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  • Dandruff
    03-25 11:58 AM
    Heres what we did, the key is to find a lot/ house that will sell ASAP:

    a) Paid a little bit premium for a quickly selling house - in our case we paid extra for a lakefront lot.

    b) Paid a little bit less on House itself (new construction - so we selected a less expensive floorplan)

    c) combined House + Lot is still in the lower end of the subdivision range.

    d) you should aim for the cheapest house in the most expensive community/ subdivision you can afford - on the other side, never buy the house which is more expensive than others around it ... u want other houses to increase ur value and not the other way around.

    e) keep good paperwork for regular pest / termite treatments etc. just like it helps in selling the car

    f) pay a bit extra for extra insulation - even upgrade insulation for garage door

    If we have to sell the house in a rush, we have atleast done everything one could ... rest is umm beyond our hands with all this unpredictability :)

    best of luck! nesting instincts need to be nurtured imho! and is very human ...

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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 04:41 PM

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

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

    At the same time read about "Greater Middle East", "Greater Isreal" and "New world Order" , "Unipolar world" etc if you have time.

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  • Macaca
    05-09 05:48 PM
    Utah's Immigration Model (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703859304576304942483922996.html) Wall Street Journal Editorial

    If the states are meant to be laboratories of democracy, they have to get a chance to actually run their experiments. That's the story in Utah, where a new state immigration law is catching flak even before it goes into effect.

    In a Senate Judiciary hearing on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, which combines enforcement measures with a guest worker program, needs to be adjusted or face federal lawsuits. Pressed on whether the Administration planned to sue Utah, Mr. Holder said the Department of Justice "will look at the law, and if it is not changed to our satisfaction by 2013, we will take the necessary steps."

    That's a tad awkward for the Attorney General, since the Utah plan probably looks a lot like what the federal government will end up considering if immigration reform has any hope of passing. Last summer, the Administration pounced like election-year politicians on an Arizona law that enlisted local police to enforce federal immigration statutes. So what's a state to do?

    Passed by the state's GOP legislature and signed by Republican Governor Gary Herbert in March, Utah's plan is notable because it's the first in the country that would allow undocumented immigrants to get a permit and work legally, after paying a fine of up to $2500 and meeting other conditions. The program is part of a larger package that includes increased scrutiny of immigrants who break the law. The compromise allows the state to address the economy's demand for workers�thus reducing the incentive for illegal immigration�while satisfying voters who don't want to reward those who arrived illegally.

    Like Arizona, Utah is already fending off lawsuits from the left. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center sued to stop the portion of the law similar to the one in Arizona that enlists state and local police in the effort to identify illegal immigrants. In Utah's version, anyone who is arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor has to show proof of citizenship.

    Unlike measures that unite talk radio hosts and labor unions against "amnesty," the Utah law doesn't create a path to citizenship or have any effect on an immigrant's legal status. That model could work for other states looking for a bipartisan compromise. Republican legislators in Texas have introduced similar legislation for guest worker programs, and Nebraska lawmakers plan to travel to Utah to learn more about the new law.

    Critics of state immigration laws often maintain that those decisions are the province of the federal government. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the power "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization," and it's possible Utah might lose in court. But what are states to do when the federal government is unable to act on immigration? Utah's laws don't grant legal status to undocumented workers; they grant a work permit. Does the federal government have the power over such employment decisions?

    States are passing these laws because Congress has abdicated. Instead of ordering Utah to step back in line, or else, the Administration might consider what it can learn from Utah legislators who made a good faith effort to balance competing interests and solve a problem.

    Immigration: A better farm worker fix (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-visa-20110509,0,7562015.story) Los Angeles Times Editorial
    U.S. Warns Schools Against Checking Immigration Status (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/education/07immig.html) By KIRK SEMPLE | New York Times
    Is the Asian Century upon us? It depends (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/is-the-asian-century-upon-us-it-depends/article2011668/) By HARUHIKO KURODA | Globe and Mail Update
    Immigration North of the Border (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hazeen-ashby/immigration-north-of-the-_b_857441.html) By Hazeen Ashby | The Huffington Post
    Another project in trouble
    First the euro, now Schengen. Europe�s grandest integration projects seem to be suffering (http://www.economist.com/node/18618525)
    The Economist
    Smugglers Guide Illegal Immigrants With Cues via Cellphone (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/us/09coyotes.html) By MARC LACEY | New York Times
    As Barriers to Lawyers Persist, Immigrant Advocates Ponder Solutions (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/nyregion/barriers-to-lawyers-persist-for-immigrants.html) By SAM DOLNICK | New York Times
    Lawyers for Immigrants (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/opinion/l09immig.html) Letters | New York Times

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  • Macaca
    12-28 08:03 AM
    House Members Spent $20.3M on Mailings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122700903.html?hpid=sec-politics) By DENNIS CONRAD | Associated Press, Dec 28, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- U.S. House members spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents what's often the government equivalent of junk mail _ meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging.

    They sent nearly 116 million pieces of mail in all, many of them glossy productions filled with flattering photos and lists of the latest roads and bridges the lawmaker has brought home to the district, an Associated Press review of public records shows.

    Some offered advice on topics one would more commonly expect to see in a consumer-advice column.

    "Keep your car properly maintained" to improve mileage, suggested Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., in a newsletter on how to deal with rising energy prices.

    Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., offered tips on home improvements.

    And Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., who lost her primary race last year, sent out a taxpayer-funded newsletter a few months before the election that included this simple observation:

    "Convicted felons can vote," she said, if "your" prison sentence has been served, parole or probation completed and fines paid. While campaigning, McKinney, who is black, noted that blacks make up a disproportionately large share of the prison population, which she said dilutes their voting strength.

    A dozen House members spent more than $133,000 each to send 9.8 million pieces of mass mailings. Total cost? $1.8 million.

    Sometimes the lawmakers' taxpayer funded mailings topped what they paid for direct mail through their campaign funds.

    Of the 64 House members with at least $100,000 in taxpayer-funded mailing expenses _ and overwhelmingly for mass mailings _ 42 were Republicans and 22 were Democrats, the AP review found.

    In sharp contrast, 59 lawmakers in the 435-member House _ 35 Republicans and 24 Democrats _ spent nothing on mass mailings. They tended to be the more experienced House members, often with 14 or more years of service.

    Mass mailings cannot be blatantly political, but they still can have political benefits, said Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers' Union, which has condemned mass mailings.

    "A taxpayer-financed mailing doesn't have to say 're-elect me' to have an impact on voters," Sepp said. "A glossy newsletter splashed with the incumbent's achievements in Congress can build useful credentials a lawmaker can take with him to the ballot box. The franking privilege is one of the main cogs in Congress' PR machine."

    Franking, practiced since the early days of the republic, lets members of Congress send mail with just a signature where the postage would normally be affixed. Although the mailings are regulated by a congressional commission to guard against overt political appeals and cannot go out within 90 days of an election, they still sometimes take a dig at the opposition.

    In a June 2006 newsletter, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., noted that under the Republican majority, Congress had passed tax cuts that "benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families."

    Stark has been a regular among the biggest users of the congressional franking privilege. For 2006, his mass mailings alone cost $172,357, an amount large enough to rank him among the top congressional mailers. House documents reported his overall mailing costs to be about $37,000 less. The AP received no explanation for the apparent discrepancy from spokesmen for Stark, the House Administration Committee and House administration staff.

    Some lawmakers defend the newsletters as a vital way of communicating with constituents.

    "One of the biggest complaints my constituents had (with) my predecessor was that they never knew what was going on in Washington," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla. "They never had the opportunity to do surveys, etc. I promised I would communicate with them regularly."

    Brown-Waite is one of the biggest users of bulk mail, with 657,951 pieces at a cost of $129,428 last year. That surpassed the approximately $110,000 her campaign spent on direct mailings and related costs.

    One taxpayer-funded mailing featured a picture of her and the headline: "Medicare Prescription Drug Update: The Time to Act is Now." Another, entitled "Constituent Service Guide for the 5th District," included a survey and information about how to obtain U.S. flags, assistance from federal agencies and an appointment to a military academy.

    The House Democratic Caucus encourages members to use the mailings to communicate with constituents, spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said. She said it was a good way for congressmen to focus on an issue or, if survey questions are used, get a handle on what constituents are thinking.

    That argument doesn't persuade Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., who said he has never used the mailings in 13 years in Congress. "It's a waste of taxpayers' money," he said. "I don't believe in this self-promotion."

    LaHood argues that franking should be used only to answer constituent mail. He has repeatedly introduced bills to ban mass mailings and just as often the legislation dies in committee.

    For the House and Senate combined, the cost of taxpayer-paid mailings, including mass mailings, letters to individuals and groups of up to 500 people, was $34.3 million for fiscal year 2006, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. In 1988, before more restrictions were imposed on the use of mailings, the figure was more than three times larger, $113.3 million.

    The biggest senders in the AP analysis included freshmen in tight re-election fights and veterans who coasted to victory.

    Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., had the most pieces of mass mailings: 1,257,972. His mass mailings' cost of $171,286 was among the highest in the House, as was the overall cost of his franked mail, at $177,706.

    Murphy, who advised constituents to maintain cars, was one of the House leaders in sending out bulk mail, with 1,003,836 pieces. The price tag: $165,650.

    Among legislative leaders, the biggest spender was Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., who last fall became chairman of the House GOP Conference. He spent $133,053 to mail 844,336 pieces.

    Other leaders in the last Congress and the current one were not big users.

    The cost of postage is not the only expense for taxpayers. Printing and reproduction can add tens of thousands of dollars to a mailing's cost. The printing cost for one mailing from McCotter was $30,259.

    There is a practical limit on how much can be spent on mailings.

    Funding comes from a congressman's office budget, which ranges from $1.2 million to $1.4 million for payroll and other expenses. The more spent on mass mailings, the less money is available for such needs as staff, salaries and district offices.

    Senators can also send franked mail, but the amount for each senator is specific and generally based on the number of addresses in a senator's state. At no point may it exceed $50,000 a year for mass mailings. For fiscal year 2004, overall mail allocations ranged from $31,746 to $298,850.

    Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who mailed 906,788 pieces last year and won re-election with 60 percent of the vote, sees the mailings as helping him do his job.

    "Ours is a representative government, requiring an active dialogue between elected officials and those they serve," Stearns said in a statement.

    Mike Stokke, a political aide to recently resigned Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., when he was House speaker, said he would advise congressmen to send out mailings when they've fulfilled an important promise, such as getting money for a bridge in the district.


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  • GCOP
    07-13 09:36 AM
    Does IV want to change the format of the letter ? If so, modified letter from IV will be appreciated. I thank pani_6 and IV's effort to address the EB-3 situation. If necessary, IV can also arrange meeting with Department of State for discussion of EB-3 Visa allotment and delays. EB-3 situation is really dier. IV is requested to please arrange meeting with DOS.

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  • spicy_guy
    09-19 07:53 PM
    they are taking social security, medicare taxes. while we are not getting any benefit out of it. they must stop taking social. they are taking this taxes based on that they will give us permanent status. now they have delayed process near to impossible for EB-3.
    Intent of social security and medicare is to support social security benefits, but when they are not granting any of this benefit they should stop taking it from us or should make green card processing faster.
    they should clarify this situation since they are taking money from us.
    hetal shah

    You will reap the benefits when you retire. Not now


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  • perm2gc
    08-11 11:54 AM
    The following month, Dobbs featured ITT Industries, an engineering and manufacturing firm. One of the things he liked about ITT, he told readers, was that CEO Louis Giuliano "puts such a high premium on his employees, and their involvement in 'value creation.' A lot of CEOs view employees simply as fat to be cut in service to the bottom line or in pursuit of a better stock price. Louis is one CEO who knows better than that..." Is ITT on Dobbs' list of companies moving jobs overseas? By now, you know the answer.

    And in February of this year, Dobbs focused on energy company Pinnacle West. After touting the company's "rapid growth," he told readers, "The second reason I like Pinnacle West is its model corporate governance." He went on to ask CEO William Post: "Last year, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council awarded you the Outstanding Regional Contribution award, recognizing a lasting contribution to regional economic development efforts. How important is it to you, as a corporate leader, to contribute to your region's economic development?"

    Pinnacle West -- like Toro, Greenpoint, Boeing, Bank One, Washington Mutual, ITT Industries and Office Depot -- appears on Dobbs' list of companies that are "exporting America."

    Dobbs is careful in his televised comments for CNN not to attack individual companies directly by name, and he's never called for viewers to boycott companies that outsource. But by posting their names on a website titled "Exporting America," and by making on-air declarations like, "U.S. multi-nationals are shipping jobs for only one reason...cheaper labor costs," Dobbs leave little doubt about how he wants his attitude toward the companies to be perceived by viewers.

    Dobbs says the website was set up merely to fill a vacuum. In an email to Campaign Desk, he wrote: "We began compiling our list of companies outsourcing jobs overseas because the information was not available anywhere, and we wanted to know how widespread the practice is, and report it to our viewers. The Labor and Commerce departments, the Business Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have never kept records of jobs lost to outsourcing. Our list of corporations now exceeds 800, and grows daily."

    And he sees no contradiction in fingering outsourcers with one hand, while recommending the same companies as investment opportunities with the other: "[Y]ou seem to be suggesting that one cannot criticize corporate America without calling for its destruction," he told us. "Or because one believes a company to be well-managed that's its beyond criticism...Surely, you don't believe that your readers or my viewers are incapable of abhorring a business practice, and at the same time acknowledging the success of a corporation?" He makes a distinction, he said, between bad practices and those who practice them.

    But Dobbs' newsletter doesn't just "acknowledge" successful corporation. He goes further, painting his featured companies as good corporate citizens -- and encourages readers to invest in them partly on that basis -- without mentioning that they conduct business practices that, by his own admission, he "detests."

    Most of Dobbs's CNN viewers don't have access to the information in "Money Letter," his investment guide. So the larger public sees only one Lou Dobbs: the outspoken anti-outsourcing crusader. The other Lou Dobbs is available only for that $398 fee. And that's the Lou Dobbs who doesn't appear to be putting his money where his mouth is.

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  • abracadabra102
    07-14 02:11 PM
    "Should" has no place in this. That is your opinion. A lot of things should happen in my view, that does not mean they are the law. It would be rather presumptous of us to tell the US legislators or Gov't how things "should" be.

    The laws are made the way they are for a reason, that is what US lawmakers consider to be in the best interest of their country. As for the spillover question, what is clear is that the real shaft was on Eb2I for the past 2 yrs, when all the spillover was erroneously going to EB3ROW. Eb3I was nor is in contention for those numbers. Sadly for EB3I, the country is oversubscribed and that too in a lesser priority category.

    Write this letter if you must, but it will cause the EB3 community to lose credibility with a lot of people, including the executive branch. They do not respond well to illogical letters and those that second guess their right to set the laws as they wish. It will turn out to be a massive distraction and turn into a joke.

    The focus of the EB3 community should be squarely on visa recapture. Technically that will help EB3I the most. Those affected most stand to gain the most as well. Failing this, I am not sure anything you guys do will make an iota of difference.

    Nice post alterego. Some people never respond to logic and reasoning. They are intent on shooting themselves in the foot no matter what everyone says.


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  • NKR
    09-26 09:34 AM
    Hello there,
    highly skilled immigrants have a buying power

    Yes, that is why they have allowed you to keep renewing your H1s and/or EADs so that you can keep buying. They will not give you GC soon

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  • Marphad
    12-17 01:09 PM
    This is exactly I hate. To divert focus of terrorism to Hindu group, Muslim leader comes out - WOW!

    Sounds like LeT informed Hindu group in advance that they are going to attack so as a by-product they can kill Karkare. Ha ha ha.

    Times Of India Headline: Antulay raises doubts over Karkare's killing


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  • NKR
    09-26 09:34 AM
    Hello there,
    highly skilled immigrants have a buying power

    Yes, that is why they have allowed you to keep renewing your H1s and/or EADs so that you can keep buying. They will not give you GC soon

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  • Canadianindian
    09-30 04:42 PM
    I like Obama's opinion and his enthusiam. I would support him financially and in fact campaign and vote for him.

    However, I am not sure if he understand the plight of Legal immigrants who have suffered for years with no relief in sight. We are law abiding people, but have to suffer tremendously. I am not sure if Obama is aware of our plight.

    I am afraid if Obama wins the election, our chances of getting the GC will diminish as the CIR will not get his support to benefit the EB immigrants.


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  • mariner5555
    03-26 02:07 PM
    So my view is that inflation is a bigger problem that Ben B does not want to tackle in the near future(3-4 months). Well in times of inflation your savings/investment is better in real-estate than anything else. But definitely NOT cash.

    So although we might be near the bottom of real estate market, we can never guesstimate the bottom until it has passed. My advice is, negotiate hard(buyers market) and get into a deal now. As a safety net, you can ask for a long escrow(around 180 days). That way you can backout of the deal if things head south. You've only lost the deposit(subject to arbitration at least in California).

    Someone pointed out that Visa Status is a smaller issue, the big issue is if you can hold onto your investment for atleast 5 years, you are golden.
    5 years is too less (you have to hold it for around 10 yrs minimum). 2 years the prices may/will fall. 2 years it would be steady and maybe start increasing slowly after that. so if you buy a house (depends on area ....but broadly) ..a 100K investment in RE (And if we take the best case scenario) after 5 years would be worth 80, 000. if you take inflation in to account.
    in the end it is supply and demand -- supply is huge. where is the demand going to come from ?? immigration is tight and in the fast moving life -- people have fewer and fewer kids. if u want to be safe - cash is good (atleast principal is safe if you get around 4 percent return) ..it is best to have diversified portfolio. many of my friends have put everything in RE and are worried now

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  • xyzgc
    12-25 04:30 PM
    We suffer due to the unfairness of a system that hinges upon the place of your birth! We demand that there be no quotas based on "country of birth" and that we ask for equitable treatment.
    Singling someone out due to his/her "national origin" should be something we backlogged EB2/3 I folks should understand more than others. And yet if someone from Pakistan gets a green card - we gang up on him and are outraged that someone from a terrorist country got it before us!!!! Does that mean we would be ok as long as he got it after us?

    I apologize for singling out Talash. I just got frustrated with the fact that you can come from a small, war-mongering terrorist country and get your gc in a year's time, gloat over it, while our tax money of several years finds its way intothe coffers of the very same nation and we wait patiently for several years to see the green.
    It was misdirected anger and I stand corrected for singling out some one like this but it doesn't make my point completely invalid either.

    I got plenty of red dots after my mere mention of the stupidity of ganging up on the fella... red dots are ok... it was the messages that came along with that were offensive - traitor , paki pork, etc - I just deleted my posts after that and stopped commenting on that particular thread.

    I never hurled insults at others and never intended to - you should see the offline messages people left me and you will be equally surprised educated people can use such a horrible language! I'm quite sure several others didn't do that as well. Most folks have been logical and consistent in their posts.
    I gave reds because I got reds - I didn't insult anyone at all. And I'm sure there are many others like me, who didn't participate in this dirty name calling but posted their views openly.

    There is nothing wrong with discussing the history of India and Pakistan, nothing woring in discussing organized vs. unorganized religion, nothing wrong with pointing out the the flaws in Islam or any other religion - The problem is that such discussions always end up with insults hurled at each other. While we may start with the noble intention of having a civil discussion about these issues - every thread like this ends up with offensive remarks that drives people away. The simple question then becomes - is it worth it? Is this the place to do it? Would such a thread be allowed to continue on Ron Gotcher's website? I hope the moderators of this site realize that inaction on their part seems like they condone this type of behavior.

    Why are you "singling" out this particular thread?

    Haven't you seen enough bickering, shouting, name calling on other threads, which are supposedly, solely focused on addressing immigration issues.
    How many threads have you seen not ending up in flaming at each others? Nearly, in every thread that is related to immigration, people jump at each others throats. Otherwise, there are threads which post useless visa bulletin predictions (I've done it myself).
    And what have you done to stop it, may I ask?:(

    All the red dots coming my way are more than welcome... just a small request about the insults .... please be brave enough to post them publicy!
    So let us now go back to solving all the controversial theological, anthropological and geopolitical issues. Let us continue to demand for fairness and an immigration system blind to our country of birth - but make sure we point out other people's national origin... no wonder the most anti-immigration people are generally the most recent immigrants.



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  • senthil1
    12-20 04:22 PM
    Everybody are blaming Bush for his failure in Iraq and Economy. But Bush had a big acheivement in his period. After 9/11 he successfully prevented Terrorist attacks. That was most important acheivement and that was overshadowed by other failures.

    Yes, everybody, all senators, wanted to teach these terrorists a lesson after 9/11.
    Afghan war is good and Iraq war is bad. Why, because Iraqis didn't leave WMDs a.k.a nukes behind.
    (A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon that can kill large numbers of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general. The term is often used to cover several weapon types, including nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC), and radiological weapons)

    Now, Iraq war went bad, economy went bad (due to main street scamming the banks) and suddenly its all the fault of Mr. Bush.

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  • somegchuh
    03-25 12:59 PM
    I completely agree that buying a house is a long term move. But I disagree with some of the points:

    1. Does rent always go up? No, my rent did not go up at all during the real estate boom as the number of ppl renting was low. Recently my rent has gone up only $75 pm. (love rent control!!!) So in 5 years, my monthly rent has gone up a total of $125 per month
    2. I hear about tax rebate for homeowners. But what about property tax?
    3. What about mortgage insurance payments?

    It is a misconception that 5-10 years is the cycle for real estate.

    Here's how in a sane real estate market the cycle should work:

    No population influx in your area or there is no exodus from your area:
    Your real estate ownership should be 25 years because that's when the next generation is ready to buy houses.

    However, in places like SF Bay Area/new York/Boston where there is continuous influx of young working ppl this cycle can be reduced to 15-20 years.

    Over the last few years, nobody thought of longevity required to make money in RE. Now that it is tanking ppl are talking about 5-10 years. Unless you are buying in a booming place, your ownership has to be 15+ years to turn a real profit.

    This is purely the financial aspect of ownership. If you have a family I think its really nice to have a house but you don't have to really take on the liability. You can rent the same house for much less. But if you are clear in your mind that no matter what I am going to live in XYZ town/city for the next 20 years, go for it.

    As a sidenote for Indians. We all have either aging or soon to start aging parents. The way I see it, caring for aging parents is a social debt that we must pay back. This will need me to go back to India. Therefore, if you feel you need to care for your parents, don't commit to a house.

    Buying a house is a long term move. Not a short term. The payment for house will remain (pretty much) the same for 30 years! Rental prices will go up every year. And after 30 years of payments, the house will be all yours.

    You're also neglecting the tax savings. There'll be appx. $900 per month in tax saving (assuming 25% tax bracket).

    Unless you can think and plan 5~10 years ahead (at least), real estate is not for you.


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  • Macaca
    05-29 08:22 PM
    The Newest Lobbying Tool: Underwear (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/28/AR2007052801091.html) By Cindy Skrzycki (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/cindy+skrzycki/), Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    It was inevitable. In the Internet age, interest groups seeking influence in Washington are joining presidential candidates in discovering a new electronic tool to press their agenda: YouTube.

    "Send your underwear to the undersecretary'' urges the actress in the Competitive Enterprise Institute's stinging 66-second anti-regulatory video posted on YouTube, a free video-sharing site that is a subsidiary of Google. The video blames a 2001 Energy Department rule for an energy-efficiency standard that it says has made new models of washing machines more expensive while getting laundry less clean.

    The underwear video illustrates what other advocacy groups are finding out: YouTube is a cheap, creative way to get a message to a potentially vast audience. This slow migration is in addition to more traditional lobbying approaches, such as direct mail, Web sites and scripted phone calls to federal officials.

    "This is the next step,'' said Missi Tessier, a principal with the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm. She said her company is working on a YouTube piece pushing for more federal funding for basic research for one client, the Science Coalition, a group of research universities. "We are always trying to find ways to get our message out.''

    Concerned Families for ATV Safety, which wants to keep children off all-terrain vehicles, turned to YouTube to lobby for more federal oversight at the agency and congressional level. One of the parents produced the video and posted it May 18.

    "We decided to put it on to raise awareness about how dangerous the machines are,'' said Carolyn Anderson of Brockton, Mass., who lost a son in an ATV accident and is a co-founder of the group.

    Some of the presidential candidates already have calculated that YouTube postings will reach the same younger audience that regularly visits social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. A few federal agencies have taken the plunge, too.

    Officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it expects its YouTube messages to be ridiculed, laughed at, remade and spoofed. And they are. Its anti-drug message is also reaching the right demographic.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission realizes that YouTube would be a great way to broadcast product recall and safety messages, though it has not produced a video for it.

    "There are a tremendous amount of people who use that Web site,'' said Scott Wolfson, an agency spokesman. "But we worried about the integrity of the message being changed by users.''

    The YouTube audience hardly seems like a demographic that would be interested in washing-machine efficiency. Still, the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposes energy-saving fluorescent bulbs and increasing the gas mileage of cars and trucks, has 43 videos on the site. Many of them are snippets of speeches and testimony with few user "hits."

    And then there's the underwear video.

    "We figured we would try a very fast, inexpensive campaign that would go viral," said Sam Kazman, general counsel at the CEI and head of its Death by Regulation project. The video went up May 16 and had 1,306 hits in the first week, a respectable showing, especially considering the subject matter.

    Kazman said the campaign cost virtually nothing. He wrote the script and one employee did the acting and another filmed it.

    The CEI Web site links to the video and to a June Consumer Reports magazine article that rated top- and front-loading washing machines for energy efficiency and performance. The magazine found that since the Energy Department issued an efficiency rule in 2001, the performance of various machines has varied widely.

    "Not so long ago, you could count on most washers to get your clothes very clean," the article says. "Not anymore. Our latest tests found huge performance differences among machines. Some left our stain-soaked swatches nearly as dirty as they were before washing. For best results, you'll have to spend $900 or more.''

    Kazman, who said he owns a 21-year-old Whirlpool washing machine, took this as confirmation that predictions his group made in 2001, that the rule would wreck a "low-priced, dependable home appliance," have come true.

    The manufacturers of home appliances, energy-efficiency groups and regulators who are being mocked in the video disagree.

    Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports, said the underwear campaign takes the ratings out of context. "We support energy standards for washing machines,'' she said. "There are alternatives that will wash as well as older machines. They cost more to buy but not to operate."

    "I think it's obnoxious; I don't think this dog barks,'' said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project in Boston, a coalition of industry, consumer, environmental and state interests.

    DeLaski, who was involved in the negotiations that led to the 2001 rule, said it was expected at the time that prices would go up but that consumers would save on utility bills.

    "That's a regulation working pretty damn well," he said, adding that consumers can expect to save $80 annually on utility bills with the new models.

    Michael McCabe, a senior engineer at the Energy Department, said that nine out of 10 models Consumer Reports tested are in the price range the department predicted when it issued the rule, an extra $250.

    On the underwear front, Kazman said he sent his own (clean) underwear to the Energy Department. The department said the mailbox of Undersecretary Dennis R. Spurgeon is still empty.

    Kazman blamed the late delivery on another government policy, which subjects packages to irradiation.

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  • GCapplicant
    09-26 09:52 AM
    It's really too early to pass judgements What will happen if he comes?
    It's sheer poilitics .Immigration discussion is a hot importat topic before election.They can't take chances by supporting this,They have to consider their members first.DEMS major leap after 10 years break.It is going to be good for everyone.

    After election is the main chapter.DOL has already agreed they have wasted visas as per OH Law breaking news recently.

    Be positive that 2009 will help us all.This negative statement will misdirect our thought.We have our EAD ,Atleast thanks for the Fiasco,we filed out 485.

    It's only the visa numbers...if not 1 year,it will be on the road by two years.Cheer up...I myself have negative feelings what will happen to my family future here.I just talk to myself,Whether I have to apply for Canadian PR for back up.It sure does kill our minds.

    Cheer up...We all will be safe by 2009.It will move faster.

    EB3 I 2004 Jul.

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  • aadimanav
    07-13 11:45 PM
    Actually Version 2 is the latest draft:

    Excellent letter. - I support even I am EB2.

    One should not point other category and ask for the right.

    03-26 08:49 PM
    Thank you UN for wonderful explanation. You hit the nail to the point. Usually USCIS sends these work location queries at the time of 140 processing. I am surprised we are seeing these at I-485 stage. Is there any recent memo related to this by USCIS that you know of?

    If you go really far back; california service center when they were adjudicating 140's would the odd time deny a 140 because they didn't believe the intent of joining the company if a person was working in different location (when baltimore case came out; it helped in overturning these types of denials and they stopped doing it).

    Now; nebraska service center the odd time did question the intent at the 140 level and also at the 485 level. I haven't seen it much in last three years. However; the ones I did see (they were all approved; thanks to baltimore decision) were for companies which had filed labors in iowa. I believe that this was also one of the catalysts in looking at iowa companies of what is happening today.

    04-08 12:30 PM
    Any one from MASS state. Particulary near Peabody, Salem, Beverly those areas. Any ideas of house pricing there...?

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