USPS Lowers Price of Stamps For the First Time in 100 Years

Yes, you read that correctly. The price of stamps is going down.

Beginning April 10th, the price of a stamp for a 1-ounce letter will cost 47 cents, down from 49 cents. International letters will go down by 5 cents to $1.15, and postcards will be 1 cent cheaper, at 34 cents.

Back in January 2014, regulators of the U.S. Postal Service granted a temporary rate increasestamp to help offset the lingering effects of the 2008 and 2009 recession.  A  4.6 billion dollar cap was placed on the amount the Postal Service could recoup and it is estimated that it will be met by this Sunday.

While normally a price cut in anything is good news, it is not good news for those holders of Forever stamps for these stamps are now worth less than what they were purchased for.

The Postal Service is pleading with Congress and regulators to extend the surcharge claiming that it will result in an annual revenue loss of 2 billion dollars.

EEOC Launches Online Charge Status System

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the launch of key services that improve service to the public.

EEOC’s services now include:eeoc

1) providing individuals who have filed a charge of discrimination the ability to check the status of their charge online, and

2) providing a portal for businesses to receive and upload documents and communicate with EEOC.

The new Online Charge Status System allows individuals who have filed charges of discrimination with EEOC to track the progress of their charge. The system provides up-to-date status on individual charges as well as an overview of the steps that charges follow from intake to resolution. Additionally, the system provides contact information for EEOC staff assigned to the charge.

With the new system, charging parties can access information about their charge at their convenience, while allowing EEOC staff to focus on investigating charges. Companies or other entities that have charges of employment discrimination filed against them also can access the system and receive the same information on the status of the charge.

The Online Charge Status System is available for charges filed on or after September 2, 2015. It is not available for charges filed prior to this date or for charges filed with EEOC’s state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies. The system can be accessed at http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge_status.cfm or by selecting the “Check the Status of a Charge” button on the EEOC homepage.

Additionally, all EEOC offices now use a Digital Charge System, in which employers transmit and receive documents regarding discrimination charges through a secure online portal. Originally piloted last summer, the Digital Charge System provides for faster transmittal of documents, as well as notifications to the employer and EEOC staff to improve communication with EEOC.

EEOC receives over 150,000 inquiries from individuals with questions about workplace discrimination and approximately 90,000 charges per year, making its charge system the agency’s most common interaction with the public. EEOC’s Digital Charge System aims to improve service to the public, ease the administrative burden on staff, and reduce the use of paper submissions and files. Private and public employers, unions and employment agencies will use the Digital Charge System, instead of transmitting paper documents.

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Digital Version of the 114th Congressional Directory Available

The Congressional Directory is the official directory of the U.S. Congress, prepared by the Joint Committee on Printing.congress2

Mandated by Title 44 of the U.S. Code, the Congressional Directory is prepared by GPO under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). More than just a guide to Members, committees, and officials of the 114th Congress, the Congressional Directory is the only document issued by Congress that shows the overall organization of the two chambers and their committees, offices, and support organizations.

The Directory includes historical statistics, information on the Capitol buildings and grounds, and a guide to the other agencies of the Legislative Branch.  In addition, the Congressional Directory provides information on the departments and agencies of the Executive Branch; the U.S. Courts; international organizations; foreign diplomatic offices in the United States; and members of the congressional press, radio, and television galleries.

 

Black History Month – Rosa Parks Papers Go Online

from Library of Congress –

rosaThe Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress has been digitized and is now online.

The papers of Rosa Parks (1913-2005) span the years 1866-2006, with the bulk of the material dating from 1955 to 2000.  The collection contains approximately 7,500 items in the Manuscript Division, as well as 2,500 photographs in the Prints and Photographs Division. The collection documents many aspects of Parks’s private life and public activism on behalf of civil rights for African Americans.

Events surrounding Parks’s arrest in 1955 for disorderly conduct after she refused to give her seat to a white passenger, as well as the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott, are described in many of her writings, notes, and correspondence from 1955 to 1956. Other subjects covered in the collection include Parks’s work in Congressman John Conyers‘s Detroit office; her participation in major civil rights events such as the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, Mississippi Freedom Project in 1964, and the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968; and Parks’s Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal along with material concerning other honors received by Parks.

The Rosa Parks Collection joins additional important civil rights materials at the Library of Congress, including the papers of Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins and the records of both the NAACP and the National Urban League. The collection becomes part of the larger story of our nation.

CIA Posts its own X-Files

from the CIA blog

The CIA declassified hundreds of documents in 1978 detailing the Agency’s investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The documents date primarily from the late 1940s and 1950s.

To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting. Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity. We also pulled five documents we think his skeptical partner, Agent Dana Scully, could use to prove there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings.

The truth is out there; click on the links to find it.


Top 5 CIA Documents Mulder Would Love To Get His Hands On:

  1. Flying Saucers Reported Over East Germany, 1952 (PDF 325 KB)
  2. Minutes of Branch Chief’s Meeting on UFOs, 11 August 1952 (PDF 162 KB)
  3. Flying Saucers Reported Over Spain and North Africa, 1952 (PDF 266 KB)
  4. Survey of Flying Saucer Reports, 1 August 1952 (PDF 175 KB)
  5. Flying Saucers Reported Over Belgian Congo Uranium Mines, 1952 (PDF 262 KB)

Top 5 CIA Documents Scully Would Love To Get Her Hands On:

  1. Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects, 14-17 January 1953 (PDF 907 KB)
  2. Office Memorandum on Flying Saucers, 15 March 1949 (PDF 110 KB)
  3. Memorandum to the CIA Director on Flying Saucers, 2 October 1952 (PDF 443 KB)
  4. Meeting of the OSI Advisory Group on UFOs, 21 January 1953 (PDF 194 KB)
  5. Memorandum for the Record on Flying Saucers, 3 December 1952 (PDF 179 KB)

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day

from uscourts.gov –bill-of-rights

Does freedom of speech protect the right to wear protest armbands at school?

Yes it does – Held by Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – To protest the Vietnam War, Mary Beth Tinker and her brother wore black armbands to school. Fearing a disruption, the administration prohibited wearing such armbands. The Tinkers were removed from school when they failed to comply, but the Supreme Court ruled that their actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Do school administrators need a warrant to search a student suspected of wrongdoing?

No they do not – Held by New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) – A teacher accused T.L.O. of smoking in the bathroom. When she denied the allegation, the principal searched her purse and found cigarettes and marijuana paraphernalia. A family court declared T.L.O. a delinquent. The Supreme Court ruled that her rights were not violated since students have reduced expectations of privacy in school.

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, celebrating the day that the Constitution’s first 10 Amendments were ratified in 1791. The Educational Resources section of uscourts.gov gives students and others a refresher on our Constitutional freedoms today, focusing on landmark federal court cases.

The Bill of Rights’ impact on young people is the focus of courtroom-ready and classroom-ready activities that lay out what is and is not permitted under the:

In a 2½-minute video(link is external), high school students relate specific Amendments and rights to their experiences and beliefs. Material on the Miranda v. Arizona case, which expanded rights under the Fifth Amendment, will be the theme of 2016 Law Day, “Miranda: Not Just Words.”

For additional resources on Bill of Rights Day, see this Federal Judges Association page(link is external), and the Civics Renewal Network(link is external).

FDR’s Speech Collection Now Online

fdrOn the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum made FDR’s Master Speech File available online in digital format.  This file contains over 46,000 pages of drafts, reading copies, and transcripts created throughout FDR‘s political career, as well as the library’s complete collection of audio recordings of FDR’s voice.

It is  one of the most requested collections in the archive at the nation’s first presidential library.

Included in this collection of FDR’s speeches is perhaps his most famous one, delivered to Congress and the nation on Dec. 8, 1941 –

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

 

 

 

 

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