Archives for FUBAR

No more mail? Ben Franklin is rolling over in his grave

Imagine a nation without the Postal Service. No more birthday cards and bills or magazines and catalogs filling the mailbox. It’s a worst-case scenario being painted for an organization that lost $8.5 billion in 2010 and seems headed deeper into the red this year. “A lot of people would miss it,” says Tony Conway, a 34-year post office veteran who now heads the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. Businesses, too. The letter carrier or clerk is the face of the mail. But hanging in the balance is a $1.1 trillion mailing industry that employs more than 8 million people in direct
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Debt-ridden postal service looks to Congress for help

The postmaster general is going to Congress to discuss the Postal Service‘s mounting debt. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is among the witnesses scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The Postal Service is facing a second straight year of losses of $8 billion or more. A decline in mail because of the Internet and the loss of revenue from advertising amid the economic downturn have taken a toll on the agency. Postal officials say they will be unable to make this month’s $5.5 billion payment to cover future employee health care costs because the
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Economic crisis threatens pension funds

Pension funds in developed economies are facing a new crisis as falling equities and tumbling bond yields widen their deficits, threatening the incomes and retirement dates of future retirees. At the heart of their problems is a steady move by pension plans in the United States, euro zone, Japan and the UK to cut exposure to risk after the financial crisis. But this “de-risking” may end up depressing their long-term returns from stock market investment and challenge the conventional wisdom that shares generate higher returns than bonds. With weaker holdings and increased liabilities, companies will find it more difficult to
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Like it or not, tea party is an influencing factor

Bulling its way into 2012, the tea party is shaping the race for the GOP presidential nomination as candidates parrot the movement’s language and promote its agenda while jostling to win its favor. That’s much to the delight of Democrats who are working to paint the tea party and the eventual Republican nominee as extreme. “The tea party isn’t a diversion from mainstream Republican thought. It is within mainstream Republican thought,” Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire newspaper recently, defending the activists he’s done little to woo, until now. The former Massachusetts governor is starting to court them more aggressively
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Dick Cheney tries to rewrite history

Dick Cheney‘s autobiography presents a robust defense of his push for the U.S. invasion of Iraq without critically examining two issues central to America’s near-failure in the war: the Bush administration’s decision to disband the country’s army and banish all members of Saddam Hussein‘s Baath Party. Cheney has said that “In My Time” would cause “heads to explode” in Washington, and it is juicy reading for its harsh criticism of two secretaries of state, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and one defense secretary, Robert Gates. Not surprising was Cheney’s adulation of Gates’ Pentagon predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, the vice president’s
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America now a food stamp nation

Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren’t enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son. Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation. Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That’s an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led
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Glenn Beck is mad as heck at John Boehner

Glenn Beck is taking his carnival sideshow to Israel next week but members of Congress won’t be going with him — at least not at taxpayers’ expense. The House Ethics Committee is barring members from attending Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel on August 24, ruling that the gathering is a political event and cannot be part of any trip paid for by the government. The House members can go is they pay for the trip out of their own pocket or they might — subject to review by the Federal Election Commission — get away with using campaign funds
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Obama’s ‘Magical Misery Tour:’ A fitting footnote to his Presidency?

President Barack Obama took his act on the road this week, traveling the Midwest in a $2.4 million armored bus in what his handlers claim was an attempt to “interact with real people.” Next? He’s headed to Martha’s Vinyard for a vacation amid the rich and famous. So much for mixing with the masses. Crowds for his highly-hyped bus tour were tepid at best. The enthusiasm is gone from his carefully-staged events. So is his stirring rhetoric. The words that now spill from Obama’s mouth like verbal diarrhea are halted, hesitant and devoid of emotion. For Obama, the magic is
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GOP effort to recall Democrats fails in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republicans failed Tuesday to oust two Democratic state senators, ending a series of recall efforts by both sides that left Democrats with a 2-0 edge in the political game of one-up-man-ship triggered by the tense battle over collective bargaining rights for public employees. Even with their two wins in an earlier recall effort seeking to oust enough Republicans to take control of the state senate, Democrats fell one seat short of achieving their goal. So both sides claimed victory following the last of the elections Tuesday. “This was a political Rorschach test in that anyone can read anything into
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Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll, but does it mean anything?

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won a test vote of Iowans on Saturday, a show of popularity and organizational strength for the tea party favorite five months before the state’s caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating season. The result is the first indication of what Iowans think of the field of Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall. But it’s hardly predictive of who will win the winter Iowa contest, much less the party nod or the White House. Rather, Saturday’s outcome suggests that Bachmann has a certain level of support and, perhaps even more
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