buntsfromaleftcoastgirl asks: Regarding the Postal Service announcement yesterday about slow-downs, my local Oregon NPR station noted this morning that the slow-down would effect Oregon's vote-by-mail as ballots have to be returned--not just postmarked--by election day. Oregon officials are pushing to get voter's pamphlets and ballots to Oregon voters sooner so they can be returned with enough time to slog through the USPS.
» SFB says: Good to know. Here’s the story, for the curious. This is another example, to us, about how a one-day delay in receiving mail will cause a ripple effect far beyond the Postal Service. To put this in Netflix terms: This is the U.S. Postal Service’s Qwikster. — Ernie @ SFB
» They could be broke by September 2012: On top of that, they expect to default on a key health care pension plan payment (which forces them to pre-pay for workers’ future health benefits decades in advance) — of $5.5 billion.
Say goodbye to Saturday mail? That’s the Obama administration’s plan, at least. Issued alongside their much more ballyhooed one on debt reduction, the White House has endorsed ending Saturday mail delivery nationwide. The U.S. Postal Service is in quite dire financial straits, owing to a more digital age of communication as well as issues with financial management. The Democratic position is to try to minimize layoffs, while Rep. Darrel Issa’s plan would allow the USPS to break contracts and cut jobs, but on one thing both sides agree — no more mail on Saturdays. Shares of eBay dropped nearly 6% on the news, as it could make life tougher on their smaller, independent sellers. source
» No more federal health care? If you’ve been following the U.S. Postal Service’s financial situation closely, you might know that part of the reason they’ve been struggling involves high pre-paid health care costs, an issue that cropped up due to a federal law forcing them to set aside a large amount of money for health care. This means that they can’t use any of the money to, you know, do anything else. Now the USPS says they’d be better off getting off the federal plan and doing private health care and pensions instead. They say it’s cheaper. Was that whole thing a ploy to get them further off the federal dime? They’re independent, you know.
» “Operation Spiderman” was a success. Federal authorities, posing as tarantula buyers, successfully ordered five packages worth, including 22 Mexican red-kneed tarantulas, a species protected under international convention. Sven Koppler, the German national who made the sale, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.