The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 42

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... he Pet Photo Contest put on by the Carthage Humane Society is taking place until the end of the month. Entry fee is $10. For info, call 417-439-7134.

.Did Ya Know?... The Family Literacy Center will be selling Mums for the fall season at $10 each. To order, call 358-5926.

today's laugh

The prospective son-in-law was asked by his girl friend’s father, "Son, can you support a family?"

"Well, no, sir," he replied. "I was just planning to support your daughter. The rest of you have to fend for yourselves."

My five year old son squealed with delight when he opened his birthday present from his grandmother. It was a water pistol. He promptly ran to the sink to fill it.

"Mom," I said. I’m surprised at you. "Don’t you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water pistols?"

My mom smiled and said, "Yes, I remember."

With hurricanes, flooding, tornados, mud slides, fires out of control, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

A Chronological Record of Events as they have Transpired in the City and County since our last Issue.

Enjoy Moonlit Hayride


B.Y.P.U. Members have a Delightful Outing at Morrow & Taaffe Mill

The members of the Baptist Young People’s Unionwent on a hay ride to the Morrow & Taaffe mille east of town yesterday evening, where they enjoyed a moonlit picnic. They took lunch along but the attendance was larger than expectedand the lunch barely served to satisfy the appetites sharpened by the riding and fresh air. Everyone had a most enjoyable time. There were some 50 in attendance, all being taken out in two wagons.

It was midnight when the picnicers reached town on their return trip. Mr. and Mrs. R.T. Stickney drove out to the poicnic grounds in their automobile and spent an hour with the partyRev. and Mrs. Thomas Boggess of Carthage, Ill., who are visiting here, were also in attendance.

  Today's Feature

Skate Park Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Scheduled for Tomorrow.

The Grand Opening of the skateboard park in Fair Acres Sports Complex is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

The ramps and other equipment began being installed on Monday.

Most paved areas in Carthage are streets, parking lots, and private property that don’t allow skateboarders according to the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau. The skate park will provide skateboarders with 3,000 square feet of area to practice in a safer environment.

Mayor Pro Tem Diane Sharits and other City officials will be present at the opening. A Rail Slide with a Thickburger Competition and other activities will follow the Ribbon Cutting ceremonies.

The opening of the The City of Carthage Skate Park is sponsored by American Ramp Company, Hardee’s, Carthage Caring Communities, a coalition of The Alliance of Southwest Missouri and the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The park is located south of the Soccer fields just off Fir Road. The event is open to the public.


Behind Push for Stimulus Transparency, a Question Remains: Who Ensures the Numbers Are Right?

by Christopher Flavelle,

When President Obama introduced the stimulus plan, he made a bold promise of transparency: "Every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new Web site called" But like so many noble ideas in government, that may be easier said than done.

The government is moving to make detailed information on the stimulus publicly available. Congress has created an independent agency, led by a respected former inspector general, to collect information from those getting the money and to post it, starting in October. However, interviews by ProPublica suggest differing opinions among key officials over whose job it is to make sure the information is reported correctly. Meanwhile, government watchdogs point to errors that plagued a similar transparency effort last year, and note that companies or organizations that mistakenly misreport how they spend the money face no penalties for doing so — or incentives for getting the numbers right.

All of which raises the question: If the information isn’t accurate, what is the value of transparency?

"It seems like everybody on down the line is counting on the guy below them to get it right," said Craig Jennings, a policy analyst at OMB Watch, a nonprofit organization that focuses on government accountability.

The Office of Management and Budget responsibility between itself and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the new agency created to build and post information there. But the board says its hands were tied by Congress, which didn’t give it either the resources or the responsibility to make sure the data coming in is accurate.

The man leading the stimulus transparency campaign is Earl Devaney, a burly former Secret Service agent who served as inspector general at the Department of the Interior from 1999 until early this year. In February, President Obama tapped him to be chairman of the Recovery Board, which is made up of current federal inspectors general.

Nobody suggests that Devaney’s job is easy. The board is responsible for gathering and posting information from each recipient of federal stimulus money — everything from highway contractors and public housing authorities to school districts and state agencies, and whose number Devaney estimates as at least 200,000 and as many as 900,000. Those recipients are required to report 44 separate pieces of information, from basic data like federal registration numbers and congressional districts, to descriptions of their projects, project status, and the number and descriptions of jobs that have been created or retained. To build a site that can handle that information, the government is paying a company called Smartronix as much as $18 million.

The information that stimulus recipients give is deeply important to the administration, and not only because the president promised the make the stimulus transparent. That information will also provide the Obama administration ammunition with which to fight critics—especially those who question the number of jobs the stimulus has created.

However, the federal government’s last attempt at collecting and posting spending data suggests that accuracy is the Achilles’ heel of such efforts. In December 2007, the government launched, a site intended to track the flow of money awarded in federal grants and contracts. According to the OMB, in 2008, submissions to the site had an error rate as high as 51 percent, falling to 13 percent by last April — a year and a half after the site was launched.

Stan Czerwinski, a director at the Government Accountability Office, says the problems with should be a warning signal for

"The weakness in to this day has been data quality," Czerwinski said. "Why would you assume that suddenly because we’re standing up a, which has a similar concept, but with a lot more flowing through it, to a lot more participants, in a lot tighter time frame, that you’re not going to have those same problems?"

The OMB said it has learned important lessons from, including the importance of using standard reporting forms that can be compared automatically. However, questions have already been raised about the current version of, which posts stimulus spending as reported by various federal agencies. (The updated version, which Smartronix is building and which is designed to post spending information from recipients, is scheduled to be introduced later this month.)

In June, ProPublica reported that according to, the Department of Agriculture had allocated just $610 million, but paid out $1.68 billion. On another page, the site claimed the department had provided funding notifications of $362 million — less than a quarter of what reported had been paid out. The next month, ProPublica reported again on a difference between Social Security Administration spending posted on and what was posted on the SSA’s own site.

Asked about the discrepancies, Ed Pound, the communications director for the Recovery Board, said at the time that it wasn’t up to the board to make sure the numbers were right. "We’re not in the business of verifying the data," he said.

The board intends to apply that same initial hands-off approach to verifying the data it gets from recipients in October. In an interview with ProPublica, Devaney said the board doesn’t have the mandate, or the manpower, to make sure the numbers it gets from stimulus recipients is accurate.

"The division of labor, as I view it, is that we’re in charge of the Web site, and that OMB is in charge of the data requirements, and the data quality," he said. "And if OMB didn’t jump up and say ‘It’s me’ in your interview, then something was missed."

Referring to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which authorized the stimulus and created the board, he said, "Nowhere in there does it say that I’m responsible for data."

The OMB takes a slightly different view. "The accuracy of the data is a shared responsibility," said Rob Nabors, the OMB’s deputy director, in an interview. "I fully expect that as part of the audit responsibilities that the Recovery Board undertakes, there will be discussions, reviews, surveys, to make sure that, if not that the data is absolutely correct, that the information that is provided to the federal government is at least as accurate as possible."

Nabors played down the difference between his and Devaney’s interpretations of each agency’s role. However, Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, an independent watchdog group, said the responsibility of ensuring the accuracy of the data should be more focused. "When you start seeing people sharing responsibility, that’s cause for concern," she said.

The Recovery Board and OMB agree on one point: Verifying the accuracy of the data that ends up on will be difficult, whoever’s in charge of doing it. Both agencies said they intended to use software programs that look for outliers in the data — numbers so far from the norm that they demand closer attention.

"If you created five jobs, not 5 million jobs, we’ll probably be able to piece that together," Nabors said. "But to the extent that you’re asking, did they really create 17 jobs or did they create 13 jobs … we’re going to be very reluctant to change data, except with the clearest evidence that the data inputted was actually incorrect."

Nabors said that for the moment, there are no standard penalties for recipients that unintentionally make errors in the reports they send to, beyond whatever conditions may be imposed by individual agencies. Jennings, the policy analyst at OMB Watch, said that’s a mistake.

Just Jake Talkin'

Had a rude awakenin’ the other day. A friend a mine is involved with the Boy Scouts and mentioned that they’re workin’ on the one hunderth anniversary of the organization. It’ll be in 2012.

The scarey part is that I happen ta have a 50th anniversary patch that I got when I was a Scout.

Now fifty years is a fair amount of time, but half a century is goin’ a bit too far.

Then I see this news type guy over the weekend that points out that the 40th anniversary of Woodstock is almost exactly between now and the Great Depression. I grew up thinkin’ the Depression was ancient history. Even though I was fortunate enough to miss that event, it doesn’t seem so long ago anymore.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

  Weekly Columns

To Your Good Health

By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.

Dealing With Repeat Bladder Infections

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have a problem with bladder infections. I have been getting one every month for the past three years. I am a 49-year-old female. My doctor gives me Cipro and the infection goes away, but it returns in a month. I have tried some other antibiotics with the same result. A doctor examined my bladder with a scope and found nothing wrong. Do you have any ideas on what I could do? -- L.H.

ANSWER: Recurring bladder infections plague many women. They have to do with female anatomy. The female urethra -- the tube that drains the bladder -- is much shorter than the male urethra, and it opens to the outside world in a place where there is luxuriant bacterial growth. Bacteria can ascend up the urethra to the bladder with ease. Sexual relations contribute to the problem because contact massages bacteria into the urethra.

Some steps should be taken. One is a culture of your urine to see if this is the same recurring bacterium and to determine its sensitivity to antibiotics. You might have a resistant germ, one that no longer completely responds to Cipro or the other medicines you have taken.

One way of handling this problem is to stay on a small dose of antibiotic daily or three times a week for a protracted period of time so that eradication of the bacterium takes place. Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim) and nitrofurantoin are two antibiotics often chosen.

Or your doctor can give you a prescription for antibiotics to have on hand. You start them immediately when symptoms arise. Early treatment increases the chance of completely getting rid of the germ.

A third option is to take an antibiotic after intercourse.

Cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail) has helped many to stave off repeat bladder infections. The dose is 8 ounces a day (one glass).

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