U.S.
6:43 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Five Ways The Postal Service Could Reinvent Itself

U.S. Postal Service mail delivery trucks sit idle at the Manassas Post Office in Virginia on September 5.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

By the end of September, the U.S. Postal Service will be on the brink of defaulting on its employee pension obligations, unable to borrow more money and have just enough cash to cover operations for a week.

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe issued the warning to a Senate committee on Tuesday as he pleaded with Congress to intervene before Sept. 30 by granting him unprecedented authority to make radical changes that could steer the agency from financial ruin. He said the Postal Service could report losses of up to $10 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:20 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Bomb Attacks In India, Pakistan; Gadhafi Still On Run

Good morning.

The news we've already posted about today:

-- Reports: Obama To Propose $300 Billion Package Aimed At Boosting Jobs

-- Wildfires Still Raging In Texas, Arson Suspected In One, Two More Deaths

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Wildfires Still Raging In Texas, Arson Suspected In One, Two More Deaths

The remains of their burned home in the background, Gaye Jaco (front) hugged her stepdaughter Jennifer Leaver on Tuesday in Bastrop, Texas.
Erich Schlegel Getty Images

"As wildfires continued to torch homes and the drought-stricken landscape across Central Texas on Tuesday, officials said two bodies had been found among the charred ruins of the fires in Bastrop County," Austin's American-Statesman reports.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Reports: Obama To Propose $300 Billion Package Aimed At Boosting Jobs

President Obama on Labor Day in Detroit.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

President Obama will propose "$300 billion in federal spending and tax cuts" when he addresses the nation Thursday night during a joint session of Congress, The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting.

The AP says that:

"According to people familiar with the White House deliberations, two of the biggest measures in the president's proposals for 2012 are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. Together those two would total about $170 billion. ...

Read more
National Security
2:34 am
Wed September 7, 2011

For Now, Shoes Still Come Off At Airport Security

Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Tuesday that airline passengers in the future will no longer be instructed to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints, but she said the technology to scan shoe-wearing passengers for bombs does not yet exist and may not be available soon.

No technology meets government standards to screen shoes for explosives at airports while passengers wear them. Officials have not been able to say for certain that this technology will exist in the future, though they are working to develop it.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Conservatives Step Up Attacks On Public Funding For Birth Control

survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found two-thirds of respondents were in favor of the new requirement for insurance plans to offer prescription birth control without a copay or deductible." href="/post/conservatives-step-attacks-public-funding-birth-control" class="noexit lightbox">
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found two-thirds of respondents were in favor of the new requirement for insurance plans to offer prescription birth control without a copay or deductible.
Hamiza Bakirci iStockphoto.com

It used to be that opposition to publicly funded birth control was linked to abortion.

Either the birth control in question allegedly caused abortion, or the organization providing the birth control (read: Planned Parenthood) also performed abortions. But that's changing.

These days, more and more voices are opposing the provision of birth control for its own sake.

Read more
Election 2012
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

In GOP Presidential Field, Science Finds Skeptics

A sow polar bear rests with her cubs on pack ice in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska, in an undated photo.
Steve Amstrup U.S Fish and Wild Life Service/AP

Republican presidential hopefuls gather Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in California for perhaps the first critical debate of the primary election season.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has publicly doubted the science of climate change and says creationism should be taught alongside evolution, is the new front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. He's not alone in these views. If the topic of science comes up during the debate, the views of all of the GOP presidential candidates will be on display before a national audience.

Read more
Television
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Who Will Buy Hulu?

A large-scale promotional campaign launched by Hulu during the 2009 Super Bowl featured Alec Baldwin as a spokesperson.
Courtesy of Hulu

For people who watch TV and movies over the Internet rather than the airwaves or cable, Hulu is one of the most popular sources of content. The company has offered streaming, on-demand access to select television shows and movies since it launched in 2008. Now,the site's owners are looking to cash in, and some big guns — including Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Dish Network — are showing interest.

Read more
Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Afghan Negotiator: Taliban Leaders Still A Mystery

Umar Daudzai is Afghanistan's chief negotiator with the Taliban.
Nishant Dahiya NPR

As war grinds on in Afghanistan, there is increasing talk about finding a negotiated solution. It's a complicated proposition that would presumably involve the Afghan government, the United States, Pakistan, the Taliban and potentially others as well.

One man who would be a key figure in any negotiation is Umar Daudzai.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has made Daudzai his chief negotiator with the Taliban.

Read more
Interviews
10:01 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Baghdad College And America's Shifting Role In Iraq

Students play a basketball game on the campus of Iraq's Baghdad College, in this undated photograph.
Ed Ou The New York Times

Originally published on Wed September 7, 2011 1:57 pm

A school founded by Americans in Iraq before the Saddam Hussein era is an emblem of a time when the United States was known in the Middle East not for military action, but for culture and education. That's the view of Puliter Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, who recently wrote an essay about the school, titled "The American Age, Iraq."

Read more

Pages