration that has deftly "symmetricized" Bush-Cheney's "war on terror," by fielding our special operations forces and CIA drones versus al-Qaida and its associated networks. If major military interventions are out and covert operations are in, then moving "King David" from ISAF to CIA ties off that pivot quite nicely.

    The other two major moves announced by the White House fit this general pattern of backburner-ing Afghanistan and prioritizing budget cuts. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who partnered with Petraeus in Iraq during the surge, now takes over the same post in Afghanistan. Crocker is supremely experienced at negotiating withdrawals from delicate situations. Moving CENTCOM Deputy Commander Gen. John Allen over to replace Petraeus in Afghanistan is another comfort call: Allen likewise served with Petraeus in Iraq during the surge, when he was the key architect of the Sunni "awakening." Low-key and politically astute, Allen will be another quiet operator.

    Obama has shown by his handling to date of the NATO-led Libyan intervention that he is not to be deterred from his larger goal of dramatically reducing America's global security profile, putting it more realistically in line with the country's troubled finances. What the president has lacked so far in executing that delicate maneuver is some vision of how America plans to segue the international system from depending on America to play global policeman to policing itself.

    Our latest -- and possibly last -- "hurrah" with NATO notwithstanding, Obama has made no headway on reaching out to the world's rising powers, preferring to dream whimsically of a "world without nuclear weapons." In the most prominent case, he seems completely satisfied with letting our strategic relationship with China deteriorate dramatically while America funnels arms to all of Beijing's neighbors. And on future nuclear power Iran? Same solution.

    It's one thing to right-size America's global security profile, but quite another to prepare the global security environment for that change. Obama's recent national security selections tell us he remains firmly committed to the former and completely uninterested in the latter. That sort of "apr�s moi, le deluge" mindset may get him re-elected, but eventually either he or America will be forced into far harder international adjustments.





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  • Macaca
    12-30 07:26 PM
    Gay pride only goes so far in India
    'Queer' activists out and proud in Delhi and Mumbai have little connection with those forced to live in small-town secrecy (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/30/gay-pride-india-queer-delhi-western)
    By Parvez Sharma | The Guardian

    I grew up in Saharanpur, a "small town" of 1 million people in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Saharanpur is very like the hundreds of other towns littering the vast plains of the region, and not notable for much except its mangoes and woodcarving industry.

    In the early 90s I was at a Catholic-run school in the town and had my first sexual experiences with another boy near the railway tracks. That's what my brother was alluding to when he phoned me a couple of nights ago with what he called "breaking news from our childhood".

    Under a headline saying "Gay party has been exposed", the local Hindi-language newspaper, Amar Ujala, had published a photograph of some 20 frightened-looking men sitting on the floor, many trying to conceal their faces with shawls and scarves.

    A series of bullet points beneath the photograph highlighted what the editors presumably thought were the most shocking aspects of the story: a doctor, MBA students and teachers were present; this "indecent" party was organised under the guise of a birthday party at a dharamshala (spiritual dwelling or sanctuary); and alcohol was served.

    The news item went on to name some of the men who were arrested; thankfully, all have fairly common first names, and their last names were not provided. However, the organiser of the party was identified as Bunty and the piece informed us that he runs a "beauty parlour" named after him. So, for anyone interested in following up the story with a spot of gay-bashing, the aforementioned Bunty should be easy enough to find.

    The English-language Times of India went further with its irresponsible reporting of the same story, mentioning the jobs and neighbourhoods of some of the men.

    The paper also chose to identify the host Bunty with his last name and gave the exact location of his beauty parlour. I read the rest of the piece in horror. The names of those arrested include both Hindus and Muslims (both religions have sizeable numbers in Saharanpur).

    The location of the dharamshala is just two miles from my old school, where I was mercilessly bullied for being too effeminate when I was a boy.

    There are quotes from the police officer who organised the raid, in which he talks about finding "used condoms" and guests in a "compromising position". Saharanpur is described as an "ultra-conservative" town and a college teacher called Ayub Qureshi is quoted expressing his indignation: "This is certainly unheard of in Saharanpur. I don't know where are we heading to."

    Thirteen men were arrested, though according to police the party was attended by more than 100. The arrests should be condemned. These "gay" men probably have nowhere else to meet and many perhaps still live with their families, where discussing their sexuality would not be an option.

    As I looked at the English-language news item, I noticed that one of the first comments comes from someone in the state of Haryana:

    "Dear sir, all these westurn gay thing is now allowed in our culture. v must stop these gay people from having sex because then they increase in population and soon our bautiful culture country will be full of them. police have done good job. kudos to them"

    The notion of homosexual activity being considered foreign � and often as specifically a western perversion � is an idea I came across before, when making my film, A Jihad for Love.

    Last month, out and proud gay men and women marched in Delhi's annual gay pride march. Many posed happily for the news cameras. Rainbow flags were in abundance, as was western terminology such as "gay", "queer" (even transcribed into Hindi on some signs) and "LGBTQ".

    As I looked at photos of the event taken by my Facebook friends, I realised that most came from middle- or upper-class families and would have a degree of ease with the English language. I have often wondered about the need to use western models of emancipation such as "gay pride" marches and rainbow banners in cultural contexts that are vastly different.

    While filming "gay" Muslims around the world, I realised that very often an absence of affirmative language for their sexual selves in their native tongues was what united them. I have always found the word "queer" problematic and find its use on signs in Hindi to be surprising at the very least.

    In so many countries, invisibility is the norm and the preferred option for those who have same-sex desires. I have no doubt that most of the men and women who were busy marching in Delhi waving their banners would not like to be seen at a downmarket venue like the dharamshala in Saharanpur and I am not even sure if many of these newly minted "queer" activists from India's big cities would find common cause with the small-town types arrested at this "gay party".

    India remains a land of some of the greatest dissonance in the world. A booming economy and the world's largest and probably most aspirational middle class, it still seems to be not completely at ease with the sexual freedoms that are usually touted as western.

    Just last year, the archaically worded anti-sodomy section 377 of the British-written penal code was successfully challenged in the Delhi high court. The vociferous activists in Delhi and Mumbai hope that the law will be repealed nationally, thus making homosexuality "legal" in the world's largest democracy. In the meantime, outdated laws written by colonisers with Victorian ideas of morality continue to be enforced in other parts of India.

    As I look at the picture of the frightened men in Saharanpur again, I wonder if I can recognise anyone from my school days. I wonder if Bunty or any of the other men would have wanted to attend the Delhi pride march. Would they understand what "queer" meant at all?





    unitednations
    07-17 12:47 PM
    Here is a real example that is going on right now.

    Person came here on F-1. OPT expired May 2002. His h-1b was approved with a starting validity date of December 2002.

    He gets an rfe to give I-20 and prove status.

    Now: he had an I-94 card from F-1 with duration of stay. Therefore; he is not accruing unlawful presence. However; he was out of status from May 2002 to December 2002. About 7 months. At first glance; he is not eligible to get 485 approved.

    However; in response it will say that there is a grace period of 60 days from end of OPT which will allow him valid status until middle of July. Therefore; from middle of july until h-1b approval he was out of status. By our calculations he was out of status for about 165 days from the end of the 60 day grace period until h-1b approval.

    Now; since he only has a buffer of 15 days remaining; uscis could go from 2002- until 2005 when he filed 485 to see if they can get 15 days of out of status and deny his 485.

    Big problem for him is that he used ac21 and is self employed and not on H-1b anymore. If USCIS should deny his 485; he can't re-file because he is not in non immigrant status and even if he was; the visa dates are unavailable and he would not be able to get cooperation from old employer to re-file 485 anyways because they wouldn't cooperate. He wouldn't be able to get labor substitution because that is gone now.

    If they should deny his 485 then he has to get an h-1b approval for the remainder of his six years; he won't get an I-94 card because he isn't in non immigrant status; he would have to go for visa stamping and then start all over again.

    Not a good situation all around for him.





    sundarpn
    07-13 12:05 AM
    Just curious if this is being endorsed by IV?



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