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  • Macaca
    05-30 05:31 PM
    In China, Crime Is Kept Quiet, Except on TV
    The country remains safe by Western standards, but crime is more common and data are scarce (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304520804576349181022278452.html)
    By JAMES T. AREDDY | Wall Street Journal

    Last June, hours after her students went home, Sunny Shi, the principal at a kindergarten in Shanghai's Pudong district, was bludgeoned to death in her office. The suspect was another school employee.

    Officially, it was as if the murder never happened. Not a word was reported publicly by Shanghai police or local media. As talk circulated among parents, the school's administrators offered trauma counseling but requested their silence. "Now the case is under police investigation," the chief administrator said by email, and "we regret that we cannot provide any details."

    The treatment of this case was not unusual. All across China, authorities are thought to hush up episodes like Ms. Shi's killing, which explains in large part why no one knows how much crime occurs in the world's most populous nation. But few doubt that crime is increasing as economic growth divides rich from poor and China permits more personal mobility.

    "In the era of Mao, China was known as a virtually crime-free society," says Steven F. Messner, a University of Albany sociology professor who studies criminality. "To get rich is glorious" is the philosophy today, he added, "but there would be a darker side in terms of crime."

    China's national crime statistics show a sharp escalation in cases over the past decade, led in particular by non-violent larceny, like bicycle theft and purse snatching. But, as in the U.S., the official numbers also point to steep declines in violent crime, with the murder rate dropping by half between 2000 and 2009.

    Experts consider China's crime statistics both problematic and politicized. They also generally agree that the country remains safe by Western standards. Dark streets don't imply danger here.

    Evidence abounds, however, that the Communist Party leadership's ideal of a "harmonious society" remains a target, not the reality. In China's growing cities, aluminum bars over windows and doors make most apartments resemble jails. Homeowners are snapping up security devices like cameras and alarms.

    Anxious about kidnapping, China's newly wealthy often drive bullet-proof Land Rovers and hire kung fu masters from Shaolin Temple as security agents.

    Television contributes a fear factor with real-crime shows modeled on "America's Most Wanted" and "Cops." China Central Television says its law-and-order channel grabs more viewers than its sports stations. Every day, CCTV's one-hour documentary "Legal Report" follows detectives as they crack sensational abduction, extortion and robbery cases.

    Its coverage of a spate of apparently random attacks on seven women this year in Hebei province, for instance, featured the nighttime capture of 23-year-old Zhang Yunshuai. His foldable knife decorated with a butterfly was shown as evidence. He was led to a subsequent interview wearing a reflective orange prison vest and cuffed at the wrists and ankles, where he tilted his shaved head and muttered, "because women break my heart."

    Shorter installments drew on security cameras that captured a thief shielding his pilfering hand beneath a menu in a crowded Beijing restaurant and thugs casing hotel lobbies for handbags.

    On these true-life crime shows, "the man" consistently finds his perp. A popular notion holds that the censors permit these shows about China's criminal underworld because they allow the leadership to demonstrate how the pervasive surveillance of the government equates to swift justice.

    Canadian Debra O'Brien got an up-close look at China's criminal justice system after her 22-year-old daughter Diana was stabbed to death three years ago in Shanghai, a bombshell case just weeks before the start of the 2008 Olympics. Authorities quickly won a confession from Chen Jun, a penniless 18-year-old migrant from rural Anhui province. Mr. Chen admitted he struggled with the aspiring model during his bungled attempt to burgle her apartment, located steps from a tea shop that recently fired him.

    Ms. O'Brien left impressed. She received extensive briefings by senior police and personal copies of forensic photos. The judge even sought her opinion about a death sentence for Mr. Chen. She had a face-to-face with the apologetic killer.

    "It was all shocking and horrific, but everything was done really respectfully and transparently," Ms. O'Brien said by telephone. "You don't feel there is a lot of ego going on. People are doing their jobs."

    But the public wasn't offered many details. Ms. O'Brien herself admits she isn't sure of what happened to Mr. Chen but believes he became eligible for release two months ago. Mr. Chen's lawyer says he is serving life.

    Pi Yijun, a professor of criminal justice at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, says that he sees crime rising and getting more violent, which he attributes to anger and frustration among society's have-nots. "The accepted mindset seems, 'fists are more powerful than reason,'" he said.

    But in a rare 2004 survey of crime victimization, centered on the northern city Tianjin, the University of Albany's Mr. Messner found that few people were touched personally by crimes worse than a stolen bicycle. He credits traditional features of Chinese society. "You still have a much more communitarian orientation than the extreme individualism you see in the U.S.," he said.

    China Clamps Down in Bid to Halt Protests in Inner Mongolia (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576353353518093630.html) By BRIAN SPEGELE | Wall Street Journal
    China tries to avert Inner Mongolia protests (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-mongolia-protests-20110530,0,3895402.story) By Barbara Demick | Los Angeles Times
    The China Story Darkens (http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3223&Itemid=422) By Philip Bowring | Asia Sentinel
    Once Again, U.S. Finds China Isn�t Manipulating Its Currency (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/28/business/global/28currency.html) By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM | The New York Times

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  • unitednations
    03-25 02:54 PM
    I heard from the grapevine that UNITEDNATIONS will be the next USCIS chief - so folks better behave with him or he wil report ya all :D :D :D :D

    My first order is greencards for everyone then next time people will see me would be at my funeral after the anti immigrants knocked me and obama off.:D

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  • abracadabra102
    08-06 05:00 PM
    Stroustrup C++ 'interview'

    On the 1st of January, 1998, Bjarne Stroustrup gave an interview to the IEEE's Computer magazine. Naturally, the editors thought he would be giving a retrospective view of seven years of object-oriented design, using the language he created. By the end of the interview, the interviewer got more than he had bargained for and, subsequently, the editor decided to suppress its contents, 'for the good of the industry' but, as with many of these things, there was a leak. Here is a complete transcript of what was was said, unedited, and unrehearsed, so it isn't as neat as planned interviews. You will find it interesting...

    Interviewer: Well, it's been a few years since you changed the world of software design, how does it feel, looking back?

    Stroustrup: Actually, I was thinking about those days, just before you arrived. Do you remember? Everyone was writing 'C' and, the trouble was, they were pretty damn good at it. Universities got pretty good at teaching it, too. They were turning out competent - I stress the word 'competent' - graduates at a phenomenal rate. That's what caused the problem.

    Interviewer: Problem?

    Stroustrup: Yes, problem. Remember when everyone wrote Cobol?

    Interviewer: Of course, I did too

    Stroustrup: Well, in the beginning, these guys were like demi-gods. Their salaries were high, and they were treated like royalty.

    Interviewer: Those were the days, eh?

    Stroustrup: Right. So what happened? IBM got sick of it, and invested millions in training programmers, till they were a dime a dozen.

    Interviewer: That's why I got out. Salaries dropped within a year, to the point where being a journalist actually paid better.

    Stroustrup: Exactly. Well, the same happened with 'C' programmers.

    Interviewer: I see, but what's the point?

    Stroustrup: Well, one day, when I was sitting in my office, I thought of this little scheme, which would redress the balance a little. I thought 'I wonder what would happen, if there were a language so complicated, so difficult to learn, that nobody would ever be able to swamp the market with programmers? Actually, I got some of the ideas from X10, you know, X windows. That was such a bitch of a graphics system, that it only just ran on those Sun 3/60 things. They had all the ingredients for what I wanted. A really ridiculously complex syntax, obscure functions, and pseudo-OO structure. Even now, nobody writes raw X-windows code. Motif is the only way to go if you want to retain your sanity.

    Interviewer: You're kidding...?

    Stroustrup: Not a bit of it. In fact, there was another problem. Unix was written in 'C', which meant that any 'C' programmer could very easily become a systems programmer. Remember what a mainframe systems programmer used to earn?

    Interviewer: You bet I do, that's what I used to do.

    Stroustrup: OK, so this new language had to divorce itself from Unix, by hiding all the system calls that bound the two together so nicely. This would enable guys who only knew about DOS to earn a decent living too.

    Interviewer: I don't believe you said that...

    Stroustrup: Well, it's been long enough, now, and I believe most people have figured out for themselves that C++ is a waste of time but, I must say, it's taken them a lot longer than I thought it would.

    Interviewer: So how exactly did you do it?

    Stroustrup: It was only supposed to be a joke, I never thought people would take the book seriously. Anyone with half a brain can see that object-oriented programming is counter-intuitive, illogical and inefficient.

    Interviewer: What?

    Stroustrup: And as for 're-useable code' - when did you ever hear of a company re-using its code?

    Interviewer: Well, never, actually, but...

    Stroustrup: There you are then. Mind you, a few tried, in the early days. There was this Oregon company - Mentor Graphics, I think they were called - really caught a cold trying to rewrite everything in C++ in about '90 or '91. I felt sorry for them really, but I thought people would learn from their mistakes.

    Interviewer: Obviously, they didn't?

    Stroustrup: Not in the slightest. Trouble is, most companies hush-up all their major blunders, and explaining a $30 million loss to the shareholders would have been difficult. Give them their due, though, they made it work in the end.

    Interviewer: They did? Well, there you are then, it proves O-O works.

    Stroustrup: Well, almost. The executable was so huge, it took five minutes to load, on an HP workstation, with 128MB of RAM. Then it ran like treacle. Actually, I thought this would be a major stumbling-block, and I'd get found out within a week, but nobody cared. Sun and HP were only too glad to sell enormously powerful boxes, with huge resources just to run trivial programs. You know, when we had our first C++ compiler, at AT&T, I compiled 'Hello World', and couldn't believe the size of the executable. 2.1MB

    Interviewer: What? Well, compilers have come a long way, since then.

    Stroustrup: They have? Try it on the latest version of g++ - you won't get much change out of half a megabyte. Also, there are several quite recent examples for you, from all over the world. British Telecom had a major disaster on their hands but, luckily, managed to scrap the whole thing and start again. They were luckier than Australian Telecom. Now I hear that Siemens is building a dinosaur, and getting more and more worried as the size of the hardware gets bigger, to accommodate the executables. Isn't multiple inheritance a joy?

    Interviewer: Yes, but C++ is basically a sound language.

    Stroustrup: You really believe that, don't you? Have you ever sat down and worked on a C++ project? Here's what happens: First, I've put in enough pitfalls to make sure that only the most trivial projects will work first time. Take operator overloading. At the end of the project, almost every module has it, usually, because guys feel they really should do it, as it was in their training course. The same operator then means something totally different in every module. Try pulling that lot together, when you have a hundred or so modules. And as for data hiding. God, I sometimes can't help laughing when I hear about the problems companies have making their modules talk to each other. I think the word 'synergistic' was specially invented to twist the knife in a project manager's ribs.

    Interviewer: I have to say, I'm beginning to be quite appalled at all this. You say you did it to raise programmers' salaries? That's obscene.

    Stroustrup: Not really. Everyone has a choice. I didn't expect the thing to get so much out of hand. Anyway, I basically succeeded. C++ is dying off now, but programmers still get high salaries - especially those poor devils who have to maintain all this crap. You do realise, it's impossible to maintain a large C++ software module if you didn't actually write it?

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  • gcseeker2002
    12-27 10:49 PM
    I myself am originally from Mumbai so please dont doubt the deep sense of outrage that I feel. But amid all this talk about going to war, here are a few things to ponder

    1. Think about how long it takes to construct a single runway of an airport. In the developed countries, it takes about 2-3 years, for India safe to say 5-6 years. One of Paki's first responses would be take out entire airports not just runways. Can you imagine how long it would take us to recover

    >>>>>It will be the same if terrorists take out entire airports by their terror actions, which they were about to do in Mumbai that failed on 11/26. So no point worrying about what if.

    2. Why should India kill Pak when it is killing itself every day. At this rate, just imagine how long this country will last. Sitting back and being a spectator could just about be the best option

    >>>>>At this rate they will take another 50 years to kill themselves, but will continue to torment India till they die, they are like a cockroach that keeps wriggling till it dies, and does not matter if you just cut off its legs, etc.

    3. If we are outraged by 200 civilians/police/NSG dying, do we really have the stomach to absorb 1000s, lakhs ........

    >>>>>If we dont destroy the Pakis now, tomorrow their terrorists will take out 1000s, lakhs while we sit and wait.

    4. Talking of "surgical strikes" - surgical strikes on what? Even the dumbest terrorist knows that its probably not a good idea to be in a terror camp right now.

    >>>>>That is a true statement, but who cares, look at Israel that takes out Hamas buildings even though no hamas terrorists are in those buildings.

    5. Do we really want to unite all those crazy Punjabis, Balochis, Taliban and the Paki army

    >>>>>They are already united, it is Indians who are divided.

    6. Ok, what about assassinating Kayani. Wonderful, we have destroyed the last institution in Paki land. Get ready to welcome millions of refugees

    >>>>>No comments.

    I know I know that I am not coming up with any good course of action, just pointing out the flaws in the rest of them. But thats all my layman's strategic vision gives me. Maybe with just 1/100th the cost of war, we can improve our border/maritime security and also our intelligence apparatus

    Personally, I think war is going to happen. I just wish people even remotely understand what it is that they are asking for.

    War is bad but required to quell bad people, some people just dont get it the soft way.


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  • anandrajesh
    03-25 05:06 PM
    lol...you are right..

    but dont know... I am going by hunch..I hope not to regret..:)

    Sometimes you listen to your heart and take a decision
    Sometimes you listen to your brain and take a decision.

    I believe this situation should warrant you to listen to your brain and hire a good attorney.
    Dont go by your hunch (or heart). Again a friendly advice because there is just too much at stake.

    Good luck no matter what you decide.

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  • prince_waiting
    08-05 11:03 AM
    1. Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a fool at the other.

    2. Love affairs: Something like cricket where one-day internationals are more popular than a five day test.

    3. Marriage: It's an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor degree
    and a woman gains her master

    4. Divorce: Future tense of marriage

    5. Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the
    lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through "the minds of either".

    6. Conference: The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.

    7. Compromise: The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody
    believes he got the biggest piece.

    8. Tears: The hydraulic force by which masculine will-power is defeated by feminine water-power.

    9. Dictionary: A place where divorce comes before marriage.

    10. Conference Room: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens &
    everybody disagrees later on.

    11. Ecstasy: A feeling when you feel you are going to feel a feeling you have never felt before.

    12. Classic: A book which people praise, but doesn�t read.

    13. Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.

    14. Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.

    15. Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.

    16. Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you
    actually do.
    17. Committee: Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to
    decide that nothing can be done together.

    18. Experience: The name men give to their mistakes.

    19. Atom Bomb: An invention to end all inventions.

    20. Philosopher: A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.

    21. Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.

    22. Opportunist: A person who starts taking bath if he accidentally falls into a river.

    23. Optimist: A person who while falling from Eiffel Tower says in midway "See I am not injured yet."

    24. Pessimist: A person who says that O is the last letter in ZERO, instead of the first letter in word OPPORTUNITY.

    25. Miser: A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.

    26. Father: A banker provided by nature.

    27. Criminal: A guy no different from the rest... except that he got

    28. Boss: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are

    29. Politician: One who shakes your hand before elections and your
    confidence after the elections.

    30. Doctor: A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills.


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  • pitha
    09-26 09:46 AM
    All this is going to happen in the very first year itself. Obama has already said CIR would be his priority for his first year. Dick Durbin and Obama will "reform" the EB system exactly the way you described below. In 2008 we have seen some eb friendly bills introduced by lofgren like visa recapture and exemption for STEM. Once Obama becomes president(which is almost a certainty) he will outsource the EB issues to Dick Durbin and he will make sure none of the EB friendly issues like visa recapture and exemption for STEM will happen. In addition obama and durbin will make our lives miserable with draconian restrictions on EB. We are alreday seeing USCIS denying AC21 485 (there is a seperate thread on this). If situation is like this now just imagine how horrible it would be with Obama and durbin.

    Why do I feel discouraged? If anything is going to happen for the immigrant community when Sen. Obama becomes the President, it is going to be in the lines of CIR 2007. There would be provisions to make illegal immigrants as legal and remove backlogs to family based quota whereas posing harsh restrictions on H1b visas and reducing Green Card quotas and scrap AC21 portability and try to experiment with some new kind of skilled immigration system.

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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 01:24 PM
    Agree with you...
    Also let me share a story ....

    Once upon a time, two ferries were taking passengers to an Island called Green Land. First ferry was calle EB2 and the other ferry was Eb3. Both these ferries were jam packed with little or no room. But EB2 was in slightly better position with few spaces to spare.

    These ferries were navigating at legendary slow speed because the crew and the drivers (read USCIS) were very slow. Also the fuel (read visa numbers) was not enough so now and then it needed to get some assitance from the base (read lawmakers).

    The base has put out an option to move from one ferry to another. So the people in Eb3 ferry decided to swim to EB2. One who could not start cursing their fate and the ones in EB2 boat start screaming to prevent that happening.

    Soon the passengers forgot that the reason why the ferries are running slow and start blaming each other.

    An old man on the shore sighed and said to himself, wouldn't it be nice if these people had concentratred their effort on the right place.

    I only read a few posts, but seems like there a lot of moral blasting and blame game going on.

    I am in favor of fair practices, and on that principle everyone has right to speak their mind; irrespective of outcome of this thread why is everyone fighting with each other.

    I agree with you Rolling_Flood, this porting can create trouble for many people who did not have a way to port priority dates. This is same issuse as "Labor substitution" was. I am glad labor substitution has been put to rest.

    Rolling_flood, donot get annoyed or angry because of some comments ( everyone has a right to speak as you do). remember the saying " if you have a few enemies; that means you stood up for something some day".

    Folks, please donot kill each other ...let people speak. Our focus should be on "purpose and not get frustrated by process".


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  • sledge_hammer
    12-17 04:31 PM
    You're from Camaroon, what are you getting all worked up about?

    I told you guys.. This site name should HIV-Hindu Immigration VoiceNow

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

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


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  • nojoke
    04-08 03:33 AM
    No, I aint a realtor but just a savvy investor who is waiting for his GC and wants to make passive income. I dont suggest ppl to buy 3 homes. What I wanted to convey is that in my humble opinion, its one way to make money while you wait for GC. Be judicious and assume risk based on your tolerance levels. I felt that if I could present folks with real life examples of making money, thats a compelling statement,.

    And since Uncle Sam provides tax benefits that include interest deductions and capital gains waivers, its a very viable option.

    My point is, think of your home as an investment that also serves as a place to reside.

    Figuratively, this is like a Thanksgiving Day sale and the door busters are already gone!

    If I buy a house today and loose 100K in value each year for 2 more years, how is it a savy investment? Savy investors buy low and sell high. Unless you are saying housing is not going to fall further, I am totally confused how it is an intelligent investment. Nightmare stories of the savy investors are all over the news.
    If you want to debate that housing is not going to fall further, history is against you. There are housing bubbles in the past and they take years to correct. It doesn't happen in months. Has there been so much disparity between house price and income ever in history of US? Show me the proof why the prices would not fall further. Do you know what happened to the last housing bubble and how long it took to correct itself?
    Don't tell me this time it is different. It is probably different because a fruit picker earning 20K income was able to buy a house for 500K with no down payment at the high of the bubble. It will be different this time because it will be the worst housing bubble ever. Please don't mislead people with false hope. It is their hard earned money

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  • immique
    07-14 11:07 PM
    I think EB3 India may be the unintended beneficiary of the appropriate interpretation of the spill over of visa into retrogressed EB2 countries. I suspect that once EB2 India and China are current, the remaining visas will spill over into EB3. Thay do NOT spill over into EB3 ROW only but will spill over into EB3 as a whole. the reason for this is as both EB3 ROW and EB3 India are retrogressed, both these categories will advance equally as EB2 I and EB2 China are doing currently. I strongly think this will be the likely outcome next year and so EB3 India should see the PD movement approximately the same as EB3 ROW- but this will happen only when EB2 is current and the spill over reaches EB3 (this will likely happen in the final quarter of 2009)

    but you are not correct about this. please look it up. The vertical spillover was going to EB3 ROW, had that not been so, EB2 I would not have become U, even though (you are right about that) USCIS was actually allocating a little too fast.

    The bottom line is this: before the "system changed" the spillover went to EB3 ROW (country quota more important that category preference)
    Now with revised interpretation spillover goes first to EB2 retrogressed countries (preference category precedent over country quota- use of soft quota provison from AC21). Either way Eb3 I was last on the totem pole.
    There would have been no spillover to EB3 I in either situation. I'm not saying this to either to justify it or to argue for it's fairness. Just trying to make a point about the root issues.
    Therefore, the "change" leaves EB3 I exactly where it was before- which of course is an insane place to be. Frankly, in your place, I would be freaking going out of my mind. But if your only reason for this action is that "change", you have to sit back a moment and understand what the change has doen (or in this case not done) to you.
    The ONLY way to solve the EB3I problem is increased GC numbers. That is why recapture has been the first and foremost thing we have always pursued. Last time there was a recapture, GC numbers went to every single category. Anyway you look at it, if with a recapture, EB2 became current, every bit of spillover in every quarter would go to EB3. Eventually, there will be more long lasting reform. For now we desperately need the extra numbers in any form or shape.

    Just my 2c. not trying to trying to "stop your voice from being heard". One piece of friendly and well meaning advice. Target letters and measures at those that have the power to make the changes you want. Otherwise the effort is pointless from the start.


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  • minimalist
    08-06 11:46 AM
    Shady means or non-shady means, EB2 means that u have superior qualifications and you are more desirable in the US. EB3 means there are a lot like u, so u gotta wait more. Period.

    Well, then why are they allocating Visas to EB3s. They should give all visas to EB2 and then only go to EB3.

    Your statement that EB2 requires higher qualification is correct. But the number of jobs requiring those qualifications are less.Doesn't mean people taking up jobs that fall into EB3 category have inferior qualifications. Think of it this way. There may be many people who may be qualified to be a CEO but there will be only one CEO for company.
    EB3 has a lot more applicants because of the 245 cases that were filed in 2001. So get off the pedestal and think normally.
    So you are an undesirable/inferior when compared to people in EB1? If you feel so then you have serious self esteem issues.
    Don't try to spread such inferiority complex.

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  • nk2006
    09-29 05:10 PM
    Whoever the president is - Obama or McCain - our/EB immigrants fate is more in the hands of congress.

    I was just watching the outcome of financial bailout bill - it failed in the house despite having the support of current president and two presidential candidates. This is about the much hyped out bailout plan - the outcome of this bill for sure affects pretty much every american - this bill failed in house despite all the major leaders urging house members to pass it. This shows all politics are local. The reason for failure of this bill is its not that popular with people - opinion polls on the original bailout plan showed majority of people didnt like it and wanted to some changes, while the current bailout bill is different from it - still many of house reps are wary to vote in favor of it. Especially the reps who are up for tough election this November. They are concerned about their election and dont give a damn to their leader. I think it would be same for EB issues - we need to continue to lobby with congressmen and if possible push our EB only aspects in some bill (live visa recapture) because once our issues are combined with general immigration issue we will get run over for sure either by anti-immigrants or people like Durbin.

    The next president might set his/her broad immigration policies but as always devil is in details and these details are set by congress. Also if you observe our opponent organizations and the way they concentrate more on congressional elections rather than presidential elections - it becomes apparent that from EB (and other) immigration laws point of view there may not be much change in impact whether Obama or McCain is president. From their broad immigration policies I am sure either Obama or McCain will sign of any bill that favor more GC numbers (or recaptured EB visas) for EB immigrants. Of course it can get complicated with amendments from likes of Durbin but based on the merit of our issue, I think more congressmen would be voting in favor of our measures. The key is getting our measures pushed into any relevant bills.


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  • puddonhead
    06-05 12:42 PM
    Sorry but no matter how you spin it, owning a home is better than renting. Renting is not smart. period. your money is gone every month. You are not getting that money back.

    When you own a home, the money goes towards a mortgage, and although most of it goes to interest at first, all interest paid is tax deductible which is a huge chunk of change every year. I get more money back as an owner than a renter and in the long run I save more AND own the home.

    30 year renter vs 30 year home owner? That is not rocket science.

    I doubt it is as clear cut as you make it to be. Rent vs. buy has two components in each option - the monthly cost and the long term saving/investment. Let me take the example of the apartment I live in. It would cost about 360k (I am not considering the closing cost, the cost to buy new appliances and so on when you move in etc) if we were to buy it as a condo in the market. We rent it for $1300.

    Monthly Cost:
    Interest (very simplistic calculation): 5% on 180k on average over 30 years. i.e. $750 per month. After Tax deduction cost ~$700 (you lose on standard deduction if you take property tax deduction - so effective saving is wayyy lower than the marginal tax rate).

    Property Tax: $400 per month.

    Maintenance/depreciation of appliances: assume $200 per month (easily could be more).
    Total: 1300.
    Long term investment: $360k at 3% per annum (long term housing price increase trend).
    You pay for this saving with leverage and $1000 amortization every month for the loan principal.

    Loss of flexibility/Risk : Not sure how to quantify.

    Monthly cost = $1300.
    Long Term Saving (assuming you put the same $1000 every month in a normal high yeild savings account - a Reward Checking maybe) - you will get a risk free 5%.

    So in this case you are paying the same monthly cost for house purchase vs rent. but you are losing out on the additional 2% per month in investment return.

    Plus - buying gets you into a lot riskier position.

    I have seen the proponents of buying fails to take a couple of factors into account:
    1. Real Estate, historically, is not a good investment. It is even worse than the best savings accounts available. And you could easily save your monthly amortization in better savings vehicles.
    2. Tax deduction from interest means you lose on standard deduction. In the above example - a family of 3 with 1 earner will have NO saving from housing tax deduction. They would be better off using the standard deduction. If there are 2 earners - they could try to work around this by filing separately and one taking deduction for housing interest and the other taking the standard deduction. But even that will probably not save you any money since many other tax rates are stacked up against single filers.

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  • riva2005
    04-09 11:41 AM
    Yes, pete, other people should have hurdles. So when they stumble on those hurdles, it would be your gain.

    Its a zero sum game.

    We cannot all unite and work on this issue. So let's divide ourselves. Let's split IV into 2 organization, one for EB3 dumbasses who are getting a free ride and didnt go thru the whole 9 yards , and other for smart kids like you and rimzhim.

    Let me ask both of you. If you are that smart, how come you are not applying for EB1. I thought researchers would qualify for EB1. Why are you facing difficulty? Could it be that you are not really that good? Because the system does have an HOV lane for scientists to cruise to greencard. Its called EB1. And its current for most categories. What about that?

    Why dont you join the fast lane of EB1 and leave the bachelor's degree losers behind who didnt thru the whole 9 yards?


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  • Macaca
    12-27 07:32 PM
    But they got no answers out of me�a total failure. Officer Xu, while asking me questions, kept kicking my legs. I said, "Be a little more civilized!"

    Then he said, "So what if I act like this, what can you do! In other matters I will actually still be afraid that someone might complain. But you here, you are an enemy. We can beat you and swear at you and if you complain, it will be useless even if you complain to the Ministry of Public Security!" I thought, this little police officer is younger than 30, how is he so well versed in the Maoist doctrine of the "contradiction between the enemy and us"?

    A tall plainclothes officer was getting impatient and said loudly to Officer Xu: "Why waste words on this sort of person? Let's beat him to death and dig a hole to bury him in and be done with it. How lucky we've got a place to put him away here." Turning to me, he said, "Think your family can find you if you're disappeared? Tell me, what difference would it make if you vanished from Beijing?" Later he whispered to Officer Xu, "Put him away in the hotel!" I could not hear clear what hotel he meant, but from the context I assumed he was referring to that "place to bury you."

    I knew they were not just joking, and I felt like a small ant that could be annihilated any moment without a trace. And yet I was not that scared. For one thing, I had already sent out a message on the Internet, and for another, they had by that time also taken my ID card out of my bag and realized that I was a teacher at the China University of Politics and Law.

    This special status was the reason why I was not beaten more severely, and why they did not "dig a hole to bury me." And it is true: I had disclosed this information to the police officers, albeit half-consciously, to avoid being beaten more severely. If it had not been for my status as a teacher at CUPL, a doctor with a degree from Peking University, a famous human rights lawyer, a visiting scholar at Yale, could I still have shown as much courage? I very much doubt it.

    I felt ashamed of my status and the differential treatment I was enjoying on account of them. I even felt that if the police didn't succeed in burying me they would vent their rage against some other disobedient person. Any pain that I was being spared was sure to be inflicted on another, more helpless victim at some point.

    How much terror, humiliation and despair do ordinary people suffer who get locked up in police stations, re-education through labour camps, investigation detention cells, custody and repatriation cells, and black jails in the face of a bunch of police officers who regard a person's life like a blade of grass and treat ordinary people as foes? Police officers across the country threatening to "beat you to death and dig a hole to bury you," how many people do they actually beat to death or beat until they are disabled?

    It was almost midnight when the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau sent round some officers who said they wanted to take me away. They returned my glasses, mobile phone and other things. I told them that I would only leave together with the friend who had been detained with me.

    After some more argument, they led me and Mr. Zhang to a car. Someone called my name, and I immediately recognized some netizens. I could not get out of the car but I shook hands with them through the window. Later I learned that many others had also rushed to the scene. An unknown number of netizen friends had expressed support on the Internet and passed on the news. Maybe that is the main reason why we were so quickly released.

    On the way back home, a Beijing state security officer complained to me, "If everybody fought with them using your methods, the police would have no way of continuing their work! How many fewer common thieves they'd be able to catch!"

    I replied, "If the law-enforcers don't act in accordance with the law, what use are they really to citizens? Police should catch thieves, but can those who 'beat you to death and dig a hole for you' still be called 'police'? If people are fighting each other using my methods, maybe fewer common thieves will be caught, but fewer citizens will be beaten to death in police stations. In which of these two situations are society's losses greater?"

    Mr. Teng is a professor of law at China University of Politics and Law

    The Challenges China Faces (http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2892&Itemid=422) By John Berthelsen | Asia Sentinel
    China�s Attitude toward Hard Power and Soft Power (http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/12_china_soft_power_jia.aspx) By Qingguo Jia | Peking University
    Computing set to bolster China's industrial prowess (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20101227a1.html) Sentaku Magazine

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  • Macaca
    05-25 08:17 PM
    Cleaning Up Congress (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/24/AR2007052402118.html) The House gives lobbying reform a boost, but the battle is far from over, Friday, May 25, 2007

    IT WASN'T EASY, it wasn't pretty and the battle isn't over, but the House managed yesterday to pass a credible ethics bill that would require lobbyists to disclose the bundles of campaign checks they round up for lawmakers. The lopsided 382 to 37 vote belied the ferocious behind-the-scenes opposition to the bundling provision. Few lawmakers were willing to cast a public vote to oppose letting their constituents know what the lawmakers themselves are already keenly aware of: just how much they are indebted to which lobbyists. In private, however, many Democrats fought to prevent the vote. It was only the steadfastness of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) that brought the measure to the floor. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) served a key role in offsetting the opposition of some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    It's critical now that the bundling provision not be killed in the quiet of a conference committee. The Senate version of lobbying reform contains a slightly different bundling provision, which can easily be reconciled with the House measure.

    Other provisions of the bill approved by the House yesterday would provide for more frequent and detailed disclosure, including lobbyists' contributions to lawmakers' charities. To win support for the bundling amendment, reformers had to abandon their effort to double, from one year to two, the cooling-off period for lawmakers and staff who leave the Hill for lobbying jobs. The Senate-passed lobbying bill includes this effort to slow the revolving door. That, too, should be part of the final package. In addition, the work of the House will not be complete until a credible ethics process is in place, one that includes an independent office to assess and investigate allegations of unethical conduct. A Pelosi-appointed task force is expected to come up with a proposal soon. That will be the Democratic majority's next test.

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  • abracadabra102
    08-06 05:49 PM
    Dear Friend,

    The other day I went up to a local Christian bookstore and saw a "honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker. I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting, so I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

    Boy, I'm glad I did! What an uplifting experience followed!

    I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good He is...and I didn't notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed! I found that LOTS of people love Jesus!

    While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, "For the love of GOD! GO! GO! Jesus Christ, GO!"

    What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus! Everyone started honking! I just leaned out of my window and started waving and smiling at all these loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

    There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a "sunny beach"... I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked my teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant, he said that it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

    Well, I've never met anyone from Hawaii, so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back. My grandson burst out laughing ... he was enjoying this religious experience, too!

    A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed. So, I waved to all my sisters and brothers grinning, and drove on through the intersection. I noticed I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and I felt kind of sad that had to leave them after all the love we had shared, so I slowed the car down, leaned out of the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away.

    Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!



    04-06 02:08 AM
    Excellent analysis Jung.lee

    Summers are OK, but desis want their houses warm enough in the winter for a lungi or veshti

    I couldn't control my laughter. You have a good sense of humor too

    Wow...do people wear lungi at home in winter !! May be in the temperate climates of bay area and further down in So Cal :)

    But up here in North Cal (Roseville), where quite a few times the lawns freeze during early winter mornings, I feel cold even with full length fleece pants inside my home!! :D . But anyway, that might just be my excuse to not wear a lungi :) ....Never liked wearing it when I was growing up as well...preferred pajamas !

    06-26 04:58 PM
    Well - your approach smells of speculation, which is pretty dangerous!!

    I take the following approach

    Left Side: Add my rent

    Right Side: Add all my expenses (mortgage + maintenance + tax)

    As soon as Left > right - it is a time to buy.

    If you get to the nitti-gritties - it can get very complicated. e.g. you usually put 20% down. Plus the principal payment is technically not "expenditure" - it is "investment in your home equity". Owning means you lose flexibility. It is impossible to put numbers against all these.

    However, my personal "estimate"/"Tipping point" (taking into account the loss of flexibility etc) is when I have positive cash flow from owning (i.e. rent > mortgage + tax + maintenance). Some very successful RE investors I know take the same approach and are very successful.

    No. Speculators generally drive up the prices. What I am doing is not speculation. It is being cautious and rational(with the data I have). The one who drove up the housing price are the ones who were speculating that it will go up in price forever and created this huge bubble. You got the meaning of speculation wrong.
    Speculation is "engagement in business transactions involving considerable risk but offering the chance of large gains, esp. trading in commodities, stocks, etc., in the hope of profit from changes in the market price."
    There are people who are waiting for the house prices to come to back to sane levels. And there are people who cannot get loan even if they wish to buy. They are not speculators.

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