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  • bfadlia
    01-07 02:44 PM
    You say romans converted egyptions to christianity. If it is true, romans follow catholic church. Coptic is Othodox christians, started during the period of apostole. Romans may ruled them, but every one is coptic. Not changed the religion by force. You contradit your statement.
    Mohamed copy bible and make his own version and misled the people. It is like a cult. Like Mormon in USA. It is written in the bible. 'Those who change any word from the bible will be punished'. Mohamed's fate decided by God.

    Buddy.. I'm not trying to argue with you.. just hope you get more information about what you are talking about.
    1- Coptic tradition claims that St. Mark brought Christianity to Egypt around 50 CE. A small community of Christians developed in Alexandria in the late first century, and became more numerous by the end of the second century. Some similarities in beliefs helped Christianity to be accepted by Egyptians, including the beliefs that the Egyptian god Osiris was both human and god, the resurrection of Osiris, and the godly triad of Osiris, Isis, and Horus.
    During the third and fourth centuries, the Romans persecuted various religious dissidents, especially Christians. The emperor Diocletian attempted to restructure and unify the Empire, and instigated some harsh reforms which led to rebellion among the Egyptians. Diocletian then began extensive persecutions of Christians, which was referred to by Copts as the Era of Martyrs. The year of Diocletian's accession (284 CE) was designated Year One in the Coptic Christian calendar in order to observe the tragedies. Christianity was threatening to the Roman Empire because its strong monotheistic belief "made it impossible for its serious adherents to acknowledge the Roman emperor as a deity" (Carroll 1988). Also, many important leadership positions in Egyptian society and the military were held by Christians.
    2- According to Jews, god would never change the commandments of the old testament which jesus did.. so for them he was blasphemous.. you just shrug this off as a christian.. by the same token why do u think muslims would care what u think of Mohamed?
    Speak for yourself and stop talking on behalf of god.




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  • rbalaji5
    07-13 10:33 PM
    I have drafted a Petition (Version 1).

    http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?p=262309#post262309

    Excellent letter. - I support even I am EB2.

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




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  • bharol
    01-06 11:26 PM
    Exactly, its about how many people care about the issue. If terrorists kill innocent civilians, first thing they'll say is "Islamic Terrorism". Don't tell me media around the world didn't use this term. Anything and everything blamed on religion and people following the religion.


    There is a reason for that. The organizations which claim responsibility for such attacks have names like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Deccan Mujahiddin... Now I don't have to explain the meanings of their names. Then they say they are doing Jihad!

    Why would somebody not call them Islamic terrorists?

    Now that does not mean all followers of Islam are Islamic-terrorists.




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  • Macaca
    12-27 07:31 PM
    'A Hole to Bury You'
    A first-hand account of how China's police treats the citizens it's supposed to serve and protect. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576045152244293970.html)
    By TENG BIAO | Wall Street Journal

    On Dec. 23, the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Forced Disappearance came into force. China has declined to accede to this convention. My experience that same day is just one of many examples of how the authorities continue to falsely imprison Chinese citizens.

    That evening, I was in the Xizhimen area of Beijing chatting with my colleagues Piao Xiang, Xu Zhiyong and Zhang Yongpan. Ms. Piao had been disappeared after she and I went to Dandong on Oct. 7 to argue the court case of Leng Guoquan, a man framed by the police for drug trafficking; she had only been released on Dec. 20. Her abductors had been officers from the state security squad of the Public Security Bureau. I asked her to narrate the entire process of her disappearance in detail.

    Later, I suggested to Mr. Zhang, "Let's go and see Fan Yafeng's mom." The day before, we had contacted fellow human rights lawyer Fan Yafeng and found out that he was under strict house arrest. But he had said that his mother was going to be alone at home in the evening and so I thought we should go see her.

    Because I used to go there frequently I remembered clearly where she lived. As Mr. Zhang and I entered the block of flats and started walking up the staircase, I had a feeling that someone was following us. Observing that we went to the third floor, a young security guard asked us whom we were visiting. We said, "We're seeing a friend." Immediately, he called out for someone else to come up.

    We knocked on the door and were greeted by Mr. Fan's mother. But as we entered the flat, the security guard came with us, and a person in plainclothes stormed in just behind him. The man in plainclothes demanded to check our IDs in a very coarse manner. I asked him in a loud voice, "What sort of people are you? How can you enter a private residence without permission?"

    The plainclothes man said, "I am a police officer. We want to check your ID cards." "You're a police officer? I want to see your police ID." "If I am telling you I'm a police officer, then that's what I am. What are you doing here?" "Is that your business? How can you prove you're a police officer if you don't show your police ID card?"

    The situation was escalating. I ducked my head and used my phone to send out a message on Twitter, and Mr. Zhang made a phone call to a friend. It was then about half past eight. The plainclothes guy made a phone call asking for reinforcement. Later I learned that at that moment our own reinforcements were mobilizing.

    Two police officers showed up. One of them showed us his police ID. I asked Mr. Zhang to note down his police ID number and name, Shi Ligang, and pass it on to our Twitter friends. Then they wanted to check our IDs. I said, "According to Article 15 of the National Identity Card Law you have no right to check them in the present situation."

    He said, "We are conducting an investigation in accordance with the People's Police Law." I said, "You can only question people who are suspected of having broken a law. We've just come to a friend's home for a visit, so you have no right to question us."

    We quarreled for some time, and that state security squad officer in plainclothes kept making phone calls asking for more people to come over. The situation was getting worse, so I sent another Twitter message.

    I talked to Mr. Fan's mother and the older state security squad officer told her not to speak to me. I got angry. "You're not even disclosing your identity, do you think you can enter other people's flat as you please and order the flat-owner about�not to mention that that's illegal, it lacks every human feeling!"

    "You should think more clearly. Don't talk so much about the law with me. Do you know where we are? We are on Communist Party territory!"

    The state security squad officer later tried to beat me. I warned him, "As you haven't shown me any documentation, you don't even have the right to seek a conversation with me. Don't push me." Then he said, "Don't you know what place you are in? This is China! Now you've come here, don't think you can leave again!"

    After about 15 minutes, a large contingent of police officers arrived. I was in the washroom at the time. I could hear the police dragging Mr. Zhang forcefully downstairs. The plainclothes man banged madly at the door of the washroom, cracking a hole into the thin wooden panel of the door. I said, "I just want to use the washroom!" He said, "You're not allowed to," and kept banging against the door. He inserted his hand through the hole he had made, and undid the latch. Several police officers dragged me out. The state security squad officer took away my glasses. I am severely near-sighted, and as a result I was quite unable to see clearly. Later, I wasn't even able to read a police officer's ID number.

    I protested loudly against this treatment. A whole group of police officers pushed, shoved, pulled and dragged me down the stairs and into a police van. Mr. Zhang's glasses and mobile phone had also been taken away. As we were dragged away we were also beaten. My hand had been grabbed so violently that it was injured in a few places. A police officer wanted to take away my mobile phone, I resisted with all my force and he eventually desisted.

    When we arrived at the Shuangyushu police station, I said, "You have no right to take us into a police station. You can't be ignorant of the provision of Article 9 of the Police Law!"

    "Want to tell us what it says?"

    "'In the following four sets of circumstances, the police may take citizens to a public security bureau for questioning: (1) if the person has been accused of having committed a crime, (2) if a person has been discovered at the suspected scene of a crime, (3) if a person is suspected of a crime and if their identity is not clear, (4) if a person carries goods with them that may have been stolen." And if you want to check a person's ID card, you can only do that in the following cases: (1) suspicion of illegal behavior, (2) control of a site, (3) sudden incidents severely endangering the social order, or (4) other situations stipulated in the law - and such a law stipulating other situations must have been passed by the National People's Congress or its Standing Committee." I knew this stuff inside out.

    "But you are a person 'whose identity is unclear.'"

    "But according to the law, persons whose identity is unclear can only be checked if they are 'suspected of having committed a crime.' I don't belong in that category." Since there are more and more activists nowadays who are familiar with these two legal provisions and use them to challenge the police, I've been told by police officers that they hate the very bones of the legislators who created them.

    Mr. Zhang and I were taken to two different rooms on the second floor of the police station. A gang of police officers again came to wrestle my mobile phone from me; and there was another scuffle. All the things inside my pocket were taken out. I protested. Seven or eight police officers loudly insulted me. Two or three were swearing especially viciously, using mafia slang words to curse me.

    A police officer shouted at me to sit; I pushed the chair over with my foot. Several officers rushed forward and twisted my arms, punched my head and choked me, and pushed me to the ground. They took me to another room. In the corridor I cried out, "I am a law teacher, I know whether or not you are violating the law." I said this primarily to make them understand that they were dealing with someone who knew the law, to make them refrain from acting rashly and inflicting too much pain�and it was also meant for the ears of Mr. Zhang and the officers who were interrogating him.

    Several police officers pushed me into a corner and one guy came up and fiercely dragged at my tie until he finally managed to pull it off, and threw it to the floor. The police officers pointed at my nose and coarsely swore at me again, and again they cried, "Do you know where you are? If we beat you, what can you do?"

    After a while, a police officer came in and said that we had been detained because we had gone to Fan Yafeng's home. One officer, who I heard addressed as Xu Ping, went from merely loudly interrogating to roaring accusations at me: "O ho, that's how it is! In that case, you belong to the enemy! F- your mother, you went to see Fan Yafeng! That c-! In that case we don't have to talk about legal constraints at all! And you motherf- won't get out of here again! You traitors, you dogs! Counter-revolutionaries! The Communist Party feeds you and pays you and you still don't acknowledge how good it is! You keep insulting the Party!� We will treat you just like an enemy!"

    I was very curious. "How do you treat your enemies?"

    "Like Falun Gong!"

    "And how do you treat Falun Gong?"

    "You'll find out by and by."

    I felt a pang of horror.



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  • Macaca
    10-14 04:25 PM
    Boxer Gets Boost in Industry Cash; But Aides Say Positions, Strategy Unchanged (http://rollcall.com/issues/53_41/news/20421-1.html) By John Stanton | Roll Call Staff, October 11, 2007

    With one eye on a possible 2010 re-election race against California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the other firmly focused on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D) is taking in increasing campaign contributions from industrial sectors and their unions with business before her panel.

    Boxer � who vaulted from a rank-and-file role on the committee to chairwoman following the 2006 elections and the retirement of then-ranking member Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) � has long had a contentious relationship with industry. According to aides, she continues to maintain a ban on accepting political action committee contributions from a number of sectors, including oil and gas companies.

    Rose Kapolczynski, Boxer�s longtime campaign consultant, said Boxer has not changed her campaign fundraising strategy as a result of taking control of EPW and that she expects no major increases in contributions from industry once the cycle is completed.

    �I�d be surprised if there�s a major difference in the amount ... there may [just] be a difference in timing� of contributions by industry PACs, Kapolczynski said.

    Kapolczynski also said that in addition to maintaining her long-standing policy of not taking PAC dollars from the oil and gas industry and its top-level executives, Boxer�s rise to power has had no impact on her policy positions. �Anyone who�s followed Barbara Boxer�s career over the years understands there is one thing you can count on � you know where she stands on the issues. And whether she�s in the minority or the chairman, that�s not going to change.�

    But while environmentalists and other allies agree they have seen no significant sign that her long-standing commitment to their cause has waned with her ascension to power, Boxer has recorded what appears to be a significant uptick in funding from industries traditionally hostile to her philosophical positions.

    An analysis of campaign contributions this year through Aug. 30 showed that Boxer has taken in $41,000 from political action committees connected to the energy, natural resources, construction and transportation industries.

    According to CQ MoneyLine, the energy and natural resources sector so far this year ranks as Boxer�s second-largest source of PAC contributions, clocking in at $20,500.

    Labor unions, which have donated $57,650 to her campaign this year, rank as her top source of PAC dollars, and $21,500 of those funds come from unions connected to industries with business before the committee.

    Compared to the 2004 fundraising cycle � the last one in which Boxer was actively raising campaign funds, according to an aide � Boxer appears to be pulling significantly more cash from these sectors now than she was then. For instance, Boxer�s campaign reported $18,500 in total receipts from the energy and natural resources sector in all of 2003 and 2004, according to CQ MoneyLine, while the transportation sector donated $35,450, for a two-year total of $53,950 from these industries.

    While partisan fighting has largely stalled much of her environmental agenda this year � for instance, it appears unlikely that an ambitious climate change bill will be passed � the EPW Committee has successfully moved legislation key to industry.

    For example, Boxer successfully pushed through the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization bill this year. WRDA has long been a top priority for the construction and shipping industries, among others, since it provides billions in federal funding for public works projects such as levy construction and ship channel dredging. This year�s bill, which was vetoed by President Bush last month, included $20 billion in new federal spending.

    Similarly, Boxer�s committee is expected to pass a �technical corrections� bill making changes to the 2005 transportation authorization bill. The corrections measure, in addition to making modifications to the original law with millions of dollars for transportation firms across the country, also includes tens of millions in new spending, including a �mag-lev� railway project connecting the coast of California to Las Vegas.

    While lobbyists representing industries with business before Boxer�s committee declined to comment for this article, lobbyists and Democratic campaign strategists have noted a realignment now under way in Washington thanks to the 2006 elections that in many ways mirrors Boxer�s financial relationship with industry.

    For more than a decade, energy, natural resource and transportation industries and their PACs have tended to favor Republicans, who held control of Congress from 1994 through 2006, both in terms of spending and in whom they chose as lobbyists. But in the wake of the 2006 elections and the sudden ascendancy of Democrats to power in both chambers, those alliances have begun to shift.

    While Boxer has not shown any signs that her reliably progressive and pro-environmental positions are changing as a result of this new dynamic, one public interest advocate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Boxer and other Democrats clearly have begun reaping the benefits of power. �It�s good to be queen,� this source said.

    Democratic Senate aides said the veteran lawmaker is in the early stage of gearing up for her 2010 re-election fight, which could include a high-profile � and prohibitively expensive � showdown with Schwarzenegger, and that the increases in her fundraising are a reflection of that reality.

    Kapolczynski acknowledged the specter of a Schwarzenegger run but noted that any statewide race in California is a costly affair and nothing should be read into her donation increases other than the fact that she is prepping for her next re-election campaign. As a result, �she needs to prepare for a really tough race,� she said.

    Although state GOP sources said it appears unlikely at this point Schwarzenegger will make a run for the Senate, one Republican strategist noted the governor is infamous for holding his plans close to the vest until the last moment.

    �This is a guy who didn�t tell hardly anyone he was going to run for governor until he did,� the strategist noted. �He likes surprise and likes the theatrics of it all. He will keep everyone guessing till bitter end, I think. [But] everything I�ve seen so far is focused on being governor.�




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  • thakurrajiv
    04-06 09:01 AM
    USDReam2Dust,

    Even in good school areas the values came down but not as much as 20, 30 or 50%. In my area, houses above 500K are not selling. But i could see multiple bidders for houses that are good and attractively priced(5 to 10%) reduction. We are probably at 2004/2005 prices right now. The most encouraging thing is people are still buying.

    I live in south jersey and i know little bit about the south jersey market. I do not know much about other areas. In south jersey moorestown, mount laurel, marlton, voorhees, cherry hill are good areas to buy. Send a PM and we can discuss further about your specific requirements.
    Being a very big ticket item, housing correction takes time. Take stock market typical cycle and multiply it by 10 !!
    Right now, some people are jumping in by seeing good combination of low rates and lower prices than 2005 ( BTW which is 200% in real terms from 1999). People still think there is one part of RE which will not suffer which is Good school area. Let me tell you it is just matter of time. Remember the people living in these areas are well off. So they will be last to get affected. Most of these people are at higher positions in their jobs or businessman. What happens when they get laid off ? What happens when businessmen income reduces by half ?
    I agree that good areas will be last ones to get affected but they will definitely be. We just need to wait for lay offs to happen, salaries to go down (which is known as recession )etc etc .....



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  • GoneSouth
    04-07 06:45 PM
    I think everyone should take a deep breath. This bill hasn't even made it out of committee yet. The Bush administration has made it clear that they are pro immigration and pro h1-b. I'll never say never, but I think it's very unlikely that this bill will ever get to the president's desk, and even less likely that he will sign it.




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  • hiralal
    06-11 11:19 PM
    Mortgage of $95 dollars in California ????? man, even I would have purchased a house there ..once the honeymoon is over (100 dollar rent), even a kid can guess where this house will end up (and she wants help from govt ???) ..wonder how many such loans were bundled ..and how many houses will end up in foreclosure ?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aQ_ZgC75Zfyw

    --------------
    Will the coming wave of OptionARM mortgage resets look like the wave of subprime defaults?

    This Bloomberg piece paints a sobering picture of where things are at, and it's clear right off the bat why the resets are going to kill a number of buyers:

    Shirley Breitmaier’s mortgage payment started out at $98 when she refinanced her three-bedroom home in Galt, California, in 2007. The 73-year-old widow may see it jump to $3,500 a month in two years.

    Breitmaier took out a payment-option adjustable rate mortgage, a loan popular during the housing boom for its low minimum payments before resetting at higher costs later.

    We're not sure what the housing market is like in Galt, California, but if we had to guess, Ms. Breitmaier is pretty under water right now, and a refi is probably out of the picture. Now this might not kill the banks -- after all, the chart below is well known and we're guessing that much of their portfolio has been slammed accordingly. But in terms of flooding the market with foreclosed home, slamming prices, it's too early to believe that it's all priced in.

    And generally, the effect that will have on the economy and consumer confidence will be brutal:

    The delinquency rate for payment-option ARMs originated in 2006 and bundled into securities is soaring, according to a May 5 report from Deutsche Bank AG. Over the past year, payments 60 days late or more on option ARMs originated in 2006 have almost doubled to 42.44 percent from 23.26 percent, Deutsche Bank said. For 2007 loans, the rate has climbed from 10.1 percent to 35.25 percent.

    “We’re already seeing much higher levels of delinquencies of these option ARM loans even before you reach the point of the recast,” said Paul Leonard, the California director of the non- profit Center for Responsible Lending.

    The threat of soaring payments has counselors at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates busy.

    “There’s a level of hopelessness to the phone calls now,” said Brown.

    -----------
    More than $750 billion of option ARMs were originated in the U.S. between 2004 and 2008, according to data from First American and Inside Mortgage Finance of Bethesda, Maryland. California accounted for 58 percent of option ARMs, according to a report by T2 Partners LLC, citing data from Amherst Securities and Loan Performance.

    Shirley Breitmaier took out a $315,000 option ARM to refinance a previous loan on her house.

    Her payments started at 3/8 of 1 percent, or less than $100 a month, according to Cameron Pannabecker, the owner of Cal-Pro Mortgage and the Mortgage Modification Center in Stockton, California, who is working with Breitmaier. The loan allowed her to forgo higher payments by adding the unpaid balance to the principal. She’ll be required to start paying principal and interest to amortize the debt when the loan reaches 145 percent of the original amount borrowed.

    ‘Pick a Pay’

    Such terms aren’t typical for option ARMs, which were also known as “pick-a-pay” mortgages. Interest rates on many payment option ARMS are “typically very low in the first one to three months” and can be as little as 2 percent, according to Federal Reserve data.

    Breitmaier, who has been in the home for 45 years and lives with her daughter, now fears she will lose the off-white stucco house that’s a hub for her family.

    “I wish the government would bail us out like the banks and the car businesses,” she said. “I’d like to go from here to the grave next to my husband.”

    Paul Financial LLC originated the loan and it was sold to GMAC, Pannabecker said.

    “This loan is a perfect example front to back, bottom to top, of everything that has gone wrong over the last five to seven years,” Pannabecker said. “The consumer had a product pushed on them that they had no hope of understanding.”



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  • wantgc23
    08-06 02:53 PM
    plz keep goin




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  • h1techSlave
    09-26 12:08 PM
    My friends also live in the UK. I have a few friends and relatives who work in the health care system. UK health case is pretty bad. The situation is similar to Govt. hospitals in India. You don't have to pay, but you have to wait a lot to see the doctor and to receive care.
    My opinion on health care:
    I don't understand why, anytime when they talk about universal health care system, they think the line is going to be long???? Its totally wrong. First of all, I went to emergency the other day to a hospital, i had to wait 4 hrs....there was a long line here too with the supposedly worlds best health care system. And its not an isolated case....I heard from many of my friends too...who had similar experience. My cousin lives in UK, and I asked him if its true they have to wait in big lines to see the doctors? he laughed at me and said its not true at all..they get very good care.



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  • reedandbamboo
    10-01 09:15 PM
    With all the uncertainties shrouding legal employment-based immigration reform (accompanied by talk of CIR) I've been looking into other high-skilled-immigrant-friendly countries.

    Canada is starting to seem a far friendlier place for folks like us - relatively short wait times in the application queue, with no country-based quotas discriminating against applicants from countries like India and China.




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  • gondalguru
    07-08 08:00 PM
    Assuming your husband is here from 2000, they are asking for 7 years, i.e. 12 * 7 = 84 months of paystubs? This is ridiculous. How many people keep paystubs from 7 years ago? Infact in those days paystubs used to have their social security numbers on them, they should be shredded, atleast that's the common advice.

    My pay stub still has SSN.

    Its always good to keep all the paystubs / w2/ tax returns / employment verifications letter / what ever other evidences you have.. especially employment based GC applicants



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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.

    Thanks




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  • senthil1
    05-15 09:11 PM
    No this is not correct. If consultancy companies are not there we could find a permanent job. I do not think if H1b is banned for consulting H1b numbers will be reduced so much. H1b rotation will be reduced. But still TCS, Infosys will survive as they have lot of other options like L1 and B1.But US persons will make more money in consulting as there is no restriction for them. So impact is minimal for US companies and also H1B persons. impact will be severe for bodyshoppers. Also current H1b people will not be impacted as most of them will file I 485 as Skil bill be passed. But H1b abuse will be minimised.

    If consultant companies are not suppose to body shop most of us will be jobless. Please look back how you came to this country in the past.
    Body shopping in not a new concept for H1-B, don't know why they are concered now.



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  • Macaca
    08-01 08:24 PM
    House Votes 411-8 to Pass Ethics Overhaul (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/31/AR2007073100200.html) Far-Reaching Measure Faces Senate Hurdles By Jonathan Weisman Washington Post Staff Writer, August 1, 2007

    The House gave final and overwhelming approval yesterday to a landmark bill that would tighten ethics and lobbying rules for Congress, forcing lawmakers to more fully detail how their campaigns are funded and how they direct government spending.

    The new lobbying bill would, for the first time, require lawmakers to disclose small campaign contributions that are "bundled" into large packages by lobbyists. It would require lobbyists to detail their own campaign contributions, as well as payments to presidential libraries, inaugural committees and charities controlled by lawmakers. The proposal would also put new disclosure requirements on special spending measures for pet projects, known as "earmarks."

    "What we did today was momentous," declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "It's historic."

    The bill is the most far-reaching attempt at ethics reform since Watergate, although it is not as aggressive as some legislators wanted in restricting the use of earmarks and in requiring the disclosure of donation bundling. The legislation, which had been stalled until negotiators worked out a deal in recent days to get it passed before the August recess, is a priority for Democrats, who won control of Congress in part because they had decried what they called "a culture of corruption" under Republicans.

    Although it passed the House 411 to 8, the bill could face hurdles in the Senate, which is under a new ethics cloud after the FBI raid Monday on Sen. Ted Stevens's house. Last night, a group of Republican senators prevented Democrats from bringing up the bill, forcing the scheduling of a vote tomorrow to break the filibuster. Still, senators from both parties predicted easy passage by week's end.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) all but dared Republicans to try to block the proposal when it comes to a vote as early as tomorrow. "With that resounding vote in the House, 411-8, I think people ought to be concerned about voting against it," he said yesterday.

    But in a closed-door lunch with fellow Republican senators yesterday, Stevens (R-Alaska) himself threatened to block the measure, objecting that the legislation's new restrictions on lawmakers' use of corporate jets would unfairly penalize members of Congress who live in distant states, such as himself.

    The legislation would end secret "holds" in the Senate, which allow a single senator to block action without disclosing that he or she has done so. Members of Congress would no longer be allowed to attend lavish parties thrown in their honor at political conventions. Gifts, meals and travel funded by lobbyists would be banned, and travel on corporate jets would be restricted. Lobbyists would have to disclose their activities more often and on the Internet. And lawmakers convicted of bribery, perjury and other crimes would be denied their congressional pensions.

    "These are big-time fundamental reforms," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the open-government group Democracy 21.

    Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), who failed to get ethics legislation enacted last year, noted that the final bill's disclosure rules are considerably less tough on the "bundling" of small campaign contributions into large donations by lobbyists. The original ethics bill would have required the disclosure of bundled contributions over $5,000 every three months. Under the final bill, lawmakers would have to report every six months any bundled contributions from lobbyists totaling more than $15,000. In one year, a single lobbyist could funnel nearly $30,000 to a candidate or campaign committee without any of those actions having to be disclosed.

    House negotiators also refused to lengthen the current one-year "cooling-off" period, during which former House members are prohibited from becoming lobbyists.

    Some conservatives latched on to the weakening of earmark disclosure rules that had passed the Senate in January. An explicit prohibition on trading earmarks for votes was dropped by House and Senate Democratic negotiators. A prohibition on any earmark that would financially benefit lawmakers, their immediate families, their staff or their staff's immediate families was altered to say that the ban would apply to any earmark that advances a lawmaker's "pecuniary interest." Critics say that would mean the benefit would have to be direct for the measure to be prohibited, and that the ban would not apply to a project that would benefit a larger community, including the lawmaker.

    House members are covered by earmark rules, passed earlier this year, that are tougher than the legislation, which would apply only to senators.

    "Earmarks have been the currency of corruption and, unfortunately, this lobbying reform bill does not adequately address that problem," declared Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a longtime critic of earmarks.

    Reform groups and Democrats accused opponents of using the earmark issue as a pretext to block the other rule changes. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who has blocked the legislation in the past, confirmed that he remains uncomfortable with the broader bill's mandates on lobbying disclosures and gift bans.

    "You could've done nothing, or some staff member could have made an innocent mistake, and now you're defending yourself in a court of law," he said. "It's nuts."

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), another critic, had single-handedly blocked the calling of a formal House-Senate conference to negotiate the final deal, forcing Democrats to hammer out the compromise on their own. The House passed it under fast-track procedures that prohibit amendments but require a two-thirds majority for approval -- a threshold that was easily met.

    Now, Reid must get the bill through the Senate without any amendment, using a parliamentary tactic that has been roundly criticized by Republicans in the past as strong-arming. But in this case, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has given his tacit assent, laying the blame squarely on his own conservative hard-liners.

    "In a sense, we made it difficult on ourselves," McConnell said.

    It may be even more difficult for Republicans to block the measure while their senior senator, Stevens, is under a cloud of suspicion. FBI agents raided the powerful lawmaker's house Monday, looking for evidence in a long-running investigation of an Alaska energy firm, Veco, and its alleged efforts to bribe Alaska lawmakers.

    And yesterday, the House ethics committee indicated that it may consider an inquiry into whether Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) violated rules by calling a federal prosecutor about a pending investigation. The committee's staff interviewed the prosecutor, former U.S. attorney David C. Iglesias, yesterday.

    At least eight lawmakers -- six Republicans and two Democrats -- are under federal investigation. Earlier this year, the homes and business interests of Reps. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) and John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) were searched, and Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) was indicted on corruption charges.




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  • xyzgc
    12-28 01:09 AM
    One thing everyone needs to realize is that 21st century wars are not cheap anymore.

    India just decided to implement the 12th pay commission's recommendations to its defense forces. A surgical strike is politically a risky venture. A strike may cause immediate gains and soothe tempers of the indian public but the battle will be fought through the media reports. Also, neither does the country have a national identity system nor has India been so serious about reaching out in a pro-active way. A weak border and the continuing saga of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, not to mention caste based politics, will augment future terrorist plans.

    Pakistan has found a money maker in terrorism. US Aid to pakistan to fight terrorists will reach $8B after 9/11 ( http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/08/pakistan_aid_numbers.html ) and more will be promised when the Iraq returns to stability and the focus turns to Pakistan's neighbor Afghanistan as the Taliban are gaining control again. This has been acknowledged by the new president-elect. Zardari's snub to curtail recession by the Chinese and the Saudis only solidifies Pakistan's need to find other sources/means of making money. Providing a conduit for drug trafficking for the Afghani market is already a major revenue source. Corruption is rampant.

    I believe that the rhetoric in the media about war mongering and troop pullouts from the afghan border are for think tanks in Congress and the Pentagon to act and work to defuse the so called drama of war and renew their promises of providing aid in the form of $ and arms.

    India has and will continue to be a peaceful and a reactive neighbor. It will continue significant investments in capital and policy to strengthen its internal security foundation and work towards economic prosperity by defending its borders rather than be a pro-active regional cop.

    What India has gained, out of this sad and unfortunate event and its subsequent actions, is its status as a responsible upcoming super power in the region with diplomacy as the arrow and its nuclear capability as its bow!

    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?

    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?

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Mumbai_attacks_may_have_cost_Rs_50k_crore/articleshow/3777430.cms

    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?



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  • gcisadawg
    01-03 02:20 AM
    My dad was a never govt employee but I'm sad that Govt folks were so much underpaid!

    When they get bribes, why bother about pay? Sorry, I've no respect for these low lifes who take bribe and make common man run from pillar to post.




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  • nojoke
    04-08 05:35 PM
    Apart from location, area, school district and population etc,

    If you think the price of a house that you are looking to buy has come down to 2002 or 2003 price range, then i think you can buy. If not then one should wait.

    What do you guys think?

    The price may be right if it goes to 2002 level. But the way the economy is heading, I will wait for things to become more clear...
    It is not just happening in US. The housing crash started in Europe(UK in particular). It is going to be a mess and blood bath for a year or 2.




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  • ksvreg
    03-23 02:21 PM
    People who got GC are not facing any waves. That is why we need to get GC asap. If we struck in the GC process though we have a strong profile (careerwise, w2wise, taxwise, educationwise etc), we need to face waves like recession wave, backlog/perm wave, merging wave, economy wave, I140premium/nopremium wave, bipart wave, 2001 eb3stuck wave, magic visa bulletin wave, technology wave, visa stamping wave, uscis reform wave, dol wave, bulletin wave..




    Refugee_New
    01-06 12:30 PM
    Now the killing has gone mad. Apart from killing the innocent civilians, crazy war mongers started bombing schools and killing innocent school kids. Today two schools were bombed and more than 40 children have been massacred.

    Its sad to see school children being brutally killed by missles and tanks. I don't understand how people could blow up innocent kids, women and men under the name of self-defence?

    This world has gone crazy and there's no one questioning about this in-human atrocities committed against fellow human being.

    Lets us pray for those who are going thru this hardship, and for an immediate end to this war crime.

    How many more innocent civilians including children they are planning to kill?. All these so called peace loving nations blocking the UN from making a cease-fire resolution. Looks like so called freedom lovers want more innocent lives.

    When Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, whole world was united and supported the victim(India). Now the same world is against the victim and encouraging more killing by not stopping the attrocities.




    sdrblr
    03-23 11:57 AM
    I just wanted to point out that please be careful of what personal information you give as this is a "Incoming Call" and it is hard to verify the authenticity of it.



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