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Commonplace Book

Congress gave [Phillip Herr] until the end of 2011 to report on the USPS’s woes. But Herr and his team concluded that the postal service’s business model was so badly broken that collapse was imminent. Abandoning a long tradition of overdue reports, they felt they had to deliver theirs 18 months early in April 2010 to the various House and Senate committees and subcommittees that watch over the USPS. A year later, the situation is even grimmer. With the rise of e-mail and the decline of letters, mail volume is falling at a staggering rate, and the postal service’s survival plan isn’t reassuring. Elsewhere in the world, postal services are grappling with the same dilemma—only most of them, in humbling contrast, are thriving.

The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse – BusinessWeek

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Commonplace Book

Take that, ball!

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Commonplace Book

Four university researchers examined 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House representatives from 1985 to 2001, and found what they call “significant positive abnormal returns,” with portfolios based on congressional trades beating the market by about 6 percent annually.

Members of Congress Get Abnormally High Returns From Their Stocks

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Commonplace Book

With the approval of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., federal prosecutors are trying to force the author of a book on the C.I.A. to testify at a criminal trial about who leaked information to him about the agency’s effort to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program at the end of the Clinton administration.

James Risen Is Served With Subpoena in C.I.A. Leak Case on Iran Sabotage – NYTimes.com

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Commonplace Book

It seems like the Obama legacy will be that he gave a pass to the powerful and prosecuted the whistleblowers.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs | Rolling Stone Politics

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Commonplace Book

When I walked into the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka, I was looking for cleaner teeth, not material for an Ars Technica story. I needed a new dentist, and Yelp says Dr. Cirka is one of the best in the Philadelphia area. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a “mutual privacy agreement” that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka. Surprised and a little outraged by this, I got into a lengthy discussion with Dr. Cirka’s office manager that ended in me refusing to sign and her showing me the door.

Doctors and dentists tell patients, “all your review are belong to us”

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Commonplace Book

National Geographic Magazine – NGM.com

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Commonplace Book

But the show isn’t actually about the competing social styles of Leslie Knope, an optimistic and sometimes naive city administrator, and Ron Swanson, a skeptical libertarian, and what those styles say about their commitment to their politics. Instead, Parks and Recreation asks a more fundamental and bipartisan question: can government accomplish anything meaningful?

Yglesias » Parks and Recreations and Politicians and Bureaucrats

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Commonplace Book

So you come here to take Amina. Let me tell you something though. She is not the one you should fear; you should be heaping praises on her and on people like her. They are the ones saying alawi, sunni, arabi, kurdi, duruzi, christian, everyone is the same and will be equal in the new Syria; they are the ones who, if the revolution comes, will be saving Your mother and your sisters. They are the ones fighting the wahhabi most seriously. You idiots are, though, serving them by saying ‘every sunni is salafi, every protester is salafi, every one of them is an enemy’ because when you do that you make it so. “Your Bashar and your Maher, they will not live forever, they will not rule forever, and you both know that. So, if you want good things for yourselves in the future, you will leave and you will not take Amina with you. You will go back and you will tell the rest of yours that the people like her are the best friends the Alawi could ever have and you will not come for her again. “And right now, you two will both apologize for waking her and putting her through all this. Do you understand me?

A Gay Girl in Damascus: My father, the hero

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Commonplace Book

lunchbagart:

Susie Derkin

Aah, childhood!