The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Thursday, March 26, 2009, Volume XVII, Number 196

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... The Family Literacy Center will be making chocolate Easter Eggs for $3.00 each. You can purchase the eggs March 16th thru April 12th at several stores and businesses in Carthage.

Did Ya Know?... Carthage R-9 High School’s official ribbon cutting for the newly constructed High School will be March 29th from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Come see your new educational facility!


today's laugh

A jockey enters an race on a new horse. The horse’s trainer tells him, ‘’All you have to do when you approach a jump, is shout, ‘ALLLLEEE OOOP!’ really loud in the horse’s ear. Do that, you’ll be fine.’’

The race begins and they approach the first hurdle. The jockey ignores the trainer’s advice and the horse crashes through the jump.

They approach the second hurdle. Embarrassed, he whispers ‘Aleeee ooop’. The horse crashes through the jump.

At the third hurdle, the jockey thinks, ‘’I’ll have to do it,’’ and yells, ‘’ALLLEEE OOOP!’’. Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump. This continus for the rest of the race, finishing third.

The fumong trainer asks the jockey what went wrong. The jockey replies, ‘’Nothing is wrong with me--it’s this bloody horse. What is he--deaf or something?’’

The trainer replies, ‘’Deaf?? DEAF?? He’s not deaf--he’s BLIND!’’

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


Where a Thoroughfare is to be Made of a Mere Path.

Fifth street from Grant to Lyon is to be made into a thoroughfare, something it has not been these many years. Work was begun on the improvement yesterday, under the supervision of street commissioner Landrum.

A new stone culvert is now being built diagonally across Fifth street at the corner of Main street. This will throw the water to the south side of the street, and the stone culvert covering along the Luke property will come up. A surface gutter will go down instead. The city will build the stone walls of a culvert along the south side of Fifth from Main to Lyon street and Judge Kerr will cover it over with slab stones as a sidewalk along his property. The culvert will also be extended across Fifth at Lyon, thus obviating a dangerous ditch there. Later the stone culvert will be extended east form main to Grant street on the south side of Fifth, B. A. Cassil putting in the slab covering for sidewalk purposes. Then the whole street from Grant to Lyon will be graded up, and thanks to the covered culvert, the street will be very materially widened.

Did Well in a Ten Mile Race.

Arthur Alexander of this city, was quite successful in the ten mile road race at Joplin yesterday. There were twenty-nine entries and he had a three-minute handicap. He won fourth place and third time and thereby captured a pair of bicycle tires, a 20th century bicycle lamp, a pair of patent leather shoes and a two-pound box of Whitman’s candies. The race was won in 29 minutes and ten seconds.

Fen Clark of this city, was one of those who entered, but fell after riding about three and one-half miles and so dropped out.


Today's Feature

Ruling Affecting Jasper County SOB’s.

Judge Dismisses Suit.

Citizens for a Decent Environment member John Putnam released documents showing that the Judge in Erotic City’s suit against Jackson County, MO has summarily dismissed their case as without merit and upheld the constitutionality of the Jackson County Ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses (SOBs).

"This is relevant to your readership," says Putnam, "because the ordinance endorsed by Citizens for a Decent Environment that Jasper County Commissioners declined to pass last year was the same basic ordinance written by the same attorney, Scott Bergthold of Chatanooga, TN, as the Jackson County Ordinance. This same language has already been upheld at least 23 times previously at the appellate level. Perhaps this will give Jasper County officials confidence that they can act to protect the citizens of Jasper County from the adverse secondary effects of five SOBs in Jasper County."

Bailed Out Bank Had Friends in High Places.

by Paul Kiel,

The queue of banks seeking bailout money is a long and winding one. They can’t even get a "hi there" from Treasury officials, bankers complain.

But OneUnited Bank is that rare success story. Even though it was scolded by regulators in October for poor lending practices and executive perks (like a Porsche), it landed $12 million in bailout money in December.

The difference: two friends in high places. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was so moved by OneUnited’s plight that he tailored a provision in the $700 billion bill so that the bank would get special consideration for help. And Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who also sits on that committee, could be relied on to ring up the Treasury to make sure they knew just how special OneUnited was.

Waters may have had particular reason to jump in, the Wall Street Journal reports. Her husband is a former director of the bank, and as of the lawmaker’s last financial disclosure statement, released May of last year and covering 2007, her husband held between $250,000 and $500,000 in stock in the bank. It’s unclear whether he still holds that stock, because Waters didn’t respond to the Journal’s questions. (Waters herself also once had $250,000 to $500,000 in stock in the bank but sold it in 2004.)

In a January interview with the Journal, she claimed to be ignorant that OneUnited had finally scored a Treasury investment, adding that it was "just a small" bank.

Frank has said that he paid the bank special attention because it’s based in Massachusetts, is the state’s only financial institution owned by African-Americans and took a big hit when the government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (It held a large amount of Fannie and Freddie preferred stock.)

As Frank put it to the Journal, "I did feel that it was important to frankly try and save them since it was federal action that put them into the dumper." One could also argue it was a bad investment that put them in the dumper, but Frank and Waters are clearly inclined to give OneUnited the benefit of the doubt.

Waters isn’t the only lawmaker with a financial tie to a financial institution that got a piece of the bailout. ProPublica reported in January that House Republican Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) wife works for a subsidiary of a bank that got bailout funds. A USA Today investigation found that two dozen members of Congress had "substantial financial ties" to bailout recipients.

How Hard the Fed Looked for AIG’s Potential Losses

by Sharona Coutts,

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, listens as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on March 24, 2009. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Before you handed over $85 billion to a failing company, what sort of information would you need to know about it?

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department had to make quick decisions to save AIG back in September. Officials believed they had to act urgently to avoid a global financial seize-up. They didn’t have a lot of time to plumb AIG’s byzantine books.

So what information did they have? And what information have they used in the following six months, which saw three additional bailouts, each one prompted by apparent realizations that the situation was even worse than was known before?

The public still does not know the answer, but that is slowly starting to change.

At yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on the AIG bailout, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke promised he would let Congress in on the secret.

The Fed has already briefed at least one congressman on the issue.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) wrote to both the Fed and Treasury in late January, asking essentially the same questions about what information the government used to justify its AIG rescue, which has grown to a commitment of up to $180 billion.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York responded to his inquiry and has since sent representatives to Washington, D.C., to meet with Cummings, who said the Fed was "forthcoming" and responded with "candor" to his request.

But the discussions were confidential; a Cummings staff member said the congressman can’t discuss them.

"I look forward to the release of additional information to the public regarding the valuations that the Fed is conducting to assess AIG’s business lines," Cummings said in an e-mail to ProPublica. "The more information we have, the more we can be assured that these valuations are being conducted appropriately and that AIG can one day repay the money it owes to the millions of taxpayers who continue to struggle every day to make ends meet."

The Treasury -- which has the most money on the line when it comes to AIG -- has not yet responded to Cummings’ request. No one at the hearing asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who was head of the New York Fed when the initial decisions were made, to provide Treasury’s set of numbers.

So while some rays of sunlight are starting to poke through the clouds, the public and Congress for the most part remain in the dark.

Federal Agencies ‘Flush’ With Stimulus Cash.

by Michael Grabell,

When President Obama spoke of how the stimulus would "rebuild our roads and our bridges and our schools," he forgot to mention another thing the stimulus will be rebuilding —our bathrooms.

Among the 150 stimulus-related bid requests posted on the federal contracting Web site is one for "22 precast concrete toilets" at the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.

The stimulus will also be used to demolish the sauna and build showers in the women’s locker room at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. Bathrooms will also be renovated at the McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, while the Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas will replace the fitness center steam rooms.

But the federal government isn’t the only one spending recovery dollars on the nation’s lavatorial infrastructure.

As we noted earlier, Oregon is planning new vinyl walls for its restrooms in Rose Lodge.

Admittedly, while Obama didn’t mention bathrooms per se, he has spent a lot of time talking about the need to get rid of waste.


Just Jake Talkin'


It’s the time a year that folks start payin’ close attention to the weather. Those thunder clouds start rollin’ and spinnin’ gets the hair up on the back of the neck for anyone who has been close to a tornado.

I’ve never been smack dab in the middle of one, but have on occasion been hunkered down within’ a few blocks from the path. I have felt a travel trailer raise up a might as one passed over head.

Like most, I don’t have an unnatural fear of natural disasters, but I do have a healthy respect for the power of a twister in the spring time. I’ve heard various suggestions over the years as ta how to deal with a tornado comin’ your way. The best of all is the simple "DUCK." Keep your head down and let it blow over. Not bad advice for other adverse situations too I suppose.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin.’

Sponsored by Metcalf Auto Supply



by Tom & Ray Magliozzi

Dear Tom and Ray:

I went to purchase two tires for my Dodge Intrepid. I wanted to replace the front pair and move my old front tires to the back. The local tire store told me that due to insurance regulations, when a customer buys just one pair of tires, they MUST go on the rear. I argued back at him, and said that because my car is front-wheel drive, I need good tread on the front tires more than the rear. "Well," he replied, "then you’ll have to buy four new tires." I think he just wants to sell me four tires instead of two. - Chester

TOM: Of course he does, Chester. But he’s also technically correct.

RAY: Tire manufacturers and safety people now recommend that your "better" set of tires go on the back, even if you have front-wheel drive.

TOM: It sounds crazy and suspicious at first, and it provides a highly convenient argument for selling two extra tires. When we first heard about this policy, we said: "That’s a fraud! It’s a blatant rip-off! Let’s implement it at the garage immediately!"

RAY: But the logic is actually sound. Tires with brand-new tread on the front certainly would help you get started in the snow. But having worn-out tires on the rear could cause the rear end to slide out when you try to turn or stop.

TOM: Since you can steer the front wheels, you have a better chance of maintaining control of the car if the front wheels slide. Once the back end starts to slide, it’s a lot harder to control the car.

RAY: Of course, having four good tires is best. But my guess is that this policy came from the tire companies’ legal departments, not the sales departments. Although I’m sure the policy has been warmly embraced by the sales staff, too.

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