Wednesday Roundup: What a Post Office Could Be

Whooping cough makes a huge comeback • Vilsack pushes for Farm Bill passage • Some food prices expected to rise • Obama administration fast-tracks Western solar projects

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The Postal Service Inspector General has issued a report that “presents an excellent summary of some of the things that the Postal Service could do to bring in new revenue and revitalize brick-and-mortar post offices,” says Save The Post Office.  

The report is chock-full of ideas for how to make post offices true community centers. The post office could offer government services from other agencies; it could provide banking services and offer hunting and fishing licenses; it could sell cell phone services, notary services and packing materials; it could offer warehousing. Instead of shedding post office buildings, the report says, put them to work. (The full report is here.) 

“The post office could also play a key role, notes the OIG, in bridging the digital divide by assisting the National Broadband Infrastructure initiative through partnerships with commercial Internet service providers,” STPO reports.

So why aren’t some of these efforts being made? STPO answers:

Given all the possibilities, what’s holding things back?  Congress and private corporations, of course.  For decades, the private sector has lobbied Congress, complained to the PRC, and done everything it could to make sure the post office didn’t cut into its profits. 

• There have been 18,000 cases of whooping cough reported this year. That’s double the number of cases reported through July of last year. 

The whooping cough revival is strongest in Wisconsin and Washington state. It is a preventable disease, if people would get vaccinated.

• The Ag Department is saying that prices for milk, beef and pork will go up next year because of the drought. 

Chicken and turkey could rise up to 4.5 percent this year. Dairy products will increase up to 4.5 percent next year; eggs up 3 to 4 percent; pork could go up 2.5 to 3.5 percent. 

These products depend on corn for feed, and corn prices are now $8 a bushel, up 50 percent from what it was a month ago.

• Baltimore is inviting immigrants to the city, hoping to reverse a population decline. 

• The Obama administration plans to fast-track large-scale solar projects in the West on federal lands. 

The plan includes 17 solar projects that will produce as much as 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 2 million homes. 

• The Washington Post editorial board says farmers have been getting too much. They should learn how to diversify and quit depending on the government. 

• Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Iowa Farm Bureau’s economic summit yesterday that there “is nothing more important in rural America than passing this farm bill.” 

The National Journal reports that House Speaker John Boehner “might try as early as next week to extend farm programs and fund disaster aid for drought-damaged areas leaving the massive farm bill undone over August recess.” 

• The Senate will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would set a national standard for cage sizes for egg-laying hens. 

• Here’s a rundown on the three Republicans who are vying to oppose Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. 

• The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety found very high levels of silica at hydraulic fracturing operations, but the federal agency hasn’t said  where these operations were located, reports The Pump Handle

 

 

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