Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 3, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.


1. Romney Fires Back (link)

Mitt Romney is firing back at Harry Reid's claims that Romney paid no federal income taxes for 10 years. Romney doesn't just blame Reid though. He is blaming the White House.

The former Massachusetts governor denied the claim and said Reid should reveal his source — which he said he suspected was the Obama White House.

“Well, it’s time for Harry to put up or shut up,” Romney said. “Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because that’s totally and completely wrong. It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”

But Romney maintained this was just part of the Obama campaign’s strategy to turn attention away from the president’s own job performance.

“The Obama campaign is going to do everything in its power to try to talk about anything besides the president’s record,” Romney said.

“Home prices, median American incomes, gasoline prices, 23 million people underemployed or unemployed — they don’t want to talk about that, or his promises: cutting the deficit in half, cutting the medical insurance rates people pay. These are all the things he promised. He can’t talk about that, so they try and put this kind of baloney out there and the people can smell it for what it is. And it’s not a pretty smell.”

I have to agree with Romney on this one. Harry Reid is just floating rumors out there right now which is wrong to do. If Reid has proof, come out with it. Otherwise, shut up.

2. USPS in Trouble (link)

The Postal Service has been in trouble for a long time, on Thursday it got worse. According to FOX News, the USPS defaulted by failing to pay a required amount of $5.5 billion dollars for future retirees' health benefits.

"Congress must act quickly in order to prevent the loss of thousands of jobs in the Postal Service and the American mailing industry," Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

The agency is expected to miss another $5.6 billion payment in September. For now, the missed mega-payments are not expected to affect day-to-day operations. An agency statement this week said the default would have "no material effect" on the Postal Service, affirming it would continue to deliver mail and pay employees as usual.

But the default again raises questions about whether taxpayers will eventually need to step in to save an agency that historically has gotten by without taxpayer support, even though it is subject to congressional oversight.

That oversight has complicated the agency's efforts to overhaul itself. As it loses roughly $25 million a day, the agency has rolled out a plan to cut Saturday delivery, reduce low-volume postal facilities and end its obligation to pay the future retiree health payments.

Unbelievable. People need to get over the comfort having mail 6 days a week. Time to go to 3 day a week service and slash a huge amount of post office locations. For example, Lubbock could probably get by with 2 locations. Doing nothing won't help.

3. Drone Arrest Upheld (link)

A court in North Dakota has upheld charges in the first ever drone assist arrest of a U.S. citizen. The judge in the case denied to dismiss the charges.

A judge denied a request to dismiss charges Wednesday against Rodney Brossart, a man arrested last year after a 16-hour standoff with police at his Lakota, N.D., ranch. Brossart's lawyer argued that law enforcement's "warrantless use of [an] unmanned military-like surveillance aircraft" and "outrageous governmental conduct" warranted dismissal of the case, according to court documents obtained by U.S. News.

District Judge Joel Medd wrote that "there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle" and that the drone "appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here," according to the documents.


4. Two Texas Counties Didn't Vote (link)

What if you showed up to vote, and no one was there? In two Texas counties, that's exactly what happened. According to the Texas Tribune, the two small counties just didn't bother trying to hold runoff elections really.

More than 1 million Texas voters participated in Tuesday's primary runoff elections, but none of them were from Sterling and Oldham counties. County clerks with both rural counties confirmed that they did not hold primary runoffs.

"Our Republican chairman had moved out of the county, so he was unable to do it and he was unable to find somebody to take his place in time," said Sterling County Clerk Susan Wyatt said, who added that the Democratic Party chair decided not to hold a runoff as well.

Sterling County, northwest of San Angelo, recorded 327 votes in the May primaries — 315 from Republicans and 12 from Democrats. The county has 864 residents of voting age.

Wyatt said she had to explain to a few Republicans who showed up to the county courthouse in Sterling City that they could not participate in the runoff.

"A few people were not happy about it, but none of them volunteered to step in and be Republican Party chair for this next time," Wyatt said. "Unfortunately when I asked, they would back out the door."

Oldham County, which is in the Panhandle, had county party chairs in place but no interest in holding runoff elections, County Clerk Becky Groneman said.

"We haven't had a runoff election in several years," Groneman said. "The last time we had one, two people voted."

Oldham County recorded 252 votes in the May Republican primary and no votes in the Democratic primary. The county has a voting-age population of 1,354.

Elections are important. Well, I guess not in these two counties. Pathetic.

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