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  • neverbefore
    09-30 01:44 AM
    Folks, it is indeed sad that perfect is turning out to be the enemy of good here, metaphorically speaking.

    Surely if the powers-that-maybe turn out to be antagonistic to highly skilled legal foreign workers in this country, it is a given that they are likely to turn this country into a place where none of us ever wanted to be.

    America has always been about opportunity for the smart and hard workers regardless of their background. It has attracted people because they saw their future brighter here. Take that away and not much else gets left behind.

    I have been in this country for 6 years now and still do not have more than a toehold here despite having put in my tax dollars which in some small fraction have helped pay for what some (who knows) people born here required help with getting. Moreover, if allowed to remain here, my project will yield for this country and the world a device that will help people save their eyesight.

    "The highly skilled legal working community is an asset, Mr Obama and Mr Durbin. We carry tremendous calorific value for this country. You will make a smart move by promoting and encouraging what has already been legal in this country of yours: immigration of skilled foreigners.

    As you might have noticed, a huge chunk of your support base is made up of young and energetic students and professionals. They are with you only because they trust you to remain sincere to the welfare of this country. I am positive that you will not let myopic opinions and interests cloud your long-term vision and will reach out to embrace new partners for further advancement of this country, for really, it is not about wealth preservation but about wealth creation."

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  • alterego
    07-13 10:03 AM
    Can I ask why the complaint in the letter about the change in interpretation of the law in favor of Eb2 I? Before jumping on me, read on.
    The overflow visas would not go to EB3 I, under either interpretation. They would now go to either oversubscribed EB2 countries namely India and China(horizontally) or as in the past 2 yrs they went to to EB3 ROW under the old interpretation(Vertically).
    Arguably the first one is better for EB3 India since atleast, if you are qualified and your employer agrees and your job description is suited to EB2, then you could move. You certainly could not move your country of chargability. If you were hoping for overflow from EB3ROW, it would still have to pass through the gate of EB2I.
    Perhaps the person drafting the letter can explain their rationale on including this in the letter.

    I agree with Pappu, the single most important thing that could help EB3I in the near term is a visa recapture legislation. That is where the most energy of EB3 and for that matter all of IV membership should be. Specifically the membership needs to get more robust in their actions especially personally meeting lawmakers and their staff. Meeting affected constituents from their districts seems to have the most influence on them.
    Additionally, I would not convey the sense that, you were "deciding" on whether to file Eb2 or EB3. That should solely be based on the job description and is more up to the employers discretion in the current law. The beneficiary should not have a role in that(as per what I understand). Additionally, noone was prevented from porting their PD or using Sub labors or moving into EB2 category should the new job description meet the criteria (always remember you being qualified for EB2 means didly squat to the USCIS, it is the job description and the employer's desire for it that the USCIS considers, only then do your qualifications even matter to them). I agree that all of these are irksome to those waiting patiently in line, but those are the rules unfortunately. To my mind, the labor sub. thing was the most egregious, discriminatory and widely abused(thank god it has been ended), unfortunately those in the queue over the last few years paid for it.

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  • gimme_GC2006
    04-13 09:26 PM
    Hi gimme_GC2006,

    I am no expert in this matter but may be you should respond with all the info you have. Contact Number, Address, Supervisor Name, Phone Number etc - and a brief statement saying that the company does not exist anymore etc etc. If they want to -- they can track down your supervisor etc from the non-existent company if they want to verify your employment.

    Again its best if you get help with a qualified attorney - (should'nt hurt to spend a few $$ more to have a peace of mind) plus yours is the only case of this type I am seeing on these boards so is a bit disconcerting...

    All the best,

    thanks for the suggestion..I dont have those details..for now its all good..but I was thinking one more time, I will hire an attorney.. :)

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  • jung.lee
    04-06 04:54 PM

    I had no idea my two humble posts would stir up such a hornets' nest among the desi junta here. I certainly see more "bears" coming out of their hibernation now that spring is here :).

    OK, I admit that I am also in the camp that really wants to buy a house and "settle down" in a good area with good schools for my kids. The mythical "nesting instinct" is alive and well here. I am obsessed with the real estate market, and am constantly watching real estate porn as my wife calls it, i.e., surfing on and trying to spot good deals.

    However, the reality is that I am scared sh*tless of the market right now. I do not want to burn my hard earned equity in the form of a good 20% plus downpayment. If you are in the same situation as I am, then I would offer the following practical suggestions to help you cope with the situation:

    1. Rent a house/townhouse/condo from private parties instead of an apartment complex to help you understand the responsibilities and expenses of homeownership.

    2. If renting an apartment in an area with moderate schools, and have school age kids, instead of trying to chase the dream of building equity in a house in an area with good public schools, in the short run, consider sending your kids to a decent private school. The cost of added property taxes in case of home purchase would alone balance out the high monthly payments of private schooling, with probably better "return on investment" at a private school.

    3. Feel good about renting an apartment: You should not succumb to peer pressure and try to keep up with the Janardhan's (OK, bad joke, "Joneses") and buy a house just because other people took the plunge at the wrong time. Your time will come. Just be patient. Not to be taken lightly is the fact that in the month of April we celebrate Earth Day - think positively about all the energy you are saving living in an apartment with shared utilities with other people living in the complex. A house is a big energy guzzler (although I am sure an enjoyable one!) in all respects - more heating and cooling costs, more water used (esp. in summer with lawn watering), more greenhouse gas emissions from your individual lawn mower, leaf blower, and snow blower (can you picture yourself mowing your lawn or riding the snow blower in your lungi :D- OK this joke is getting old)...

    4. More quality time spent at home with the kids - when you are not having to do chores around a big house. A house seems to take up a lot of maintenance time, not to mention time spent cleaning/vacuuming /dusting the entire 3000 sq ft area and otherwise maintaining the 1/4 acre yard. You could instead spend a lot of quality time with your kids doing projects/homework/art work with them and being a kid again yourself. In a house it is more likely that unless you have kids big enough to help you do those chores for some incentive, your kids will be watching Dora and Diego while you are cleaning up.

    All in all, I think there are many positives to look forward to while you save money renting, and like I said before, when the time is nigh, you will have your turn. You will also by then, hopefully have your green cards in hand and may even be able to move to a more desirable city or other states looking for better work opportunities and where your downpayment savings will take you farther in getting you more for your buck.



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  • gc_on_demand
    09-26 12:41 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 boss was canadian and he told me same story for canada. I think Health care is same where British ruled in past.. LOL !!

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  • babloo_73
    05-01 11:29 AM
    When in college students used to rag others just because they were ragged when they joined the college. It�s not because they want to, it is just because they went through it. Indian software companies are just like, I worked enough in software industry and I have even been on call 24 hours but the truth is, it was never 12 hours or 10 hours work every day. Yes, occasionally I had 12 hours work which is the same in every industry and I used to get calls in the middle of the night at least once or twice during the night, but its not 10 hours work everyday. We want to impress our boss by working 10 hours, that�s the truth; it�s not that your boss wants.

    Similarly, in India people go to work on Saturday not because they have work but to show their face to their PM. Even if God comes down and says that people in India work 10 hours everyday, I cannot believe it. They might be in office for 10-12 hours but that does not mean they are working. It is the people who should be blamed for this. Yesterday�s programmer or today�s PM, and they expect the programmer to be there in the office for 10 hours just because they went through it. I am an ex TCSer, things worked exactly as I said. It is never going to change. All these talks about stress and coding 10 hours straight come on.....:cool:

    I partly disagree... I had worked in 6 different companies in India and in 3 companies, i had to work for more than 12 hours a day. What you are saying might be true for Maintenance projects, but it is definitely not true for development projects particularly when you working on a tight schedule...


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  • ItIsNotFunny
    01-08 11:47 AM

    You are a highly skilled person. Think objectively:

    1. This thread is not immigration related. It is a non-immigration thread that admins allow just as a communication platform among people and has nothing to do with IV.

    2. People can have their opinions. You really can't stop. It becomes objectionable when it is personal. Then, you report as Abusive link and moderators will take actions. I have reported couple of abusive language posts in past and action was taken in very short time.

    3. Please don't mix issues. Your efforts for enlightening people about immigration issues are appreciated. You should not leave because couple of threads are running that you don't like.

    My 2 cents to you, to bfadlia and everyone.

    You are best example of hypocrites and double standard:cool:. You will be very successful in your life, take my words.....

    I read your all post, the above post just makes me confused. How could you just bash one community , their beliefs ,make fun of their Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him and all the prophets ), his teaching , saying the that Mohamed has fooled his followers , let him , we want to be fools what can you do about it? and then later come up with such a statement.
    If it makes you furious , so does it to us.
    How do you justify your anger and hatred towards one community.

    I used to be very involved in all the matters. When I was in a small town in Florida( moved to another city), there were lot of Indians unaware of and immigration issues. I did lot of efforts to educate them and made them aware of this site and its efforts. My wallet and heart was always open for . But after Mumbai attacks and this link, I can see the hatred towards my community.

    people have justified the killing of small kids saying that let them die today anyhow they are going to be terrorist in future. Pathetic, sad to hear this from so called highly educated people..

    I am out of this discussion , out of immigarionvoice...
    Peace Amen !!!!!

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  • dealsnet
    01-07 03:10 PM
    Jesus didn't change any commandments. Read bible and comment. He said about the summary for the 10 commnandment. He said 1. love your God 2. Love your neighbour. It contains all commandments. Read the commandments. You will see it contains these 2 meanings only.

    Jesu's birth, life and cruxification are done according to the prophesy in old textment. If you have time read it. Christians didn't changed old testment. But most of the jews not recognise him during the time. Those recognise him convert to christianity. They suffered because of their non belief. But details in the bible for the second coming of jesus and the nation of Israel to prepare for his coming, so the present day jews are supported by God. In the end they all belive the mesiah.
    About trinity, we human cannot understand the complexity of God. We still cannot understand or expalin the nature mysteries, how we can understand God in detail??. But God revealed some details to his people through prophet. Malachi is the last prophet. It is the last book in the old testment. After that mesiah was come to the world. God was revealed to human. So no arab can claim to be last prophet. It is blasphamy to claim as phrophet by any one.

    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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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-05 12:49 PM
    I was recently riding with a friend of mine.
    We were coming to a red light, and he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" He tells me this is how his brother drives.

    We come to another red light, and again, he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" Again, he tells me this is how his brother drives.

    We come to a green light, and he SLAMS on the brakes. My heart nearly goes into my throat. I shouted at him, "Why'd You Do That?!"

    He replied, "You never know, my brother could be coming the other way."

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  • abracadabra102
    01-06 05:36 PM
    If we take out the religion from equation, Israelis and Palestines are one people. They belong to same genetic pool and lived together for hundreds of years. In fact it was an Arab Calipha who allowed jews back into israel/palestine area after jews were ejected from this area by Romans. It is a pity they ended up like Indians and Pakistanis (same genetic pool again). Having said that, it is Arab countries that screwed Palestine people after 1948 war with Israel. Israel was willing for a compromise and creation of Palestine.

    Taken from wikipedia:

    "Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab states eliminated Palestine as a distinct territory. With the establishment of Israel, the remaining lands were divided amongst Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The Arab governments at this point refused to set up a State of Palestine."

    complete article with several cross references here (

    Israel is doing what is required of a nation when attacked. It is sad that innocent children are dying. But I do not see any better options left open for Israel. Offcourse they could have done what India does - whine for a few months, complain to every Tom, Dick and Harry and then shut up. But not every one is spineless.


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  • bklog_sufferer
    09-30 04:23 PM
    I totally agree with the orginal poster, if Obama wins the presidency our chances getting GC any time soon will diminish as the CIR will never include any provisions that benefit EB immigrants.

    If that happens, and if I have to wait for my GC for another 4 years (already waiting here since 2003, applied for GC in 2003, but came to US in 2000) then I will sell my house and move back to home country.

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  • hopefulgc
    08-07 12:57 PM
    Lion could go to Canada (Alberta anyone?). I hear they would atleast accept him as a Cheetah(canadian PR) or a mountain lion.
    Its a different thing that he would have absolutely nothing to hunt up there (read.. no jobs) and he will probably languish up in the snow competing with polar bears to score seals who are too lazy to move :D:D

    Now worst thing is that Lion can not change his job profile till he gets the green card. He will be forced to act like a monkey so that it matches with his monkey job profile mentioned in his PERM application. All he can hope for is to invoke AC21 after couple of years to join a new zoo, that too on a similar job profile. :D:D Gurus what are the Lion's options at this point of time?? :D:D:

    Irony is that if our Lion stays in USA on monkey visa for couple of years, and finally goes back to India, his Lion skills will be obsolete, and Indian zoo's will not entertain a Lion acting like a monkey. Our poor Lion is totally doomed. :D:D


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  • hopefulgc
    08-07 12:59 PM
    All monkeys also interfiled and became lions


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  • sledge_hammer
    06-26 04:06 PM
    Have you accounted for the increase in rent (not rent controlled) every year? Mortgage on the other hand is fixed for 30 years!

    If you buy - and take a mortgate - you end up losing (the same way you "lose" your rent)
    1. Interest you pay
    2. Property taxes you will pay forever.
    3. Maintenance you will pay forever.

    On the other hand - if you rent and,
    A. IF you pay less in rent than #1 + #2 + #3,
    B. IF you invest the remainder plus your mortgage principal amount in some other investment vehicle with superior investment returns than real estate.
    .... Then you will come out ahead renting.

    The tipping point is whether your rent equals interest + property taxes + maintenance. Based on which side is higher - either renting or buying could be good for you. I don't think there is a clear cut answer. This does not take into account the flexibility associated with renting - which is important for non-GC holders. If you assign a non-zero dollar value of $X with that flexibility, then your rent needs to be interest + tax + maintanance + $X to get to the tipping point. On the other hand, if you are not forced to save (in the form of mortgage principal payment every month) - you may just spend that money instead of investing that. If you assign a dollar value of $Y with that (probability multiplied by actual dollar value) - then the tipping point is at
    $rent = $interest + $tax + $maintenance + $X(dollar value for flexibility) - $Y(dollar value for probability of spending money instead of saving).

    Now as soon as you plug in the numbers in this equation - it will give you your tipping point and will tell you whether it is right for you to rent or to buy.

    Think about it. It is not as clear cut as you think it is. :-) Based on your earlier posts - you got an absolutely faboulous deal on your house (maybe because of your timing) and the tipping point equation would probably highly favor buying in your case. For many other (specially for those without a GC) - it may not be so clear cut.


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  • Macaca
    12-26 08:37 AM
    Freshmen Padding Their Independence (http:// Procedural Votes Become Safe Nays By Paul Kane | Washington Post, Dec 26, 2007

    Half a dozen freshman Democrats took to the House floor one late-October morning to cast their lot with Republicans.

    Their actions went unpunished by the Democratic leadership that day, as they have on many other occasions in recent weeks. The symbolic gesture -- casting nay votes on approving the House Journal, essentially the minutes of the previous day -- would have no bearing on the leadership's agenda.

    While they overwhelmingly support that agenda, the bloc of freshmen has begun casting votes against such minor procedural motions in an effort, Democratic sources and Republican critics say, to demonstrate their independence from their leadership. The number of votes that the potentially vulnerable newcomers to Capitol Hill cast against House leaders is tallied and watched closely by interest groups and political foes.

    Such is the political life of many of the 42 freshman House Democrats, a sizable number of them moderates and conservatives who must straddle the fence between supporting their party's interests and distancing themselves from a mostly liberal leadership as they gear up for their first reelection battle next fall.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of the party's leadership are happy to tolerate the independence on procedural matters. Less than three hours after opposing the late-October journal vote, the same six freshmen sided with Pelosi as Democrats tried, and failed, to override President Bush's veto of a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years, legislation that Pelosi has called her "crown jewel."

    "I'm viewed as an independent. I'm viewed as a conservative Democrat," said Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.), the first freshman to regularly oppose his party's leadership on the journal vote.

    Like several others, Altmire offered no explanation for voting against all but one of 18 roll calls on the routine measure, adding that he had no "pre-planned" rationale for the votes. "I'm certainly not going to win or lose my reelection based on my journal votes," he said.

    But the first reelection campaign in his conservative-leaning western Pennsylvania district could be a tough one. Bush won there by a comfortable nine percentage points in 2004. Districts such as Altmire's fueled the Democratic takeover of the House last year. They are blue-collar in attitude and red-hued in politics, particularly on issues such as abortion and gun rights.

    Dubbed the "majority makers" by Pelosi's leadership team, the freshmen have become a major front in the Democrats' battle to sustain and expand their majority next fall.

    Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst and author of the Rothenberg Political Report, said Republican hopes for shrinking the Democratic majority begin with what he calls "snapback candidates," who rode into office under the last election cycle's optimal conditions for Democrats and now face their first reelection contests.

    Protecting the 42 freshman Democrats, the largest partisan class since 73 Republicans took office in 1994, has been the top priority for key Democratic strategists such as Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). The freshmen get special treatment from leaders, including a weekly meeting with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.). And they receive frequent advice on how to vote from Emanuel and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    Seven of the rookies have more than $1 million in cash on hand, and according to Rothenberg, more than half are in safe positions to win reelection. In addition, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee holds a more than 11-to-1 cash advantage over its Republican counterpart, a potential financial backstop for endangered freshmen.

    But the political environment has turned toxic in recent months as Democrats have been stymied in their effort to take Congress in their self-proclaimed new direction. Opinion polls show public approval ratings for Congress mired in the 20s, considerably lower than Bush's rating.

    In recent months, Democrats in battleground districts have been criticized by Republicans, who have tried to paint them as close to the new House leadership.

    "While these Democrats might claim to be independent voices for their districts, the differences between them and Nancy Pelosi are purely aesthetic," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. This year, the GOP committee launched a Web site to track the percentage of votes that 28 of the freshmen cast with Pelosi, whom Republicans say will be a polarizing figure in conservative districts next fall.

    That is why procedural votes are important to freshmen, according to Democratic aides. House Republicans this year turned to a procedure known as a "motion to recommit," offering what is typically a routine method of sending bills back to committee as politically charged amendments. With a wink and a nod from Emanuel and Hoyer, some endangered freshmen frequently vote with Republicans on tricky GOP motions to keep their votes from being used against them in 30-second campaign sound bites.

    Some freshman Democrats have taken the idea of voting against their party leadership on procedural votes one step further, opposing mundane matters such as the journal vote.

    Altmire has sided with the opposition in 17 of 18 journal roll calls this year. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) has cast 15 votes with the GOP. In the spring, only a few freshmen voted against the journal, but one recent vote drew 13 freshmen in opposition, and in another, 11 voted nay. Now a half-dozen or more regularly oppose whenever a roll call is held.

    Democratic leaders acknowledge that they have encouraged the freshmen to sometimes vote with Republicans on politically difficult issues, but deny that they have had any input on the Congressional Record votes.

    "We've given them very simple advice: Make sure you vote your district," Van Hollen said.

    As a result, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), for example, has one of the lowest party-unity voting scores -- less than 84 percent -- of any House Democrat, according to's congressional database. The average House Democrat has voted with the majority on 92.5 percent of all votes.

    "They're trying to create separation. Our guys did it in '95 and '96," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), a member of the GOP class of 1994.

    At the time, freshman Republicans saw congressional popularity plummet during a budget fight that led to a series of federal government shutdowns. Fearful of being tied closely to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), many freshmen also began voting no on the journal in a similar effort to distance themselves.

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  • pappu
    08-05 08:41 PM
    Can someone note the

    - Best funny post on this thread
    - Best post of the thread
    - Worse post of the thread

    for the 3 awards and I will go through just those 3 posts and close the thread. :D

    I will open the thread once Rollling_flood files the lawsuit:D.

    What do you say?


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  • logiclife
    11-21 05:44 PM
    Lou Dobbs gets his ratings based on how much angry he can get people.

    Same goes for Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.

    The easiest way to get good ratings and viewership of your program on radio or TV, if you dont have substance and if you dont want to work hard, is to make people angry.

    Angry listeners are regular listeners and motivated listeners. Also, a lot more emotional and a lot less objective.

    They all know they are talking garbage. Take Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas" for example. Does it really matter if walmart hangs a sign that says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Does it feed the hungry homeless people? Does to stop Genocide in Darfur. NO.

    But it can make some people angry, which gets good ratings and 90% of broadcast media are ratings pimps. All they care about is viewership and ratings and they dont themselves believe in the nonsense they utter into the microphones.

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  • shuyaib
    12-22 09:28 PM
    Its a known tendency of hindu groups of radicalizing muslims, so much so that Jinnah took into consideration and formed pakistan.

    Still the hindus will target an abominal act of 11 people and make a community of muslims, a country victim of their acts.

    Yet, even if a hindu preaches infanticide of girls, he is not terrorist, a hindu scripture preaching burning alive of widows is not terrorist doctrine, a mythical god preaching murder of low caste for chanting holy rhymes is not a terrorist! Hail Ram!

    India could fight british militantly under Subhash Chandra, and under Gandhi, and that is fight for freedom, yet Palestinians fighting for free country is terrorism! Will the Aryans return the land to Dravidians now?

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  • Beemar
    01-01 03:14 PM
    Guys, sorry for starting this alarming thread. But the talk of an imminent indian strike in pakistan was all over the internet. I found so many links where indian govt threatens pakistan with war if it does not mends its ways. Just see for yourself.

    India Set to Launch 'Small War'

    Delhi ups its war rhetoric

    US fears India may attack militant training camps in PoK

    India Hinted At Attack In Pakistan; U.S. Acts to Ease Tension on Kashmir

    Bush appeals to India, Pakistan to `draw back from war'

    India, Pakistan shoot, talk of war

    02-20 10:24 AM
    From Democratic Hires of the Week (, Please send e-mail

    Democrats, who are now in demand thanks to their takeover on Capitol Hill, are shuffling jobs all over town. Bruce Andrews was stolen away from Quinn Gillespie & Associates to run the Washington office of Ford Motor Co. He will be replaced at Quinn Gillespie by Chris McCannell, former chief of staff to Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.).

    Elsewhere, Stephen Brown left Dutko Worldwide to open the Washington office for Tesoro, an oil refining and marketing firm. R. Scott Silverthorne left the Capital One Financial's lobby shop to become vice president for government affairs of MasterCard Worldwide. And Broderick Johnson, a former chief House lobbyist for President Bill Clinton, is moving to Bryan Cave Strategies from AT&T. Johnson, one of Washington's top African American lobbyists, was pursued for weeks by several firms and was represented by superlawyer Robert Barnett.

    12-30 04:18 PM
    THE MAJORITY LEADER ( Reflecting on a rough year By Lisa Mascaro [(202) 662-7436 or] | Las Vegas Sun, Dec 30 2007

    Sen. Harry Reid settles into the chair by the fire in his majority leader's office that is so stately and grand it looks like something Las Vegas would create if ever a faux Washington were added to the Strip.

    The first snow of the season has fallen outside his second-floor window, the Washington Monument framed by the sill. He sits close to the fireplace because his neck is stiff from doing his morning push-ups too quickly. Reid still does 120 push-ups and 200 sit-ups each day, but he has condensed his yoga into fewer sessions because there just isn't time. Now, a few days after his 68th birthday, the wear of the job has settled into normalcy.

    It's been a long year of long days and nights here, the first time Democrats have been in charge of Congress in 12 years.

    On this day alone he hosted a breakfast for a Henderson Democrat running for Congress, met with the White House over the budget stalemate, welcomed a group of Nevada real estate officials concerned about the mortgage crisis - and ran the floor of the U.S. Senate.

    Moving to the majority leader's job this year, after all those years as a leader of the minority, has been "the difference between playing first base for the Yankees and playing it for Basic High School."

    Democrats are ending this year downtrodden after the high of sweeping into power following the 2006 election. Congressional approval ratings are at historic lows - lower than those of the unpopular president. Though many of their campaign promises became law, much more of the Democratic agenda remains unfulfilled.

    Reid repeatedly says he feels good about the work he's done this year. Running the Senate, he says, is not as enjoyable as watching the grandkids play ball, but "it's been a tremendously fascinating, interesting year for me."

    Days after the interview in his office, however, he would concede that "I share the frustration" of having Democratic priorities blocked.

    Nevada's first majority leader was barely that, with the Senate thinly divided 51-49. Democrats may have come to Washington believing they had a voter mandate for a new direction, but Republicans had a different opinion. With such a slight majority, Reid's chamber became the place where so much of the Democratic agenda came to die.

    The leader on the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, began 2007 with a bold 100-hours agenda, crafted without Reid's knowledge or input. Democrats should have known that nothing passes that quickly in the slower-moving Senate. Any momentum gained by the legislative flurry would soon be lost.

    Indeed, the bills arrived in the Senate with a thud.

    Senate Republicans soon gave Reid a taste of the partisanship he had dished out in the past and blocked every move. Grand plans for a new energy policy, for example, became skeletons of their original intent. More filibusters were conducted this year than ever in Senate history.

    President Bush, whose own ratings reached all-time lows, asserted himself in a way unexpected for an executive with so little clout and whose party was out of power. His willingness to wield the veto pen for the first time in his presidency created an incentive and a safety net for Republicans to obstruct the Democratic agenda.

    Reid calls Bush the "most stubborn" official he has ever known.

    In this environment, the year became one when politics, not policy, seemed to matter most.

    Both sides appeared to abandon any attempt at forming consensus and concentrated on laying a foundation for the 2008 elections. Democrats will say they need to win more Senate seats to accomplish their goals; Republicans will say voters should be wary of Democrats running Washington.

    Could a leader other than Reid have achieved a better outcome? Why was he unable or unwilling to get Republicans on board? When he couldn't break through the partisan gridlock, should he have tried to be nicer - or meaner?

    Thomas E. Mann, a constitutional scholar at the Brookings Institution, was among those reluctant to grade Reid on this year alone. Wait and see how Reid performs in coming years, especially with a new president, Mann said.

    "I would say incomplete," he said of this year's performance. "The test of Harry Reid's leadership lies ahead."

    What he brings to the job

    Late one night in the Senate this fall, Reid is about to announce that an agreement has been reached to move forward on the Farm Bill after weeks of legislative gridlock. Into the chamber walks a farm state Democrat, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. He pulls her aside. The two stand face to face. One of his hands is on her left shoulder, the other is on her right. She nods, telling him thank you.

    That kind of personal interaction with every member of his caucus is what Democratic senators love most about Reid.

    He is clearly not the most charismatic public face for the party. His first impression on many voters came election night, when the diminutive Reid rambled a soft-spoken speech onstage at the Democrats' victory party.

    Rush Limbaugh dismisses him as "Dingy Harry." When Reid's whispery voice breaks through, it's often spitting an arrow that gets him into trouble - calling Bush a "loser" and a "liar," saying the Iraq war "is lost," deriding Republican senators as "puppets" of the White House.

    As majority leader, future president Lyndon Johnson towered over his colleagues, physically and emotionally, finding their vulnerable buttons and pushing hard, historians tell us. But as majority leader Reid more resembles Mike Mansfield or Bob Dole, a senator among senators - even if, as Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wrote in his book, the former boxer will kneecap anyone who crosses him.

    Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy explained that at the regular Tuesday policy luncheons, when Reid lays out the week's goals for Democratic senators, "people fall in line and support them, because he has done a lot of work prior to that time in listening and giving people an opportunity to be heard."

    Kennedy says Reid builds consensus better "than any leader that I can remember in my time."

    But even this party unity was no match for the Republicans in the Senate who held together just as tightly, refusing to cave to the Democratic agenda.

    Republican Sen. Mel Martinez, the former Republican National Committee chairman who crossed the aisle to try to broker an immigration deal this year, said Reid simply doesn't have enough votes to steamroll the minority.

    "We have 49 - if we were a minority of 39 you could do that," Martinez said. "At some point it's going to have to dawn on him that Americans are going to want to see things getting done."

    Martinez says Reid is more intent on protecting his members from difficult votes than giving Republicans a chance to shape legislation that could pass.

    Only in the final weeks of the session did the backlog of bills pass, as Democrats faced the prospect of ending their first year in legislative gridlock. Everything that arrived on the president's desk was a compromise - energy policy, domestic spending, funding for the Iraq war.

    "The way you accomplish things in the Senate is in the middle," said the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell said his strategy was standard business for the Senate: "Either to shape things that we thought were headed in the right direction and there was a possibility of meeting in the middle, or if we thought it was completely inappropriate for the country, to stop it altogether."

    Like all strategies, the one Democrats have chosen is a gamble. Voters tell pollsters they are more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans next year. But will voters stand by Reid if 2008 is branded as a do-nothing year?

    When Republicans called Democrats the do-nothing Congress this year, Democrats spat back that Republicans were the Grand Obstruction Party.

    Schumer, who heads Senate Democrats' reelection efforts, likes to say Republicans are filibustering themselves out of office.

    Democratic senators will fan out to their states in 2008 and say that Democrats stood together for initiatives popular with Americans - ending the war, providing health care for kids, curbing global warming.

    "People know what we believe in, what we stand for, they know the Republicans are blocking us and that's OK," Reid said.

    He believes his party will pick up at least four seats next year. If so, he would be in striking range of the 60 votes needed to pass legislation.