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Stimulus Numbers: Transparent, Yes. Intelligible? No.
Jun 16 2009; ProPublica
| ProPublica’s look at stimulus spending numbers for the US Department of Agriculture tell us a couple of things:  it’s incredibly difficult to make heads or tails out of the newly transparent reports from the White House, and if this is the best that’s going on for Ag, it seems like rural America is still not getting the (timely, prioritized) investment it needs. —Rick Cohen

How Bill Gates Blew $258 million in India’s HIV Corridor
Jun 5, 2009;| The Gates Foundation devoted initially $100 million (later raised to $258 million) over 10 years to an Indian NGO with the aim of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. After seven years, the NGO is closing up, handing the program over to the government which has no money to operate it.  The 6,000 STI centers are down to 800.  Its McKinsey-bred CEO (paid the remarkable salary of $425,000) can’t and won’t report on the NGO’s finances and expenditures.  The NGO reports that the transfer of operations to the government is going just fine, the government says that discussions have run into a “brick wall.”  Interesting lessons on transparency – and more – in this article.  —Rick Cohen

Yemen Says Six of Nine Foreigners Kidnapped Last Week Are Alive
Jun 16, 2009; Bloomberg News | Some nonprofit workers put their lives on the line every day.  Three young women employees of an NGO in Yemen have been murdered in the political and religious strife in that troubled part of the world.  It reminds us of last November’s murder in Peshawar, Pakistan of an American employee of the Cooperative Housing Foundation. —Rick Cohen

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