Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 30th, 2007

“No Americans need apply”

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From Business Week:

The video looks as if it were shot at a sleepy corporate seminar. But the dialogue is riveting: a group of lawyers telling potential clients how to pretend to look hard for American employees while hiring cheaper foreign workers instead under the H-1B visa program.

Trying to fill jobs with Americans is a requirement for employers seeking to turn foreign workers into long-term hires. But here’s Lawrence Lebowitz, marketing director for the Pittsburgh law firm Cohen & Grigsby, at its annual Immigration Law Update Seminar in May: “Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker,” he says in the five-minute video clip posted on YouTube on June 16 by the Programmers Guild, an advocacy group for U.S. tech workers. The trick, according to Cohen & Grigsby attorneys, is just to go through the motions of hiring Americans.

The video, which the law firm originally posted on its own Web site (and has since removed), has sparked a strong reaction in Congress, which is sharply divided over a controversial immigration reform bill. On June 21, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Representative Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) fired off a letter to the law firm demanding an explanation. The two also called on Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to monitor more closely com- pliance with the rules. Cohen & Grigsby directed requests for comment to their public relations firm, which did not return calls.

Yeah, I bet they don’t return calls.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Business

Harvesting water from the night air

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Even in arid climates, the night air is more humid. This device can collect 12 gallons of pure water a night from an inexpensive and easily transportable collector.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

French healthcare system

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From Business Week:

In Sicko, Moore lumps France in with the socialized systems of Britain, Canada, and Cuba. In fact, the French system is similar enough to the U.S. model that reforms based on France’s experience might work in America. The French can choose their doctors and see any specialist they want. Doctors in France, many of whom are self- employed, are free to prescribe any care they deem medically necessary. “The French approach suggests it is possible to solve the problem of financing universal coverage…[without] reorganizing the entire system,” says Victor G. Rodwin, professor of health policy and management at New York University.

France also demonstrates that you can deliver stellar results with this mix of public and private financing. In a recent World Health Organization health-care ranking, France came in first, while the U.S. scored 37th, slightly better than Cuba and one notch above Slovenia. France’s infant death rate is 3.9 per 1,000 live births, compared with 7 in the U.S., and average life expectancy is 79.4 years, two years more than in the U.S. The country has far more hospital beds and doctors per capita than America, and far lower rates of death from diabetes and heart disease. The difference in deaths from respiratory disease, an often preventable form of mortality, is particularly striking: 31.2 per 100,000 people in France, vs. 61.5 per 100,000 in the U.S.

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Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 12:54 pm

“With US healthcare, at least you don’t have to wait”

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Hah. Haha. What a joke. Look at this:

The health-care reform debate is in full roar with the arrival of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, which compares the U.S. system unfavorably with single-payer systems around the world. Critics of the film are quick to trot out a common defense of the American way: For all its problems, they say, U.S. patients at least don’t have to endure the endless waits for medical care endemic to government-run systems. The lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans spells it out in a rebuttal to Sicko: “The American people do not support a government takeover of the entire health-care system because they know that means long waits for rationed care.”

In reality, both data and anecdotes show that the American people are already waiting as long or longer than patients living with universal health-care systems. Take Susan M., a 54-year-old human resources executive in New York City. She faithfully makes an appointment for a mammogram every April, knowing the wait will be at least six weeks. She went in for her routine screening at the end of May, then had another because the first wasn’t clear. That second X-ray showed an abnormality, and the doctor wanted to perform a needle biopsy, an outpatient procedure. His first available date: mid-August. “I completely freaked out,” Susan says. “I couldn’t imagine spending the summer with this hanging over my head.” After many calls to five different facilities, she found a clinic that agreed to read her existing mammograms on June 25 and promised to schedule a follow-up MRI and biopsy if needed within 10 days. A full month had passed since the first suspicious X-rays. Ultimately, she was told the abnormality was nothing to worry about, but she should have another mammogram in six months. Taking no chances, she made an appointment on the spot. “The system is clearly broken,” she laments.

It’s not just broken for breast exams.

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Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 12:49 pm

Sophie in the window

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Sophie in window

Sophie likes to sit in the window and check on what’s happening in the greater world, especially if what’s happening involves birds.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 10:05 am

Posted in Cats, Sophie

Griswold No. 8 Cast-iron Dutch oven

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Griswold dutch oven

I just listed a very nice Griswold Dutch oven on eBay. If you like this sort of thing, take a look. It’s in very good shape.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 10:03 am

Posted in Daily life, Recipes

“Reporting” of military press releases

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Glenn Greenwald:

On June 22, the BBC — under the headline: “‘Al-Qaeda gunmen’ killed in Iraq” — reported, along with virtually every major American media outlet, the following claim, without any challenge or questioning:

US helicopters have killed 17 gunmen with suspected al-Qaeda links in Iraq’s Diyala province north of Baghdad, the US military says.

But unlike the American media outlets which mindlessly reported these “Al Qaeda kills,” the BBC at least followed up on this story and found that there are substantial grounds, to put it mildly, for believing those claims were false. In a follow-up article — prompted by protests from residents of the village where the “Al Qaeda kills” occurred — the BBC reported:

A group of villagers in Iraq is bitterly disputing the US account of a deadly air attack on 22 June, in the latest example of the confusion surrounding the reporting of combat incidents there. . . On 22 June the US military announced that its attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen who had been trying to infiltrate the village of al-Khalis, north of Baquba, where operation “Arrowhead Ripper” had been under way for the previous three days.

The item was duly carried by international news agencies and received widespread coverage, including on the BBC News website.

But villagers in largely-Shia al-Khalis say that those who died had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. They say they were local village guards trying to protect the township from exactly the kind of attack by insurgents the US military says it foiled.

Minutes before the attack, they had been co-operating with an Iraqi police unit raiding a suspected insurgent hideout, the villagers said.

They added that the guards, lightly armed with the AK47 assault rifles that are a feature of practically every home in Iraq, were essentially a local neighbourhood watch paid by the village to monitor the dangerous insurgent-ridden area to the immediate south-west at Arab Shawkeh and Hibhib, where the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed a year ago.

According to local witnesses, then — none of whom were interviewed by the media outlets obediently reciting the U.S. military’s dramatic narrative about “17 Al Qaeda fighters killed” — those who were killed by the U.S. strikes had absolutely nothing to do with “Al Qaeda,” but instead were guarding their own villages against the very Sunni insurgents whom we now call “Al Qaeda.” The entirety of the screaming headlines on June 22 about the Glorious Military Victory which Killed Al Qaeda was based exclusively on this Press Release issued by the U.S. military (specifically, the Public Affairs Office of “Camp Victory”) — entitled “Coalition Forces kill 17 al-Qaeda gunmen near Khalis” — and read as follows:

“Coalition Forces attack helicopters engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen southwest of Khalis, Friday. “Iraqi police were conducting security operations in and around the village when Coalition attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and ground forces from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village.

“The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using.”

That Press Release, with no investigation or modification, immediately became the headlines and lead paragraphs of every major American media outlet. Our news organizations, which claim to have learned so many valuable lessons from their profound failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, “reported” on this incident by doing one thing and one thing only: reading the Press Release and then copying it down and reporting it as Truth. Just look at a small sampling of what was produced as a result of this mindless media recitation:

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2007 at 7:27 am

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