News February 26

Senator Sanders

Postal Service Employees of the White River Junction mail processing facility are holding out hope the U.S. Postal Service's decision to consolidate Vermont's largest facility will be reconsidered if Congress passes legislation requiring that mail delivery is not slowed. Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes legislation will come to the Senate floor in the next few weeks, the Vermont Press Bureau reported. LINK

USPS A Postal Service plan to close processing centers could make its problems worse and "result in less business and less revenue," as Sanders said. "But Congress is in gridlock ... Perhaps this would be a good time to send them a letter - via snail mail, of course - reminding them how important this service is to our communities," the Bristol (Conn.) Press and The (New Britain, Conn.) Herald said in an editorial. LINK

Worker-Owned Businesses Finding capital for good ideas is difficult because so many banks only make asset-based loans to established firms, particularly when employee ownership is involved. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Bernard Sanders have a proposal for partial federal guarantees of bank loans to employee-sponsored start-ups, Steven Pearlstein wrote in a Washington Post column. LINK

A Desert Island If you found yourself stuck on a deserted island with a current member of Congress, who would it be and why? National Journal's Hotline asked Cenk Uygur, host of "The Young Turks" and a show on Current TV. The answer: Bernie Sanders. LINK

World

Syria Amid calls for a boycott by the opposition and continued violence, Syrians on Sunday went to the polls for a referendum on a new draft constitution that could effectively end the monopoly of the ruling party, The Associated Press reported. LINK 

Afghanistan The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan recalled all NATO personnel working in Afghan ministries in response to the killing Saturday of two Americans by an Afghan security official. The directive came five days after U.S. military personnel burned a pile of Korans in an apparently inadvertent act that set off violent protests across the country, The Washington Post reported. LINK

Egypt Defendants appeared Sunday afternoon in a metal cage at the opening of the politically charged criminal trial of 16 Americans, including the son of the Obama administration's transportation secretary, in a case that threatens to upend Washington's 30-year alliance with Egypt, The New York Times reported. LINK

South Africa Nelson Mandela was released from the hospital on Sunday. The former South African President underwent minor surgery to determine the cause of a stomach complaint and the 93-year-old "is as fine as can be at his age," South Africa's defense minister said Sunday, according to AP. LINK

National

Super PACs Political committees which operate free of the contribution limits imposed on candidates have in practice become a way for candidates to bypass the limits by steering rich donors to these ostensibly independent groups, which function almost as adjuncts of the campaigns, according to The New York Times. LINK

Vermont

Shumlin: Obama ‘Gets It' on LIHEAP Gov. Shumlin told the Vermont Press Bureau he was encouraged that the federal government will provide more for home heating assistance next winter.    "I am grateful that the president has put forward a bigger appropriation," he said in an interview Saturday from the National Governors Association annual winter meeting.. "He obviously gets it."