Friday, April 24, 2009

It's official: ECC bond plan passes by 35 votes :: The Courier News :: Local News

.09 of one per cent is the margin of victory 

It's official: ECC bond plan passes by 35 votes :: The Courier News :: Local News

Fed Releases Stress Test Guidelines – ProPublica


Stress Test Results—May 1—A new meaning to May Day—Lenin would be proud.

Next Friday is going to be a big day for our bailout database [1]. That’s when the Treasury will release the results of its “stress tests” on the nation’s 19 biggest banks.

Click on the following for further details:  Fed Releases Stress Test Guidelines - ProPublica

Democrats’ Budget Deal Sets Up Fight on Health Plan -

A way around the filibuster:

an obscure procedure known as a reconciliation on a health care bill, allowing health care legislation that meets budget targets to be approved by a simple Senate majority.

House and the Senate first agree on an overall budget blueprint and then pursue legislation, “reconciling” the blueprint with the needed policy changes. If enough Senate Democrats support the legislation, the White House would not need a single Republican vote.

Read the rest of the story:  Democrats’ Budget Deal Sets Up Fight on Health Plan -

The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Local food pantry shelves, reserves depleted for first time ever

The mix of food goods currently provided, a $275 value, has been estimated at providing a two-person household one month worth of food supplies

Recipients have increased from around 900 in March 2008 to over 1,600 in March of 2009.

considering reducing the value of the once monthly food package given to its clients from $275 to $100 in order to be able to service the number of households now needing their assistance.

Click on the following to read the entire story:  The Belvidere Daily Republican. - Local food pantry shelves, reserves depleted for first time ever

Mexico Shuts Schools Amid Deadly Flu Outbreak -


shuttered schools from kindergarten to university for millions of young people in and around the capital on Friday and urged people with flu symptoms to stay home from work.

Click on the following to read the rest of the story:  Mexico Shuts Schools Amid Deadly Flu Outbreak -

States Resort to Furloughs Even as Need for Services Grows -


at least 15 states from every region — like Alabama and Georgia in the South; Arizona, California and Washington in the West; and Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York in the Northeast — are in various stages of considering or carrying out furloughs

The longest state furloughs so far appear to be 24 days in Alabama, the same number that had been proposed in Minnesota.

Social Security Administration, a program paid for by the federal government but administered by state workers. Officials said this month that in seven states, 2,700 of those workers had been furloughed, further delaying the processing of tens of thousands of disability claims, which already take an average of 488 days to resolve.

furloughs are fundamentally a cut in pay. And furloughs are a cut in service. If you don’t have people working, the work isn’t going to magically get done

So the savings aren’t as great. And you’re not solving any long-term problem

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the following:  States Resort to Furloughs Even as Need for Services Grows -

Boone County Journal’s Opinion on the Search for Health Administrator

Few words have been left out of the Journal’s opinion. 

Stained Fabric

Athletic coaches agree winners are found by who made
the fewest mistakes. Errors mark the difference between
success and failure in many endeavors.

Few initiate a path designed to make mistakes yet,
the recent embarrassment of the Boone County Health
Department as they sought to find a new leader could
redefine the term “incompetence.”

The result of this fumbled effort had someone
deciding to hire an applicant to lead the organization that
was inexperienced. It is often concluded, if someone is
inexperienced they are incompetent to hold the job. Why
an incompetent candidate for a leadership job was hired
has not been fully explained.

However, when the applicant’s lack of experience came
to light, members of the health department and the Boone
County Board circled the wagons to decide what to do.
The Illinois Department of Public Health was called
and they recommended someone to mentor the applicant
so they could gain experience they were lacking. That
move was approved by the county board. Understand,
these are presumably competent public officials assigned
to protect the public health and not to personify the essence
of “The Peter Principle.”

When did the Boone County Department of Public
Health become a center for advanced study to mentor the
inexperienced and incompetent?

Members of the health department board turned a blind
eye to the requirements for the job and, arguably, they
risked putting the health of the community in jeopardy by
hiring an inexperienced leader to run the organization.
It is irrelevant to argue the smarmy ethics of what
occurred. In this addled culture ethical discussions are left
for the losers to debate.

The following questions arise with no one, least
of all members of the board of health to offer answers:
Why would an inexperienced applicant be given serious
consideration for the job? Why would the inexperienced
applicant be offered a job? Why would an executive board
hire an incompetent person to run an agency vested to
protect the public health? Why would an executive board
contract with a state agency to provide a mentor to keep
the inexperienced person on the payroll? Why would the
county board hire a mentor after imposing a hiring freeze
in fiscal 2009? Why would a board of health comprised
of elected officials, bank executives, lawyers, doctors
and other allegedly responsible people go through such a
tawdry public display?

Perhaps the health department board is no different
than other groups here that are comprised of some that are
more dedicated to sustain an elitist self-perception than to
truly serve the public. Some officials here do serve the
public through their work, their vision and their wisdom.
These officials will speak out when they see unethical or
illegal activity, but they are in the minority.

For example, there remain some on the Boone County
Housing Authority Board that hired a former director that
gave service contracts to family members, allowed years
to pass without a financial audit, and violated Department
of Housing and Urban Development rules. Yet, many of
the same people that sit on multiple boards continue to
look aside as they seek to persuade their friends that they
are serving the public needs.

Some of these self-appointed experts are better skilled
at sucking air from a room than they are at serving the
public need. These are the people that will sit and smile
and recite their vacuous self-serving homilies.

Elitism is a social disease staining the fabric of this
community. The sooner this disease is recognized and
the sooner those that practice this policy are removed, the
sooner the community fabric can be washed clean.

But as long as voters find greater purpose watching
Dancing with the Stars and continue to mindlessly elect
incumbents instead of choosing officials that identify
methods to correct these wrongs, the longer this infection
will fester and the further the disease of elitism will

Kokomo, Ind., looks beyond cars for its economic survival

Here is story which everyone should read as the Rockford/Belvidere Area ponders life after GM-Janesville, Chrysler-Belvidere and all their local suppliers. 

Click on the following to read the rest of the story:  Kokomo, Ind., looks beyond cars for its economic survival - Apr. 22, 2009