• Judge Richard Posner feels that some aspects of immigration law are being caught up in a misunderstanding about how globalism and outsourcing really work. Writing on the Becker-Posner Blog, he continues:

    There is nothing in the definition of outsourcing to connect it to foreign commerce. But the current anxiety about outsourcing focuses on the outsourcing of software development and other high-tech services to foreign nations, particularly India, and hardship to American skilled American workers whose jobs are outsourced.

    Oddly, Americans who are opposed to free trade don’t mind as much when Americans buy from foreigners as when they hire them, though the effect is the same. If Microsoft purchases software from an Indian company, the effect on American jobs is no different than if it hires Indian software engineers to work for Microsoft in India–or, for that matter, in the United States. If the latter arrangement is preferred, it makes no sense for Congress to make it difficult for American companies to hire highly skilled foreigners to work in the United States. In any event, the harder it is to obtain visas for highly skilled foreigners, the greater the incentive to outsource production to those highly skilled foreigners in their native lands. So restricting visas seems a futile measure for trying to protect American high-tech jobs.

  • Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York was well known for taking people to court as attorney general, but in his new job he seems to see the other side of the coin, as it were. “Perhaps to the disappointment of some of his lawyerly supporters, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer seems to be among those who recognize that the upward spiral in the cost of insuring doctors against malpractice is not just a figment of someone’s imagination,” notes Walter Olson at Point of Law.

    Olson cites a recent article in New York Business.com with some examples of coverage rates: a Long Island neurosurgeon will pay $309,000; a Brooklyn obstetrician’s cost, $173,000; a Westchester orthopedic surgeon’s coverage plan will cost $108,679.

    Olson also notes that Spitzer and insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo have appointed a commission to fix the problem.

  • Walid Phares at Counterterrorism blog isn’t surprised by recent chatter that Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian forces in Lebanon may attempt a coup this summer. “The Syro-Iranian plan to crush Lebanon is not new. It. has been incrementally developing since the summer of 2005,” writes Phares. He continues:

    The Lebanese cabinet of Fuad Seniora is aware of this possibility, but it lost multiple opportunities, early on, to bring in the United Nations and a multinational presence on the Syrian-Lebanese borders and in the major cities. The Syro-Iranian axis took advantage of this to reinforce its own forces within Lebanon.

    The “axis” believes that the United States and its allies will be less-and-less capable of intervening by early 2008, hence during the summer-fall 2007 period we may see moves to gain more territory in Lebanon. The main issue now is the presidency of the republic. Elections are currently slated to take place in September. But current, pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud will try to postpone the elections as long as he can. The March 14 movement (opposed to the Syrian regime) will try to vote for its candidate — not yet selected — by late October/early November. The new president won’t be recognized by Hezbollah and its allies.