Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Body Politic Thursday

Every time I open a newspaper, get news from the Net or any of the host of cable networks. It seems that the phrase " what is the world is coming too..." keeps popping up. All these years later, I never thought I would be using the very phrase that my parents often cited with every calamity that rocks our daily existence. However as 2013 starts its trek forward, the phrase still fits and how! Here at COP 24/7, I believe that its my destiny to keep discovering interesting articles, post, expressions ad creative pieces to share with my reading audience. With that said, I"m always on the look out for collaborations and offering this site to those whom would like to bring their creative force to our digital platform. I've made it very clear that I want this forum to be interactive as well as a community resource to empower, entertain and inform. Its all about, taking it to the extreme in 2013!

Pop goes the FLU!

Its cold and flu season again and if you haven't noticed seems like it pretty bad out there. As a conscious consumer, I've always been rather attentive to my health. Therefore, I've never bought into the fact that if you get the "flu shot" that somehow you will "always" get the flu. Its never really happen to me. Most experts that being researchers, doctors those in that profession, state that that urban myth is not substantiated and encourage folks to get vaccinated. This news is most pressing since the season has given birth to a  flu epidemic that is raging across the nation and in Arkansas. Adding to this dynamic that some people don't have insurance due to cost, co-pays, etc and on other flip of the coin, some workplaces have limited to no sick time available to its employees. In other words no work, no pay. Therefore, many individuals take their infections into the work place and therein lies the paradox of a flu outbreak. This problem is enhanced due to the range of items that can be infected as the virus can live on door knobs, keyboards, handles and other things touched by humans,

As a supportive line of defense in conjunction with personal hygiene that should include basic hand washing its imperative that the flu vaccine be obtained.  I've promoted Global Hand Washing Day for several years and certainly highlighted that each of us are personally responsible for our health care. Hands down (no pun intended) getting regular check ups, eating as healthy as possible especially as it appears that the marketplace tends to ramp up prices for these items and getting adequate sleep. Alright I some times lack in the sleep area, but I do my best to meet all the rest. So, if you haven't gotten you flu shot, according to health officials there's still shots available. Go get one today, and if you are sick, do your best to stay at home to stop the spread of the infection, get well and be safe!

Oh Martha!!

The clouds of doubt are continuing to build around State Treasurer Martha Shoffner, culminating in a legislative grilling  over her management of a $1 billion-plus bond portfolio and calls for law enforcement agencies to dig deeper are more than mean-spirited partisan bluster according to an online post of Arkansas Business.

Numerous sources have confirmed  that Shoffner, a Democrat, had been under criminal investigation for more than a year when, on Dec. 14, the Republican-led Legislative Joint Auditing Committee voted to refer an audit of her office to state and federal authorities.

When this story broke I was some what taken by surprise by the whole matter. The more I read the more it became a head scratch, especially the part where you don't have to be a "CPA" or have any real significant financial experience to handle the state's kitty.  Online post cite that some believe her testimony under oath before the committee, compelled by a rare legislative subpoena, is an extension of that probe, which now includes the FBI.

Shoffner, whose second and final term as state treasurer ends Dec. 31, 2014, has been rather closed mouthed about her dealings or reasons for it. In the meantime, the FBI has a policy of neither confirming nor denying investigations.
Investigators are examining more than Shoffner’s financial dealings with bond brokers doing business with the State Treasurer’s Office, according to sources interviewed by the FBI. They also are delving into allegations she converted political campaign funds to personal income.
“She has a history of not handling her campaign money right,” said a veteran bond dealer of Shoffner’s multi-amended campaign reports. “She’s put herself in a position to have her motives questioned.”

Properly accounting for money that flowed through her campaign coffers has been problematic. Questions by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in late 2011 led to the apparent discovery of a $50,000 discrepancy in carryover funds Shoffner reported to the state.
At the heart of the bond controversy is the relationship between Shoffner and two traders: Steve Stephens and his son, Steele.

The Division of Legislative Audit analyzed bond trades conducted for the State Treasurer during a 45-month per-iod. Shoffner’s office bought and sold bonds totaling $1.69 billion through the father-son team between July 1, 2008, and March 31, 2012.

The business was conducted first through Apple Tree Investments Inc. of Little Rock, where they worked for a year (with owner Steve Keifer, who was fined $50,000 by state regulators in 2009 for fraudulent sales tactics), and through St. Bernard Financial Services Inc. of Russellville, their employer since June 2009.
The tiny firms handled nearly twice as much bond business for the State Treasurer as the closest competitor, Morgan Keegan & Co. of Memphis. Morgan Keegan is now called Raymond James Morgan Keegan since its sale last April to Raymond James Financial of St. Petersburg, Fla. Just what does one say about all of this is so simple, Oh Martha!

The Legislators Return

Its that time again....The convening of the 89th Arkansas Legislative session will take place January 14, 2013, and it might get quite interesting. This possible is made even more plausible with the fact that for the first time in many years the Republicans dominate both the House and Senate. Already there's been bills and early hearings trying to sniff out any graft or mis-use of state funds by any grantees or otherwise. Just as the national politico's have been means spirited to Planned Parenthood, so has a couple of Arkansas legislators whom have been pondering and pontificating about a Planned Parent grant for syphilis and HIV prevention. As a health services organization, this group has made these services available as apart of the outreach and mission. Even though many folks may have not known it, this is nothing new nor nefarious. However in a Dec. 21 legislative meeting, the subject drew the fire of Senator Rapert an co-horts Rep. Burris and Hobbs. COP 24/ will be on the scene as these policy makers began rolling out their mindsets and phobias for all to see. Stay tuned....