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  • Macaca
    12-20 08:07 AM
    Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats' Year ( By Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane | Washington Post, Dec 20, 2007

    The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments, from the first increase in fuel-efficiency standards in a generation to the first minimum-wage hike in a decade.

    But Democrats' failure to address the central issues that swept them to power left even the most partisan of them dissatisfied and Congress mired at a historic low in public esteem.

    Handed control of Congress last year after making promises to end the war in Iraq, restore fiscal discipline in Washington and check President Bush's powers, Democrats instead closed the first session of the 110th Congress yesterday with House votes that sent Bush $70 billion in war funding, with no strings attached, and a $50 billion alternative-minimum-tax measure that shattered their pledge not to add to the federal budget deficit.

    "I'm not going to let a lot of hard work go unnoticed, but I'm not going to hand out party hats, either," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.).

    On Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday: "Nobody is more disappointed with the fact that we couldn't change that than I am." But Pelosi was not about to accept Republican assertions that her first year as speaker has been unsuccessful, saying: "Almost everything we've done has been historic."

    Unable to garner enough votes from their own party, House Democratic leaders had to turn to Republicans to win passage of a $555 billion domestic spending bill after the Senate appended $70 billion to it for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war funding passed 272 to 142, with Democrats voting 141 to 78 against it.

    The Democratic leaders again had to appeal to Republicans to win passage of a measure to stave off the growth of the alternative minimum tax, because fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats were in open revolt and refused to go along. The Blue Dogs insisted that the Senate offset the bill's cost with tax increases on hedge-fund and private-equity managers.

    Needing two-thirds of the House to pass under fast-track rules, the tax measure was approved 352 to 64, with all 64 "no" votes coming from Democrats standing by their pledge not to support any tax cut or mandatory spending increase that would expand the national debt.

    The year's finale angered the entire spectrum of the Democratic coalition, from the antiwar left to new Southern conservatives who helped bring Democrats to power last year.

    "This is a blank check," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). "The new money in this bill represents one cave-in too many. It is an endorsement of George Bush's policy of endless war."

    Still, the Democrats delivered much of what they promised last year. Of the six initiatives on the their "Six for '06" agenda, congressional Democrats sent five to the president and got his signature on four: a minimum-wage increase, implementation of the homeland security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, college cost reduction, and an energy measure that requires conservation and the expanded use of renewable sources of energy.

    Federal funding for stem cell research was vetoed by Bush.

    Congress also boosted spending on veterans' needs. Just yesterday, Democrats unveiled a proposal to create the first nonpartisan ethics review panel in House history and passed the most significant gun-control legislation since the early 1990s, tightening the instant background-check process.

    Beyond those, Democrats secured the biggest overhaul of ethics and lobbying rules since the Watergate scandal. And they passed a slew of measures that have received little notice, such as more money for math and science teachers who earn more credentials in their field, tax relief for homeowners in foreclosure, a doubling of basic research funding, and reclamation projects for the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast.

    With the exception of the new energy law, Pelosi characterized most of the year's accomplishments as a cleanup after years of Republican neglect or congressional gridlock.

    But the long-awaited showdown with Bush on the federal budget fizzled this week into an uncomfortable draw. The president got his war funding, while Democrats -- using "emergency" funding designations -- broke through his spending limit by $11 billion, the amount they had promised to add after Republicans rejected a proposed $22 billion increase in domestic spending.

    Remarkably, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) praised the final omnibus spending bill in glowing terms, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called keeping federal spending at Bush's preferred level "an extraordinary success."

    "Our work on holding the line on spending gave us an omnibus that is better than I've seen in my 17 years here," Boehner said yesterday. Twelve of those years were spent under Republican rule.

    But the disappointments have dominated the news, in large part because Democrats failed on some of the issues that they had put front and center, and that their key constituents value most.

    The military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open. Bush's warrantless surveillance program was actually codified and expanded on the Democrats' watch. Lawmakers were unable to eliminate the use of harsh interrogation tactics by the CIA.

    Democratic leaders also could not overcome the president's vetoes on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, despite winning over large numbers of Republicans. Policies that liberals thought would be swept aside under the Democratic majority remain untouched, including a prohibition on U.S. funding for international family-planning organizations that offer abortions.

    Efforts to change Bush's Iraq policies took on the look of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. From the first days of the 110th Congress to its last hours this week, Bush prevailed on every Iraq-related fight, beginning with February's nonbinding resolution opposing the winter troop buildup and ending with this week's granting of $70 billion in unrestricted war funds. Emanuel tried to call the $70 billion funding a partial Democratic victory because it was the first time the president did not get everything he sought for the war. Bush had requested $200 billion.

    Some senior Democrats have grown so distraught that they do not expect any significant change in Iraq policy unless a Democrat wins the White House in 2008. "It's unfortunate that we may have to wait till the elections," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) said yesterday.

    This has left many Democrats resorting to openly political arguments, picking up a theme that Republicans hurled at them -- obstructionism -- during their many years in the minority. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) conceded that it is time for Democrats to forget about trumpeting accomplishments that voters will never give them credit for -- and time to change the message to a starkly political one: If you want change, elect more Democrats.

    Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate Democratic whip tasked with trying to find 60 votes for a filibuster-proof majority, acknowledged this week that Democrats' biggest failure stemmed from expecting "more Republicans to take an independent stance" on Iraq. Instead, most of them stood with Bush.

    "Many of them will have to carry that with them into the election," Durbin said.

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  • bkarnik
    08-05 05:45 PM
    We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Print this out and pass to your partner for a greater understanding:

    1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us bitching about you leaving it down.

    2. Birthdays, Valentines, and Anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present yet again!

    3. Sometimes we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

    4. Don't cut your hair. Ever. Long hair is always more attractive than short hair. One of the big reasons guys fear getting married is that married women always cut their hair, and by then you're stuck with her.

    5. Crying is blackmail.

    6. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

    7. We don't remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar. Remind us frequently beforehand.

    8. Most guys own three pairs of shoes - tops. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?

    9. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

    10. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

    11. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem.See a doctor.

    12. Check your oil! Please.

    13. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

    14. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. We refuse to answer.

    15. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

    16. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

    17. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

    18. Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.

    19. All men see in only 16 colors, like windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a colour. We have no idea what mauve is.

    20. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

    21. We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

    22. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying,but it is just not worth the hassle.

    23. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

    24. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really.

    25. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.

    26. You have enough clothes.

    27. You have too many shoes.

    28. No you really do have too many clothes and shoes.

    29. BEER is as exciting for us as handbags are for you.

    30. Thank you for reading this; Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know we really don't mind that, it's like camping.

    31. I'm in shape. ROUND is a shape.

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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-28 10:09 PM
    Pray for Wisdom:

    A PRAYER Dear Lord,

    I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;

    Love to forgive him;

    And Patience for his moods.

    Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength,

    I'll beat him to death.


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  • pthoko
    07-10 10:07 PM
    Hi UN,
    First of all my sincere gratitude to you for your patience and the time you put in to give a detailed reply to all cases.

    Here's my situation(I think a case of status violation)

    I did an L1 to H1 transfer in 2005. My L1 was valid till APRIL 2006. So my intention was to work with L1 employer till April 2006 and then switch to H1 employer.

    H1 employer also applied for a change of status, which I was not aware of that time. I asked the H1 company's lawyer whether I could continue with my L1 employer after getting the H1 and she said it's fine.

    So I got the H1B approval in Oct 2005, but still continued with L1 employer till APRIL 2006, then switched to H1.

    Recently I came to know that this could be an issue. When I was filling the G-325A form, I wondered if I specify that I worked with the L1 employer till APRIL 2006, would they catch this?? Even if they catch , how big an issue would this be??

    If I put the dates to reflect the dates to show that I quit my L1 employer in Oct 2005 itself, would this be an issue?? I guess in this case, if by any chance they ask for any further evidence like pay stubs or W2 in that period of time, I would be in trouble.

    From what I have read from the forum, A lawful re-entry should clear the violation in my case right?? I haven't filed the I-485 yet. My I-140 is pending.
    Do they catch this during I-140 stage??


    Can I go to Canada/Mexico for stamping? where would I get an appointment at the earliest??



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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:32 PM
    �Can�t Be Done�

    Gibbons, 70, says he learned that lesson when he tried to raise 4 million pounds ($6.2 million) from two wealthy London- based nonresident Indian investors in November 2006.

    Talks failed because of differences over expectations for returns on equity and other contract terms, he says.

    �That�s what made me think this just can�t be done,� he says.

    Indian microlenders differ from Yunus�s Grameen Bank in key ways. To protect depositors� money after bankruptcies among nonbanking financial companies in the early 1990s, India�s Reserve Bank in 1997 made it more difficult for them to meet the requirements needed to take deposits from the public. Only 36 microlenders are registered as nonbank financial companies, according to information supplied by the Reserve Bank.

    �I Feel So Sad�

    Indian microlenders themselves borrow from banks at 13 percent or more on average and extend credit to the poor. They charge interest rates that can rise to 36 percent, says Alok Prasad, chief executive officer of the Microfinance Institutions Network, which represents 44 microlenders. He says all 44 firms are registered with the Reserve Bank.

    SKS Microfinance gets funds at about 12 percent interest and lends at 24.52 percent in Andhra Pradesh, spokesman Atul Takle says.

    In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank got a banking license in 1983, which allowed it to take deposits. It charges 5 percent for education loans and 8 percent for housing loans. Beggars can borrow for free, and interest on major loans is capped at 20 percent, Yunus says.

    �Microfinance has been abused and distorted,� he says. �I feel so sad because that�s not the microcredit I have created.�

    Indian microfinance has roots in decades-old informal community financing.

    Nongovernmental organizations pioneered cooperative lending, known today as self-help groups, with seed money from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Encouraged by these projects, the state-backed bank worked to tie borrowing groups to local bank branches in 1992.

    For-Profit Companies

    Nonprofit organizations subsequently got involved as middlemen between the banks and the borrowers. By 2005, nonprofits such as SKS and Share Microfin had turned themselves into profit-making enterprises.

    Akula�s SKS attracted investors such as Khosla Ventures, Sun Microsystems Inc. co-founder Vinod Khosla�s venture capital firm.

    Capital flowed into the new industry from commercial banks, venture firms and private equity.

    Sequoia Capital, in Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore- based Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy were among the backers. George Soros�s Quantum Fund has a 0.37 percent stake in SKS.

    Private-equity investors alone have put $515 million into Indian microfinance companies since 2006, research service Venture Intelligence says.

    �Explosive Growth�

    More than half of the 66 Indian microlenders tracked by Micro-Credit Ratings are for-profit firms. Some 260 microlenders had 26.7 million borrowers and 183.44 billion rupees of loans outstanding as of March, according to the Microfinance India State of the Sector Report 2010.

    �Over the last two years, we�ve been seeing explosive growth,� says N. Srinivasan, who wrote the report. �Microfinance institutions found that it�s easy to make money. Not that making money is bad, but when you go overboard and say you require money for growth, you get into problems.�

    Polelpaka Pula, a mother of two, says she saw microlenders rushing into her village of Pegadapalli to compete for business -- with tragic results.

    Her husband, Prakash, a painter who made 250 rupees on a good day, first borrowed from a group of villagers to build a house. Each participant of the so-called chit fund contributed 1,000 rupees a month and took a turn collecting the entire sum.

    Microfinance officers from L&T Finance Ltd., Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd., Share Microfin and SKS began offering loans in the village starting in 2004, she says.

    The couple, already contributing to their village fund, took five more loans totaling 64,000 rupees. That saddled them with payments of 7,300 rupees a month, more than Prakash�s 5,000 rupee maximum monthly income.

    Loan Shark

    When Prakash ran out of microlenders to borrow from, he went to a village loan shark, who charged 100 percent interest.

    With no way out and debt from multiple lenders ballooning, Prakash hanged himself in November 2009, his wife says.

    The small house he�d dreamed of was never completed. Only the foundation stands next to the home of his parents, a tiny structure with a roof of palm leaves.

    Spandana says that neither of the couple�s names is in its database. The company says the media wrongly attribute harassment cases to microfinance, especially when Spandana is mentioned.

    �The trigger factors for suicide are manifold, such as stressful situations at home,� the company said in an e-mail response to questions about the death.

    Subprime Parallel

    SKS spokesman Takle says its staff has practiced responsible lending for the past 12 years. Its employees are not paid based on the loan size or repayment percentage.

    �This ensures against giving out larger loans than what a borrower can repay,� Takle says. A spokesman for L&T Finance declined to comment.

    Overlending in Andhra Pradesh calls to mind the U.S. subprime crisis, says Lakshmi Shyam-Sunder, director of corporate risk at International Finance Corp. in Washington, which invests in microlenders.

    �Subprime lending was initially seen as extending homeownership to poorer people, doing good,� Shyam-Sunder says.

    As the industry expanded, making a profit became more important to some lenders, she says. �Tension arises when you work on activities with both social goals as well as commercial interests,� she says, adding that it�s important to strike the right balance.

    Companies chasing profits amid poor corporate governance are undermining the intent of microfinance, Cashpor�s Gibbons says.

    �Lending Gone Wild�

    During the past five years, the number of microloans in India has soared an average of 88 percent a year and borrower accounts have climbed 62 percent annually, giving India the world�s largest microfinance industry, Micro-Credit Ratings says.

    �This is unrestrained consumer lending gone wild,� Gibbons says. �It�s not about poverty reduction anymore.�

    Sumir Chadha, managing director at Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt., says that without a profit motive it�s hard to find anyone who will lend to the poor.

    �Capitalism doesn�t have to be a bad thing,� says Chadha, whose firm has a 14 percent stake in SKS. �If you can�t profit off the poor, it means that no companies will service the poor -- and then they will be worse off than earlier.�

    Chand Bee�s Tale

    For Chand Bee, a 50-year-old who led three borrowing groups in Andhra Pradesh, too many loans almost became her undoing.

    She says she ran away from home after collectors began harassing her. She took out multiple loans beginning in 2005, and she names Spandana as one of the lenders.

    Some of the money paid for the funeral of her eldest son. When she fell behind on payments, she says loan officers threatened to humiliate her in front of neighbors and pressed her to sell her small grandchildren into prostitution.

    She left her slum in Warangal, where she lived with her deaf husband, some of her eight grown children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

    After living as a beggar for a year, Chand Bee returned home in early November when family members told her that the state ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 15 had suspended some collections. A Spandana spokeswoman says none of the company�s four customers in the district with the name Chand Bee has had trouble repaying.

    Almost every household in the slum of 250 people -- where barefoot children play in lanes between rows of dilapidated shacks -- has taken several loans. So many microlenders ply their trade that residents refer to them by the days they collect: Monday company, Tuesday company and so on.

    Debt Free

    Rabbani, a widow with four children, is one of the few women who are debt-free. She started a spice shop with two loans, which she repaid with her small profit. After seeing her neighbors� pains, she vowed never to seek another microloan.

    SKS says 17 of its clients have committed suicide, none because of loans being in arrears or harassment.

    �Suicide is a complex issue,� Akula says.

    Sitting in the second-floor conference room of SKS�s seven- story headquarters in Hyderabad, where posters of smiling women running handicraft and tailor shops decorate the doors of elevators, Akula says there�s nothing wrong with seeking profits.

    �What does it matter to a poor woman how much an investor makes?� says Akula, dressed in his trademark knee-length kurta shirt from Fabindia, a seller of ethnic clothes made by rural craftsmen. �What matters to her is that she gets a loan on time at a reasonable rate that allows her to earn higher income.�

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  • malaGCPahije
    09-26 09:10 AM
    I support McCain. Please do not give me reds for siding with McCain.

    I think for the country McCain is going to be better as prez than Obama. He is a more mentally strong person (clearly displayed by his POW stint). He chose not to go home when given a chance by the enemy because he did not want to leave his army friends alone. That says a lot about character.

    Obama for most presents himself to me as a lot of talk and not much action. He chose to be absent when the congress was voting on important action items during his time as a senator.

    I think what is best for America is best for the EB community too. If America is not the economically strong country we all hoped it would always be, then what good is the EB community going to get staying in America. With McCain, chances of reforms for legal immigration are also going to be much more than with Obama.

    Just my 2 cents.


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  • Macaca
    02-28 09:39 AM
    Jack Abramoff, Jack Abramoff ... ( NYT Editorial, Feb 28

    Anxiety is palpable in the House as lawmakers try to wriggle out of a vote on whether to create an independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Despite last-minute cries of alarm and resistance from both sides of the aisle, the public is counting on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stand fast and steer this overdue dose of ethics reform to passage.

    The office would have six professionals, appointed by the two party leaders, charged with the task of screening complaints of misbehavior for possible referral to the House ethics committee for fuller inquiry. Opponents from both parties openly worry that partisan rivals would hand over false complaints and that any investigation � including those that don�t result in a referral � could threaten their careers.

    Fears of any runaway inquisition can be more than negated by the appointment of blue-ribbon, nonpartisan professionals. Even now, those fears are being exploited by some Republicans. According to National Journal�s Congress Daily, Republican staffers have been threatening to use the office to target a hit list of Democrats this fall. This would be a new low in tooth-and-claw partisanship, and cooler heads had better prevail in the caucus.

    Members should face up to a vote that tests their mettle � and most recent campaign promises � as upholders of ethical reform for the peoples� House. We suggest lawmakers fight their anxiety by quietly repeating the name Jack Abramoff, Jack Abramoff � the imprisoned superlobbyist who corrupted House members � as a prevote mantra.

    Or they could chant the name Rick Renzi, the House member indicted on 35 counts of fraud, money laundering and extortion for allegedly netting $700,000 in a political land scheme. He joins a half-dozen other members plus staffers already brought down while the House ethics committee looked the other way.

    Critics have compromised the measure enough by stripping subpoena power from the proposed integrity office. However anxious, the House can�t duck cleaning up its ethics act. Lawmakers may even find doing the right thing an impressive accomplishment to present to the voters back home.

    Louisiana Governor Pierces Business as Usual ( By ADAM NOSSITER | NYT, Feb 28

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  • file485
    07-08 05:41 PM
    thanks UN..

    a sense of relief after seeing your posts...

    any prediction for the Oct bulletin for Eb2/Eb3 India...?


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  • nk2006
    06-01 04:49 PM
    All these cable channels are after "ratings". Now that Bush administration has low popular support (based on surveys), these guys saw an opportunity to rouse people emotions and get some better ratings (different kind of vultures). Immigration is always a touchy subject at any time and at any place. Its easy to blame "aliens" for all the current problems. Many people can fall prey to this if they are not well informed. Its very unfortunate and sad that even major media houses are hosting these opportunistic journos. Sure immigration has to be discussed with different view points and should be analyzed to see how it impact's the country but these self-appointed crusaders give blatant misinformation. Even more sad is giving absurd figures/data and claim that its from "independent research".

    Low Dobbs was never a known journalist until he started this rant. The most hilarous part of his show is that question of the day part. He "conveniently" frames the questions to get a desired answer (everyone know who watch and also vote those questions) and then even quotes the result as a support of what he is saying (its obvious he didnt take stats101). As someone else mentioned on another thread its best to just ignore what he says - he dont add any value to any serious discussion.

    Its also MSNBC. Just look at Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough.

    If you hear Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, he sounds like the protege of Jeff Sessions.

    However, one difference between Tucker Carlson and Lou Dobbs. Tucker supports(or atleast pretends to support) the legal variety.

    Lou Dobbs openly opposes all immigration.

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  • gopinathan
    08-12 02:03 PM

    can't stop laughing.. thanks rsdang..

    (long pause)

    DJ: Folks, we need to take a station break


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  • DallasBlue
    09-29 07:22 PM
    USINPAC and AJC should support us for talented future lobbyists. :-)

    Forget the Israel Lobby. The Hill's Next Big Player Is Made in India ( By Mira Kamdar ( | Washington Post, September 30, 2007

    Mira Kamdar, a fellow at the World Policy Institute and the Asia Society, is the author of "Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy is Transforming America and the World."

    The fall's most controversial book is almost certainly "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," in which political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt warn that Jewish Americans have built a behemoth that has bullied policymakers into putting Israel's interests in the Middle East ahead of America's. To Mearsheimer and Walt, AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying group, is insidious. But to more and more Indian Americans, it's downright inspiring.

    With growing numbers, clout and self-confidence, the Indian American community is turning its admiration for the Israel lobby and its respect for high-achieving Jewish Americans into a powerful new force of its own. Following consciously in AIPAC's footsteps, the India lobby is getting results in Washington -- and having a profound impact on U.S. policy, with important consequences for the future of Asia and the world.

    "This is huge," enthused Ron Somers, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council, from a posh hotel lobby in Philadelphia. "It's the Berlin Wall coming down. It's Nixon in China."

    What has Somers so energized is a landmark nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States, which would give India access to U.S. nuclear technology and deliver fuel supplies to India's civilian power plants in return for placing them under permanent international safeguards. Under the deal's terms, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- for decades the cornerstone of efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons -- will in effect be waived for India, just nine years after the Clinton administration slapped sanctions on New Delhi for its 1998 nuclear tests. But the Bush administration, eager to check the rise of China by tilting toward its massive neighbor, has sought to forge a new strategic alliance with India, cemented by the civil nuclear deal.

    On the U.S. side, the pact awaits nothing more than one final up-or-down vote in Congress. (In India, the situation is far more complicated; India's left-wing parties, sensitive to any whiff of imperialism, have accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of surrendering the country's sovereignty -- a broadside that may yet scuttle the deal.) On Capitol Hill, despite deep divisions over Iraq, immigration and the outsourcing of American jobs to India, Democrats and Republicans quickly fell into line on the nuclear deal, voting for it last December by overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Even lawmakers who had made nuclear nonproliferation a core issue over their long careers, such as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), quickly came around to President Bush's point of view. Why?

    The answer is that the India lobby is now officially a powerful presence on the Hill. The nuclear pact brought together an Indian government that is savvier than ever about playing the Washington game, an Indian American community that is just coming into its own and powerful business interests that see India as perhaps the single biggest money-making opportunity of the 21st century.

    The nuclear deal has been pushed aggressively by well-funded groups representing industry in both countries. At the center of the lobbying effort has been Robert D. Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser who's now with a well-connected Republican lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers LLC. The firm's Web site touts Blackwill as a pillar of its "India Practice," along with a more recent hire, Philip D. Zelikow, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was also one of the architects of the Bush administration's tilt toward India. The Confederation of Indian Industry paid Blackwill to lobby various U.S. government entities, according to the Boston Globe. And India is also paying a major Beltway law firm, Venable LLP.

    The U.S.-India Business Council has lavished big money on lobbyists, too. With India slated to spend perhaps $60 billion over the next few years to boost its military capabilities, major U.S. corporations are hoping that the nuclear agreement will open the door to some extremely lucrative opportunities, including military contracts and deals to help build nuclear power plants. According to a recent MIT study, Lockheed Martin is pushing to land a $4 billion to $9 billion contract for more than 120 fighter planes that India plans to buy. "The bounty is enormous," gushed Somers, the business council's president.

    So enormous, in fact, that Bonner & Associates created an India lobbying group last year to make sure that U.S. companies reap a major chunk of it. Dubbed the Indian American Security Leadership Council, the group was underwritten by Ramesh Kapur, a former trustee of the Democratic National Committee, and Krishna Srinivasa, who has been backing GOP causes since his 1984 stint as co-chair of Asian Americans for Reagan-Bush. The council has, oddly, "recruited groups representing thousands of American veterans" to urge Congress to pass the nuclear deal.

    The India lobby is also eager to use Indian Americans to put a human face -- not to mention a voter's face and a campaign contributor's face -- on its agenda. "Industry would make its business case," Somers explained, "and Indian Americans would make the emotional case."

    There are now some 2.2 million Americans of Indian origin -- a number that's growing rapidly. First-generation immigrants keenly recall the humiliating days when India was dismissed as an overpopulated, socialist haven of poverty and disease. They are thrilled by the new respect India is getting. Meanwhile, a second, American-born generation of Indian Americans who feel comfortable with activism and publicity is just beginning to hit its political stride. As a group, Indian Americans have higher levels of education and income than the national average, making them a natural for political mobilization.

    One standout member of the first generation is Sanjay Puri, who founded the U.S. India Political Action Committee in 2002. (Its acronym, USINPAC, even sounds a bit like AIPAC.) He came to the United States in 1985 to get an MBA at George Washington University, staying on to found an information-technology company. A man of modest demeanor who wears a lapel pin that joins the Indian and American flags, Puri grew tired of watching successful Indian Americans pony up money just so they could get their picture taken with a politician. "I thought, 'What are we getting out of this?', " he explains.

    In just five years, USINPAC has become the most visible face of Indian American lobbying. Its Web site boasts photos of its leaders with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and presidential candidates from Fred Thompson to Barack Obama. The group pointedly sports a New Hampshire branch. It can also take some credit for ending the Senate career of Virginia Republican George Allen, whose notorious taunt of "macaca" to a young Indian American outraged the community. Less publicly, USINPAC claims to have brought a lot of lawmakers around. "You haven't heard a lot from Dan Burton lately, right?" Puri asked, referring to a Republican congressman from Indiana who has long been perceived as an India basher.

    USINPAC is capable of pouncing; witness the incident last June when Obama's campaign issued a memo excoriating Hillary Rodham Clinton for her close ties to wealthy Indian Americans and her alleged support for outsourcing, listing the New York senator's affiliation as "D-Punjab." Puri personally protested in a widely circulated open letter, and Obama quickly issued an apology. "Did you see? That letter was addressed directly to Sanjay," Varun Mehta, a senior at Boston University and USINPAC volunteer, told me with evident admiration. "That's the kind of clout Sanjay has."

    Like many politically engaged Indian Americans, Puri has a deep regard for the Israel lobby -- particularly in a country where Jews make up just a small minority of the population. "A lot of Jewish people tell me maybe I was Jewish in my past life," he jokes. The respect runs both ways. The American Jewish Committee, for instance, recently sent letters to members of Congress supporting the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

    "We model ourselves on the Jewish people in the United States," explains Mital Gandhi of USINPAC's new offshoot, the U.S.-India Business Alliance. "We're not quite there yet. But we're getting there."

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  • xyzgc
    01-03 05:56 PM

    Will you accept responsibility of Gujrat Massacre first ?
    and hand over all those to International Criminal Court..

    Will you accept responsibility of Babri Mosque demolation?

    India and media continues to talk about proof but why that proof is not share with UN, Interpoo ? Why so hush hush...I am sure you know that both sided dont even truct opposite umpires in cricket match...and you think Pakistan government will just believe on Indian word that 'they have proof"..

    point is...Pakistanis and Pakistani state is not responsible for Mubmai attacks. We have suffered on hands of these extremist just like you have.. we had 60+ suicide bombings, hundreds of civilians killed, Marriot Blast...

    point is...India and Indians are not responsible for Babri Mosque demolations or Gujrat have suffered enough like us.

    War is not will be naive to think that Pakistan will not matter of minutes..both sides will loose many able folks during war..and that is what terrorists want..

    Need of hour is to condem these acts in any way shape or form in Pakistan, India, Kashmir etc..and work together to weed these elements out..

    I have many close Indian friends and believe me, from deep of my heart, I dont mean any harm whatsoever..and I am sure they dont mean harm to me as well.

    I wish both sides can site on table, have chai or lasse and start talks on following items:

    1. How to curb terrorism in India and Pakistan and Afghanistan..
    I have no doubt that if both sides do this, we can weed these nuts
    2. We must somehow find some solution to Kashmir fuels nuts all around the world. It bogs down Pakistan and India and stops any cooperation.
    I am Kashmiri..and it doesnot matter who fires Indian Adminstred Kashmir or Pakistani Adminstred Kashmir, my people get killed..
    If UK can live with Germany and France after bitter WWII ..we sure can...
    3. I am for Open both sides can travel freely..As India develops its economy further, it can outsource many activities to 30 M Pakistani youth
    4. Lets excahnge prisoners ..those are poor people rotting in jails for no reasons..and even if there is some stupid reason, ask Presidents to pardon them...

    You work in US and know every issue needs compromise, discussion and then something gets done..

    You are a Kashmiri muslim.
    Will you accept the responsibility of making hundreds of thousands Kashimiri pandits homeless? Will you accept the responsibility for the Godhra attack?
    Do you have a time machine that can take you back to 1600 A.D and stop the evil islamic barbarics from pillaging our land? Can you? Or you need a proof for that as well to interpol?

    1. To curb terrorism, Pakistan must destroy all the terror camps. Its not doing it, its not handing over any terrorists, what's the point of having cup of chai and talking non-sense?

    2. You are a Kashmiri. Tell us, what is a possible solution? India will not hand over the remainder of the Kashmir because part of the Kashmir is already occupied by Pakistan. Period. Now, do you have a solution?

    3. You are open for open visas. What good will it do except for terrorists to come in freely and legally?

    4. By exchanging prisoners you mean hand over the terrorists, right. Hand over Afzal and Kasam and the other butchers. And ask president to pardon them.
    Sorry, won't happen.

    What else?


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  • vamsi_poondla
    10-01 04:17 PM
    This is off-topic..but you need to think of small businesses that keep wages for < 10 employees etc in their accounts.

    Thats because the rich folks all of sudden who have more then 100k in their accounts felt unsecured and obviously the US government for the rich is helping the rich.

    Coming to the topic, how many think that Sen Obama (as Prez Obama) will help our cause in case there is a CIR or piece meal EB provisions.

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  • rbharol
    04-07 01:35 AM
    I don't really think this bill will even be discussed. yes the may try to cut and paste parts of it to immigration bill....

    Will Compete America and other companies accept it? no way..

    And if it goes through, it will be begining of an end to America's supermacy as a leader in the world economy.


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  • alahiri
    07-10 10:10 AM
    What logiclife has written is well said .. but did we get a chance to articulate this in the radio itself? Or "Mikey" got all the air time?

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  • bharol
    01-06 09:22 PM
    Hamas has to be blamed for civilian deaths as well.
    Current propaganda by them portrays Hamas as innocent and puts all blame on Israel. Hamas has a history of using civilians as human shields. They are cruel even to their own people.

    see these to believe.


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  • transpass
    03-26 07:01 PM
    Does this mean that H1B is also location specific?

    As far as I know, yes it is...I remember doing H1 myself few years ago and the LCA form has prevailing wage rate section. As we know, the wage rates differ from place to place and so since H1 is based on prevailing wage rate on LCA, then H1 is also location specific. Even though LCA form has been changed since then, I think it still holds true...

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

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

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  • sk2006
    06-05 03:20 PM
    >> First off, a house is really both an investment and a home.

    If you look at the historical rate of appreciation vs. the risks involved - I think you will come to the same conclusion as I did - that it is a lousy investment in mature markets like US.

    Infact experts call an invest a good investment if
    #1 Returns are good
    #2 Expenses are low

    Investment in house does not meet any of these.. Returns historically are only slightly better than rate of inflation (forget the bubble years) and expenses which include property taxes and maintenance costs are too much to call it a good investment. And then you pay interest on the borrowed money.

    01-03 02:36 PM
    Tomorrow the Bombay attack is old too.
    You are right. And so it is imperative that before that happens, the perpetrators and their handlers are hunted down, exposed and punished, in a credible and transparent manner.
    Pakistanis should want to know who is trying to provoke India, and risking a war in the subcontinent, and why.

    You are so good at giving advice to people who suffered at your country men's(like don't start war etc) hands and yet you don't own any responsibility.
    What apology?
    I am not responsible for the actions of those people. Imagine if after 9/11, an American asked you to apologize for the actions of the 19 'Brown men' (I am assuming here that you are a south asian male) who killed 3000 Americans, how silly do you think that situation would be. If cockroaches from my house take a dump in your kitchen, don't ask me to apologize for that.

    12-27 08:35 PM
    My comments in green.
    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

    This is not that easy. India has much larger air force and it is very likely that Pakistani air fields are destroyed before it can destroy all of India's air fields. Yes india will sustain some damage and Pakistan will suffer much greater damage as our air force is at least twice as large, and most of those shiny Pakistani F-16s can't fly for lack of spares.

    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

    A failed Pakistan state is not in our interest either. A rogue state on our borders is much more dangerous than a stable country. An India victory in an Indo-Pak war is likely to weaken pakistani military control over that country and restore proper democracy in Pakistan

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

    Yes wars are terrible, but look at it this way. If we do nothing, it emboldens the terrorists attacking us. They keep on striking major metros at random and this will create a very unstable environment for investment and we will loose much of the economic momentum we gained the last few years. We will bleed slowly if we just wait and watch. This is the cost of doing nothing and may turn out to be costlier than going to war (provided we win it and it is reasonable to assume India is most certain to win this war).

    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.

    I totally agree with you on this.

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

    They are already working together. I, for one, do not believe all that crap Pakistan has been feeding the world/US that they are fighting Taliban/terrorists/etc. It is all smoke and mirrors to save their skin. This is basically Mush's plan and worked wonderfully so far.

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

    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

    We should certainly improve intelligence apparatus and and start covert operations, but that alone may not be enough.

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

    Nice discussion. At least takes the mind of that Feb bulletin :D

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