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Handcuffed JMB man pops grenade at press meet
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 3: Non-WoT
5 00:00 Barbara Skolaut [6458] 
2 00:00 Procopius2k [6470] 
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14 00:00 Unens McGurque aka Broadhead6 [6458] 
5 00:00 Skunky Glins 5*** [6463] 
4 00:00 g(r)omgoru [6458] 
3 00:00 fertilisedeggs [6466] 
15 00:00 Icerigger [6462] 
9 00:00 Thing From Snowy Mountain [6461] 
7 00:00 Rednek Jim [6461] 
4 00:00 Glenmore [6460] 
9 00:00 Alaska Paul [6458] 
5 00:00 Besoeker [6459] 
15 00:00 KBK [6464] 
5 00:00 SteveS [6458] 
2 00:00 g(r)omgoru [6459] 
Page 1: WoT Operations
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Page 2: WoT Background
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3 00:00 Barbara Skolaut [6459]
4 00:00 Steve White [6459]
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Page 4: Opinion
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6 00:00 Uncle Phester [6482]
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Page 5: Local News
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Page 6: Politix
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Africa Subsaharan
Zimbabwe cholera cases top 80,000
GENEVA - More than 80,000 people have now been infected with cholera in Zimbabwe’s six-month-old outbreak which has killed 3,759, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

About half of the patients who died from the water-borne diarrhoeal disease failed to reach any of the country’s 365 cholera treatment centres, the United Nations agency said. The proportion of deaths has been decreasing steadily since early January, but the fatality rate remains above the acceptable level in such an epidemic, according to the WHO.

The deadliest cholera outbreak in Africa in 15 years has also spread to neighbouring countries including South Africa.

The intestinal infection spreads through contaminated food and water and can cause severe dehydration and death without proper treatment. While cholera is both preventable and treatable, an economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe has caused the near-collapse of health services.

“Given the outbreak’s dynamic, in the context of a dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure and a weak health system, the practical implementation of control measures remains a challenge,” the WHO said.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  UN to the rescue!
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/21/2009 8:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Zim inflation, it's not just about money anymore.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/21/2009 8:54 Comments || Top||

#3  We are all clients of "natural selection." Zimbabwians have simply moved to the head of the que.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 9:02 Comments || Top||

#4  Imagine if there were 8 (never mind 80000) cholera cases in Gaza.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/21/2009 14:02 Comments || Top||

Zimbabwe may cost five billion dollars to fix: PM
Reconstructing Zimbabwe may cost as much as five billion US dollars (four billion euros), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday as he opened his hands to neighbouring countries.
Good Gawd! I hope nobody filled them! Bob and Grace are still there!
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well, I can contribute 5 billion Zimbabwe dollars - isn't that about 50 cents?
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 02/21/2009 0:16 Comments || Top||

#2  Something tells me that's about the amount that Bob and his cronies have looted.
Posted by: Spot || 02/21/2009 0:25 Comments || Top||

#3  No, that's the amount of "pension" money Chez Mugabe will require upon their retirement to Hong Kong.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/21/2009 0:29 Comments || Top||

#4  You mean fixing Zimbabwe is NOT in the stimulus package?
Posted by: DMFD || 02/21/2009 1:40 Comments || Top||

#5  If it was, it'd be about a half a line item.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 8:44 Comments || Top||

#6  The British and South African private sectors must act swiftly. They must cross the Limpopo with medical and financial aid, food, supplies, engineers, training, long term investment, etc. I recommend they call it the British South African Company.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 8:50 Comments || Top||

#7  You'd need a time machine to fix Zim.
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 02/21/2009 9:39 Comments || Top||

#8  #7 You'd need a time machine to fix Zim.
Posted by: Jack is Back!

A couple of neutron bombs would do just fine, thank you. Just be sure to get Mugabe and his "friends" all in one place, like the capital.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 02/21/2009 16:40 Comments || Top||

#9  Bob needs a D-con burger.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/21/2009 17:33 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
Britons flee Guadeloupe as rioters turn on white families
Britons are among thousands of tourists fleeing Guadeloupe after full scale urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island.

Trouble broke out on the island earlier last month after protesters began rioting over high prices and low wages. But the situation escalated this week after protesters began turning on rich white families as they demanded an end to colonial control of the economy.

The troubles come at the height of the holiday season, with thousands of mainly British, French and American tourists on the paradise tropical island. Protesters were now targeting 'all white people', with the media in mainland France describing the situation as virtual civil war'. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters are roaming the streets of the capital Point-a-Pitre, looting shops and restaurants, burning cars and vandalising public buildings.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve White || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "We have a huge deficit of tourists ahead of us. At least 10,000 tourists have cancelled vacations in Martinique and Guadeloupe."

Congratulations, idiots rioters.

You don't like "high prices and low wages"? Howzabout higher prices and NO wages?

Go ahead - turn another nice tourist destination into a socialist hellhole, you "revolutionary" idiots - I'm sure Fidel and Hugo will help you out.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/21/2009 0:27 Comments || Top||

#2  maybe Al Sharpie can fly down there and shame the wealthy white tourists into returning, because after all whitey had to do something to deserve this.
Posted by: Unens McGurque aka Broadhead6 || 02/21/2009 1:27 Comments || Top||

#3  and this isn't racist because...
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 02/21/2009 4:56 Comments || Top||

#4  "Kill all the white people!" worked so well in Haiti.
Posted by: john frum || 02/21/2009 7:08 Comments || Top||

#5  "Robbing Everyone to Economic success" only makes sense to Marxists and other tyrants.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 02/21/2009 7:37 Comments || Top||

#6  Sorry, no sympathy for the Poms. You have to "know when to hold em - know when to fold em." Next time mind the football team. Mind the bloody football team. If you wait until no one will buy your flat or you've waited until the shooting starts, well, you've waited too bloody long!
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 7:47 Comments || Top||

#7  It's not racism when Marxists do it.

/sarc off
Posted by: no mo uro || 02/21/2009 8:01 Comments || Top||

#8  Another 3rd world hell-hole coming to a continent near you!
Posted by: DarthVader || 02/21/2009 9:02 Comments || Top||

#9  Guadeloupe is a French overseas department ruled directly from Paris

Is there any local control, or are all decisions made in Paris? Anybody know?
Posted by: mom || 02/21/2009 10:19 Comments || Top||

#10  They seem to forget that there are other, much more placid destinations in the neighborhood who would love to have the business.

I mean, sure, the baguettes won't be as "authentique", but I'm sure most of the tourists wouldn't know the difference anyway.

Come to think of it, the baguettes may become a thing of the past, if Haiti is any guide.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 02/21/2009 10:50 Comments || Top||

#11  Island residents send millions of dollars home from white majority France. Those transfers can be halted if this ingratitude escalates.
Posted by: Alistaire Greash5374 || 02/21/2009 11:00 Comments || Top||

#12  Sure, the violence will totally trash the tourist trade for Bog knows how many seasons, but on the other hand, it is courageous of the Guadeloupers to hold this conversation about race relations. Right, Mr. Holder?
Posted by: SteveS || 02/21/2009 13:05 Comments || Top||

#13  People are not only cancelling this week, but also for all the months of February, March and April. We have a huge deficit of tourists ahead of us. At least 10,000 tourists have cancelled vacations in Martinique and Guadeloupe.'

Posted by: charger || 02/21/2009 15:22 Comments || Top||

#14  Yeah, damn racists cancelling their holidays. They need to come to Guadeloupe and get their asses beat while on holiday! Friggin racist whiteys.

Posted by: Unens McGurque aka Broadhead6 || 02/21/2009 21:09 Comments || Top||

Chavez Plans 12% More Oil as Project Costs Rise, Credit Freezes
Venezuela plans to boost oil output at least 12 percent in a joint venture with foreign investors that will cost more than twice what the government previously estimated, a confidential document shows.

The project would increase Venezuela's daily output of 3 million barrels a day by 400,000 barrels a day within seven years, according to the document, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The project would cost $18.4 billion, the report says, up from Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez's June estimate of $8 billion.

The new estimate follows a 76 percent drop in oil prices from record highs in July and decisions by companies to delay exploration and drilling efforts from Canada to Kuwait amid the global credit squeeze. State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA wants the project and two others in the Orinoco oil belt to be the government's first ventures with outsiders since President Hugo Chavez nationalized crude assets in 2007.

"It will be very tricky for companies, big or small, to get that level of funding," said David Thomson, a Latin America energy analyst for Wood Mackenzie in Edinburgh. "Even if there wasn't a credit crunch on, raising $10 billion to $20 billion for Venezuela wouldn't be the easiest."

Given past nationalization moves by Chavez, a self-avowed revolutionary socialist, Thomson said, "Banks aren't going to touch it with a bargepole."

Energy Ministry
The document, marked confidential, was posted on and later removed from a Web site, fajadelorinoco.com, that the government uses to provide information to possible partners. Dated Feb. 6, it is described as a preliminary development plan for the last of three Orinoco projects announced by Ramirez in June.

Eulogio del Pino, president of Corp. Venezolana de Petroleo, said in a text message that the document is authentic. His company is a unit of Petroleos de Venezuela, also known as PDVSA.

The costs include $4.41 billion for drilling, $2.2 billion for steam injection to increase production and $6.51 billion for equipment to convert that region's tar-like oil into a free- flowing, low-sulfur crude oil for export, according to the plan. The project is located in the Carabobo area of the Orinoco belt, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Caracas.

Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Venezuela's daily output of 3 million barrels a day

I can't figure out why OPEC keeps saying they only pump 2.4 MBD. Hummmmm..... It's an Enigma wrapped in Bolibanana leaves served with a side of WTF who cares anymore. Look for PdVSA output to drop by 250K BD this year. Contractors aren't being paid in a timely manner, maintenance is a cost conspiracy by the Empire.

Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 7:31 Comments || Top||

#2  Venezuela plans to boost oil output at least 12 percent in a joint venture with foreign investors ..

Other than the Chinese who are sitting on tons of Treasury Bonds, who's got that kind of investment to throw away in Hugo's land of thug socialization?
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:29 Comments || Top||

#3  who's got that kind of investment to throw away in Hugo's land of thug socialization?

Answer: Nationalized banks, nationalized IRA's and 401k's.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 8:45 Comments || Top||

#4  So, who buys this extra oil and where are they going to store it?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 02/21/2009 8:51 Comments || Top||

#5  So, assuming Hugo can actually pump out more of his extra-crappy crude, who's going to process it?

It's not like he can send it to just any refinery....

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/21/2009 9:22 Comments || Top||

#6  He says the same thing every year.
Posted by: DoDo || 02/21/2009 10:37 Comments || Top||

#7  He's been courting China in the hopes they will build refineries that can process his sludge. Price per barrel would need to be a lot higher to make the transport worth it, but that might happen in the future.
Posted by: lotp || 02/21/2009 10:47 Comments || Top||

#8  Richard, in theory the new oil will go to China, there's a current deal for 400K barrels a day. Sadly.... hugs has only been able to deliver 168K BPD last year. The Chinee being the clueless suckers they are will likely double their bet.

Also.... where's mai bong!
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 11:16 Comments || Top||

#9  The chinese can probably do this.

a) They don't deal with Pdvsa; their investments in Venezuela are that _they buy the oil field_.

b) They can probably count on their investments being secure, because they would probably actually use their army to guarantee it, and get away with it.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 02/21/2009 11:51 Comments || Top||

China Stamping On Tibet, Again
THE Chinese government has closed Tibet to outside observers, poured security forces into the region and vowed to "crush" supporters of the Dalai Lama.

The move came before the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile in March 1959, triggering worries of a heavy-handed reaction to any dissent.

The local government has ordered security forces to "mobilise and fully deploy" in order to "firmly crush the savage aggression of the Dalai Lama clique, defeat separatism and maintain stability", according to the Tibet Daily, a state newspaper. Witnesses in Tibet reported shop closures and a heavy security presence on the streets.

China has also banned all foreigners from the region until further notice. Tourist agencies were contacted on Tuesday by officials and told to cancel all trips for the foreseeable future. Foreigners require a permit to enter Tibet, but Youth Travel Service, one of the largest travel agencies, said few, if any, permits were being issued.

The ban extends into some parts of the three provinces surrounding Tibet where ethnic Tibetans live. Officials in Gansu confirmed that tourists were being turned away from Tibetan areas, and officials in Sichuan said tourists on the road to Tibet were being stopped. In Qinghai, officials said foreigners had always been banned from areas where Tibetans live.

Last year, a peaceful demonstration to mark the date spiralled into violent riots in Tibet and the surrounding provinces. According to the Chinese Government, 22 people were killed, but human rights groups believe the true figure is far higher.

This year, the authorities are taking no chances. The Tibet Daily carried an editorial insisting that China "must maintain heavy pressure on criminal violators from start to finish".
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's almost as if the Chinese have been administering Tibet as their own for almost 100 years...

which they have.
Posted by: badanov || 02/21/2009 6:37 Comments || Top||

#2  Hillary gave China the green light to freely abuse Tibet, et. al. yesterday. China's check to the Clinton Foundation must have cleared.
Posted by: WTF || 02/21/2009 8:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Besides, Hillary just gave them the green light.
Posted by: lotp || 02/21/2009 8:06 Comments || Top||

#4  China's check to the Clinton Foundation must have cleared.

That check cleared last year. She went there to gain assurances that the Chinese will buy Obama's bailout bonds. Sorry Tibet.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 8:40 Comments || Top||

#5  By June she will give up Taiwan.
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 02/21/2009 20:15 Comments || Top||

Diving markets claim new victims
Posted by: tipper || 02/21/2009 09:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front: Politix
The Foreclosure Five - Paying For The Irresponsibility Of A Few States
If you thought you were mad before....

When President Obama discusses his $275 billion mortgage bailout, he talks as if it was a national problem, caused by a national decline in home prices. "We must stem the spread of foreclosures and falling home values for all Americans," he says. But there is no national market for homes and no national price for homes. Instead, most of the United States will pay for the folly of few.

The beneficiaries of taxpayer charity will be highly concentrated in just five states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan. That is not because the subsidized homeowners are poor (Californians with $700,000 mortgages are not poor), but because they took on too much debt, often by refinancing in risky ways to "cash out" thousands more than the original loan. Nearly all subprime loans were for refinancing, not buying a home.

It turns out that the five states with by far the highest foreclosure rates have some things in common with each other, but very little in common with most other states.
(Main body of editorial somewhat technical, though fairly easy to understand. I won't try to excerpt it - click the link for more.)

On the contrary, federal subsidies for over-indebted homeowners will not often involve helping "neighbors" but rather those who live thousands of miles away, mainly in just five states.

In reality, the "Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan" compels taxpayers in most states to help those in just a few. Aside from Michigan's unique dependence on autos, the other four states' problems are already being solved the old-fashioned way: If something becomes too expensive, cut the price. Or move.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/21/2009 18:39 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You can tell from call in shows that the public is just becoming aware of this. Most aren't happy.
Posted by: Woozle Elmeter 2700 || 02/21/2009 19:31 Comments || Top||

#2  It gets even better. Between 60 and 70% of foreclosures are on homes owned by people in the real estate business.
Posted by: Iblis || 02/21/2009 19:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Between 60 and 70% of foreclosures are on homes owned by people in the real estate business.

Speculators, just like the oil bubble. On that train of thought, any follow up to see those who bid up the price of oil are actually being made to pay the tab or is that also now part of the 'victim' bailout gig? You'd think the government would want to make a big deal of it to show they're on the job regulating - unless it happens to be people who wanted to influence the election along with the usual untraceable campaign donations.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 20:45 Comments || Top||

#4  So there is a clear correlation between contributions to Dems and being in the real estate business?
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 02/21/2009 20:48 Comments || Top||

#5  I couldn't decide whether to put this under Lurid Crime Tales, or maybe Sleazy Politicians.

Hope it doesn't turn out to be Short Attention Span Theater.... :-(
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/21/2009 21:00 Comments || Top||

Netanyahu will form Israel's next govt
Right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday accepted a mandate to form Israel's next government and immediately called for a broad, national unity coalition with centrist and left-wing partners. Netanyahu quickly named Iran as Israel's main threat. Palestinian president
Mahmud Abbas announced that the PLO will not deal with the new Israeli government if it is not committed to peace; while Hamas said that Israel has picked the most extremist politician to lead the country.

Netanyahu, 59, leads the Likud party. He was prime minister in the 1990s and now has six weeks to put together a parliamentary majority for a second turn at the helm.

Likud more than doubled its seats in the election 10 days ago in which the security of the Jewish state was the paramount issue, after a 2006 conflict with Hezbollah Islamists in Lebanon and a war with Islamist Palestinian Hamas in Gaza last month. But there was no clear winner.

" I call on Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni and Labour Party chairman Ehud Barak and I say to them -- let's unite to secure the future of the State of Israel "
Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu
With 27 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Netanyahu ended up one seat behind the centrist Kadima party of Tzipi Livni, the dominant partner in the outgoing coalition.

The electorate's rightward drift, however, gave him a better chance of achieving a majority with like-minded parties.

But his nomination by President Shimon Peres on Friday was a break with Israeli tradition, which has always given a governing mandate to the leader of the first-placed party.

Seeking unity govt
" It would be a coalition that doesn't allow me to pursue my path, the path of Kadima as we promised the voters. A large government has no value if it does not have a path "
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni
Netanyahu urged his opponents to close ranks for the sake of the country and join his government:

"I call on Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni and Labour Party chairman Ehud Barak and I say to them -- let's unite to secure the future of the State of Israel. I ask to meet with you first to discuss with you a broad national unity government for the good of the people and the state."

Livni has so far shown no interest in joining a Netanyahu coalition.

Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Netanyahu strikes me as the only Isreali leader with the cojones to properly defend his country from outside terrorists.
Posted by: WolfDog || 02/21/2009 10:28 Comments || Top||

#2  And USDS, don't forget USDS, Wolf.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 02/21/2009 13:17 Comments || Top||

Home Front Economy
Is It Any Wonder The Market Continues To Sink?
Last Oct. 13, in trying to explain why the market had sold off 30% in six weeks, we acknowledged that the freeze-up of the financial system was a big concern. But we cited three other factors as well:

Posted by: Uncle Phester || 02/21/2009 17:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Obama is for "Change" well you got what you wanted Change. (Pocket change)

Get used to it, down is what the bastard stands for.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/21/2009 19:25 Comments || Top||

#2  Fourth: demonstrated lack of integrity and accountability in the system.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 20:47 Comments || Top||

Saab files for protection amid GM woes
General Motors' Swedish Saab brand filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday and its German Opel unit was seeking more emergency state aid as the US carmaker's financial woes rebounded in Europe. The move came after Sweden's government ruled out a bail-out for Saab on Thursday and GM signalled this week that it was willing to loosen or even sever ties with some of its European operations to stay afloat.

Saab said it had applied for protection from creditors while seeking to restructure its debts and seek funding. "We are now recreating Saab Automobile as an independent unit," said Jan-Ake Jonsson, managing director of the marque, which GM bought in two parts in 1990 and 2000. "The road ahead will not be easy."

GM said yesterday that Saab needed $1bn to shore up its balance sheet and launch two vehicles. The carmaker said it had agreed to put up $400m but needed another $600m of loans or guarantees from the government. Sweden's government, which has approved SKr25bn ($2.9bn) of loans and guarantees for its motor industry, ruled out rescuing Saab, fearing the precedent it would set for other troubled companies.
Yo, Bambi, hear that?
GM's European arm this week said it would consider stake sales or partnerships with third parties for Opel and Vauxhall, GM's UK brand. Opel has four plants and 25,000 employees in Germany. GM had until recently dismissed the notion of selling Opel, which like Saab is an integrated part of its global operations. However, the worsening outlook on car markets has caused GM to draw up bearish sales forecasts and rethink strategy. Opel is seeking more than €1.8bn ($2.3bn) in German state guarantees by 2011 to stay in business. Opel declined to comment.
It's a shame. A 1980s era Saab was a great ride.
Posted by: Steve White || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is disn the end of the V-4?
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 13:26 Comments || Top||

#2  Half, where are you finding V-4 s, they're only used in outboard engines now, I never heard of an automobile V-4.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/21/2009 19:29 Comments || Top||

#3  one small change saab? could ya quit putting the key in the center console, appears like youre trying to hard to be original, like youre from somewhere different like scandinavia or something? whos going to steel your keys, a swede reindeer?
Posted by: fertilisedeggs || 02/21/2009 23:25 Comments || Top||

Microsoft, Intel Firings Stir Resentment Over Visas
Microsoft Corp.'s plan to eliminate U.S. workers after lobbying for more foreigner visas is stirring resentment among lawmakers and employees. As many as 5,000 employees are being shown the door at Microsoft, which uses more H1-B guest-worker visas than any other U.S. company. Some employees and politicians say Microsoft should get rid of foreigners first.

"If they lay people off, are they going to think of America first or are they going to think of the world first?" Chuck Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa, said in an interview. He sent a letter to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer the day after Microsoft announced the job cuts last month, demanding Ballmer fire visa holders first.

Across the technology industry, some of the biggest users of H1-B visas are cutting jobs, including Intel Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. The firings at Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, came less than a year after Chairman Bill Gates lobbied Congress for an expansion of the visa program.

Even before Microsoft announced the cuts, its first-ever companywide layoffs, comments on a blog run by an anonymous Microsoft worker angrily debated getting rid of guest workers first. The author of the Mini-Microsoft blog eventually had to censor and then completely block all arguments about visas, after the conversation "got downright nasty."

New Hires
Microsoft is hiring 2,000 to 3,000 workers over the next 18 months, offsetting the job cuts. Some of those will certainly be on H1-B visas, said Ginny Terzano, a spokeswoman for the Redmond, Washington-based company. She declined to comment on how many workers laid off are on visas. Laid-off Microsoft employees aren't always a good fit for new positions, she said. "If you have a laid off General Motors engineer, that doesn't qualify them for a job as a software engineer," Terzano said. "It's the same with some of the people laid off at our company."

Microsoft rose 9 cents to $18 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares tumbled 45 percent last year.

The slumping economy and rising unemployment may make it harder for technology companies to persuade the government to expand the H1-B program, designed to attract workers in areas such as science and technology. Since the annual number of H1-B visas issued dropped to 65,000 in 2004 from 195,000 in previous years, the program has been oversubscribed before each year even began. In 2008, the government reached the maximum number of applications just one week after it began accepting them.

'Best Talent'
Asked about whether some companies may back off from lobbying for more H1-B visas, Intel Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said that could happen as hiring drops. Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is closing five older plants by year-end, affecting as many as 6,000 jobs. "Our strategy has always been to hire the best talent we can hire anywhere in the world," Smith said in an interview this month. "It's the fuel that moves our industry forward."

Companies like Microsoft, which sent Gates to persuade Congress to ease visa restrictions in March, could be forced to curb those efforts, said Microsoft Vice President Dan'l Lewin. "People probably will be a lot more cautious about how public they are, but it's not going to go away as an issue," he said. "You need the people."
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In before Walt!

And yeah, guess it might stur up a bit of anger.
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 7:38 Comments || Top||

#2  We've got an oversupply of houses and a crappy educational system. There is no reason not to skim the cream of the highly intelligent, hard working people of the world to come here to stimulate growth and demand for all that excess housing.

The Americans who are displaced from their jobs need to recognize that inevitably they will be competing against these people. The only question is whether ti will be competing within a stronger America against other Americans or via oursourcing or the growth of foreign competitors against stronger foreign entities. We need to help displaced Americans get back on their feet and gain employment, but we also have to recognize that these folks are going to be on the field also and it's only a question of which team they're on.

The strength of America has always been its ability to attract the best and brightest. They are part of the solution, not the problem. Return the unneeded drywallers to Mexico, but bring on the scientists and engineers our schools are failing to produce.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/21/2009 7:49 Comments || Top||

#3  NS, H1-Bs numbered about 10,000 a year back in the 80s. Today the companies and lobbyists have pushed it over 250,000. That's over twenty years of subsidizing these industries and businesses. The original claim was that there were no qualified people for the jobs. Twenty years of no work for Americans means the incentive to study and grow the skills has been killed. I witnessed the game being played in the IT industry. They'd advertise a want ad with a long list of 'requirements' that no one could fill. When they'd receive no 'qualified' responses they'd file their H1Bs. There would be no follow up to see if the foreign individual who they did recruit filled the requirement better than the local applicants. None. Period. It's a shame that businesses have used for years.

Where does the military get its people, kids out of school, to man and operate their systems? They train them. Industry and business doesn't want to pay that expense. They whine that once trained, the employees will leave, ignoring that you put them under contract. However, they don't want to do that because they treat their employees as a cost, not an asset. So, some lobbying "less than a year after Chairman Bill Gates lobbied Congress for an expansion of the visa program" and some donations to reelection funds, and their personnel management issues disappear. It's over two decades to tell American business to "Grow Your Own".
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:23 Comments || Top||

#4  Gee, so the African and Woman Studies Master Decree grads aren't helping our economy?
Posted by: HammerHead || 02/21/2009 8:24 Comments || Top||

#5  Their numbers greatly assist diversity hiring and government mandated recruitment quotas Hammerhead.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 8:57 Comments || Top||

#6  hmmmm Ginny Terzano, sounds familiar. Oops - Deputy Press Secretary under the Clenis Clinton
Posted by: Frank G || 02/21/2009 9:58 Comments || Top||

#7  I've worked for companies that have hired H1-B's. All postiions could have been sourced in the U.S., but the H-1B's were cheaper.
Posted by: DoDo || 02/21/2009 10:32 Comments || Top||

#8  In my role as a systems consultant I have been to many large companies with large H1-B populations.

The problem here in the states has to do with the assinine educational system and the assinine hiring practices of corporations that think a BA in Sociology means something.

What the US needs are more trade schools that teach in a relatively short time the technical skills needed to be productive. But no, every one gets sucked into the "Liberal Arts" monopoly trap. Higher education is going to be the next bubble to burst when more people realize that most colleges are a scam to equal Madoff.

There's no need at all for everyone to have one of those worthless BAs. The companies could develop or pay others to teach the skills needed. Back in 1978 I got an education that made me productive as a programmer in 6 months from an outfit called Control Data Institute.

Once you were saleable you could move up as fast as you wanted with additional courses supported by your employer.

The current system sucks.
Posted by: AlanC || 02/21/2009 11:45 Comments || Top||

#9  Nothing stops companies et al from establishing programs with educational institutions to do just that. Again, the services have ROTC programs to generate officers. However, the corporations and business don't want to pay the price to do that if they can bribe their representatives to make it easier for them and their HR departments to import. They've been doing it for over twenty years and in doing so have undermined incentives of Americans to develop and learn the skills industry claims they need.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 12:36 Comments || Top||

#10  Proco you are, of course correct. They do it with the connivance of their pet pols. I'm sure it is cheaper for them.....BUT if the educational institutions which are controlled by the pols there'd be no need for this.

Or if more people would say FU to the colleges and went and got the technical training on their own (see comment about CDI) then the businesses would hire them instead of the H1-Bs.
Posted by: AlanC || 02/21/2009 13:17 Comments || Top||

#11  Back in 1978 I got an education that made me productive as a programmer in 6 months from an outfit called Control Data Institute.

Got my degree at Coleman College in San Diego. It took eight months compared to four and a half years at state college pursuing a worthless liberal arts degree. The memory of those four and half years and all the time spent trying to earn a living afterward is humiliating and painful to me but at the time I just didn't know any better. How could I? They don't teach you.

But I think P2K has the most compelling argument here. Importing tech workers and outsourcing tech projects kills domestic incentive to go into these fields.

Yes, NS, we'll end up competing with these people one way or another. But my instinct is to meet them head on and compete with good, old-fashioned hard work and American ingenuity instead of cheating and cutting corners the way Microsoft does. PTUI! If Microsoft wants to be a "world" company, let them relocate to Bangalore. I, for one, wouldn't miss them a bit. They don't innovate. They copy and stifle innovation.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 02/21/2009 14:45 Comments || Top||

#12  Abu, I believe that Microsoft already has a development center in Bangalore. And they pay top rupee there. Almost Rs 100,000 per month. Of course, that translates to $2500/month, or $30,000/year. That is for the top graduates of the top schools in India.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 02/21/2009 14:54 Comments || Top||

#13  From what I've heard there are some very exciting things going on it Bangalore, almost to the point where I'd like to go see it for myself. I wish those Indian programmers luck. I really do. They're smart, they work hard and they deserve it. I'd also like to see a free, democratic and prosperous India. But I'd be a little disappointed if Windows is the best they can do.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 02/21/2009 15:43 Comments || Top||

#14  Gates is a hateful little TURD, he'd stick a knife in your back while pretending to hold your coat.
Posted by: Red Dawg || 02/21/2009 18:39 Comments || Top||

#15  Screw Gates.
Posted by: Icerigger || 02/21/2009 19:19 Comments || Top||

Get ready for a wave of bank failures
If it's Friday, there must be a bank failing somewhere across the country.

For five consecutive weeks, industry regulators have seized control of a bank after the market closed on Friday, bringing the total number of failed banks so far this year to 13. To put that into perspective, 25 banks failed in 2008, suggesting that the rate of failures is quickening as the economic crisis deepens.

"We'll have a banner year [of failures] this year," said Stuart Greenbaum, retired dean and professor emeritus at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

At the current rate, nearly 100 institutions-- with a combined $50 billion in assets -- will collapse by year's end.

But with more consumers and businesses likely to default on loans as the recession drags on, some industry observers think the pace of bank failures could accelerate further.

Gerard Cassidy, managing director of bank equity research at RBC Capital Markets, upped his expectations for bank failures earlier this month, warning that he anticipates 1000 institutions could fail over the next three to five years. "The sooner the bank regulators can shut down the troubled banks, the faster the industry will get back on its feet, in our view," he wrote.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under:

#1  . "The sooner the bank regulators can shut down the troubled banks, the faster the industry will get back on its feet, in our view,"

Just after "The sooner the flow of credit is restarted, the faster the industry will get back on its feet" and "The sooner the mortgage problem is resolved, the faster the industry will get back on its feet" and ....
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:34 Comments || Top||

#2  A lot of banks are going to implode when the alt-a and ARM mortgage bubbles collapse. Those banks that are stable are desperate to disconnect themselves from the losers and not get caught up in government controls.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/21/2009 9:10 Comments || Top||

#3  At the current rate, nearly 100 institutions-- with a combined $50 billion in assets -- will collapse by year's end.

I guess this guy thinks Citi and BofA will survive. Not too sure about that.
Posted by: DoDo || 02/21/2009 10:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Assume a developer constructs an office building for $10 million, and same becomes non-viable. A Trustee in bankruptcy would be required to sell same for the best price. Assume that is: $5 million. The buyer - not having to rent at rates to cover the original construction cost - is able to fill same at lower rates. That type of phenomena happens in every recession, and explains why turnarounds occur.
Posted by: Alistaire Greash5374 || 02/21/2009 11:10 Comments || Top||

#5  I saw yesterday that Bank Of America was likely to be taken over by the treasury, good fuckin riddance.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/21/2009 12:36 Comments || Top||

#6  Rednek-

Careful, brother - right now my money's in BoA. I'm trying to figure out how to convince the wife it needs to go.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 02/21/2009 14:29 Comments || Top||

#7  MIKE, find a Credit Union Quick, transfer all your funds then just give the wife a new checkbook/check card.

Yep it really is that easy.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/21/2009 19:34 Comments || Top||

California screaming: state almost broke
But they're not shutting down non-essential services.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What do you mean 'almost'? They're paying off their Master Card with their Visa.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:37 Comments || Top||

#2  I'll believe it when the liberal pork projects start getting cut.
Posted by: DarthVader || 02/21/2009 9:00 Comments || Top||

#3  The three laws of bureaucratics (with apologies to Asimov).

1) Always increase your budget and resource needs.
2) Authority is for committees, responsibility is for subordinates.
3) When budgets are threatened, cut the meat and leave the fat.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/21/2009 9:23 Comments || Top||

#4  "3) When budgets are threatened, cut the meat and leave the fat."

Cut what the people really care most about, then they'll restore your budget and leave your pet pork alone.
Posted by: Glenmore || 02/21/2009 10:56 Comments || Top||

US stocks plunge on nationalization fears
US stocks have plunged deeper into six-year lows on rumors of bank nationalization which the Obama administration moved to quash.

On Friday, Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100.28 points (1.34 percent) to 7,365.67 after a sharp sell-off Thursday.

The tech-dominated Nasdaq dropped 1.59 points (0.11 percent) to 1,441.23 and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 8.89 points (1.14 percent) to 770.05.

The stock market was down more than three percent before rallying in late trading as fears for the banking system eased.

Citigroup was down 22.31 percent to 1.95 dollars and Bank of America fell by 3.56 percent to 3.79 dollars. JPMorgan Chase lost 3.40 percent to 19.90 dollars and Wells Fargo down 9.16 percent to 10.91 dollars. General Electric, which recently reported lower profit, fell 6.76 percent to 9.38 dollars.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond fell to 2.772 percent from 2.857 percent on Thursday while that on the 30-year bond dropped to 3.565 percent from 3.688 percent. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The cause was either nationalization fears, or the spreading realization that the biggest banks are insolvent. Stay tuned.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 02/21/2009 1:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Don't you worry, not only will Obama nationalize the banks, but he has a five year plan to increase tractor production, too!
Posted by: DMFD || 02/21/2009 1:42 Comments || Top||

#3  Not only that, but a lack of toilet paper would be compensated by production of solar powered locomotivs.
Posted by: Spike Uniter || 02/21/2009 1:47 Comments || Top||

#4  You know, I always had the idea that, in the market system, when a company makes mistakes and becomes insolvent, BOOM! it becomes owned by it's creditors who sell its remaining assets off. How was I so wrong? Now when a company makes mistakes, BOOM! taxpayers money floods in to keep that loss in the economy.

You know, I always had the idea that the government regulates the currency for price stability, so when you have a problem with too much credit in the economy, you simply lower the amount of credit! How was I so wrong? When you have a problem with too much credit in the economy you simply fix it by making taxpayers pick up any fall in borrowing, even if the money won't be paid back!
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 02/21/2009 5:06 Comments || Top||

#5  Obama could care less about stocks. Stocks are for evil big businesses and the evil "top 5% of wealthy Americans." He's "all in" with gummit bonds and borrowing, borrowing, borrowing. When he discovers, and he may already have, that neither China or Jaman want anymore of his bond action, banks will be "all in" with gummit bonds as well. That won't be enough however. The next target is what's left of our IRA's and 401k's. Got to protect the folks you know, they've suffered huge losses. I believe the stock market is finished for the forseeable future. Hang on everyone!
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/21/2009 7:39 Comments || Top||

US inflation down, deflation looms
Annual US inflation has disappeared in the weakest reading in more than a half century, stoking debate over deflation risks.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Annual inflation was down, monthly inflation was up. We have probably past the bottom on the inflation cycle and it's up, up and away from here on in, as every country cranks up the printing presses.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/21/2009 0:43 Comments || Top||

#2  You can have credit driven deflation and monetary inflation at the same time.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 02/21/2009 6:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Yes and it's one of the worst possible scenarios, Bright Pebbles.
Posted by: lotp || 02/21/2009 8:09 Comments || Top||

#4  When does price cuts on over priced items become deflation? De-gauging is not deflation. Why is a 12 pack of Coke 4.40 and a 12 pack of Pepsi 3.80? Either Coke's operating costs are really out of whack or they're making a real nice mark up compared to Pepsi. If it is simply mark up, who says they're entitled to that level of mark up, if the market decides to buy Pepsi instead?
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:44 Comments || Top||

#5  A lot of people are not buying Pepsi products because of their CEO and their new symbol.
Posted by: bman || 02/21/2009 10:50 Comments || Top||

#6  It's not gauging if you buy it P2K. You can go years without cola, perhaps a lifetime.

Also.... if Coke gets 10 bucks a 6 pack... why should it bother you?
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 11:28 Comments || Top||

#7  Rum and Coke, no Ice.
Posted by: bman || 02/21/2009 11:46 Comments || Top||

#8  Also.... if Coke gets 10 bucks a 6 pack... why should it bother you?

It doesn't bother me they make a profit. It bothers me when weenies cry the sky is falling when Coke can't sell it at $10 a pack or has to go down in price to match competition and whine that its a 'Crisis'(tm) that requires 'Action'(tm) because its deflation.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 12:40 Comments || Top||

#9  Seagrams 7 with coke and ice, NOT PEPSI.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/21/2009 12:43 Comments || Top||

#10  Balvene, neat.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 02/21/2009 14:11 Comments || Top||

#11  It bothers me when weenies cry the sky is falling

In that case...
Carry On Uz.
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 14:34 Comments || Top||

#12  Jack Daniels and Coke Zero in honor of our new President
Posted by: Frank G || 02/21/2009 15:49 Comments || Top||

#13  Lindeman's Bin 99 Pinot Noir, $6.99 a bottle by the case in NJ, and a lovely drop of red. Since we're talkin' economics.
Posted by: Grunter || 02/21/2009 16:52 Comments || Top||

#14  12 oz of diet coke or diet pepsi, double shot of vodka, twist of lime. Thanks.
Posted by: Unens McGurque aka Broadhead6 || 02/21/2009 21:05 Comments || Top||

#15  Frank: Vodka and Coke Blak more his style...
Posted by: KBK || 02/21/2009 21:59 Comments || Top||

GM stock hits 74-year low
General Motors Corp. shares have dived to their lowest level in more than 70 years, pulled down by a drop in the broader markets.

GM shares hit a low of $1.52 in early afternoon trading, before rebounding somewhat to close down 23 cents, or 11.5 percent, at $1.77. The low matched a record set on July 26, 1934, according to the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago.

The price is adjusted for splits and other changes.

The Detroit-based automaker's shares have been battered over the past year by worries about the viability of the US auto industry and plunging sales stemming from the industry wide drop in demand for new vehicles.

GM shares were worth $3.50 just a month ago and $25.54 a year ago.
And about $60 ten years ago ...
On Tuesday, GM said it would need a total of USD 30b in federal aid in order to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, up from a previous estimate of USD 18b and including USD 13.4b it has already received.
That's about 20 times their current market cap.
It also said it would need to cut 47,000 jobs worldwide.
Posted by: Fred || 02/21/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Chapter 11 for U!
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 7:41 Comments || Top||

#2  They won't declare until they've moved sufficient amounts of stimulus money outside the US as the basis for a potential recovery.
Posted by: lotp || 02/21/2009 8:11 Comments || Top||

#3  Here's an idea. Have the UAW pension fund buy up all those cheap shares. If they won't, why should we, in the form of a bailout?
Posted by: Procopius2k || 02/21/2009 8:46 Comments || Top||

#4  P2K that would be a breach of fiduciary reponsibility.
Posted by: .5MT || 02/21/2009 11:25 Comments || Top||

#5  Breach of fiduciary responsibility, hell. I'd call it putting your money where your mouth is. But yeah, as things stand, that would be an insanely bad investment.
Posted by: SteveS || 02/21/2009 19:52 Comments || Top||

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Sat 2009-02-21
  Handcuffed JMB man pops grenade at press meet
Fri 2009-02-20
  Tamil Tiger planes raid Colombo
Thu 2009-02-19
  MPs visit Swat to pay obeisance to Sufi Mohammad
Wed 2009-02-18
  Four killed, 18 injured in Peshawar car bombing
Tue 2009-02-17
  Surprise! Pervez Musharraf was playing 'double game' with US
Mon 2009-02-16
  Another Wazoo dronezap
Sun 2009-02-15
  Talibs: Pak will surrender in Swat
Sat 2009-02-14
  Suspected U.S. Missile Strike Zaps 27
Fri 2009-02-13
  Canadian Muslim sentenced for firebombing Jewish institutions
Thu 2009-02-12
  Pak arrests 'main operator' in Mumbai attacks
Wed 2009-02-11
  Taliban Attack Afghan Government Buildings, Killing 20
Tue 2009-02-10
  FBI woman sexually harassed me: 26/11 accused terrorist
Mon 2009-02-09
  Female Tamil Tiger bomber kills 28 after hiding among refugees
Sun 2009-02-08
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Sat 2009-02-07
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