- - Sunday, November 14, 2010


GOP Senate hopeful awaits military vote

JUNEAU | GOP nominee Joe Miller said he won’t spend a lot of time, energy and effort fighting over ballots in Alaska’s undecided U.S. Senate race if the math doesn’t add up in his favor.

But Mr. Miller said Saturday that he won’t make any announcements until after absentee ballots arrive next week from military voters - a constituency the Army veteran thinks could go heavily for him.

He said Saturday that it’s inappropriate to call the race and suggest the military vote doesn’t matter.

Ballot counters have gone through 88 percent of precincts. Write-in votes cast by absentee, those that were questioned and early votes must still be tallied.

But the campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, is confident that she will win re-election if the trend holds.


Red ink last year: $8.5 billion

The U.S. Postal Service said Friday that it lost $8.5 billion last year despite deep cuts of more than 100,000 jobs and other reductions in recent years.

The Postal Service had estimated that it would lose $6 billion to $7 billion, but a sharp decline in mail took a toll. Increased use of the Internet and the recession, which cut advertising and other business mail, meant less money for the agency.

For the year that ended Sept. 30, the Postal Service had income of $67.1 billion, down $1 billion from the previous year. Expenses totaled $70 billion, a decline of about $400 million. The Postal Service also was required to make a $5.5 billion payment for future retiree health care benefits.

“Over the last two years, the Postal Service realized more than $9 billion in cost savings, primarily by eliminating about 105,000 full-time equivalent positions - more than any other organization, anywhere,” Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said in a statement. “We will continue our relentless efforts to innovate and improve efficiency. However, the need for changes to legislation, regulations and labor contracts has never been more obvious.”

The Postal Service is in contract negotiations with two of its unions, with two more scheduled to be negotiated next year.


Court lets military gay ban remain

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military to remain in place while a federal appeals court considers the issue.

The court did not comment in denying a request from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, to step into the ongoing federal court review of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Obama administration urged the high court not to get involved at this point.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that the policy violates the civil rights of gay Americans and issued an injunction barring the Pentagon from applying it. But the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the policy could remain in effect while it considers the administration’s appeal.

President Obama has pledged to push lawmakers to repeal the law in the lame-duck session of Congress, but administration attorneys in the meantime have defended “don’t ask, don’t tell” in court.


House hopeful heads to capital

GARDEN CITY | A Long Island Republican embroiled in a tightly contested House race will be attending a freshman orientation in Washington.

Randy Altschuler leads Democratic incumbent Timothy Bishop by fewer than 400 votes with 10,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. He said Thursday that he will participate in this week’s program for representatives.

The Associated Press declared Mr. Bishop the 1st Congressional District winner on election night, when he had a 3,400-vote lead over Mr. Altschuler. That call was withdrawn after the Suffolk County Board of Elections showed Mr. Altschuler leading 92,702 to 92,319.

Officials said the shift was caused by transcription errors by poll workers.

Mr. Bishop, who is seeking a full recount, said through a spokeswoman that he also will be in Washington working on next year’s agenda.


Rep. Davis seeks Chicago’s mayoral seat

CHICAGO | U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat, declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago on Sunday, joining a growing field of candidates that includes former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Mr. Emanuel formally announced his run Saturday to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, who said in September that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term. State Sen. James Meeks, the pastor of a megachurch on the city’s South Side, was expected to officially join the race later Sunday.

Mr. Davis, a Democrat who has been in Congress since 1997, was tapped this month by a coalition of black leaders as its preferred candidate over other finalists, including Mr. Meeks and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Ms. Braun, the country’s first black female senator, has opened a campaign office and plans an official announcement soon.

The coalition, which included elected officials, business owners and activists, hoped to avoid splitting the black vote by uniting behind one candidate. Members said they chose Mr. Davis, who has served on the Cook County Board and the Chicago City Council, because of his broad government experience.

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