The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 22

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... On Wednesday, July 22nd, McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital will be having a seminar on how to manage diabetes called "Point A to Point B!! How do we get there?" The seminar will be from 4 to 5 PM.

Did Ya Know?... The Carthage Dog Park Committee is currently selling advance tickets to Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince at the renovated Webb City Rt. 66 Downtown threatre for July 25th at 3PM. Tickets are $10 and include pop and popcorn. Portions of the ticket price will be donated to assist the building of the area’s first Dog Park. For more info, call 417-540-4757.

today's laugh

I’ll use my seeing eye dog

A blind man with a seeing eye dog at his side walks into a grocery store. The man walks to the middle of the store, picks up the dog by the tail, and starts swinging the dog around in circles over his head.

The store manager, who has seen all this, thinks this is quite strange. So, he decides to find out what’s going on. The store manager approaches the blind man swinging the dog and says, "Pardon me. May I help you with something."

The blind man says, "No thanks. I’m just looking around."

- Teamwork is essential; it allows you to blame someone else.

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

Mayor Harrington’s Say.

He Wants the Lighting Contract Endorsed at the Polls.

That this city has been illy lighted in the past is admitted by all; that it should be well lighted in the future ought equally to be the desire of every citizen. That there should be an honest difference of opinion as to the best means of accomplishing that result is to be expected, but this fact is self-evident; that our interests as a community are in most cases identical; hence the merits and demerits of a proposition for lighting should be well considered.

If it be found deficient it should suffer defeat at the poles, but it should not be opposed for political or personal reasons or through unthinking prejudice. Is the present plan the best one to adopt? Here we divide. Many insist that gas in any form will not answer. Gas lights have been bad; hence they must always be bad; prejudice is hard to over come.

  Today's Feature

2009 Maple Leaf Festival Parade Grand Marshal.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2009 Maple Leaf Festival Grand Marshal. All nominations should be submitted, in writing, to the Chamber of Commerce office at 402 S. Garrison Ave or by fax to 417-358-7479 or email to

Deadline for accepting nominations is 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 24th. This deadline is for actual receipt of the nomination, not for postmarks.

"The selection process is not a simple one as each year the Committee receives a number of nominations for highly respected citizens from every walk of life that have made significant contributions to the community of Carthage and its citizens," states Cheryle Finley, co-chair of the 2009 Maple Leaf Festival Committee. "Being the individual ultimately chosen is a tremendous honor."

Chamber has received shipment of the 2009 Maple Leaf Festival brochures. The brochure is in both English and Spanish again this year. They are available at the Chamber office.

How Banks Are Using

Bailout Money.

by Karen Weise, ProPublica

TARP funds were supposed to help banks increase lending, but many bailed-out banks used federal funds for other purposes says the special inspector general for overseeing TARP in a report released yesterday.

According to the inspector general, of the 360 banks surveyed, 156 said they’d used some of the funds to boost their capital cushion, 110 invested some of the money, 52 repaid debts, and 15 bought other banks with the funds. (A total of 611 banks have received bailout funds.)

Three hundred banks, or 83 percent of those surveyed, reported that some of the money had gone to support lending, but fewer than a third said their lending levels would have been lower without the federal money.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general, said the Treasury Department should require banks to report how they use TARP funds. Currently, Treasury does not require banks to track TARP spending, nor do banks need to keep TARP funds in separate accounts. There are also no consequences for using funds for purposes other than spurring lending.

The Treasury Department dismissed Barofsky’s call for greater transparency. Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert Allison wrote that because banks distribute TARP funds into general accounts, "it is not possible to say that investment of TARP dollars resulted in particular loans, investments or other activities by the recipient."

The AP says Barofsky countered by saying that banks likely have internal budgets for using the funds, so they could report on the general uses of the aid.

Highway Projects

Slow to Start.

by Amanda Michel, ProPublica

The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune report that of the 5,600 road and bridge projects approved as of July 10, more than 3,600 have not yet started construction. Six of the 10 largest highway and road projects nationwide have yet to break ground, according to the two publications. The figures appear to match numbers provided at last week’s press conference hosted by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, where officials pointed to more than 2,000 projects around the country that are in progress.

Pennsylvania has fallen behind its neighbor New Jersey in spending stimulus weatherization funds, reports the The Philadelphia Inquirer. The money was made available to Pennsylvania by the federal government in April, but it cannot be spent until the state legislature passes the much-debated state budget. The Inquirer points out that the 42 community agencies tasked with training volunteers and project management can’t get started until the budget passes; they do not have funds on hand to cover weatherization costs.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted the New Deal he focused the nation’s attention on the construction of the Bonneville Dam in Oregon and Washington. Through the Army Corps of Engineers, in less than four years 17,000 workers constructed a dam that provided electricity to the Pacific Northwest. Now, the Bonneville Power Administration is the beneficiary of stimulus funding, which it plans to use to increase its wind power grid. This time around, though, the work is proceeding slowly and much of it won’t start for years, reports The Boston Globe. Stephen Wright, Bonneville’s administrator, tells The Globe, "It’s a different time. Things don’t move as quickly. Just the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act would make it impossible to do what Roosevelt did."

Robert J. Samuelson, a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, wrote an op-ed published yesterday called "The Squandered Stimulus." Samuelson writes: "But the defects of the $787 billion package go deeper and won’t be cured by time. The program crafted by Obama and the Democratic Congress wasn’t engineered to maximize its economic impact. It was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes."

On Friday the National Employment Law Project put out a press release stating that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has provided "unprecedented help at a critical time" to the country’s newly unemployed: "100% federally funded extended benefits, which last 20 to 53 weeks depending on the state’s unemployment rate, are covering 2.8 million workers." A research center and advocacy group that focuses on workplace issues, the project also warned that by the year’s end 1.5 million people will exhaust their unemployment benefits and that more help is needed.

The stimulus sign saga continues. New York state will not purchase signs directly and has instructed contractors bidding on projects to include the cost of the signs in their bids, Syracuse’s Post-Standard reports. The federal government leaves it up to the states to decide if they’ll plant American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signs next to road and bridge construction projects. Last week, Texas announced that it won’t spend any money on the signs .

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has postponed a hearing on stimulus spending less than 24 hours before it was to begin. The hearing, "Follow the Money: An Update on Stimulus Spending, Transparency, and Fraud Prevention," was scheduled for Tuesday morning. A spokeswoman for the committee told us that the hearing had been pushed back to a date yet to be determined, but she did not give a reason for the postponement. One witness set to testify at the hearing was Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which oversees stimulus spending.

Just Jake Talkin'

With all the talk about high tech, it seems odd to me that we still use low tech for an amazing number of ever’day tasks.

I’d be guessin’, but the concept of the shirt button hasn’t see much improvement over the last couple a hundered years. Zippers have made some inroads to the garment fastenin’ business, but buttons still poke through a hole and seem ta be the choice for most consumers. Cheap and functional I suppose, but definitely low tech.

The down side is the amount of time wasted ever’day pushin’ buttons through those little reinforced holes in our clothes. velcro has made some headway in replacin’ shoe laces, maybe buttons are the next market. ‘Course keepin’ your shoes on with a piece of string seems pretty crude too.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’

  Weekly Columns

To Your Good Health

By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.

There’s No Age Limit on Mammograms

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am 81 and have been getting mammograms for as long as I can remember. My doctor insists I continue to get them. At my age, is it really necessary? -- A.C.

ANSWER: I can offer you the recommendations coming from different respected sources. They don’t all agree in all particulars. Did you know that half of all breast cancers are found in women 65 and older? A considerable number are diagnosed in women in their 80s.

The American Cancer Society says there are no age limits for mammograms, and women should continue to have them if they are in good health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of experts, tells women to have a mammogram yearly or every other year if her life expectancy isn’t limited by other diseases. The American Geriatrics Society recommends that women 75 and older get a mammogram every two to three years if they have a life expectancy of four or more years. Unless studies are done that show no benefit to continued mammograms, I go with those who favor a yearly mammogram for all women in relatively good health.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I take a fish-oil supplement daily. Can you tell me if these tablets contain mercury, as some fish do? -- P.C.

ANSWER: Take your fish-oil supplement without fear. Such supplements contain negligible, if any, amounts of mercury. They won’t make you sick. They could make you well.


By Freddy Groves

1 Million and Counting

By the time you read this, the Department of Veterans Affairs will have a backlog of 1 million unprocessed claims.

In January of this year, there were 800,000 claims. In May it was more than 900,000 claims. But there’s something about that big number -- 1 million -- that makes you wonder: Where are the problems?

Let’s take a look at where some of the logjams are, with info taken from the VA’s Monday Morning Workload Reports dated June 15, 2009.

For unprocessed Compensation and Pension claims at the various centers:

• Baltimore has 12,375 claims, with 33.2 percent of those more than 180 days. (In January 30.7 percent of its claims were unprocessed.)

• New York has 11,129 claims, with 33.2 percent past 180 days. (In January 32.5 percent of its claims were unprocessed.)

• Atlanta has 30,839 claims, with 33.7 percent past 180 days. (In January 35.5 percent of its claims were unprocessed.)

• Montgomery, Ala., has 20,700 claims with 30.6 percent beyond 180 days. (In January 34.2 percent of its claims were unprocessed.)

On the positive side, Sioux Falls, S.D., has only 1,176 claims, with a mere 6 percent past 180 days, and Boise, Idaho, is about the same, with only 6.8 percent of its 2,004 claims beyond 180 days. (In January it was 6.1 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.)

If you want to keep an eye on those weekly reports, go to then click on Reports, then click Monday Morning Workload Reports.

In June, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held hearings specifically on the topic of whether the VA can handle 1 million claims. To read what all the speakers had to say, go to, click on Hearings, and scroll down to June 18, 2009, to Addressing the Backlog: Can the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manage One Million Claims?

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