Links 2/10/13

Links for you. Science:

Against the cultural anthropologists
3 British Moths Extinct; Most Other Species in Decline
London’s new ‘Micrarium’ aims to showcase the tiniest members of the animal kingdom (this sounds amazing)
What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food
Reconsidering the “too many mouths at the NIH Grant trough” hypothesis

Other:

What Manufacturing Taught Me About Knowledge Work
Hubris
Did The Right Thing
Postal austerity: Saturday mail delivery to be cut
Why I’m saying goodbye to football
Emergency Workers Recall Working the Blizzard of 1978
The Rising Tide of Anti-Black Racism
Postal Service dying from 1,000 cuts and a GOP stab in the back
A New Twist On The Skills “Blame Game”
As Neocons Defend Obama, Allies Doubt Him on Drones as Never Before
The Missing Link in Obama’s Liberalism
Our next Secretary of Commerce?
The .03% Solution
So God made a banker
Quelle Surprise! New York Times Takes Up Empty Threats by Rich Over Taxes
Dear Dude Wearing Shorts

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One Response to Links 2/10/13

  1. Hamer says:

    I see a lot of recent blogs on the Post Office issues.

    As a progressive, I enjoying blaming things on the mouth breathing GOPers too. But I’m not convinced the postal problems are a plan to destroy the union. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act enjoyed broad democratic support. The main arguments I see are the bill requires the PO to prefund 75 yrs of retiree health care, often claiming to fund the unborn worker. It’s also claimed they must fund these 75 years in only ten years.
    Let’s stick to the actual law for reference, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hr6407/text
    I can find these claims no where in the text of the bill. The basic tenets of the act are the USPS is required to set aside money for benefits earned in the year they are earned. They are also required to set aside money for the present unfunded retiree healthcare liability over 10 yrs. I don’t have any problems requiring the PO to “pay” for benefits as they are earned.
    It’s no different than the VCR repairmen union saying, why should we set aside money for promised retiree healthcare benefits, the next generation of VCR repairmen will cover us. I admittedly don’t know if all business are required to set aside money for future promised benefits. I know company pension funds are required to set aside certain amounts to cover liabilities, but promised health care benefits should be treated the same as a pension.
    The other argument I hear is the PO overpaid pension benefits by 72 billion and should get that money returned. This story is a little more nuanced, but still the PO is grasping at straws with their arguments. Essentially, the PO was spun off as a separate entity from the Govt in 1970. From that point forward, USPS would assume full responsibility for Pay and future retirement costs. The system worked fine until the USPS started having financial problems. In 2003 a law was passed changing the methodology of how retirement benefits payments were determined, but didn’t change allocation of responsibility. The PO interprets the law as changing the allocation of responsibility, it seems odd the Govt would retroactively volunteer to pay more of the retirement cost 33 yrs later. The GAO conducted a study on the issue and came to the conclusion the claim is without merit. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d12146.pdf
    Overall, I think the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act is a good law and I wish more states and companies were required to account and pay for benefits as they are earned.
    Now, lets go unionize Walmart, good job on the blog BTW.

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