Postal Service Default Looming, Congress Expected To Do Nothing

Source: Ed O’Keefe / The Washington Post

The U.S. Postal Service is on the verge of defaulting on billions of dollars in payments due to the U.S. Treasury, but Congress isn’t any closer to resolving the delivery service’s financial woes.

On Wednesday the first of two legally required payments come due, a $5.5 billion obligation to fund future postal retiree health benefits. Another $5.6 billion is due at the end of September. But with mail volume and revenues plummeting — leading to roughly $25 million in losses each day — USPS has warned it will be unable to make the payments and may need to delay other obligations, including a $1.5 billion payment to the Labor Department for workers compensation.

The Postal Service doesn’t use taxpayer money to fund operations, but is regulated by Congress, which for years has passed short-term resolutions to prop up its sagging finances.

In an attempt to pass long-term structural reforms, the Senate passed a measure in April that would provide $11 billion to avoid default and pay for other costs. But the original Senate proposal was weakened by dozens of amendments delaying the proposed closure of post offices and mail processing facilities, especially in regions serving far-flung rural communities.

U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has warned that the Postal Service could go broke in October. (Andrew Harrer – BLOOMBERG)

To read this article in its entirety visit The Washington Post.


Report: NFL Player Texted Sports Writer Before Suicide

Source: Alan Duke / CNN

NFL player O.J. Murdock apparently focused during his last hours on his glory days as a track and football star at the Tampa, Florida, high school where police say he killed himself.

Murdock, 25, sent a text message to sports writer Bill Ward — who covered his career at Tampa’s Middleton High School — just hours before he shot himself Monday, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“Hey Mr Ward, it’s OJ Murdock…. I just want to thank u for everything you’ve done for me and my family. Can’t thank you enough,” the text read.

Murdock, who signed with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans last year, never responded to Ward’s reply sent four hours later: “Hi O.J. Thanks for those kind words. Are you recovered from the Achilles and back in camp with the (Titans)?”

To read this article in its entirety visit CNN.

Community Rallies In Support Of Black Couple Blocked By Church (VIDEO)

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Source: NBC News

Hundreds of people turned out in Crystal Springs, Miss., to support an African-American couple who says a predominantly white Baptist church where they planned to wed turned them away because of race.

The city of Crystal Springs organized the rally to send a message of unity, NBC affiliate WLBT of Jackson, Miss., reported. People held hands in prayer while First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs pastor Rev. Stan Weatherford and New Zion United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett embraced.

“I pray that God will take a very difficult situation and that he will turn it into good and that we will move beyond tolerating each other,” Weatherford told WLBT.

To read this article in its entirety visit NBC News.

Leaders Of Congress Reach Deal To Fund Government, Avoid Shutdown Showdown

Source: Deirdre Walsh and Ted Barrett / CNN

Washington – Congressional leaders announced a deal Tuesday on a six-month bill to fund the federal government, thereby removing the possibility of a government shutdown — and the political spectacle that would go with it — before the election.

“It will provide stability for the coming months,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters. “It will be free of riders. This is very good because we can resolve these critical issues that directly affect the country as soon as the election is over and move on to do good things.”

“Leader Reid and I have reached an agreement by which the House and Senate will approve a six-month continuing resolution in September to keep the government operating into next year,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “During the August district work period, committee members and their staff will write legislation that can be passed by the House and Senate in September and sent to President Obama to be signed into law.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the agreement “a welcome development.” In a statement, he said, “The president has made clear that it is essential that the legislation to fund the government adheres to the funding levels agreed to by both parties last year, and not include ideological or extraneous policy riders. The president will work with leaders in both parties to sign a bill that accomplishes these goals.”

To read this article in its entirety visit CNN.

Snoop Dogg Becomes Snoop Lion, Announces Reggae Album, Film

Source: August Brown / Los Angeles Times

The Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg has several iconic traits — a laid-back and menacing flow, evocatively violent lyrics and a deep affection for cannabis sativa among them. He’ll get to keep at least one of those interests in his new incarnation as Snoop Lion, an alias gleaned from a new interest in Rastafarianism and a hard pivot to traditional reggae music.

The identity change, which he first announced last week, is suprising but not unprecedented in contemporary hip-hop (Nas recorded a collaborative album of reggae-infused tunes with Damian Marley). But it is a major re-imagining of the music and image of the man born Calvin Broadus.

A forthcoming album of straightforward reggae, “Reincarnated,” is due soon on Vice Records, and features production by noted Jamaica-philes Major Lazer. Adocumentary film of the same title, about the trip to Jamaica that spurred Snoop’s new spirituality, will debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Snoop has been wearing Ethiopian-themed clothes at recent concerts, including his headlining Coachella appearance, and the documentary suggests it’s the start of a real and profound new path for Snoop. In the trailer, he implies that the identity of Snoop Dogg is truly over.

To read this article in its entirety visit the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Phelps Wins 19th Olympic Medal

Source: AP / ESPN

LONDON — Michael Phelps swam to history with his 19th Olympic medal, and this one was a more appropriate color.

With a lot of help from his friends, Phelps took down the last major record that wasn’t his alone, swimming the anchor leg for the United States in a gold medal-winning performance of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay Tuesday night.

About an hour earlier, Phelps took one of the most frustrating defeats of his brilliant career, making a shocking blunder at the finish and settling for silver in his signature event, the 200 butterfly.

To read this article in its entirety visit ESPN.

HUFFINGTON POST: Harry Reid Says Bain Investor Told Him That Mitt Romney ‘Didn’t Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years’

Source: Sam Stein and Ryan Grim / Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has what he says is an informed explanation for why Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns. According a Bain investor, Reid charged, Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.

Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

To read this article in its entirety visit The Huffington Post.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Twitter Reinstates Journalist Guy Adams’s Suspended Account

Source: Christopher S. Stewart / The Wall Street Journal

Twitter Inc. reinstated the account of Guy Adams, a journalist for the Independent newspaper, after he had been kicked off for what Twitter said a violation of its privacy guideline for publishing the email address of an executive from Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.

“Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended,” Mr. Adams posted on his Twitter account Tuesday. “Did I miss much while I was away?” A Twitter spokesman confirmed Mr. Adams’s account was restored.

The suspension ignited a firestorm of controversy Monday after Mr. Adams, who had been critical of NBC’s Olympics coverage, posted on Twitter the corporate email address of NBC executive Gary Zenkel, and encouraged people to email their gripes about NBC.

NBC said it filed a complaint with Twitter for breaches of Twitter guidelines that prohibit the dissemination of personal information on the short-messaging service. An NBC spokesman told the Telegraph newspaper that Twitter had notified NBC about Mr. Adams’s message with Mr. Zenkel’s email address. After Mr. Adams’s account was restored, he quoted an email message he said was from Twitter that said “the complainant” retracted their original request for an account suspension.

To read this article in its entirety visit the The Wall Street Journal.

ESPN: U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Wins Gold

Source: AP / ESPN

LONDON — The Americans grabbed hands and backed up, eager to get a better view of the scoreboard.

There really was no need. That Olympic gold medal was in the bag the minute they took the floor.

The Americans lived up to their considerable hype and then some Tuesday night, routing silver medalist Russia and everybody else on their way to their first Olympic title in women’s gymnastics since 1996. Their score of 183.596 was a whopping five points ahead of Russia and made their final event, floor exercise, more like a coronation. Romania won the bronze.

To read this article in its entirety visit ESPN.

Ed DeMarco, Top Housing Official, Defies Treasury, Shoots Down Principal Reduction

Source: AP / The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON – A federal regulator is standing by its decision to bar Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from reducing principal for borrowers at risk of foreclosure, resisting pressure from the Obama administration.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced the decision Tuesday after months of considering the option.

The agency’s acting director, Edward DeMarco, has long opposed allowing Fannie and Freddie to offer principal reduction.

DeMarco said an extensive analysis by the FHFA found the potential benefit was too small compared with the costs and risks. The risks include as many as 19,000 borrowers strategically defaulting on their loans, according to the analysis.

To read this article in its entirety visit The Huffington Post.