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  • sledge_hammer
    06-05 05:53 PM
    Unless one is a day trader, he/she probably has a real job (no offense to day traders :D), and only invests regularly through his/her employer sponsored retirement account or if she is self employed, she has an IRA account, to take advantage of dollar cost averaging. I am the latter btw! It used to be that 10 years was what was considered to measure the performance of any investment, and even though that trend has changed now, let's just stick with the 10 year yard stick.

    Let's take an example of Joe. Let's assume he has 30K in his pocket for investment. His goal is hard set to invest right now and cash out in 10 years. Let's find out where he stands at the end of 10 years in the two situations, rent and own.

    -------- I am going to spend the next 10 mins crunching some numbers and I will get back to you :D. You are free to post your calculations here ---------------

    Now we are getting into another different fun topic - how does a real estate "investment" compare with other forms of investment.

    1. Leverage = speculation = risk. By taking the leverage and buying the house - you lock in a 3-5% return and a lot of risk (for a 200k house - that would be 10k/year max). The 3-5% comes from long term price appreciation trends.

    If I did not buy that 200k house - I would invest the initial 40k and the rest of 160k gradually every month. For simplistic calculations:
    return from 40k - 5% (I can show you reward checking accounts with that rate even now). Inflation protected TIPS could be a good place if you are afraid of hyperinflation
    Earnings = 2k.

    You save 3k each year by renting.
    Running Total = 5k.

    Every year - you put in some money to your investment vehicle = mortgage amortization. So over 30 years - you would have been earning investment income on $80k @5% on an average = 4k.
    Running Total = 9k.

    So you are making 1k more by buying - AND taking a lot of leverage = risk.

    Inflation can upset this calculation - but not much. 1980 - 2008 was an unusual period of low inflation and high growth = high housing price increase. Any bets on how sustainable that would be? Typically housing price appreciation would be at or below inflation - which would favor other investment vehicles over real estate.

    I personally would need much more compelling reasons than the above to buy.

    This calculation does not take into account the flexibility in relocation if you do not buying a house. It alos does not consider the risk associated with having the largest chunk of your portfolio invested in a single non-diversified house instead of having a properly diversified portfolio.

    Probably not very relevant - but you can get a lot of leverage if you have the stomach for it by opening a brokerage account with 40k (your initial downpayment). A good semi-professional one would be IB ( Margin accounts give a 3X/4x leverage any day. Buy a few interest rate, currency or commodity swaps with that - and your leverage can reach stratospheric levels. I know I dont have the stomach for that.

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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 03:41 PM
    Good one, I missed reading this. This put an end to the debate...You got some green dots from me...
    Incorrect. Read for yourself.

    Sec. 204.5 Petitions for employment-based immigrants.



    (e) Retention of section 203(b)(1) ( , (2) ( , or (3) ( priority date. -- A petition approved on behalf of an alien under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act accords the alien the priority date of the approved petition for any subsequently filed petition for any classification under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act for which the alien may qualify. In the event that the alien is the beneficiary of multiple petitions under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act, the alien shall be entitled to the earliest priority date. A petition revoked under sections 204(e) ( or 205 ( of the Act will not confer a priority date, nor will any priority date be established as a result of a denied petition. A priority date is not transferable to another alien.

    US Permanent Resident since 2002

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  • sw33t
    12-28 05:12 AM
    Do you realize the extent of loss after Mumbai attacks?
    The initial rough-and-ready calculations estimate that the business loss on those two days is close to $10 billion and the foreign exchange hit is approximately $20 billion.
    A bomb scare in any software park in India (just a scare - no loss of life and property) will generate enough fear factor to shut it down for several weeks! How much loss do you think it entails?

    So your justification on spending billions more on what was lost is the right thing???

    And what about the loss of civilian lives? The lives of soldiers dying in shelling across India-Pak borders? The loss of morale of Mumbaities!! The feeling of insecurity when you hop on to the daily commuter train? Who will account for all of that?

    Going to war to retaliate might give the impression of satisfaction, but the insecurity caused by trauma is still going to live on forever.

    Of course, wars are costly! It doesn't mean you should not go on war, it doesn't mean you should zero out your defence budgets, or does it?


    Do you drive your car without an insurance?

    Exactly. The state, the county, the city and the insurance company make money off of your will to comply! Thousands more will die off of your desire to go to war whereas the arms dealers make money.

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  • quizzer
    04-08 04:19 PM
    I look at this bill in a different perspective:

    1. This will give the Indian IT companies an opportunity to move up the value chain. Rather than body shop its employees to clients...they can have all the IT work done at its development locations. Also they can fill americans for half of its US workforce.

    2. It will put an end to 100% H1b bodyshoppers who just make money without having any office and putting their employees onto client locations. These scrupulous bodyshops even dont pay on bench.



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  • srkamath
    07-13 02:15 PM
    Whoever, plans to put their name and signature on this letter ......

    " Let me take you back to the situation in 2001-2003..when a lot of current (EB3) applicants were qualified under EB2 and RIR category(many of whom had masters degrees from TOP US universities) our Labors were sent back from DOL saying that the Economy was slow and hence cant apply in EB-2. So we were forced to apply in EB3 non RIR categories, but when the economy improved in 04-05 you introduced the PERM system and most people applied in EB2 and got their Labors cleared in few months time while the folks who applied in 2001-2004 were stuck at the backlog centers for 3 plus years. " - sounds awkward, someone with better writing skills needs to re-write this.

    "....most people applied in EB2 and got their Labors cleared in few months time.... " - So why didn't/couldn't/wouldn't you?

    "After having followed the rules set by DOL and the USCIS and waited patiently in line ignoring the short cut routes of substitute labor or converting to EB2 categories we applied for I-485 in June 07 to get our EAD's. " - I-485 to get EAD ??? Doesn't make sense....

    The whole letter sounds like you are demanding some kind of entitlement......and are suggesting that those who applied for EB2 under PERM did something wrong?

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  • immique
    07-14 01:56 AM
    really! can you give me the name of that high school that you are talking about. I want to find out if I can qualify as an EB2 Physician/Scientist if I go to that particular high school and get my high school degree. why the hell would any body waste 15 years going to college, Medical school, post graduate trying to get the required skills.

    I don't think the issue is that simple. The whole thing just surfaced another screw-up of the system. The actions taken by all the agencies certainly made things worse.

    DoS suddenly interpretted laws differently than before. This just like the PERM, BEC, and last July episode. They took actions without considering people already in line. Those with good faith waiting in line have been constantly pushed around. How many people experienced being stuck in BEC while PERM approves new application like crazy? Who is accountable for all of these? They can't do things willy nilly any more. Someone mentioned lawsuit since DoS either interpret the law wrong now or in the past.

    Needless to say that the distincation between EB2 and EB3 has become so meaniningless now. How many positions really satisfy the EB2 requirements? From what I heard that most people just try to get around the system to get an EB2. One of the persons who filed EB2 told me that a high school graduate would probably be able to work in that position too.

    Just my observation.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Macaca
    08-08 09:19 PM
    A Shameless Congress Applauds `Ethics' Law ( By Margaret Carlson (, August 8, 2007

    To much fanfare and self-congratulation, the U.S. Congress passed ethics legislation last week supposedly making the members subject to the same standards of behavior the rest of us live by.

    At almost the same time, a federal court handed down a decision involving a congressman whose office was raided by the FBI last year as part of a bribery case that included the earlier discovery of $90,000 he stashed in his home freezer. The ruling reminds us how much more Washington is like Vegas than Peoria. Under the Constitution, a congressman can protect his legislative files from being searched. In other words, what happens in your Capitol Hill office stays in your Capitol Hill office.

    The ruling came in the matter of Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat indicted for bribery in June. Jefferson allegedly got the $90,000 from a telecommunications entrepreneur who enlisted his help in getting approval from a Nigerian official to do business in that country.

    The court didn't buy that the Justice Department did everything it could during the search to shield privileged documents, short of letting Jefferson conduct his own raid. A ``filter team'' removed any material that smacked of Jefferson's legislative duties. The court found the effort insufficient ``to protect the privilege'' of the legislative branch to be free from intrusions by the executive branch.

    Shielding Lawbreakers

    This means that under the principle of shielding lawmakers, lawbreakers may be shielded from legitimate law enforcement. Jefferson's lawyer Robert Trout was thrilled, saying the decision shows that every member of Congress has an ``absolute right to review his records first and shield legislative material from review.'' Federal agents get to see what's left.

    Jefferson must be kicking himself. Why didn't he think to take the loot out of the freezer in his home and disperse it among the files labeled ``congressional bills'' at his office?

    Consider the possibilities. Yes, it would have been hard for former Representative Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, now in prison, to keep his Louis XIV commode hidden in his office. But he could have easily stuffed any records about goodies provided by his defense contractor pals, such as the lease for his yacht ``Duke-Stir,'' into a file drawer labeled ``Hearings.''

    Like the Jefferson affair, the case of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska could give a whole new meaning to the phrase Capitol Hideaway. Stevens's house in Alaska was raided last week by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service as part of a broad corruption probe. Stevens has multiple ties to businessman Bill Allen, who, since pleading guilty to bribery in May, is said to be singing like an Arctic loon.

    If Only He'd Known

    With the court's ruling, Stevens could have shipped anything he didn't want to be discovered to the Hart Senate Office Building for safekeeping.

    Stevens and Jefferson are just two of at least a dozen members of Congress under investigation, which puts increasing pressure on the lawmakers to do something about corruption. That something, unfortunately, has loopholes large enough for a Gulfstream V to fly through.

    The ethics legislation allows members to do all kinds of things -- as long as they disclose them. Want to have a fat cat contributor? Just make sure he discloses that he's bundling donations from friends, clients and employees.

    Don't want to give up earmarks? You can still shoehorn an appropriation for millions of dollars onto an unrelated piece of legislation as long as you put your name on it.

    `Bridge to Nowhere'

    The law would have done nothing to stop Stevens from getting his ``Bridge to Nowhere,'' a quarter-mile span connecting an Alaskan town to an island of 50 people, a couple of years ago.

    Gifts and free travel are banned, unless they are part of campaigning. In other words, Congressman A can't have a rare rib-eye, creamed spinach and a bottle of Merlot with Businessman B at the Palm unless it's in conjunction with fundraising. In the case of congressional ethics, two wrongs do make a right.

    The reason disclosure no longer works as a deterrent is that shame no longer works. As the ethics legislation was rolling to passage, Stevens, at a private luncheon with Republican colleagues, threatened to hold the whole thing up if the ban on traveling on corporate aircraft wasn't removed. He will still be able to fly Air Lobbyist. He'll just have to pay for it at commercial charter rates.

    In wanting to keep his perks, Stevens may be the most outspoken member, but he's, by no means, alone. ``Ethics'' is the one area in Congress where there is heartwarming bipartisanship.

    `Culture of Corruption'

    Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich and Democrat Thomas Foley filed legal briefs in support of Jefferson. When the court said the search was unlawful, Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded. Earlier, Pelosi, who once pledged to end the Republican ``culture of corruption,'' took away Jefferson's coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee after the FBI raid on his office only to try to award him a coveted seat on the homeland security panel.

    Some legislation is worse than no legislation. Senator John McCain, showing again why he'll never be president, said the ethics bill will delude voters into thinking things have been fixed when they haven't.

    ``This will continue the earmarking and pork barrel projects,'' the Arizona Republican said. ``Again, the American people will have been deceived.''

    Most of the other members are chest-thumping as if they've really done something. The public would be better off if Congress had to live by the laws that apply to everyone else, criminal and civil, and at least a few of the Ten Commandments. I'd start with thou shalt not steal -- and work from there.


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  • GC08
    02-02 10:14 PM
    Whether that stupid guy knows or not is not important. The most important thing is the American people. I guarantee that most Americans do not know how H1Bs contribute to the American society. If they are misinformed, the government and Congress can only further mistreat people like you and me. The real danger of those lies about H1Bs is that it will stir up a sentiment of anti legal immigrants

    Remember, the sentiment of the American society plays a vital role in American policies as all the politicians want votes!

    By the way, pro-immigration does not necessarily mean pro-legal immigration. Sometimes, the so called pro-immigration policies can only jeopardize those who are here legally, mainly those employment-based immigrant, most of whom take the F1-H1-GC route ... just like you and me. So be careful when we support any bills. We need to understand what exactly our legal immigrants get from the bill before we support it. :)

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


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  • Munna Bhai
    07-08 07:47 PM
    I applied for GC under schedule A in may06 .My husband filed as derivative.He received a notice of intent to denial last month .Reason being he did not have paystubs for a period of more than 6 months during 2000 and 2001.His employer at that time did not pay him even after he worked for 4 months then he took few more months to change his company(more than 180 days)In 2002 he went to India and came back .and in 2004 filed for a GC as primary petitioner and me as a derivative .last year he withdrew the petition after he received several RFE`S fearing the worst.Even though he no longer has GC filed as primary petitioner he received notice of intent to deny for the petion filed through me saying that his H1 was not legal as could`nt show proof for several months and that when he filed for AOS he used those years as work experience.
    and now another problem is I applied for EAD in march and have not received new old ead expired 10 days ago.and now Iam not working.
    We bought a house last year thinking that under schedule A we`ll get GC in no time.Now we know it is a terrible mistake.Now both of us can`t work and had to take my son out of daycare. and we have house payments to make.We put our house for sale weeks ago and so far no offers.I contacted local representative to expedite My EAD and also contacted USCIS to expedite it,
    citing financial burden.We are spending sleepless nights and have no clue what to do for my EAD and his AOS.pLEASE HELP.
    Did anyone face similar situation .Any suggestions are welcome.

    What made them to ask paystub for during 2000 and 2001?

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  • sw33t
    09-28 01:03 AM
    Living in the US for approx. 8 yrs, I am mentally getting ready to move back to India. Just waiting to clear my debt and then move back. I came pretty close to buying a house in summer based on EB2 dates moving in Aug. and Sept. 08 but I am glad I didn't. Luckily, I am single and can take my own decision. If I had the opportunity to vote, I would vote John McCain.

    Don't want to elaborate more but I have put up a blog entry for those of you who want to read more -

    I am also exploring HSMP - Tier 1 (UK) and probably at Singapore as well (want to move closer to the shores).

    I'll definitely apply for the European Blue Card once it is ratified by the EU member nations.


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  • django.stone
    06-26 07:18 PM
    i completely agree with you. i follow exactly the same logic by puddonhead and in fact i place a high $ value on flexibility (X) and very low $ on lost savings (Y), as i am very disciplined in saving the extra income which makes it even harder for rent to exceed interest + tax + insurance + hoa + maintenance fees. so i am on this forum to get my GC and escape the hell out of bay area to a place where normal people can lead a happy life

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  • vamsi_poondla
    09-30 10:30 PM
    Rightly said. This is the case with most of us mpadapa. We too are in the process of starting Australia PR. Perth area, while not as great as Silicon Valley, according to many, is a breeding ground for innovation.

    I cannot let this uncertainty - whether Obama's immigration policy will be same as Durbin's immigration policy for highly skilled immigrants - ruin my future. I have a career ahead and want to be in control of my fate.

    When I visited Statue Of Liberty last week, I had a strange feeling. First time I suspected that it is an age old fable that America used to accept immigrants with open arms to flourish - grow and contribute back. It seems too good to be true because our GC process is so irrational. 8 years wait for becoming PR in contrast with other western democracies could do it in < 5 years with a smoother process. Something wrong here.

    If Obama becomes president can he restore the faith of high-skilled immigrant who play by the books and still have to wait for decades to get their Green Card.

    After graduating with a Electrical engg degree from a top school in India, I got a job with a world leading semiconductor company. I first came to USA almost 12 years ago on a business trip as part of a multinational chip design effort for high end Telecommunication market. I was very impressed with the group of professionals I worked with. I felt the work environment stimulated the creativity in me and brought the best out of me. After the short trip I went back to my home country but that visit left a lasting impression on me and I felt USA would be the place I can further my professional abilities. Couple of years later, I came to USA for my Masters to embark on that journey. Even though I graduated when the US economy was in recession (2001), my unique skill set was much sought after and hence I got a job with a R&D startup division of a popular Japanese company. Working with a great group of professionals brought out the creativity in me. I currently have 10 US patents. The sailing was smooth until I started my Green Card process. The outdated immigration system and the long wait in the limbo state has been impacting my professional and personal life. I am starting to doubt that my American dream is slipping away day by day. I hope if Obama becomes the president he would restore some credibility to my faith in the immigration system. But if Sen. Durbin is driving Obama's immigration policy then I fear even more long waits for high-skilled immigrants because of Sen. Durbin's aggressive stance against H1B's. Mean while I have started to look at immigrant friendly countries like Australia and Canada as my possible future destination. Due to too much headaches with immigration process my Director had decided not to hire any more foreign workers, this decision has crippled our divisions expansion as most of the interested candidates require H1's. All the new projects which otherwise would have started in USA has moved to other places all because of the broken immigration process.

    Obama has mentioned many times on the campaign trail that "his education" is the reason why he has risen to where he is now. I feel Obama is a person who values higher education and high-skilled professional and I do have great faith in Obama's skills, I hope he takes a strong stance on the need to reform the high-skilled immigration system.

    Many have been looking at the high-skilled immigrants through a narrow pin hole, even Sen Durbin has been swayed by such critics. NFAP report shows that almost 50% of the private venture backed companies started between 1995 and 2005 are founded by immigrants. Guess what Sen. Durbin and high-skilled immigrant critics majority of those immigrants would've taken the route of H1 -> GreenCard -> US citizen. The companies started by those immigrants employ thousands of Americans and millions in tax revenue. Then why is America so hostile towards the same high-skilled immigration system which in the long run benefits America. Why are Sen. Durbin so short sighted on the high-skilled immigration system? Hope Obama can look at the high-skilled immigration system with a long term perspective and persuade his colleagues in Congress to enact a legislation to fix this broken system.

    Here is the link to the NFAP report which I talked about 6.pdf


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  • rsdang
    08-29 10:58 AM
    :D We've all been there, but don't like to admit it. We've all kicked

    back in our cubicles and suddenly felt something brewing down below. As

    much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the WORK POOP is


    For those who hate pooping at work, following is the Survival Guide

    for Taking a dump at work.

    *CROP DUSTING* - When farting, you walk really fast around the

    office so the smell is not in your area and everyone else gets a whiff, but no

    one knows where it came from. Be careful when you do this. Do not stop

    until the full fart has been expelled. Walk an extra 30 feet to make sure

    the smell has left your pants.

    *FLY BY* - The act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping. Walk

    in and check for other poopers. If there are others in the bathroom,

    leave and come back again. Be careful not to become a FREQUENT FLYER.

    People may become suspicious if they catch you constantly going into the bathroom.

    *ESCAPEE* - A fart that slips out while taking a pee or forcing a

    poop in a stall. This is usually accompanied by a sudden wave of

    embarrassment. If you release an escapee, do not acknowledge it.

    Pretend it did not happen. If you are a man and are standing next to the farter in the urinal,

    pretend you did not hear it. No one likes an escapee. It is uncomfortable for all involved.

    Making a joke or laughing makes both parties feel uneasy.

    *JAILBREAK*- When forcing a poop, several farts slip out at a machine

    gun pace. This is usually a side effect of diarrhea or a hangover.

    If this should happen, do not panic. Remain in the stall until everyone has

    left the bathroom to spare everyone the awkwardness of what just occurred.

    *COURTESY FLUSH* - The act of flushing the toilet the instant the

    poop hits the water. This reduces the amount of air time the poop has to

    stink up the bathroom. This can help you avoid being caught doing the


    *WALK OF SHAME* - Walking from the stall-to the sink-to the door

    after you have just stunk up the bathroom. This can be a very uncomfortable

    moment if someone walks in and busts you. As with farts, it is best to

    pretend that the smell does not exist.--Can be avoided with the use of


    *OUT OF THE CLOSET POOPER* - A colleague who poops at work and is

    Dog-gone proud of it. You will often see an Out-Of-The-Closet Pooper

    enter the bathroom with a newspaper or magazine under their arm.

    Always look around the office for the Out-Of- The-Closet Pooper before

    entering the bathroom.

    *THE POOPING FRIENDS NETWORK (P.F.N)* A group of co-workers who band

    together to ensure emergency pooping goes off without incident. This

    group can help you to monitor the whereabouts of Out-Of-The-Closet

    Poopers and identify SAFE HAVENS.

    *SAFE HAVENS* A seldom-used bathroom somewhere in t he building

    where you can least expect visitors. Try floors that are predominantly of

    the opposite sex. This will reduce the odds of a pooper of your sex

    entering the bathroom.

    *TURD BURGLAR* - Someone who does not realize that you are in the

    stall and tries to force the door open. This is one of the most shocking

    and vulnerable moments that can occur when taking a poop at work. If

    this occurs, remain in the stall until the Turd Burglar leaves. This way

    you will avoid all uncomfortable eye contact.

    *CAMO-COUGH* A phony cough that alerts all new entrants into the

    bathroom that you are in a stall. This can be used to cover-up a

    WATERMELON, or to alert potential *Turd Burglars* - Very effective when used in conjunction with a


    *SHIRLEY TEMPLE* - A subtle toe-tapping that is used to alert

    potential Turd Burglars that you are occupying a stall. This will remove all

    doubt that the stall is occupied. If you hea r a SHIRLEY TEMPLE, leave the

    bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace.

    *WATERMELON* - A poop that creates a loud splash when hitting the

    toilet water. This is also an embarrassing incident. If you feel a

    Watermelon coming on, create a diversion. See CAMO-COUGH.

    *HAVANAOMELET* - A case of diarrhea that creates a series of loud

    splashes in the toilet water--often accompanied by an Escapee. Try

    using a CAMO-COUGH with a SHIRLEY TEMPLE.

    *AUNT BETTY* - A bathroom user who seems to linger around

    forever...Could spend extended lengths of time in front of the

    mirror or sitting on the pot.

    An AUNT BETTY makes it difficult to relax while on the crapper, as

    you should always wait to poop when the bathroom is empty. This benefits

    you as well as the other bathroom attendees

    ************************************************** ******************


    *The King Poop* - This kind is the kind of poop that killed Elvis.

    It doesn't come until you're all sweaty, trembling and purple from

    straining so hard.

    *Bali Belly Poop* - You poop so much you lose 5 lbs.

    *Cement Block* - You wish you'd gotten a spinal block before you


    *Cork Poop* - (Also Known as Floater Poop) = Even after the third

    flush, it's still floating in there. How do I get rid of it? This poop

    usually happens at someone else's house.

    *The Bungee Poop* - The kind of poop that just hangs off your rear

    before it falls into the water.

    *The Crippler* - The kind of poop where you have to sit on the

    toilet so long your legs go numb from the waist down.

    *The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang* - The kind of poop that hits you when

    you're trapped in your car in a traffic jam.

    *The Party Pooper* - The giant poop you take at a party and, when

    you flush the toilet, you watch in horror as the water starts to rise.

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  • Macaca
    12-28 07:39 PM
    All India Radia ( By Jug Suraiya | Times of India

    Far from subverting democracy lobbyists help to promote it

    Niira Radia should be given the Padma Shrimati next year. As each new tranche of the leaked tapes of Radiagate are made public it becomes increasingly clear that, far from sabotaging India's democracy, the lobbyist was actually furthering its cause.

    Though Radia's method of operation - which reportedly involves large-scale hawala transactions - was often dubious, there is nothing wrong with her broad strategy to influence public policy by inducing media people and other opinion makers to get A Raja the telecom portfolio. That his appointment - at least partly engineered by Radia - led to the 2G scam is another matter.

    Lobbying - or what is often called public advocacy - is a perfectly legitimate, and indeed necessary, component of any democracy. In the US, for example, it is considered to be a high-profile and respectable profession made use of by everyone who would like to have a say in the framing of official policy. New Delhi has often employed US lobbyists to try and influence Washington's policies vis-a-vis Pakistan and Kashmir, among other things. In the US, there are accredited lobbyists for all manner of issues and individuals, from the right to bear arms to candidates for Senate seats.

    If looked at in its broadest sense, what does lobbying boil down to? Nothing more, or less, than trying to get people to see your, or your client's view. All public relations exercises - be they for business interests or causes like animal welfare or AIDS prevention - are examples of lobbying: they are attempts to get the members of the public to change their ways of thought and action in particular spheres of interest or concern.

    Similarly, all forms of advertising - and no media product, including this newspaper, could remain economically viable were it not for advertisements - are lobbying by another name. Advertisements try to persuade you to buy a particular product or service. A successful ad, a lobbying exercise that has worked, is one that makes the maximum amount of money for the advertiser, the client of the lobbyist, in this case the advertising agency. The most successful ads - the ones that have been most persuasive in changing public behaviour and thinking - are annually honoured by receiving awards given by the industry.

    All politics, and not just at election time, is nothing but lobbying in its most blatant form. In a democracy, it is expected of all political parties to shape or transform public policy through competitive lobbying of the electorate via election manifestos and professed agendas. The voter is seduced, persuaded, bribed by all sorts of promised inducements, often in the form of cash subsidies or tax breaks, to support this or that party or candidate. There is the Election Commission to see there is no hanky-panky or rigging at the time of polling. But no Election Commission can compel a political party or candidate to make good on election promises - i.e., bribes in one form or another - once the balloting is over.

    If politics is unadulterated lobbying, and it is, so is the media. All reporters and commentators - in the press, or on TV or radio, even those considered too insignificant to have been approached by Radia - try to shape public opinion, and through that try to influence official policy by having public pressure put on it, according to their own views, opinions and interests, or those of the organisations that employ them.

    Indeed, democracy with all its components - media, market and elective politics - is a vast enterprise in lobbying, a never-ending argument between competing interest groups to change public policy to suit their own ends.

    Radia's only fault was getting caught. But for having forced us, however unwittingly, to take a long hard look at our democracy and what it really means, she needs a commendation. Padma Shrimati? Heck, make her Woman of the Year. She deserves it. Or rather, we deserve her.

    An inconvenient truth ( By Anoop Kohli | Times of India


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  • mbartosik
    09-29 12:05 PM
    My primary reason for supporting Obama is environment...

    Obama truely supports renewable energy, and did not cave to placating the public with lowering gas tax. While I think that $15,000,000,000 per year may not be enough it is a start in the right direction.

    I got my green card earlier this year, and one of the first things that I did after getting it was contribute to Obama's primary campaign. Now I've been contributing to his election campaign (I'm sure that there's a public access site you can look up contribution at).

    McCain did not once vote for the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit extension. Not once out of 9 times. Sure he has been out of DC many times, but not all. How can you have an "all of the above" energy policy when you haven't voted once for renewable energy.

    See my solar system install here:
    - it's impressive.

    So I put my money where my mouth is -- solar powered net zero retrofitted house, featured on local TV and in news papers (got another interview in a hour). Mostly with American made equipment (one of my criteria).
    I support Obama with contributions -- since I cannot vote.
    I also support IV with contributions.

    My political slogan:
    "Blow baby blow"
    "Shine baby shine"
    - Renewable energy is the future, it is made in the USA!

    Many of us high skilled immigrants have the above average get-up-and-go that it takes to move this country forward to a brighter future. After all we had the get-up-and-go to move here.

    However, the system does work against us. Being an "temporary" sure did not make it any easier making the investment that I have. Until I got my green card, being "temporary" was a huge problem and worry, because I had made decisions based on the assumption that would change.

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  • Macaca
    05-01 05:40 PM
    Why China�s Crackdown is Selective ( By Minxin Pei | The Diplomat

    For a one-party state that tolerates practically no open defiance of its authority, Beijing�s gentle handling of hundreds of striking truckers in Shanghai who had paralyzed operations at one of China�s largest container ports seems an anomaly. Instead of sending in riot police to break up the blockade last week, the authorities in Shanghai agreed to reduce fees levied on the truckers, who were angry over the charges and rising fuel prices.

    The outcome of this incident couldn�t be more different from another recent event: the arrest of Ai Weiwei, one of China�s most prominent political activists. Ai has repeatedly defied the ruling Communist Party and, despite his international stature, Beijing decided to put him behind bars, ignoring widespread international condemnation.

    The contrast between these two incidents raises an intriguing question: why does Beijing tolerate certain forms of protest, but represses others?

    One obvious reason is that it depends on the nature of the protest. As a rule, a frontal challenge to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party, as Ai�s activities embodied, practically guarantees a harsh response from the government. But protest inspired by specific economic grievances, such as truckers� ire over excessive fees, seems to fare better. In the eyes of the ruling party, the former constitutes an existential threat and so no concessions are seen as able to appease political activists rejecting the very legitimacy of the regime.

    In contrast, the discontent generated by well-defined economic grievances can be treated with specific concessions. One quote, allegedly from a sitting senior Politburo member, says it all: �What are the contradictions among the people?� the Politburo member supposedly asked. �(These contradictions) can all be solved by using renminbi.�

    But things are a little more complicated than this. The reality is that even when dealing with protests or riots fuelled by specific socioeconomic grievances, the behavior of the Chinese authorities isn�t always consistent. Sometimes, government officials pacify protesters through the use of the renminbi, while other times they mercilessly crush such protest.

    So how do we make sense of such apparent inconsistencies?

    It seems that the type of response to social protest�harsh or soft�depends on a complex mix of factors such as who the protesters are, the resources and organizational capacity at their disposal, the economic sectors in which they are located, and the social repercussions of their protest. Generally speaking, highly organized protesters (such as truck drivers, discharged soldiers and officers of the People�s Liberation Army, and taxi drivers) tend to fare better. They also possess resources that can be easily and effectively deployed. Taxi and truck drivers, for example, can use their vehicles to paralyze traffic and produce instantaneous and widespread social and economic disruptions.

    Former PLA servicemen, meanwhile, have a strong institutional identity and are well-connected with each other through ties forged during their military service. Research conducted by Chinese scholars shows that protests organized by former PLA servicemen tend to get the most attention�and the softest treatment�from the government. In contrast, protests by peasants are handled more harshly as they are less organized, possess few strategic assets, and have little impact beyond their villages.

    Another important factor is the political calculations of local officials. Despite the popular image of the Chinese state as a hierarchical, top-down system, there�s no uniform national manual for handling protests. This leaves a great deal of discretion at the hands of local officials, but it also places them in a political quandary. Whenever a mass protest erupts, local officials have to think and react fast, but deploying riot police and using force against protesters isn�t necessarily the preferred modus operandi since this could prompt an escalation in violence. Local officials who mishandle mass protests risk demotion or even dismissal, so they must calculate how to end such demonstrations peacefully and quickly, while ensuring that their actions won�t also encourage future protests. It�s a difficult balancing act.

    So what influences the political calculations of local officials?

    As I�ve said, it�s in large part the nature of the protest, the strength of the protesters, and the likely effects of the protest�all are critical variables. Local officials usually avoid using violence against protests inspired by economic discontent and organized by workers in strategic sectors (transportation and energy, for example). Another factor at play is simply the amount of renminbi available to local officials for buying off the protesters. In the case of striking truckers, the Shanghai municipal government, the wealthiest local jurisdiction in China, has plenty of money. But in poorer areas, the renminbi option just doesn�t exist.

    Another factor is media glare�the more media coverage (particularly international media coverage), the more constraints on local officials� use of force. Last, the location of the protest is key. When such protests happen in remote villages or towns, they are quickly and ruthlessly crushed. But when they occur in urban centres, the government (usually) responds more cautiously and gently.

    All this means that the happy ending for the striking truckers in Shanghai shouldn�t be taken as an encouraging precedent for workers in other sectors who might think the government will back down in the face of economic demands�however justifiable they might be.

    Minxin Pei is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College

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  • SunnySurya
    12-22 10:17 PM
    Good post,
    You post is a testimony that not all hope is lost with Islam. There are still people like yourselves who can think objectively or at least open to one.
    And this is the reason why I am not against Islam as this would also mean that I am raising my fingers on the guys like urself.

    Please quantify your response. There are numerous hindu groups that have worked for the upliftment of many. There are certain right wing hindu groups that do that just like there are many right wing muslims groups that target the other communities. As for Jinnah, I wonder if there would pakistan if he was offered the PM or the home minister. It is a rheotrical question and I doubt there is a clear answer.

    Hindus have pretty much killed the practice of Sati and I doubt there will ever be such abominable events. Atleast they looked at it and removed it and that is praise worthy. There is still work to be done with the caste sytem but it is slowly been taken down

    I agree with the Palestians point. I think that community is unfortunately the most beseiged and under one of the worst oppressors. Using religion to usurp their land and then making them prisoners in their own land in this age is unbelievable.

    04-21 04:19 PM
    The trillion-dollar mortgage time bomb

    12-17 03:57 PM
    Is it 200 not 2000 :D

    People like Antulay are real traitors of India. Who know they may be taking instructions from Pakistan ISI? Such people go unpunish is the main reason India was slave for 2000 years.

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