Tuesday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) British study says U.S. Postal Service is the world’s best - Despite its financial difficulties and relatively heavy work load, the U.S. Postal Service has been declared the finest in the world by a British study. The USPS was declared number one for efficiency among the Group of Twenty major global economies, according to findings from England’s Oxford Strategic Consulting. “We’re the world’s leading postal service,” said USPS spokesman Roy Betts. “This report validates that fact.”

2) White House To GOP: Only One Way Around Defense Cuts - In light of Congressional Republicans’ abandonment of a key part of the debt limit agreement, two senior administration officials briefing reporters at the White House Monday said automatic, across the board cuts to defense programs will happen as scheduled unless Republicans relent on their refusal to raise revenues. The officials conducted the briefing under the condition that they not be quoted directly, but their position was unambiguous — the White House will not support any effort to swap out scheduled cuts to defense programs (and other automatic cuts) unless Congress passes a balanced package of deficit reducing legislation of equal or greater measure. That means new tax revenue from wealthy Americans and corporate interests, which Republicans have routinely refused to consider.

3) Obama approval soars to 50 percent on jobs figures – The poll by the Washington Post and ABC television found Obama reaching the 50 percent barrier — seen as a critical threshold for an incumbent seeking reelection — for the first time since Osama bin Laden was killed last May. Pollsters said Obama’s ascent comes as the US economic recovery appears to be finally taking hold, with voters appearing more confident and comfortable with his policies. || Note: this is good news for all of us, for the country, but the anti-American, politics above all, rightwing won’t see it as such. 

4) Former Wall Street Trader: ‘There’s No Other Industry Where You Could Get Paid So Much For Doing So Little’  – Increased financialization is of dubious societal use; as former Federal Reserve Chairman and big bank critic Paul Volcker has said, “I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence.” (Volcker has opined that the last useful bit of financial innovation was the ATM.) At the same time, the industry is one of the highest paid. In a new piece in New York magazine, a former Lehman Bros trader explained that, in his view, “there’s no other industry where you could get paid so much for doing so little“

5) “…finance lost its glamour when the banking system collapsed during the Great Depression. The banking industry that emerged from that collapse was tightly regulated, far less colorful than it had been before the Depression, and far less lucrative for those who ran it. Banking became boring, partly because bankers were so conservative about lending: Household debt, which had fallen sharply as a percentage of G.D.P. during the Depression and World War II, stayed far below pre-1930s levels. Strange to say, this era of boring banking was also an era of spectacular economic progress for most Americans.” – Paul Krugman | Making Banking Boring

6) Is Obama the Least Liberal Dem President? – According to the study (and don’t laugh too hard) President Clinton is more liberal than President Obama. Clinton passed DADT. President Obama repealed it. Clinton signed DOMA. President Obama stopped defending it in court and would sign a repeal. [...] Clinton began the overseas outsourcing boom in part by signing NAFTA. President Obama is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Should I go on?

7) Ron “I hate government” Paul Reimbursed TWICE for Many Flights – Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) “appears to have been paid twice for flights between Washington, D.C., and his Congressional district, receiving reimbursement from taxpayers and also from a network of political and nonprofit organizations he controlled,” Roll Call reports. Paul was reimbursed twice for the same trip at least eight times and there were “dozens more instances of duplicate payments for travel from 1999 to 2009, totaling thousands of dollars’ worth of excess payments, but the evidence in those cases is not as complete.”

8) Senior Gingrich Campaign Official Scrubbed Infidelity, Tiffany Credit Line From Wikipedia Page – Gingrich has already been caught vastly inflating his Twitter following with phony accounts, and now CNN now reports that the campaign’s communications director, Joe DeSantis, has been aggressively making dozens of edits of Gingrich’s Wikipedia page. DeSantis has attempted to scrub or embellish embarrassing information about Gingrich’s marital troubles, House ethics investigation, and $500,000 Tiffany credit line. || Note: the ‘historian’ is revising his own history! 

9) Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says controversial study – and conservative politics can lead people to be racist – Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Conservative politics work almost as a ‘gateway’ into prejudice against others, say the Canadian academics. The paper analysed large UK studies which compared childhood intelligence with political views in adulthood across more than 15,000 people. The authors claim that people with low intelligence gravitate towards right-wing views because they make them feel safe.

23 Aug: Morning in the bunker


Park51 Mosque:

  • Fabricated conservative outrage: In 2006, @GlennBeck Praised “Ground Zero Mosque” Imam Rauf [Oliver Willis]
  • Jihad! [Bob Cesca] — exactly what fundamentalist Christians want: a Holy War — bring on the #Rapture!


  • The Clark Griswold president? CBS’s Mark Knoller, the unofficial keeper of such things, said Obama has taken 48 days off since his inauguration. At this point in Bush’s presidency, he’d taken 155 days off. [Bob Cesca]
  • In the past week, Obama’s approval has hit a new low: “it now stands at 42 percent, virtually identical to Reagan’s in August 1982.” [WaPo]


  • Paul Krugman observes Bush tax cuts will give $3 million EACH to the richest 120,000 people [Krugman]
  • What’s Wrong With Wingnuts: (1) Paul-tarded economics (2) declare holy war (3) criminalize science [Matt Osborne]
  • Fox News scrubbing Wikipedia entry on their $1 Million donation to GOP [DaillyKos]
  • Dick Armey leader of Freedomworks says Medicare and Social Security need to be ended [JoeWo]
  • Conservatives hate Socialism – except when they love Socialism [ThinkProgress]


  • New rules designed to protect credit card users from “unreasonable late payment and other penalty fees” come into force Sunday as a result of the Wall Street reform bill. [CNN]
  • Chile: miners alive but rescue may be MONTHS away [CSMonitor]
  • Half-billion bad eggs, more could be recalled: FDA to aggressively investigate salmonella outbreak that has sickened 1,300 [MSNBC]