Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Republican governors move ahead on health exchanges - Sarah Kliff - POLITICO.com

small but growing number of prominent, Republican governors — including Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour — are taking the lead to shape a key component of the health care overhaul their party fought so hard to kill.

It’s a delicate balancing act for Republicans who, on the one hand, oppose federal health reform, even challenging its constitutionality in federal court, and, on the other hand, are pragmatically trying to control as much of the implementation process as they can.

The big picture is that, while there’s an ideological divide, many governors see the exchange as an empty vessel they can shape in their own image,” says Ian Morrison, an independent health policy consultant in California. “Republican governors like the idea of more commercial insurance.”

Another crucial factor at play: If states don’t set up their own exchanges by 2014, the federal government will come in and do it for them.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55856.html#ixzz1NzX69FDk

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55856.html#ixzz1NzWpcvqE

Amnesty International Chides Vatican for Abuse - Beliefnet News

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Amnesty International has criticized the Vatican for falling short of its commitments to protect children from sex abuse.

“The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children,” the human rights group said in its latest annual report, released on Friday (May 13).

“Increasing evidence of widespread child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past decades, and of the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly, continued to emerge in various countries” during 2010, the report said.

This is first time the group has included the Vatican in its annual report, which assesses the state of human right in 157 countries. That change follows a wave of scandals over sexually abusive Catholic priests in Europe and Latin America last year.

Amnesty said the Vatican had failed in its obligations as a party to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, by “not removing alleged perpetrators from their posts pending proper investigations, not cooperating with judicial authorities to bring them to justice and not ensuring proper reparation to victims.”

“Canon law does not include an obligation for church authorities to report cases to civil authorities for criminal investigation,” the report noted.

According to a new Vatican directive published on Monday (May 16), Catholic bishops must report sex abuse of children by priests and other church employees to civil authorities, but only when required by local law.

The same Vatican directive gave the world’s Catholic bishops until May 2012 to prepare national policies on sex abuse, in areas including child protection, caring for victims and disciplining abusive priests.


Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2011/05/amnesty-international-chides-vatican-for-abuse.php#ixzz1NzV9spGu

Amnesty International Chides Vatican for Abuse - Beliefnet News

Koch brothers wage a war on Americans - Chicago Sun-Times

© .© .

Koch Industries, Inc.

latest bombshell is from St. Petersburg Times writer Kris Hundley, who exposed a 2008 agreement between the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and Florida State University for $1.5 million. The money was to fund faculty positions in a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.” It came with the unconscionable condition that the foundation’s handpicked advisory committee hold veto power during the hiring process.

University economics departments, like FSU’s, are part of the mercenary army that gives the Koch brothers legitimizing cover. George Mason University, a public university in Virginia, is one of the best examples. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has given more than $30 million to it over the last 20 years. The foundation’s pet project is the school’s Mercatus Center, over which it exerts tremendous control. The institute touts itself as “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.” Its scholars helped mold the Bush administration’s anti-regulatory policies.

Kochs may not like taxes but they sure like to leverage public funds to advance and amplify their own ideological agenda. That agenda leaves the middle class without a government protector in the face of laissez-faire capitalism.

Click on the following for more details:  Koch brothers wage a war on Americans - Chicago Sun-Times

Koch brothers under attack by leftwing film-maker | World news | The Observer

Robert Greenwald is taking the fight to billionaires David and Charles Koch, who fund much of the US's rightwing politics

the videos depicted facts and figure showing Koch support for Tea Party groups, global warming sceptics and thinktanks seeking to strip away reg

Koch Industries, one of the largest private businesses in America, it was another attempt by liberal groups to drag it into the public eye over accusations that it is corrupting US politics in pursuit of its business interests

Greenwald is determined to make the fight personal. His activists have found five homes of the brothers in the US and filmed themselves knocking on the doors, from the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado, to Palm Beach in Florida. The homes are profiled in "luxury porn" detail and juxtaposed with the hard times of working-class Americans. In one scene three financially struggling pensioners picnic on the beach outside a Koch mansion and wonder why anyone would need a house so big. In another, a researcher ambushes David Koch at the Economic Club of New York and asks: "How many houses do you really need?" The stone-faced Koch rapidly retreats behind a security guard without a word.

Koch brothers under attack by leftwing film-maker | World news | The Observer

Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War - NYTimes.com

The Pentagon is declaring that any computer attack that threatens widespread civilian casualties — for example, by cutting off power supplies or bringing down hospitals and emergency-responder networks — could be treated as an act of aggression.

In the case of a cyberattack, the origin of the attack is almost always unclear, as it was in 2010 when a sophisticated attack was made on Google and its computer servers. Eventually Google concluded that the attack came from China

Click on he following for more details:  Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War - NYTimes.com

Sycamore attorney faces prostitution charges | Daily Chronicle


A Sycamore attorney turned herself in to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday after a warrant was issued charging her with prostitution.
Reema N. Bajaj, 25, of the 100 block of Penny Lane in Sycamore, is charged with three counts of prostitution, stemming from two incidents Aug. 13 and another May 10.

Bajaj admitted to engaging in prostitution before she became a licensed attorney last November, but that she denied such activity since then

According to her website, Bajaj practices law out of the Bajaj Law Offices, 1210 E. State Street, in Sycamore. Her website states she is licensed to practice all types of law, and handles cases in DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Kane, McHenry and DuPage counties.

Click on the following for more details:  Sycamore attorney faces prostitution charges | Daily Chronicle

Is Ms. Bajaj employed by Boone County? 

The following was obtained by a BING Search on “Reema N. Bajaj”.  The citation indicates that she is listed on the Public Defender’s staff.  However if you go to the current Boone County website underlined below, she is no longer listed.

Staff | Boone County, Illinois

Azhar J. Minhas, Public Defender. Assistant Public Defenders: Carie L. Poirier; Aaron C. Buscemi; Reema N. Bajaj; Office Manager: Susan J.C. Cooper Support Staff


6-3-2011 UPDATE:  Appears that Ms. Bajaj was working as an attorney under a 711 license.

711 License

Rule 711 of the Illinois Supreme Court allows law students to engage in the limited practice of law, under the supervision of a licensed attorney, subject to several conditions.

Students who have successfully completed a minimum of 51.0 credit hours at the law school may apply to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts for a 711 license. The Registrar's Office (of the law school) will sign a student's application form once it verifies that the student has in fact successfully completed the required 51.0 credit hours. Students need not have the signature of a supervisor before submitting the form to the Registrar for certification, although this signature is necessary before the student can submit the form to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. [Loyola Law School]

In Illinois if a student at this moment in time has good reputation, has gained credits that correspond to as a minimum of three-fifths of the compulsory credits for graduation possibly will be entitled for a 711 license (grounded on Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711).
If a student or graduating student acquires the license, he or she is permitted:
(1) Consult the prospects, discuss the regulation of pretensions, and participate in the designing and writing of legal documents.
(2) Come to the court of first instance and executive tribunals dependent on the next requirements:
• Court appearances, advocacy, petitions, and other legal instruments to be register in the court could be worked up by the student or graduating student and he could put his or her name to the documents with the additional description "Senior Law Student" or "Law Graduate" but the superintending experienced attorney has to put his name to the documents as well.

• The student or final-year student is allowed to engage in pretrial, execution of legal process, and posttrial lawsuits as a subordinate of the superintending experienced attorney, who should appear in court and be accounted for the carrying on of the court cases.
• In all other civil and criminal lawsuits the student or final-year student may carry on all pretrial, execution of legal process, and posttrial court cases and the superintending experienced attorney is not required to be in court during the hearing and other public proceedings.
(3) The student or final-year student is permitted to consider and write down appeal briefs, extracts from the documentation, dockets, and other legal instruments registered in courts of analysis of the State, which may propone the name of the student or graduating student with the additional description "Senior Law Student" or "Law Graduate" but should be filed in the name of the superintending experienced attorney.
711 license is obtainable for a J.D. graduating student if he or she:
(1) has not yet had an chance to pass the first bar examination planned after he or she graduates, or
(2) has passed the bar examination but the results and credits are not presented yet
(3) has passed the bar examination but the procedure of putting him or her on oath has not yet been carried out and he or she has not yet become a member of the Illinois bar.
If a student has a position in a company with non-governmental financing he or she is prohibited to have a right for the 711 license. The student is eligible for the license and allowed to have a position in one of the following organizations:
(1) a legal counseling, legal protection program, association or clinic privileged by the State of Illinois or accepted by a law school accepted by the American Bar Association.
(2) the bureau of the Public Defensor, or
(3) chambers of the State or any of its sections.


Update:  6-7-2011 The story makes the big time.  Jay Leno uses the story in his opening monologue on the Tonight Show

Belvidere Park District outsources concessions - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

the stand won’t be run by the Park District after it “lost about $9,000 last year…”

Jonathan Jones-Tobin, 23, will operate and manage concessions at the Belvidere Park District for the summer. He’s calling the stand High Dive Snacks. Jones-Tobin has seven years of experience working at the Brick Cafe & Gallery, owned by his in-laws Gary Simon and Sherry Knott-Simon. He will offer pizza, pretzels, chili dogs, nachos and other snacks on his concessions menu.

5 percent of what High Dive Snacks generates will go to the district to cover utility fees. The district isn’t looking to make money, just break even this season

Belvidere Park District outsources concessions - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

St. James Church’s zoning requests: Reasonable? Or unreasonable?

On May 10, 2011 St. James’ Finance Committee submitted the following application and narrative for zoning changes to build a 1,000 capacity church at 525 Caswell Street in the City of Belvidere.

Highlighted are some of the issues which may make this request controversial.  The tentative dates of the public hearings/decision are:  June 14 Belvidere Planning Commission, June 20 Committee of the Whole and July 5 for Belvidere City Council.  Not all of these meetings allow for public comment. Contact city hall or your alderman  for updates regarding the proper dates.

The application appears to misstate the required parking needs.  Page 2 from St. James’ narrative: 

p. 2 “The new church will seat a projected attendance of 850 and will be contracted to the existing school building”….

Code Section 150.204.C.3.B: Parking ration of 1 for every seats

Code Requirements: 170 spaces required for a church capacity of 850

Proposed Parking: A total of 115 on-site parking stalls are proposed

However, Code Section 150.204.C.3.B of the Belvidere City Code states:

B.   Parking requirements.  Generally, one space per three expected patrons at maximum capacity. However, see additional specific requirements below: 

Church:  One space per five seats at the maximum capacity

The application should have stated the code requirement as 200.

Another area of concern is on page 4 of the narrative—“one ten foot length of the building, which is the bapitstry area, is proposed at 4 inches setback off of the property line


Click on the photocopy to enlarge: 

St James Application 1

St James Application 2

St James Application 3

St James Application 4

St James Application 5

St James Application 6

St James Application 7

St James Application 8

St James Application 10

St James Application 9

St James Application 11


Comments from a parishioner:

The following cartoon depicting the possible future of the St. James School and Church complex because of the large building project.


Barb 1

Barb 2