Archive for the 'National' Category
The U.S. Postal Service announced on Wednesday that it will discontinue first class Saturday mail delivery, marking another milestone in the decline of the once-ubiquitous government service. But it isn’t a switch to online mail that’s causing the postal demise — it’s Congress.
Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Congress has for years forced the USPS to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of pensions for its employees, a requirement not made of any other public or private institution. That means that the Postal Service is footing the bill for employees it hasn’t even hired yet. The USPS doesn’t actually receive money from the government, but still needs Congressional approval to make any changes to its structure. An analysis in July showed that the USPS, without its pension requirement, would have a $1.5 billion surplus. (more…)
President Barack Obama has yet to officially name a Commerce Secretary nominee for his second term, but rumor has it that he’s already made up his mind: According to The Washington Post, “there’s chatter” that Hyatt hotels scion and board member Penny Pritzker is the president’s choice.
If the buzz turns out to be true, then Pritzker’s ascension to the national stage could further strain Obama’s tense relationship with the labor movement. That’s because the Hyatt Hotel chain—co-founded by Pritzker’s father, Donald N. Pritzker—is currently engaged in a lengthy and acrimonious dispute with the hospitality workers union UNITE HERE (more…)
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer has been claiming for months that state party members engineered a new law to suppress voter turnout, falsely touting voter fraud concerns to advance their mission. Now, other former Republicans and consultants are backing Greer up, The Palm Beach Post reports. Greer, who is under indictment and accused of funneling campaign funds from the Republican Party, has been claiming that state Republicans supported a law (HB 1355)—which, in part, curtailed early voting—simply as a means to stymie the Democratic vote. Staff and consultants “never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer told the newspaper. “It’s all a marketing ploy.” (more…)
An unexpected glitch almost caused one central Pennsylvania voter to cast his ballot for the wrong candidate, highlighting concerns about voter fraud in a number of states on an already tense Election Day. The Election Protection coalition, for instance, has reported ballot scanning problems in Ohio in Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. “I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted,” writes Centralpavote on YouTube, of the glitch in central Pennsylvania. “I assumed it was being picky so I de-selected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.”
The man, a software developer, tried troubleshooting the screen, selecting different names. But “the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney.” A few more taps, and he discovered that the only way to select Obama was to click on a small sliver of the screen. All of the buttons for the other candidates seemed to work fine. (more…)
Surreal: Former FEMA Failure Michael Brown Criticizes President for Responding to Hurricane Too Fast
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown offered criticism of President Obama’s early responses to Hurricane Sandy yesterday, including a dig at the administration’s response to last month’s attack in Libya. Yesterday, ahead of the storm’s pummeling of the eastern seaboard, Brown gave an interview to the local alternative paper, the Denver Westword, on how he believed the Obama administration was responding to Sandy too quickly and that Obama had spoken to the press about Sandy’s potential effect too early. Brown turned then to a reliable right-wing attack on the President’s response to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed four Americans:
Brown is not the only one making the insinuation that Obama and his administration are responding too quickly to Sandy only for political reasons. He’s joined in his accusations by such prominent right-wing commentators as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and columnist Charles Krauthammer. (more…)