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.
"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.
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. ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."