The postal service this week announced it would be cutting as many as 30,000 jobs through attrition - using hiring freezes as workers retire or quit. According to American Postal Workers Union president William Burrus, cutting the U.S. Postal Service delivery to five days a week would be the beginning of the demise of the Post office. Burrus says it's not true that the postal service has to initiate major changes to survive a grave crisis. Burrus says a little-known requirement by Congress for the postal service to pre-pay retiree health care obligations is the central cause of financial problems at the postal service. Absent that burden, the union president says, there would be a surplus of $3.7 billion over the last three fiscal years. In other words, if we had Medicare for All, the postal service would be profitable. Probably forever. Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?
In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds and many of our fish in freshwater streams." It's very damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, and can have severe effects on adults. Mercury enters the environment as atmospheric emissions from industrial processes, mostly from the burning of coal for electricity. It eventually concentrates in rivers, lakes and oceans, where it enters the aquatic food chain. There is no such thing as clean coal, even though our President used the phrase in his state of the Union address. And we're now seeing an epidemic of autism in the United States that may be connected to contaminated Chinese toys, or to mercury, or both. Welcome to the brave new corporate world.