War on the United States Postal Service

Postmaster general Louis DeJoy is an RNC megadonor.

United States Postal ServiceThere has been a war on the United States Postal Service. It did not start this year, or with this regime, or even in the past decade.

Back in 2006, the Republican Congress passed legislation to impose extraordinary new financial burdens on the USPS. It required that the entity prepay retirement health benefits 75 years in advance. According to the American Postal Workers Union, the mandate is responsible for more than 90 percent of Postal Service net losses since 2007. It is a threat to its economic viability. Check out John Oliver’s piece from May 2020.

That said, the attack on the USPS has escalated this year. As many outlets have reported, IMPOTUS has confirmed it. He’s killing the Post Office to also destroy the election.

The postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, was appointed in May 2020. He is a megadonor of the regime but has no prior expertise pertaining to the Postal Service. He has disrupted the mission of the United States Postal Service, which is to deliver mail to Americans in a timely fashion.

In the last couple of months, mail delivery has dramatically slowed down. “The efforts to sabotage the United States Postal Service are anything but subtle.” It includes mail sorting machines removed without reason, shelves detached to slow down hand sorting, and postal drop boxes being taken away.” Fortunately, in the short term, due to the outcry, these measures have been temporarily stopped. Still, the handpicked postmaster general isn’t threatening to destroy the Post Office; he’s destroying the Post Office.

Reorganization?

This month, there was a major shake-up at the Postal Service. Twenty-three executives were reassigned or displaced, taking out those who might complain. As The Washington Post reported, Postal Service employees with decades of experience have disappeared from the organizational chart. “DeJoy has created a whole new structure, with all new people, to execute his inside attack on the service.” This isn’t coincidental. Or subtle.

“The reshuffling threatens to heighten tensions between postal officials and lawmakers, who are troubled by delivery delays. The Postal Service banned employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail.” They are “wary of the administration’s influence on the Postal Service.” As well they should.

Last week, djt “made it clear that he was attacking the Post Office explicitly to destroy its ability to handle mail-in ballots. “They want $25 billion for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

In fact, the United States Postal Service has notified 46 states and the District of Columbia that they may be unable to deliver some ballots cast by mail for the November election in time to be counted. IMPOTUS is publicly opposing any effort to strengthen the Postal Service because he’s afraid it will enable more voters to vote safely by mail in November.

RNC cronies

“This isn’t just a Trump effort… Not only are Republicans meeting with DeJoy to plan the destruction of the Postal Service, but this also isn’t the first time most of these Republicans have met DeJoy.” He was a top National Republican Committee money guy who was actually in charge of fundraising before being handed the keys to one of the nation’s most vital institutions.

The NRC is engaged in a massive campaign to limit mail-in ballots. They are spending tens of millions of dollars on lawsuits to limit the franchise. They fight against states attempting to expand mail-in ballots and for ballot restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done nothing to defend the Postal Service, allowing the Senate to fill the board of governors with IMPOTUS appointees. By extension, he has limited Americans’ ability to vote in the most important election of our lifetimes. (Note: he’s yup for re-election in 2020.)

The post office was codified in Article 1. Section 8 of the US Constitution. Why destroy a public service? These efforts delay not only elections but the delivery of checks, bill payments, legal documents, Census forms, and vital medications in the midst of a pandemic. And yes, with millions of people planning to vote by mail, we need to ensure that our ballots arrive and are counted.

An odd sidebar: IMPOTUS Suddenly Urged Florida Voters To Use Mail Ballots. Perhaps he is afraid of losing in his newly-adopted state. He’s done so himself, with some difficulty. “It may be the tactically correct move. But it just comes at the cost of completely undermining his attempt to delegitimize the process. He began with such little credibility outside his support base that he may not care.”

This should happen

I’m happy to see the USPS inspector general is investigating changes at post offices. The story notes: “The Democrats also requested that the IG assess whether DeJoy and his wife – who ‘reportedly own assets worth tens of millions of dollars in Postal Service competitors and contractors have fully complied with ethics requirements.” This is according to a statement from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office.

Also, Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify at a Congressional hearing on August 24.

The Senate should pass H.R.2382, the USPS Fairness Act. This legislation would specifically repeal the harmful and costly requirement that the U.S. Postal Service prepay retirement health benefits 75 years in advance. This bill would unsaddle the USPS of an immense and unnecessary financial burden.

The USPS board of governors should require the Postmaster General to permanently reverse this assault on America’s Postal Service, or else remove Louis DeJoy from the position.

AS as in American Samoa (USPS)

Most American Samoans are bilingual

American Samoa.Pago PagoThe United States Postal service, the oft-maligned entity, is in fact quite systematic. One of its great innovations was the two-letter state codes back in 1963. This allowed for easier mail delivery.

At some point, the Canadian postal service also created a two-letter system for its provinces and territories, using something called the ISO 3166-2:CA. Exciting!

For some reason involving the international scope of the ABCW folks, I’m going to go through the list alphabetically each week. For those weeks that have NO state/province/territories with that letter, I’ll figure out something else.

AA Armed Forces Americas (except Canada)
AB Alberta, Canadian province. The use of the first letter in the second syllable avoids the clash with Alabama. The traditional English abbreviation was Alta., the traditional French Alb. Capital: Edmonton; largest city: Calgary.
AE Armed Forces Europe, the Middle East, and Canada

AK Alaska – first letter, 1st letter of the third syllable. Apparently, the tradition abbreviation was Alas. Capital: Juneau; largest city: Anchorage.
AL Alabama – in general, in case of a tie, the states that are oldest get those first two letters. When I was a kid, I mostly saw it as Ala. Capital: Montgomery; largest city: Birmingham.
AP Armed Forces Pacific
AR Arkansas – its traditional abbreviation was Ark. Capital and largest city: Little Rock

AS American Samoa – “Samoa was not reached by European explorers until the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion – a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago [the capital and largest city]- the following year.”

As of April 2019, the population of American Samoa is approximately 55,689 people. Most of them are ‘nationals but not citizens of the United States at birth’. Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently. The total land area is 199 square kilometers (76.8 sq mi), slightly more than Washington, D.C.”

AZ Arizona – often previously listed as Ariz. Capital and largest city: Phoenix

Jointly developed by the Postal Service and mailing industry, standardized address information enhances the processing and delivery of mail, reduces undeliverable–as–addressed mail, and provides mutual cost reduction opportunities through improved efficiency.”

For ABC Wednesday

April rambling: Silent Scream

It is brutal, damaging and untrue

Condolences to Dustbury on the loss of his brother James, his last sibling

Thousands of internal documents that help explain how the Islamic State stayed in power so long

The root of all cruelty?

Travel is fatal to prejudice

Why does the Right hate victims?

50 years after the Wahine Disaster (New Zealand)

Corruption, Not Russia, Is His Greatest Political Liability

His long-term effect on American democracy: How worried should we be?

The Crime-Fraud Exception in the Michael Cohen Case

What Will Our Society Look Like When Artificial Intelligence is Everywhere?

Ten Things That Have Zero Effect on What the Truth Is

Daniel Van Riper’s Albany Weblog: They Want To Fill In The Ravine In Lincoln Park

The Real Story of the Hawaiian Missile Crisis

The REAL Consumer Price Index?

Congress, Not Amazon, Messed Up the Post Office

the beautiful human gumbo

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOUR

Steven Bochco, RIP; a retrospective – I loved many of these shows

Remembering Winnie Mandela

Living the beam onstage with William Shatner

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Oprah’s Full Chat from SUPER SOUL SUNDAY

From the nifty historical fiction Silent Scream #1
Kickstarter: THE TRUST BOOK ONE: SILENT SCREAM ISSUE 2 – Dennis Webster, Bill Anderson, Gabriel Rearte and Laurie E. Smith

Mark Waid tells a new Captain America story with original artwork from Jack Kirby!

Top 37 Parks To Visit Before You Die

After 40 years, Wendy and Richard Pini finish ‘Elfquest,’ the ‘first American manga,’ and go on fanquest

SNL: Black Jeopardy with Chadwick Boseman

Seth Meyers’ great “desk story”

A Weird and Beautiful Sports Story

150th anniversary of Little Women

vlogbrothers: On Punctuality (John) v. How to Stop Being Late Forever (Hank)

Now I Know: How Overdue Parking Tickets Took Over an Innocent Person’s Life and The Therapeutic Value of a Not-Quite-Flying Pig and The Race to Determine the Fastest Man Alive and Why You Can’t Steal First Base and Why You Shouldn’t Eat Those “Do Not Eat” Packets and The Elevator Light That’s a Total Gas

How he is transforming himself into the greatest president ever

MUSIC

Found Tonight – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt

Listen to the Music – Playing for Change

Catch Me If You Can -John Williams score

She’s A Rockin’ Machine – Archie and the Bunkers

Coverville 1212: Cover Stories for Jimmy Cliff and Pharrell Williams

Oriental Rhapsody – Alexander Glazunov

Stephen Hawking Picks the Music (and One Novel) He’d Spend Eternity With: Stream the Playlist Online

‘The Weakness in Me’: Notes on Joan Armatrading

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Sonny Vande Putte

Never tell someone they can’t sing – it is brutal, damaging and untrue

May miscellany: going postal

Those Amazon balloon packing pods do not weigh much.


Sometimes you just have to note some miscellaneous stuff. This is a picture that the Daughter took one school day on her phone in mid-May. She was waiting for the bus about 7:30 a.m. a block from our house. It was a particularly stormy morning, but it ended up being a rather nice day.
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I was mailing a couple packages at the post office. One contained two large pictures in frames containing glass. So the box was very large, roughly 18″ (.46m) by 14″ (.36m) by 8″ (.2m). I ws told that I could spend $13 for six-day delivery or a couple dollars more for 2-day delivery.

But then the postal worker measured the package, then put it on the scales. Because it only weighed about 2 kg (4.5 lb), this meant its mass was less than a box of that size “should” go for. Those Amazon balloon packing pods – a level of them below the pictures and two levels above to keep the items safe – do not add much. So the priority shipping would have meant an $11 SURCHARGE (wha?), and I stayed with the ground option.
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Our library recently answered its 60,00th inquiry in May, news of which was posted on the internal NY SBDC listserv. We got a lot of kudos, which is nice, because we’re a couple steps away from the client most of the time. The prospective entrepreneur comes into one of our two dozen centers across the state and speak to one of our business advisors. The advisor speaks to us, or otherwise contacts us.

My favorite advisor response, unsurprisingly, was a musical one, one of my very favorite Neil Young songs, Long May You Run, which among other things, namechecks the Beach Boys.
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And speaking of music, someone took a photo of our church choir on May 21. It was the day one of our past (and hopefully future) choir members had her twin daughters baptized.

Hardly Kosher Bacon

The notion that “private organizations can and will easily pick up any slack created by lower funding for NOAA and the [National Weather Service]” ignores the fact that much of the private research is based on public data.

One of the e-mail items I receive regularly comes from the Citizens Against Government Waste, who are vigilant against roads to nowhere and $16 muffins. CAGW regularly names a Porker of the Month, “a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.”

For September 2011, the designee was Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) “for suggesting that the United States Postal Service (USPS) can solve its financial problems by embarking on a new advertising campaign. During a September 6, 2011 Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing at which Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe speculated that USPS could be out of business by the end of the year, Sen. McCaskill stated, ‘I really believe that if somebody would begin to market the value of sending a written letter to someone you love, you might be surprised [by] how you could stabilize first-class mail.’ Continue reading “Hardly Kosher Bacon”