Sunday, July 3, 2011

horses running in water

images Desperately seeking water horses running in water. Wild horses running in water by Tachibana,Morikuni Doggie Tee by hokusai_art
  • Wild horses running in water by Tachibana,Morikuni Doggie Tee by hokusai_art



  • reddymjm
    08-05 10:32 AM
    Friends,
    I need to find out how many people are interested in pursuing this option, since the whole interfiling/PD porting business (based on a year 2000 memo) can seriously undermine the EB2 category.

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

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

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

    Thanks.

    I asked this before and asking again. How many of that EB2 got jobs with out faking their resumes and skill set. Atleast did you?





    wallpaper Wild horses running in water by Tachibana,Morikuni Doggie Tee by hokusai_art horses running in water. Horse running in the ocean
  • Horse running in the ocean



  • alisa
    04-07 12:32 PM
    Why don't we let CompeteAmerica and Bill Gates and the geniuses in congress/senate figure out what the adequate number or H-1s should be. We don't care if the H1 numbers go up, or down, if I am not mistaken.

    We should only oppose increased hardships/obstacles in the form of LCA/administrative hurdles for H-1 renewals. Something that will only enrich the lawyers more, and increase the workload for USCIS.

    Whether there should be 65K H1s, or 115K, or zero. That should not be our concern.



    One possible solution is to establish a separate quotas for companies perfoming R&D in the US. Something like this already exists in the tax code where companies establish eligibility for the R&D tax credit. A similar bar could be used to administer a R&D quota for H1B or GC. That should address concerns around the quota for top US companies.





    horses running in water. Black Water Horses Running
  • Black Water Horses Running



  • nojoke
    04-15 06:18 PM
    kaiserose & NKR have made some mistakes by buying a costly home & wouldn't admit.

    May God Bless you guys.

    :D:D





    2011 Horse running in the ocean horses running in water. Horses Running In Water. three
  • Horses Running In Water. three



  • nixstor
    03-23 12:36 AM
    If you want to buy a home after you get your green card, mostly you will get after your retirement.

    I don't want to feel "my home" when I am 68 and after my kids are out on their own. So I decided, dump the H1B, H4, 485, 131, 761, 797, 999, 888, I94, EAD, AP... AAD, CCD etc crap in trash, and bought the home.

    I am happy. Even if I am asked to leave the country tomorrow, I just lock the door, throw the keys in trash and take off.

    who cares when life matters.

    First sounded funny, then it made helluva sense.



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    horses running in water. 2 of 30 images. Passing
  • 2 of 30 images. Passing



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

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

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

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


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





    horses running in water. more info middot; 3D Stereoscopic
  • more info middot; 3D Stereoscopic



  • surabhi
    04-14 02:02 PM
    I cannot agree more. I have been trying to drill this into some peoples brain but they are so adamant on renting and has made this thread into a rent vs buy argument. I finally gave up. I am not saying that this is the right time to buy. Fast forward 2 or 2+ years, lets assume the market is good. Then when it comes to rent vs buy I advocate buying a house.

    Let�s say you have a small kid and you are living in an apartment, after 10 years you save enough money to buy a big house and you then eventually you buy it. Then you ask the your kid �do you like the house?�. He will reply �it�s very nice dad, but can you give you give my childhood now?.�. Go figure out guys. If you are not planning on going back for a very long time then at-least get a life in the country you reside and when the housing market is good.

    I think the point is valid to an extent, but the original post was about buying it during I-485 implying the concern about uncertainity that comes along and about financial investment, associated risks.

    I have bought house in April 2006 while on H1. When my wife got job 2 hours away from our home, I had to take apartment to maintain sanity in life and not spend 4 hours a day commuting. For about a year I maintained 2 homes. I was looking at a 35K loss on a 285K home after factoring in selling expenses of 6% if I had to sell. And it'd take 4 months to sell. SO I just held up and luckliy she got another one closer home and we are able to come back to our home.

    I definetely missed the flexibility that I'd have if I didnt buy home.

    If you rent a town home or even a single family home, you get best of both worlds of not having to commit yourself for big decision at the same time enjoying a larger home, neighbourhood where kids can grow etc etc.

    One note of caution for would-be home buyers is to budget conservatively. Utility bills will throw a nasty surprise. In a 1000 Sq.ft apartment , your utilities for gas and electricity will top $125. Prepare to spend about 500$ in winter months. Your new home's volume is 4X your apartment for a typical 4 BR home. Also garbage, sewer, water are extra which are generally included in rent.

    Ofcourse purely from an investment perspective, there are far better avenues to invest than a Home at this time



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    horses running in water. Horses running through water
  • Horses running through water



  • Rolling_Flood
    08-05 08:29 AM
    The said person should have been aware of what he or she was getting into. Blaming your hardship on other people and trying to get mileage out of it is hardly an honest way............would you agree?

    I am EB2 and I do not support this idea. Just imagine, someone could have applied in EB3 though he was qualified for EB2 because he was ill advised by his lawyers or employers. Why should he be punished for no fault of his?.





    2010 Black Water Horses Running horses running in water. Desperately seeking water
  • Desperately seeking water



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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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    horses running in water. Horses Running In Water.
  • Horses Running In Water.



  • abracadabra102
    08-29 10:02 AM
    This is hilarious........


    http://odeo.com/episodes/7076453

    LOL. That guy is an !@# *&^%





    hair Horses Running In Water. three horses running in water. Herd Of Horses Running In The
  • Herd Of Horses Running In The



  • sledge_hammer
    03-24 02:17 PM
    Again, I am not the one you should be asking to define "full-time" and "temp" type jobs. Ask USCIS or DOL or whoever is going to adjudicate your green card.

    I am simply saying that if USCIS has made a distinction between perm job and temp job, AND if they feel that consulting job is of temp type, someone along the line has dropped the ball and missed this. They also missed the fact that the employee needs to work at the LCA specified location. They also missed (or circumvented) that benching is not allowed.

    You can blame anyone and everyone for it. Maybe the immigration attorneys were the ones that should have warned both the employers and employees that consulting jobs do not fit the H-1B requirement. Maybe USCIS was sleeping all the while and suddenly they decided to start enforcing this. But the fact that they can ALL-OF-A-SUDDEN claim that H-1B visa is for permanent jobs only, AND that employees need to stay in the LCA location means that our lawyers, employers, and employees were incompetent in their judgment and did not do their due diligence to protect against potential audits and queries.
    I am telling you the same thing I told the other guy .... you don't need to give me justifications.

    Just hope that USCIS will buy your story!

    sledge_hammer,

    Why don't you define what a "permanent" job is ?
    You think FT job is a permanent job and consulting is a temporary job ? I don't think so.

    There are consultants working for years in a consulting firm. ( Don't bring H1B into the picture) . There are many FT employees being laid off from companies before contractors are let go. Contractors are temporary from a client's perspective not from the sponsoring employer's perspective.

    Try to define a permanent vs temporary job in US without bringing H1B into the picture.



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    horses running in water. the water horses running
  • the water horses running



  • thomachan72
    03-23 01:31 PM
    You/lawyer/employer may have forgotten to shred the extra/unwanted documents. Someone may have got hold of them.

    Google 'identity theft' and you will be surprised.

    Do not answer anyone unless you check. Ask for a call back number. Find the name , badge number. ask them to send you an email with a legit id and you will call back.

    You should anyways never talk alone to such people even if they are real. Ask them to talk to your lawyer. If they ask you his number, tell them to find from the application.

    Basically never give any information on the phone.

    Easier said than done :-) Well a lot of us are waiting anxiously for some activity on the USCIS side regarding our petitions and suddenly you get a call!!! Wow, I am sure a lot of us would panic and give out exactly what they want. Now whether immigration officials are permitted to make calls? who knows? But honestly we are in a screw either way. What is the official is genuinely trying to help and we start asking him.. Give me your number and let me call back. what if he/she is ofended (most often that can happen). On the other hand if as you said, if it happens to be a ID theif/crook, if you give him all that he wants :-(
    Why dont we prepare ourselves for such events:---
    when you get a call from Immigration---
    1) Dont loose your cool 2) be very polite and ask politely "Sir / madam, may I obtain a phone number that I can call back and I will do that immediately or at your convenience. I have waited long and would provide you with all the details that you require on calling back.
    Any "English" experts, please contribute to better way of answering the "Unexpected" phone calls from immigration dept. We should be prepared to not loose their initiative (that little angel that rests deep within any persons heart).





    hot 2 of 30 images. Passing horses running in water. horses are unable to raise
  • horses are unable to raise



  • NKR
    08-05 08:33 AM
    The said person should have been aware of what he or she was getting into. Blaming your hardship on other people and trying to get mileage out of it is hardly an honest way............would you agree?

    So an employer cheating him into applying in EB3 is an honest way?



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    house Two Golden Water Horses horses running in water. Horses Running In Water
  • Horses Running In Water



  • jasmin45
    08-02 01:13 PM
    Yes, that is the same person. I felt discouraged and decided to not actively post; unless there is some real interesting issue.

    I consider this a real interesting issue.
    Your wisdom is amaizing and we are happy to see you and request you to help clear the darkness of GC for many souls.





    tattoo more info middot; 3D Stereoscopic horses running in water. White Camargue Horses Running
  • White Camargue Horses Running



  • logiclife
    07-09 01:11 AM
    Well, we had a good debate on Radio on KPFK today.

    I would like to thank Rajiv Khanna, Stuart Anderson, Carl Shusterman, Ashish and Swadha for participating on this show. Also Aman and Ashish for arranging this with Debo.

    Today, a caller called the show when Debo opened the phone lines and this guy, named Mike, went on and on about how H1B program is similar to slave trade and H1B workers live like insects by piling up 10 people in a one-bedroom apartment and work 100 hours a week for 30 thousand dollars a year bla bla bla.

    Without studying due process, or policy analysis, simply crying "Slave Trade", "H1B stole my job...waaaah...waaah", "H1B replaced me...waaah...waaah", they create good sound bites and play victims.

    Really, H1B program and employment based greencard program, that brings professionals in skilled occupation into this country to fill a shortage of skilled workers has been vindicated beyond limit. And they keep beating the same drums. "They steal jobs". "They drive down wages". They make good soundbites. And they make good quotes for Lou Dobbs.

    Let me say this to Mike and the likes of Zazona.com

    Employers dont just go around spending thousands of dollars on H1B fees and greencard fees to hire a guy with foreign accent if a native citizen was available. And they do not underpay them, because they HAVE to pay prevailing wages based on the wages determined by the Department of labor. If they apply for greencard, then that's because they want him on a permenant basis and there is a another labor certification process for that too, where there are newspaper and other advertisements for the job available to citizens first. Upon not finding a suitable fit, they file for labor certification. And let me remind you all that it takes 2-3 years for department of labor to do that coz they do an exhaustive review of the job offer.

    Go Here on this link of Department of labor (http://ows.doleta.gov/foreign/perm.asp)and read the process for yourself. This system is designed to protect the citizens and IT WORKS.

    Now in a few cases, if there was fraud, then that doesnt mean that the system does not work and should be abolished. Its like saying that we should abolish driving privileges of everyone just because some drivers drive drunk and kill pedestrians. By that token, we must also ground all commercial air travel because sometimes the planes crash and they kill people.

    Another accusation is that H1B employees pay for their own fees sometimes and also for lawyer's fees. And they work like donkeys. Well, not everyone pays for the lawyers. In some rare cases, if the employees hire lawyers, its their own choice, for their own comfort and for their own complicated cases which are many time due to problems of their own making. Why would the employer pay for individuals immigration problems that are not tied to H1B or GC petitions filed by Lawyer? As to working additional hours, its called overtime my dear friend. And they are paid to do that. No one works for free. And no one works for less. If they are paid less than what they think they deserve, then they quit the employer and go to another employer next door who pays them more and treats them fairly.

    And ya, another thing. Biggest subscriber of H1B program, especially since the late 90s has be the IT industry. Unemployment in IT industry is less than 2%. If H1B program is really making life worse, I am sure IT industry unemployment would have been more than national average of 5%.

    And now, let me mention a few slaves and their slave-masters that I am really proud of...

    There are nearly 2000 doctors who are on their path to permenant residency(Green card) in America. They are under Conrad-30 (J1) program. They serve 4 million americans in medically underserved areas. These are rural areas where its hard to find a proper grocery store, let alone a Doctor.

    One of my friends works as a Doctor in Yuma, Arizona. The greencard process for him stalls him for years and years to move to a more desirable area even if he has done his due of serving in rural areas for X amount of years. His process would start over again if the area is no longer medically underserved.

    And then there are nurses, who also make it to America from all over the world on H1B program. Now, if you've ever been to a Hospital, you would know that its not really the most pleasant job in the world. And there is a severe shortage of nurses in America. Even a 5 year old knows this. So by abolishing H1B program and employment based immigration program, you would get rid of the SLAVE nurses too, who work 12-hour shifts on jobs that American born RNA nurses dont accept.

    Such Doctors and nurses are a beacon of hope to 4 million Americans where healthcare is difficult to come by. If such Doctors are slaves, then I am proud of those slaves and their slave masters, and I would love to be either one of them any given day of the week.

    -Have a great weekend-



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    pictures Horses running through water horses running in water. Black Water Horses Running
  • Black Water Horses Running



  • knowDOL
    07-15 12:40 PM
    If you are that kind of person who was out of job and not got paid in bench, then go back to your country and don't go against law and get a bad name for all of us who are here legally on everyday for for last 7 -8 years and trying to get GC legally. There are many companies out there who want us in top positions. Just because of GC or EAD it is stalling. If you pay your attorny fee or H1B fee that is your status and do not attribute it to everyone. My company of 54 strength has 15-20 H1Bs and company runs on these individuals. Its been like that from 7 years. Companies hires people and concentrates on product because of the great billing rate H1B's get and because of the great work we do for clients, clients are ready to pay higher $ per hour. Give me your company name and we will make sure to destroy all these chota mota companies who make employees pay H1b fees and do not pay in bench. One fine day, it will anyway happen. In this country, no one can escape long not abiding law.

    Let us be honest. A lot of us who came through body shops had to pay lawyer fee or had to take a cut in pay. Many of us had to sit in the bench for a long time with out pay. At the end of the day, not all of us are the best and the brightest but we are ready to work harder than the average Joe. With or without us this country will go forward. We are here to get a greencard and to become part of the melting pot. Please admit it my friends. I fully understands why many Americans are against us. We simply take their job. Then we insult them. Then we say, if we go back the American economy will go to hell. The companies are here for cheap labor. The congressmen who support them are the biggest receivers of their contribution. That is the reality. Let us not forget that. :D





    dresses horses are unable to raise horses running in water. A Race Horse And Racing In
  • A Race Horse And Racing In



  • delax
    07-13 01:27 PM
    I like that splitting the overflow across EB2-EB3 idea. That does make it a lot more fair to a lot of people. Its not right that people with 2001 PD still dont have an approval (I have a 2006 PD, but have been here for ~8 years, so I know how frustrating it is to wait so long on temporary status)

    At the outset, I am not against EB3, but lets think about this for a moment. Any logic that we use to break up spillover between EB2 and EB3 can also easily be applied to EB1 and EB2. I'll repeat an earlier post of mine. "How can EB1 of 2008 get the GC immediately when EB2-I (in my case) has to wait for more than 4 years - clearly preference is at play here".

    Any split will artificially retrogress EB2 more than what it otherwise would have. Similarly one can always argue to artificially retrogress EB1 to give more visas to EB2 just because someone from EB2 is waiting for 4 years.
    Isnt that against the law. Any break up of spill over visas invalidates the category preference as per current law.

    Please also note that any unfavorable change to the EB1 category based on a hypothetical approval of an EB2/EB3 break up will invite the attention of Fortune 500 companies and prestigious research/educational institutions (who use EB1 the most) with all their political and financial resources at their disposal. That could put a halt to everything.

    Irrational passion calls for dispassionate rationality.



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    makeup Horses Running In Water. horses running in water. Two Golden Water Horses
  • Two Golden Water Horses



  • SunnySurya
    08-05 01:43 PM
    No body is saying that you have full rights to apply in EB2
    I am an EB3 2003. I think I did qualify for EB2, but the job position did not require me to be in that category, moreover EB2 & Eb3 were both current and various other factors were considered and they decided to apply in EB3.
    NOW: It was my bad that I got stuck in the stupid BEC. A fellow I know with lesser qualifications applied in EB3 in 2004, then changed jobs, applied in EB2 in 2004 and has a green card already.
    DO YOU MEAN TO SAY: THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DENY ME MY 2003 PD IF I APPLY IN EB2. FORGET THINKING ABOUT IT! Not that it is easy or I am doing it. As a matter of fact, I am not interested!.





    girlfriend White Camargue Horses Running horses running in water. Stock Photo: Two Water Horses
  • Stock Photo: Two Water Horses



  • gc28262
    03-24 04:01 PM
    Ofcourse I am unbias.

    I can't even begin to think how many people I know; cases I know from people who are from india.

    I'd say that it is less then 3% from people with other countries.

    As another poster rightly said that many of the issues happening is mainly to India because it takes so long to get the greencard and eventually everyone gets into these issues.

    Non indians don't face many issues because they get the greencard so fast; and hence they go through very little issues (generally). If other countires had to wait so long then everyone would also have similar types of issues.

    Since most of the forums are related to IT and Indians then if I ever broach on something a little negative or give different perspective then people look at my profile and see I was born in Pakistan and think there is some bias there.

    btw; I left when I was five years old and hardly knew any pakistanis/indians when I was growing up and for what it is worth my wife is Hindu.

    Thanks.
    I guess you are right. The long wait times for Indians should be one of the reason.
    The other one I think is, you typically deal with problematic cases. Simple ones will just pass through without much intervention from lawyers/experts like you.

    Also one has to take into account the number of H1B applicants from India. As majority of IT folks come from India there is higher probability that there will be more problematic cases from this larger sample.





    hairstyles the water horses running horses running in water. horses running in water. hair The horse trail works its way horses running
  • horses running in water. hair The horse trail works its way horses running



  • Humhongekamyab
    08-08 02:39 PM
    You MUST read them out loud

    1) That's not right ................................... Sum Ting Wong
    2) Are you harboring a fugitive?................. Hu Yu Hai Ding
    3) See me ASAP....................................... Kum Hia Nao
    4) Small Horse ........................................ Tai Ni Po Ni
    5) Did you go to the beach? ...................... Wai Yu So Tan
    6) I think you need a face lift .................... Chin Tu Fat
    7) It's very dark in here ............................Wai So Dim
    8) I thought you were on a diet ..................Wai Yu Mun Ching?
    9) This is a tow away zone .........................No Pah King
    10) Our meeting is scheduled for next week ..Wai Yu Kum Nao?
    11) Staying out of sight ..............................Lei Ying Lo
    12) He's cleaning his automobile ..................Wa Shing Ka
    13) Your body odor is offensive ....................Yu Stin Ki Pu

    :D


    :D One of the best.





    Macaca
    07-08 09:04 AM
    I have a .pdf file as to how the 485 files are processed right from the time we mail the packets until they r adjucticated..it is from ilw.com.

    Please post URL of this file. Thanks!





    Macaca
    12-20 08:12 AM
    A glance at year-end actions in Congress (http://www.mercurynews.com//ci_7761858?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com) Associated Press, 12/19/2007

    A look at actions in Congress on Wednesday:

    BUDGET BATTLE

    Congress sent President Bush a $70 billion bill to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The money is inside a $555 billion catchall spending bill that combines the war money with money for 14 Cabinet departments. Bush and his Senate GOP allies forced the Iraq money upon anti-war Democrats as the price for permitting the year-end budget deal to pass and be signed. The vote in the House was 272-142. The spending legislation affects virtually every part of the government other than the Defense Department's core programs.

    ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

    Congress sent President Bush legislation blocking the growth of the alternative minimum tax. The House voted 352-64 for a one-year fix of the tax, which was created to make sure very rich people did not totally avoid paying taxes. But since it was never adjusted for inflation, it affects a greater number of middle- and upper-middle-level income people every year. Without the fix, those subject to the tax would have risen from 4 million in 2006 to about 25 million in 2007, with the average levy of $2,000 a taxpayer. The main beneficiaries of the tax relief would be people in the $75,000 to $200,000 income level. Bush said he will sign the bill because it does not include tax increases or other new sources of revenue to pay for the $50 billion cost of the tax relief. The legislation will shield some 21 million taxpayers without a means to cover the cost to the Treasury.

    GUNS

    Congress approved legislation that would make it easier to flag prospective gun buyers who have documented medical problems. The legislation clarifies what mental health records should be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun dealers use to determine whether to sell a prospective buyer a firearm. It also allows the attorney general to penalize states beginning after three years if they do not meet compliance targets. The bill requires federal agencies to notify people flagged as mentally ill and disqualified from buying a gun and to notify people when or if they have been cleared. Propelling the long-sought legislation were the April 16 killings at Virginia Tech, when a gunman killed 32 students and himself using two weapons he had bought despite a documented history of mental illness.

    HEAT AID

    Congress acted to give extra home heating assistance to cash-strapped families. The government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance program would get roughly $409 million more in a year-end budget bill sent to Bush. The program provides heating and cooling subsidies for the poor. Millions of poor and elderly people on fixed incomes rely on heating assistance to help pay their heating bills.

    SCHIP

    Congress sent an extension of a popular health insurance program for children to Bush. Lawmakers supported a $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Bush vetoed two bills that would have provided the additional money but is expected to sign this version. The extension through March 2009 was part of legislation that also gave physicians a 0.5 percent rate increase when they treat the elderly and disabled in Medicare. Physicians had been scheduled to take a 10 percent cut. The reprieve for doctors will last until June 30. The bill also includes a moratorium on new regulations that would reduce Medicaid payments to schools.

    TOY SAFETY

    The House approved a bill that lawmakers hope will make children's toys safer and increase the powers of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Under the bill, anything more than a minute amount of lead would be banned in toys meant for children under 12. The bill also increases the agency's budget to as much as $100 million for the agency by 2011, gives $20 million to modernize the commission's testing lab and bans industry-sponsored travel for the commission. The bill would also ban the sale and export of recalled products, require tracking labels on children's products to aid in recalls and require mandatory third-party testing by certified laboratories. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

    CIA DESTROYED TAPES

    The CIA agreed to produce documents to Congress relating to the destruction of interrogation videotapes of two terror suspects. The CIA decision came after the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee threatened to subpoena two CIA officials to testify about the tapes.

    CONFIRMATIONS

    The Senate confirmed more than 30 of President Bush's appointments. They included Steven Murdock, the state demographer of Texas, as the new director of the Census Bureau, and Julie L. Myers as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Critics had questioned her qualifications to lead the government's second-largest law enforcement agency.



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