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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
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S.2266 - H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2015 - Your candidate's position?

I am looking for information regarding each candidate's position on this bill.

The bill is reported has having been co-written by Grassley and Durbin. It is listed as sponsored by Grassley, which is a good thing in a republican controlled congress.

Other co-sponsors are:

Sherrod Brown (D)
Richard Blumenthal (D)
Bill Nelson (R)
Jeff Sessions (R)

More info here:

I note that the one candidate who is in the Senate and who has an actual opportunity to endorse the bill by co-sponsoring it, has not done so. HOWEVER, it is quite possible that it is better for the bill that Bernie Sanders NOT co-sponsor it. If he co-sponsored it then that brings presidential politics into play. Also notice that it currently has an equal number of D and R co-sponsors, and adding Bernie would throw that out of balance if there wasn't a matching republican. This is probably politically calculated to give the bill the best possible chance of passing. Of course, that then makes it awkward for Bernie to announce direct and complete support for it. But he still should be able to say something.

And I'd like to know what the other candidates have to say about it.

On a side note, when I google "H1B Durbin" in order to find something about it, almost all the articles are from publications that seem to cater to Indians. The only US article I saw was in the Wall Street Journal blog. Excerpt:

Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin last week introduced a bill that would require all companies that want to hire workers under H-1Bs to first try to hire U.S. citizens.

In addition, firms that employ more than 50 people and have more than half of their staff on H-1B and L-1 visas would be barred from hiring new workers on H-1Bs.

H-1Bs are for skilled workers, and L-1 visas are for those with specialized knowledge who are transferred to the U.S. within their company.

The U.S. Department of Labor would be able to monitor and penalize firms that don’t comply under the proposed law.

“For years, foreign outsourcing companies have used loopholes in the laws to displace qualified American workers and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement. The bill “would end these abuses and protect American and foreign workers from exploitation.”

Darkness in Paris. (Charlie Pierce)


There is no question that it will get worse as they move toward dawn in Paris. There is no question that it will get worse as the days turn into months and the months into years. Barbarians have laid siege to an entire European city for one of the first times since Rome fell. The body count will climb. The retribution will be swift and harsh, as will the inevitable reaction, and as will the retribution for the reaction. And the events of the day will be fed into the armored, blind triviality of the ongoing American election, and into the utterly corrupted American political system, and into the carefully cultivated timidity and faithlessness that all of these things have combined to make out of the American democracy over the past 15 years. Something awful has happened in Paris. Out of it will be born something awful in the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective soul. I wish I weren't so sure of this, but the planet looks awfully black from up here, and it doesn't look any different if you close your eyes.​

He quoted freakin' Thomas Merton.

I'm watching the re-air of the forum at this moment (not for long unfortunately, got stuff to do) and this part on why we aren't winning on climate change, where he says Dems tend to "connect the dots and draw a line straight to hell" and the audience doesn't seem to get it, then he quotes Thomas Merton “Any appeal that begins from a standpoint of despair is doomed to fail.” ... I found this part of his appearance incredibly powerful but wonder if others react similarly?

But gawd, this guy quotes Thomas Merton. I like it.

A question about the bombing of the MSF hospital in Afghanistan

I asked this in another thread and did not get a response.

First, please know that I am a huge supporter of MSF. The questions I'm asking are to fill a gap in my knowledge. Because this part of the story makes no sense to me.


Was the MSF facility marked as a hospital? Presumably, in Afghanistan that would have been with a large red crescent symbol, visible from the air. I have seen nothing in any article that I've read (admittedly not a large percentage of what's out there) that indicates the facility was clearly marked, or not.

If it was, why did the pilot bomb it anyway? If it was visibly marked as a hospital, he should have known that any order to bomb that site was an illegal order, and should have responded along the lines of, "negative, the site is marked as a hospital, we can't bomb a hospital". According to my understanding of the laws of war, anyway.

It is wasn't, why wasn't it? Okay, here is where it gets fuzzy for me. Again, by my understanding of the laws of war - which may be completely wrong of course - if a medical facility is marked by a universally recognized symbol such as a red cross or a red crescent, then if a faction attacks it they are violating the laws of war. (Geneva Convention?) But if it is NOT marked, how does it expect that protection? For all that has been posted about "they told the US their coordinates" that STILL does not make it easy for a pilot to recognize while flying a mission. And that visible recognition would be the final protection in case of human error in providing target coordinates. So I wouldn't think that the new technology of GPS would make the need for marking obsolete. On the other hand, some of these groups we're fighting with allegedly ignore the laws of war anyway, and who knows might even deliberately target a hospital if it is so marked. So maybe there are good reasons why hospitals aren't marked any more, or just this particular hospital wasn't marked?


I appreciate any thoughtful, informed replies and discussion on this topic.

(I will only be able to check in off and on but I will read all replies when I can.)

It's not "authenticity" it's "charisma" you morons!

And by "morons" of course I mean the morons on MSNBC this morning.

"Authenticity" has a highly positive connotation.

"Charisma" is more mixed, but less valued in a politician, when it is recognized as all an act with no positive substance backing it up. (Bill Clinton is loaded with charisma but when people scratched that surface they found substance as well)

If anything Hillary is far more authentic than Trump and the others from the clown car. With the possible exception of the very non-charismatic Santorum. (Authentic doesn't mean good policies, it just means you have a pretty good idea what they are and they track with how the person has behaved throughout their life.)

Let's be clear, personally I don't find Trump charismatic at all, I think he is a buffoon. But his buffoonery obviously appeals to a big chunk of the republican primary electorate. And that's charisma, not authenticity.

Lawrence Lessig will run for President ... if ...

he gets $1 million in crowdfunding by Labor Day.


Harvard professor and outspoken political activist Lawrence Lessig is now exploring a bid for the White House. In a Tuesday announcement, Lessig told reporters that he's prepared to take on Democratic presidential hopefuls by making campaign finance reform his core platform. Instead of relying on wealthy donors, however, he is crowdfunding his campaign online, and will officially run if he raises $1 million by Labor Day. His hope is to dismantle corruption in Washington by making citizen equality the central pillar of his presidency.


Lessig says that, if elected, he will "hack" the system by serving as a referendum president, one who will focus his energies solely on passing the Citizen Equality Act. That act will undo political corruption by changing how elections are funded, guarantee the right to vote, and end partisan gerrymandering. After achieving all this, he'll step down, paving the way for his vice president to finish his term.

On his blog, Lessig writes:

In no plausible sense do we have a representative democracy in America today. That fact shows itself in a thousand ways — from #BlackLivesMatter to billion dollar SuperPACs, and none more profound than the deep sense that most Americans have that their government is not theirs. "The system," as Elizabeth Warren puts it, "is rigged." And the fundamental challenge for our democracy today is to find a way to fix that rigged system.

But iunfortunately, as this Gawker article succinctly notes:


Lessig is absolutely right in his beliefs and he is doing the ever-unappreciated work of pushing for the sort of systemic change that is both absolutely necessary if we ever hope to have a well-functioning and fair democracy, and too boring for the general public to give a shit about. So let’s hope a more popular candidate steals his ideas.

Still, I think I might chip in a few bucks to his campaign. I would ****LOVE **** to have Lessig on the debate stage with Hillary, Sanders, and O'Malley. (At least in a debate about making our democracy actually work.)

As for other candidates stealing his ideas, each of them have already included some bits in their platform. But the difference is, there is absolutely no doubt that Lessig really means it when it comes to comprehensive electoral reform.

Lessig for President: https://lessigforpresident.com/

A message from David Macdonald to all supporters of the Cecil Appeal (also maybe good news re: cubs)

This is from the site Jimmy Kimmel mentioned. After he mentioned it, of course the site crashed for awhile because it couldn't handle the flood. Hopefully everyone wanting to donate will return and try again when it is less busy.


(Emphasis added)

July 30, 2015
We are deeply grateful for the hundreds of messages of support you have sent – the value people attach to lions and wildlife conservation inspires us. We hope to keep in touch with you all as the months go forward. Many people ask about the fate of Cecil’s cubs – we are keeping watch. As you probably know, the natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs. This may not happen because Cecil’s brother is still holding the fort. Meanwhile, because of the heavy flow of traffic to our website, some people trying to make donations have been told "please come back later" – we beg you not to forget us, and do please try again later – make a note in your diary to try again tomorrow or the next day, or contact Hannah Curwell-Parry in the UK or David Stiles in the USA and we will get back to you. We depend on donations for all of our work. We are working with the University technical people to try and increase the capacity of the website. Once again, we thank you for your support and inspirational commitment to wildlife conservation.

If everyone who is outraged by this tragedy donates even a small amount to conservation, some good can come of this.

What's asbestos doing in kids' crayons?

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, a national nonprofit, commissioned a test of crayons and found that several brands - some marketed under the kid-appealing names of Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers - contained asbestos fibers.

OK, so maybe your child isn't going to be breathing in crayons, and the asbestos just might stay put. Then again, contaminated crayons could release microscopic fibers as they are worn down, the EWG contends, adding that the average child uses 730 crayons by the age of 10.


All of the crayons and toys that contained asbestos were imported from China. (The complete results are available at www.asbestosnation.org.)


Astoundingly, this wasn't the first time asbestos had been found in either product. Contaminated crayons were found in 2000, and toy crime-scene kits tested positive for asbestos in 2007.

After the previous findings, American crayon manufacturers pledged to stop using talc. But did everyone else? That's why the EWG tested the products again. This time around, Lunder said, no American-made products tested contained any asbestos.

The National Cancer Institute has concluded that "overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure."

So plenty of people are concerned.

Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, called the presence of asbestos in toys "an unacceptable risk." Landrigan, who reviewed the study, but was not involved in it, is an asbestos expert and former senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency on children's environmental health.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kidshealth/20150719_What_s_asbestos_doing_in_kids__crayons_.html


Also at the Environmental Working Group's own site:

Kids lovingly wear down crayons through frequent use—as many as 730 crayons by age 10, according to Crayola—and sometimes chew or eat them. Fingerprint kits contain loose powders that kids blow and possibly inhale; the kits even include brushes and straws that make this easier.

The suspected origin of the asbestos in the items that tested positive is talc, a binding agent in crayons and an ingredient in fingerprint powder. Asbestos deposits are frequently found in talc mines and may contaminate talc products. Although the crayons pose a lower risk than the powders, scientists agree that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

The dangers of asbestos have been public since the 1970s. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has known about asbestos in crayons for 15 years, and eight years ago asbestos was found in another brand of fingerprint toy. Shockingly, these products are legal in 49 states—only Connecticut bans asbestos in children’s toys.

This is cool - O'Malley gives keynote at ESRI conference


O'Malley Monday address echoed ideas presented earlier by Esri founder and president Jack Dangermound, who said the world is entering a geographic Age of Enlightenment, or geoenlightenment, in which maps and data are combined in dynamic ways to show people how to improve their world. O,Malley is a former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland and used GIS in his administrations to identify problem areas that required government services. He is a Democratic presidential candidate and used the occasion to present his vision of what federal government should be, collaborative in the way the Internet is. He also said there is an imperative to deal with climate change. "Climate change is the biggest economic and business opportunity to come to the United States in100 years," he said.


I'm guessing that O'Malley's invitation to keynote this conference was due to his use of GIS in the Maryland StateStat system.

I give O'Malley a huge plus over the other candidates for his apparent grasp of technology and vision towards its effective use in good governance.

Google News: Sandra Bland

Please just do that.

On news.google.com, for me, this is what comes up under Top Stories:

James Eagan Holmes
Angela Merkel
Primetime Emmy Awards
Planned Parenthood
Jeb Bush

I'm not sure what makes that up, but I suppose if more of us started searching for and reading about Sandra Bland, maybe she would show up on more people's news feeds.

Oh and if you have a blog, maybe write a post.

I just think what happened to her is more important than Jeb Bush, and far more deserving of investigation than Planned Parenthood.
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