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  • nojoke
    12-27 06:24 AM
    Ofcourse its Pakistan's responsibility since we created them. But the question is, where do you go from here?
    There is about twenty to twenty five years worth of infrastructure and intellectual capital built in the unofficial 'non-state' militant/jihadi circles.
    So, its going to take time for this infrastructure to go away.

    The challenge for Pakistan is to dismantle this infrastructure. A hostile or unfriendly India doesn't help. Ironically, it makes reliance upon this infrastructure attractive.

    If pakistan is innocent, how about handing over dawood ibrahim? or a few other terrorist to India. If not to India, why not hand them over to international court? If they don't want to do this, then it is logical for us to conclude that the pak government is involved

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  • gc28262
    03-24 07:15 PM
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    The main reason that I can't get behind lifting of the country quota is exactly this reason. You have a lot of companies run by the same nationality who will only recruit their own people. The staffing companies don't advertise in Indonesia, Germany, Brazil, etc. They only go after their own people. The whole monopolization of visas was used to prevent this type of behaviour.

    .................................................. .................................................. ....
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    I don't think your view of Indian monopoly in IT is correct. It is a natural flow of human resources from countries which had plenty of it to USA which needed it.

    The reason for Indians/Chinese taking up majority of H1B visas is that there are lot of educated candidates to pick from highly populous countries like India and China.

    US never gave any preference to Indians or Chinese in H1B visas. The fact is India and China produced lot of graduates who were capable of doing IT work. So US had the necessity for skilled people, India and China had the supply of these people, naturally staffing companies came up to bank on this opportunity. It was a natural evolution, there was no bias towards Indians/Chinese. If you take any small country in the region, they didn't have enough qualified people so staffing companies didn't flourish in those countries.

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  • xyzgc
    12-27 01:29 AM
    great posts by alisa, gcisadawg and abcdgc. I don't agree with alisa but the posts are decent.

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  • somegchuh
    03-25 02:53 PM
    Ss it really "Rent Apartment vs Buy House" ?
    How about renting a home to provide something good to your family?

    With the home values declining I think it makes way more sense to rent the same house (at least in the area I live). If your mortgage payment is only $500 above apartment rent I would say buy. But if you are looking at paying double as mortgage I think its really inflated.

    I would like to read more about buying foreclosed properties. I hear there are some good deals out there :D

    When you sell, you need to pay 3% as commission to both the seller and buyer agent. You will break even as soon as the house appreciates 6% plus your closing costs, anything above that would be your profit.

    Now with the market going down, my guess as to when the house appreciates is as good as anybody else�s.

    As far as Rent vs Mortgage goes, I would go with owning a house and paying mortgage than being on rent, I just cannot live in an apartment anymore. Caring for aging parents is our duty and responsibility as much as providing a decent home to our children and giving them a life. If I can strike a balance and fulfill my duties to both, I am happy. Coming to think of it, sometimes I wonder why I did not buy the small house I am in a couple of years ago.


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  • malaGCPahije
    07-14 10:33 AM
    Sure EB3-I needs help, but if the help is in the form of taking numbers away from EB2 and giving them to EB3 just based on the length of wait, then I have my serious objections to this proposal. I have said openly that I will object to it - I have never seen a post that says plainly - Yes EB3-I is stuck for 7-8 years and therefore they want numbers from EB2 because EB2 has moved ahead by 2 years. The irony is that all earlier posts imply this and talk about this request for handover in a very general way (75/25 break up, recession, lawyer input, etc).

    Visa recapture, country cap elimination is where the solution lies. That is the REAL help that EB3-Retro wants. Any short term fix purely out of sympathy, empathy, humanity, kindness is not recogniszed by law.

    I know people will pile on for speaking plainly and in a matter of fact manner, but I am amazed at the innuendo, implications and lack of straight talk.


    please read my message you quoted. I wrote nothing in support of or aganst the letter. Nothing they (earlier posts) say is going to make the dates go back or forward. All the poor folks are trying to do is maybe vent out their frustration. What difference does this make to you? No action is going to be taken based on one letter. You are safe, please enjoy your current date status.

    I can see the writing on the wall about where IV would be once most of Eb2 get their GC. It would almost stop existing.

    You and other EB2 people dates are current. Enjoy your GC. Best of luck.

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  • GCOP
    07-14 10:30 AM
    I already mailed the Letter to Visa Section, DOS with a request to allocate some Visa Number to EB-3(India) to help to reduce the wait time. Did not mention about EB-2 or any other thing. Just a Request for EB-3 (India).


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  • Macaca
    02-15 10:37 AM
    First 2 paras from Justice Official Bought Vacation Home With Oil Lobbyist (, By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post Staff Writers, Thursday, February 15, 2007

    A senior Justice Department official who recently resigned her post bought a nearly $1 million vacation home with a lobbyist for ConocoPhillips months before approving consent decrees that would give the oil company more time to pay millions of dollars in fines and meet pollution-cleanup rules at some of its refineries.

    Sue Ellen Wooldridge, former assistant attorney general in charge of environment and natural resources, bought a $980,000 home on Kiawah Island, S.C., last March with ConocoPhillips lobbyist Don R. Duncan. A third owner of the house is J. Steven Griles, a former deputy interior secretary, who has been informed he is a target in the federal investigation of Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities.

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  • singhsa3
    08-05 09:46 AM
    I don't think there is any point in continuing this discussions. He is right in his own way. You are right in your own way.
    He is concerned about porting across the categories. What you mentioned is the valid point but the affected person will still be able to port with in the category.

    Not just EB3 to EB2 port but EB2 to EB2 as well. Consider you lose your present job and lose your entire GC process. When you find a new job(if any), you would want to port your old PD at your new employer when they file your fresh 140.

    So no one is immune, if you think you are, you are ignorant and do not know how complex a case can become.

    There are very few benefits that CIS provides for people who lose jobs and PD portability is one of them. enlighten yourself!


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  • unseenguy
    06-24 08:31 PM
    I completely agree with you.. I seriously dont understand what pride/ownership people feel by making 5% or best case 20% downpayment, Where the bank owns most of the house. It only truly yours when you have fully paid for it. To cite comparisons to our parents is plain foolish. Most of our parents bought their first homes by outright paying for it and having the home in their own name and not any BANK. Dont get me wrong, Not that i am pro renting and against home buying. I hope to have a bank financed home like everybody else in the near future. But i seriously would not feel any pride of ownership without actually owning it in the real sense. I fully own both my cars and feel proud about them :).

    Perfect. I agree. Infact I forced my landlord to have a clause that I could break the lease if I lost my job for 1 month additional rent, :)

    Also the apartment companies send your way lot of extras such as: garbage, water, in some cases parking, storage etc. I only pay electricity and everything else is free for me :)

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  • rsdang
    08-11 04:56 PM
    One day, in line at the company cafeteria, Joe says to Mike behind him, "My elbow hurts like hell. I guess I'd better see a doctor."

    "Listen, you don't have to spend that kind of money," Mike replies. "There's a diagnostic computer down at Wal-Mart. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what's wrong and what to do about it. It takes ten seconds and costs ten dollars . A lot cheaper than a doctor."

    So, Joe deposits a urine sample in a small jar and takes it to Wal-Mart.

    He deposits ten dollars, and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits.

    Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout:
    "You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and avoid heavy activity. It will improve in two weeks. Thank you for shopping @ Wal-Mart." That evening, while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Joe began wondering if the computer could be fooled.

    He mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and a sperm sample for good measure.

    Joe hurries back to Wal-Mart, eager to check the results. He deposits ten dollars, pours in his concoction, and awaits the results.

    The computer prints the following:

    1. Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. (Aisle 9)
    2. Your dog has ringworm. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo. (Aisle 7)
    3. Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab.
    4. Your wife is pregnant. Twins. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer.
    5. If you don't stop playing with yourself, your elbow will never get better!


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  • hpandey
    06-26 04:14 PM
    Have you accounted for the increase in rent (not rent controlled) every year? Mortgage on the other hand is fixed for 30 years!

    I agree.. a 1500$ rent might be a 3000$ rent 30 years from now .

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:31 PM
    Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit ( By Yoolim Lee and Ruth David | Bloomberg

    Tanda Srinivas was lounging in the yard of his two-room house in the southern Indian village of Mondrai shortly after noon on Oct. 28 when his wife, Shobha, burst out of the door covered in flames and screaming for help.

    The 30-year-old mother of two boys had poured 2 liters of kerosene on herself and lit a match. The couple had argued bitterly the day before over how they would repay multiple loans, including those from microlenders who had lent small sums to dozens of villagers, says Venkateshwarlu Masram, a doctor who called for the ambulance.

    Shobha, head of several groups of women borrowers, was being pressured to pay interest on her 12,000 rupee ($265) loan. Lenders also were demanding that she cover for the other women, even though the state had restricted microfinance activities two weeks earlier, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its February issue.

    When Srinivas, 35, tried to snuff out the flames with a blanket, his polyester clothes caught fire. Within three days, both parents were dead, leaving their sons orphans.

    Now, on this November morning, the boys� ailing 70-year-old grandfather and blind grandmother say they are caring for Aravind, 10, and Upender, 13, in the farming village where many men earn a living gathering palm extract to make alcoholic beverages.

    None of the boys� relatives can support them full time, says their 60-year-old grandmother, Saiamma, breaking into tears.

    India�s Microlending Hub

    The horrific scene in Mondrai, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city of Warangal, has played out in dozens of ways across Andhra Pradesh, India�s fifth-largest state by area and the site of about a third of the country�s $5.3 billion in microfinance loans as of Sept. 30.

    More than 70 people committed suicide in the state from March 1 to Nov. 19 to escape payments or end the agonies their debt had triggered, according to the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, a government agency that compiled the data on the microfinance-related deaths from police and press reports.

    Andhra Pradesh, where three-quarters of the 76 million people live in rural areas, suffered a total of 14,364 suicide cases in the first nine months of 2010, according to state police.

    A growing number of microfinance-related deaths spurred the state to clamp down on collection practices in mid-October, says Reddy Subrahmanyam, principal secretary for rural development.

    �Every life is important,� he says.

    Perverse Turn

    On Nov. 8, police arrested two managers of lender Share Microfin Ltd. on allegations of abetting another suicide, this one of a 22-year-old mother. Share Microfin didn�t respond to requests for comment on this story.

    As India struggles to provide decent education, health care and jobs to millions still locked in poverty, microlending -- the loaning of small sums to the world�s neediest people to help them earn a living -- has taken a perverse turn.

    Microcredit has become �Walmartized� by unrestrained selling of cheap products to the poor, says Malcolm Harper, chairman of ratings company Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd. in Gurgaon, India.

    �Selling debt is like selling drugs,� says Harper, 75, the author of more than 20 books on microfinance and other topics. �Selling debt to illiterate women in Andhra Pradesh, you�ve got to be a lot more responsible.�

    Opposite Effect

    K. Venkat Narayana, an economics professor at Kakatiya University in Warangal, has studied how microfinance lenders persuaded groups of women to borrow.

    �Microfinance was supposed to empower women,� he says. �Microfinance guys reversed the social and economic progress, and these women ended up becoming slaves.�

    India�s booming microlending industry is part of a global phenomenon that began as a charitable movement but now attracts private capital seeking growth and high returns.

    Banco Compartamos SA, a former nonprofit that�s now the largest lender to Mexico�s working poor, raised about $467 million in its 2007 initial public offering. The August IPO of SKS Microfinance Ltd., India�s biggest microlender, drew further attention to the industry.

    SKS began operating in 1998 as a nongovernmental organization led by Vikram Akula, 42, an Indian-American with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

    The company raised 16.3 billion rupees by selling 16.8 million shares at 985 rupees each. SKS shares peaked at 1,404.85 rupees on Sept. 15. As of Dec. 28, they�d fallen to 652.85 rupees.

    Andhra Pradesh Crisis

    On Oct. 15, the government of Andhra Pradesh imposed restrictions that bar microlenders� collection agents from visiting borrowers and required companies to get local authorities� approval for new loans. The rules have crippled lending and repayments. Loan collection levels in the state have dropped to less than 20 percent from 98 percent previously, according to an industry group.

    The upheaval in Andhra Pradesh is a long way from the vision of Muhammad Yunus.

    The former economics professor won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his pioneering work in Bangladesh providing small sums to entrepreneurs too poor to get bank loans.

    Yunus, 70, discovered more than three decades ago that when you lend money to women in poverty, they can begin to earn a living, and most of them will pay you back.

    Yunus started the Grameen Bank Project in 1976 to extend banking services to the poor. Since then, it has lent $9.87 billion and recovered $8.76 billion; 97 percent of its 8.33 million borrowers are female.

    �Wrong Direction�

    Yunus says he�s not against making a profit. But he denounces firms that seek windfalls and pervert the original intent of microfinance: helping the poor.

    The rule of thumb for a loan should be the cost of funds plus 10 percent, he says.

    �Commercialization is the wrong direction,� Yunus says, speaking in a telephone interview from Bangladesh�s capital of Dhaka. �An initial public offering is the triggering point for making a lot of money personally as well as for the company and shareholders.�

    David Gibbons, chairman of Cashpor Micro Credit, a nonprofit microlender to the poorest women in India�s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, says public, for-profit lenders face a conflict.

    �They have to decide between the interests of their customers and interests of their investors,� he says.


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  • diptam
    08-05 04:37 PM
    I was eligible for both EB2 and EB3 when my GC labor was filed - my employer filed it in EB3 because the queue is longer and i remain with them for longer duration. I had about 390 days of H clock left so arguing with that employer and finding another one was also not an option because for getting H extension beyond 6 yrs needs the GC labor to be more than 365 days old.

    Instead of getting emotional if we look at the point Rolling_Flood is trying to make, it makes perfect sense.

    I don't see why there are so many angered arguments...

    1. EB2/EB3 is decided by Job Profile - correct. Its always option to say NO if your employer is filing it in EB3. My previous company wanted to file my labor in EB3, I said NO and left them. Filed in EB2 with new employer.

    Its easy to be sympathetic with people whose employer filed them in EB3, but remember they always had option to say NO.

    2. If someone have EB3 priority date before other guy who filed EB2 from beginning, the porting EB3 to EB2 and getting ahead of EB2 guy is grossly incorrect. I can't believe USCIS lets this happen.

    If someones job profile was eligible for EB3 only when they filed and now fits in EB2, they should file fresh application based on EB2 job profile.

    Looking at previous trashing of thread opener, I am expecting lots of reds - so go ahead but that not going to change the truth.

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  • pete
    04-10 04:12 PM
    Its important to understand the root cause for the retrogression. Illegals dont have categories and categories in the EB GCs are there for a reason. It makes a world of a difference for somebody who is EB2 or EB3 if the person was from say.. Bangladesh. If EB2 he is all set if EB3 he will be languishing here. I am EB2 and am in trouble because of CONSULTANTS and yes I have a problem with that.

    Fighting between EB categories shows how shallow our debates can turn out to be! Rhimzim & all, do the illegals differentiate between meat packers, seamstresses, window cleaners etc.? Why waste time and energy?


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  • Macaca
    05-11 05:28 PM
    The 'Education' Mantra ( By Thomas Sowell | Investor's Business Daily

    One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.

    One of those words that many people seldom look behind is "education." But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.

    Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of American education, whether in the schools or in the colleges and universities, is closer to the baton twirling end of the spectrum than toward the nuclear physics end. Even reputable colleges are increasingly teaching things that students should have learned in high school.

    We don't have a backlog of serious students trying to take serious courses. If you look at the fields in which American students specialize in colleges and universities, those fields are heavily weighted toward the soft end of the spectrum.

    When it comes to postgraduate study in tough fields like math and science, you often find foreign students at American universities receiving more of such degrees than do Americans.

    A recent headline in the Chronicle of Higher Education said: "Master's in English: Will Mow Lawns." It featured a man with that degree who has gone into the landscaping business because there is no great demand for people with Master's degrees in English.

    Too many of the people coming out of even our most prestigious academic institutions graduate with neither the skills to be economically productive nor the intellectual development to make them discerning citizens and voters.

    Students can graduate from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, without ever learning anything about science, mathematics, economics or anything else that would make them either a productive contributor to the economy or an informed voter who can see through political rhetoric.

    On the contrary, people with such "education" are often more susceptible to demagoguery than the population at large. Nor is this a situation peculiar to America. In countries around the world, people with degrees in soft subjects have been sources of political unrest, instability and even mass violence.

    Nor is this a new phenomenon. A scholarly history of 19th century Prague referred to "the well-educated but underemployed" Czech young men who promoted ethnic polarization there-- a polarization that not only continued, but escalated, in the 20th century to produce bitter tragedies for both Czechs and Germans.

    In other central European countries, between the two World Wars a rising class of newly educated young people bitterly resented having to compete with better qualified Jews in the universities and with Jews already established in business and the professions. Anti-Semitic policies and violence were the result.

    It was much the same story in Asia, where successful minorities like the Chinese in Malaysia were resented by newly educated Malays without either the educational or business skills to compete with them. These Malaysians demanded-- and got-- heavily discriminatory laws and policies against the Chinese.

    Similar situations developed at various times in Nigeria, Romania, Sri Lanka, Hungary and India, among other places.

    Many Third World countries have turned out so many people with diplomas, but without meaningful skills, that "the educated unemployed" became a cliche among people who study such countries. This has not only become a personal problem for those individuals who have been educated, or half-educated, without acquiring any ability to fulfill their rising expectations, it has become a major economic and political problem for these countries.

    Such people have proven to be ideal targets for demagogues promoting polarization and strife. We in the United States are still in the early stages of that process. But you need only visit campuses where whole departments feature soft courses preaching a sense of victimhood and resentment, and see the consequences in racial and ethnic polarization on campus.

    There are too many other soft courses that allow students to spend years in college without becoming educated in any real sense.

    We don't need more government "investment" to produce more of such "education." Lofty words like "investment" should not blind us to the ugly reality of political porkbarrel spending.

    Tiger Mom: Here's how to reshape U.S. education ( By Amy Chua | USA Today
    The American Idea: An Open Letter To College Graduates ( By Carl Schramm | Forbes
    The Myth of American Exceptionalism ( By Richard Cohen | Washington Post
    The Role of Economics in an Imperfect World ( By EDWARD L. GLAESER | New York Times
    Where the Jobs Were Lost ( By CASEY B. MULLIGAN | New York Times
    No, We Are Not a Nation of Hamburger Flippers ( By Elizabeth MacDonald | Fox Business
    Multinationals Dump U.S. Workers for Foreign Labor ( By JAMES C. COOPER | The Fiscal Times
    California Economy Gets a Jolt From Tech Hiring ( By JIM CARLTON | Wall Street Journal

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  • punjabi
    08-05 02:00 PM
    A farmer walked into an attorney's office wanting to file for a divorce.
    The attorney asked, "May I help you?" The farmer said, "Yea, I want to get one of those day-vorces." The attorney said, "Well do you have any grounds?"
    The farmer said, "Yea, I got about 140 acres."
    The attorney said, No, you don't understand, do you have a case?"
    The farmer said, "No, I don't have a Case, but I have a John Deere."
    The attorney said, "No you don't understand, I mean do you have a rudge?"
    The farmer said, "Yea I got a grudge, that's where I park my John Deere."
    The attorney said, "No sir, I mean do you have a suit?"
    The farmer said, "Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays."
    The exasperated attorney said, "Well sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?"
    The farmer said, "No sir, we both get up about 4:30."
    Finally, the attorney says, "Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?"
    And the farmer says, "Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her!"


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  • Macaca
    12-30 04:19 PM
    But today, as the year ends, the netroots activists who adored Reid at the start of the new Congress have begun turning on him, musing out loud about encouraging senators to oust him as leader. They complained that Reid's Senate caved - allowing continued tax breaks for oil companies, approving a new attorney general who wouldn't call waterboarding torture, breaking the pay-as-you go promise by approving a tax break without a tax hike on the rich.

    Some liberal lawmakers believe the way to accomplish their goals is for Reid to put even more pressure on Republicans to break. Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Reid should do more to "highlight who's obstructing."

    "The one issue people have with Harry Reid, he's not embarrassing enough people," Frank said.

    Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate politics for The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan firm in Washington, said the problem for Democrats isn't that they haven't delivered much more than the Republicans.

    "It's that voters don't see a difference," Duffy said. "Voters are coming to the conclusion the parties are the same - not philosophically the same, but they conduct themselves in the same way."

    Trying to end a war

    Six weeks into the new Congress, as the promises of comity began to fade, Reid pulled a dramatic maneuver: He kept the Senate in session over Presidents Day weekend for a Saturday vote on Iraq.

    Nine Republicans failed to show up, including Nevada's John Ensign, who was back home playing golf with his son. The Republican whip, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, praised the absences, saying the senators were right to gum up a vote that his side saw as a stunt.

    The measure opposing Bush's troop surge failed to get 60 votes needed to advance. But it helped set the stage for a poisoned atmosphere that would dominate the Iraq debate for the year.

    The Senate conducted 34 votes on Iraq. Only once did a measure to bring troops home succeed. Bush vetoed it.

    Critics say Reid spent too much time on Iraq, that it became personal. He called it "Bush's war" and "the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of our country."

    By spring, as it became clear he could not find enough votes to override the president on Iraq votes, he embraced the party's left wing by putting his name on a bill to cut off troop funds.

    Vote after vote only hardened Republicans' resolve.

    Anti-war activists grew furious with Reid. All the while, the clock ticked down and other business went undone.

    "If you're going to criticize him, you can criticize him for allocating so much floor time to the debate when it was pretty clear it wasn't going to accomplish anything," Mann said. "And you can criticize him for his emotional investment."

    Could Reid really have stopped trying? Opinion polls show that more than two-thirds of Americans continue to oppose the war.

    The real question is whether Reid missed an opportunity to broker middle ground. As Republicans started speaking out against Bush's war policy in the summer months, Reid failed to entertain a more moderate bill - one without a withdrawal deadline - that could have peeled Republicans away from Bush.

    Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who faces a tough reelection in 2008, said she finds it "frustrating that those of us who were trying to find a bipartisan path forward on Iraq were unable to get votes on our proposals. I think there was an opportunity to change the course in Iraq, and to send a strong message to the president about the future direction, but that opportunity was lost."

    Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University who has written extensively on Congress, said leaders are judged by the choices they make. In his view, Reid made a mistake.

    "The criticism the Democrats have been facing is they weren't aggressive enough," Zelizer said. "I think the bigger failure was that he didn't get something more moderate through. I think it would have been a blow to the administration."

    By fall the mood in Congress shifted as news from Iraq improved. The moment had passed. Before Congress left for the holidays, lawmakers approved another war funding bill, with no strings attached.

    "Great leaders realize there are just moments, windows of opportunity," Zelizer said, "and I think he missed."

    Reid remains optimistic about his chances for securing Republican support in 2008. "We're going to continue putting the pedal to the metal," he said at his year-end news conference.

    But the Democrats and Reid are clearly trying to find their way under the new terms of the Iraq debate.


    The Senate chaplain, a retired Navy rear admiral, opens each day's business with a prayer. On the last Monday of the session, he called on God to remind the senators "that ultimately they will be judged by their productivity."

    The Senate had become gridlocked. Reid had threatened to do cartwheels down the aisle if it would help shake things loose.

    Democrats had accomplished plenty this year - raising the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, adopting the most sweeping ethics laws since Watergate, crafting the greatest college loan assistance program since the GI bill, increasing automotive fuel efficiency standards for the first time in 30 years and providing unprecedented oversight of the Bush administration, leading to the resignation of the beleaguered attorney general.

    Congress worked more days than in any session in years.

    But all that seemed overshadowed by what it couldn't do. Stop the war. Provide health care for working-class kids. Address global warming by rolling back oil companies' tax breaks. Start a renewable energy requirement. End the torture of war prisoners.

    Even passing the budget to keep the government running seemed dicey.

    "It's been a really lousy year," said Norman J. Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

    In this hyper-partisan environment, where Reid liked to say Republicans were conducting "filibusters on steroids," could another kind of majority leader have achieved better results?

    Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who was among those leading efforts to provide children's health insurance, said if not for Reid, the State Children's Health Care bill known as SCHIP wouldn't have progressed as far as it did.

    Dozens of Republicans crossed party lines to back the bill, which polls show was supported by 70 percent of Americans. Children's health care would have been paid for by increasing the tax on cigarettes. Bush vetoed the bill twice.

    Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said even if "God himself" were in the majority leader's job, it would not have been a match for Republican obstructionism. Mann sums up Reid this way: "Were Tom Daschle and George Mitchell sort of smoother, were they more effective with the Washington press? You betcha. Could they make a more compelling, favorable case? Yes. Would either of them operating in this environment have a much more productive record? No."

    By the office fireplace again

    People say running the Senate is like herding cats, with 100 Type-A personalities going in every direction. But watching the Senate feels more like being at a baseball game - so much drama happens between the big home runs and base hits, even when it looks like nothing is going on at all.

    The fire continues to burn strongly in Reid's office as snow covers the Capitol grounds. The workday is coming to a close. The Senate adjourns earlier than usual, without having taken a single roll-call vote. Christmas is almost here, and countless bills still needed to pass.

    Reid is not one for regrets, or for comparing himself to those who held the office before his arrival.

    "I can't be an Everett Dirksen, I don't have his long white hair, I don't have his voice. I can't be Mike Mansfield, I don't smoke a pipe," he says. "I just have to be who I am."

    Reid's home state has benefited substantially from his rise to the majority leader's job, as Nevada has enjoyed financial and political gains from being home to arguably the nation's top elected Democrat.

    But on the national stage Reid sees little more he can do when faced with Senate Republicans willing to stand beside Bush, even as they're "being marched over a cliff" for the next election.

    He recalls his first alone time with Bush, years ago. "He was so nice, 'I'll work with you, try to get along with Democrats.' That's Orwellian talk. Because everything he said to me personally was just the opposite ... This is not Harry Reid talking, this is history.

    "I try to be pleasant, he tries to be pleasant," Reid continued, "but there's an underlying tension there because he knows how I feel, that he's let down the American people by being a divider, not a uniter."

    He holds no hard feelings against Pelosi for setting an ambitious agenda. "Next year she will better understand the Senate than she did this year."

    In 2008 he has two legislative goals: "I would like to get us out of Iraq," he said. "I'd like to establish something to give Americans, Nevadans, the ability to go to a doctor when they're sick."

    And one day, when this job is done, "I wouldn't mind being manager of a baseball team."

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  • pmb76
    12-20 02:03 PM
    razis dude, I'm probably the most secular person you'll find on IV. Read my previous posts. However I have to disagree with you on this one and that too very strongly. Each of the places you mention Muslims are the Oppressors and not Oppressed.
    I completely support George Bush's doctrine of smokin' em out and ridding the world of Islamofascism. He is one of the best presidents this country has ever had. However he is misunderstood throughout the world. World over - jihadis and islamofascists hate Bush with a vengeance - which tells me only this - He must be doin' somethin' right. As long as we have more leaders like Bush we are in safe hands.

    We shall not tire, We shall not falter and We shall not fail - until Islamofascism is wiped out.
    Just my 2 cents.

    be it Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan Somalia,Darfur,Chechnya, Kashmir, Gujarat... everywhere muslims are killed for being muslims...noone goes to cuba,srilanka,north korea,zimbawe or whereever for watever reason...just imagine God forbid someone comes into your house, occupies it, kills your family, your brothers and sisters in front of you and kicks you out of your home and you are seeing no hope of justice... you wont stand outside your home sending flowers like munna bhai's gandhigiri.. trust me you will become a terrorist.

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:36 PM
    Free Trade, Drugs and India
    Attacking the means of funding pharmaceutical breakthroughs is a strange way to pursue global health. (
    Wall Street Journal Editorial

    This month protesters clad in white coats and "HIV Positive" breadboards gathered outside the EU-India summit in Brussels under a banner that read "Europe! Hands Off Our Medicine." Doctors Without Borders, which leads the "Hands Off" campaign, held similar demonstrations in Delhi, Nairobi, Bangkok and Jakarta.

    Their aim is to derail a free-trade deal that India and Europe have been negotiating for four years. Brussels says it hopes to have an agreement by early next year, and it predicts the pact would boost European investment in India by 27%. The talks have been held up by many of the familiar bugaboos: European agricultural tariffs, Indian levies on alcohol, and a provision that would make it easier for Indians to get temporary work visas in the EU.

    But the issue that most excites activists and dominates Indian headlines is that of intellectual property rights�specifically those of pharmaceutical companies. Today India is the world's leading producer of cheap generic drugs, supplying 80% of the medicines that groups like Doctors Without Borders administer in poor countries. The U.N. estimates that 93% of the anti-retrovirals going to Third World HIV patients were made in India.

    These drugs may be cheap to copy, but they cost billions to develop, and Indian law currently gives regulators broad scope to block drug-patent applications and allow knock-off production. Delhi has denied Indian patents for Novartis's cancer drug Glivec and Gilead's HIV treatment Tenofovir, among others.

    Europe is now gunning for a trade agreement that would ensure a period of exclusive access to pharmaceutical companies' research data. World Trade Organization rules allow India to grant its own drug makers licenses to replicate certain products even without the inventor's consent. But unless copycats can use pharmaceutical companies' original data to show that the drug is safe and effective, they'd have to conduct their own trials.

    So the question is how long data exclusivity would be protected in India under a free-trade deal. EU law protects most pharmaceutical patents for 20 years and secures companies' data exclusivity for 11 years. The EU doesn't expect India to impose European-style intellectual property rights overnight, but it has asked India to meet it part of the way.

    This has led to protests among Western activists that Europe wants to shut down India's generic-drug industry and drive up the price of HIV drugs in Africa. The U.N.'s special rapporteur on the Right to Health, Anand Grover, decided to chime in earlier this month, slamming the free-trade deal and warning that Europe's "demands are only meant to further line the pockets of multinational companies."

    Attacking drug makers' means of funding future breakthroughs seems a strange way to pursue global health. And while Indian officials might think they're doing the home team a favor by keeping it easy to rip off expensive medicines, they're doing nothing to incentivize domestic creators. The next blockbuster drug could well come from an Indian lab. Delhi could make that prospect all the more likely by defending the fruits of everyone's labors on the subcontinent.

    In 2010, Bollywood gets a lesson in math ( By Shilpa Jamkhandikar | Reuters
    India Citibank employee 'steals millions of dollars' ( BBC
    Looking back, looking ahead ( By
    Sudipto Mundle | Times of India

    05-17 07:20 AM
    You have no arguments that make sense. You are arguing that doing something illegal is a great thing to do. Not so. And yes, I do support the bill as it will weed out some fraudsters from amongst us, who give the H-1B program a very bad rep.
    You still have not told me why you are support the Durbin-Grassley bill and you are OK with consulting on a "full-time" basis. The Durbin-Grassley bill bans this.
    The present laws are more then enough to go after offenders. The law is not being enforced. What makes you think that if the Durbin-Grassley bill is passed, all abuse will stop? People who abuse the system will continue to do so. They will simply say that the job is "permanant, full-time" or whatever the bill requires the job definition to be and file for H1B. And the show will go on. I guess at that point you will then dance when someone else will propose another bill to restrict H1Bs to some other sector that includes you.

    02-12 08:57 PM
    On the ground does it solve any purpose ? India remains as prone for more attacks as it was 2 months or 2 years ago...
    Finally Pak agreed Mumbai terror attacks are partly planned on its soil. I hope they come back after few months and say ISI partly involved.