Daily Archives: 24 Mar 2013

Poor Coverage of GOP Attack on USPS

USPSAccording to The Hill, a number of large corporations—most notably Hallmark, the greeting card company—are trying to push back against the shameless Republican attack on the United States Postal Service. It seems that the Postal Service’s decision to end Saturday delivery has caught the attention of companies who will be hurt by the move. Until now, it has all been a big win for companies like FedEx and UPS who have been salivating for the USPS’s most profitable routes.

Of course, helping out our corporate overlords is only part of what is driving Republicans. Even bigger is the idea of destroying one of the most visible examples of effective government. It all shows just how devoid of principles the conservative movement is. They make a big show for their love of the Constitution. But when it comes to parts of it that they don’t like, they just ignore it. The Postal Service, after all, is in the Constitution. (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7: empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”)

All of this comes down to a vile law passed by the lame duck Congress in 2006. They knew that the Democrats were going to have big majorities in both houses of Congress the next year. So why not take the opportunity to destroy a popular government agency? They required that the USPS pre-fund their retirement account 75 years into the future—within ten years. Of course, Republicans won’t admit that they are doing this. Just like with their programs to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, it is all to save the program. And when the media manage to cover the issue at all, they cover the Republican talking points as though they were real.

I was very disappointed to see that FARK offered the article in The Hill with the snarky headline, “Hallmark cards would very much like the taxpayer to subsidize Saturday mail delivery for its $3 pieces of paper.” While I don’t doubt that Hallmark’s interest in this issue is entirely self-serving, so is the lobbying of FedEx and UPS. Yet we don’t see headlines like, “FedEx lobbies Congress to destroy USPS and give it most profitable routes while millions of Americans in rural areas go without service.” Nor do we see any headlines about the evil and corrupt Republican Party’s assault on a constitutionally mandated public service.

Houdini

Harry HoudiniTwo cartoonists where born on this day. Co-creator of Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks was born in 1901. I’m not fond of those early Disney cartoons, but not because of the art, which was fine. They just aren’t written that well. I love when Futurama parodies them! Also born today in 1911 is Joseph Barbera. I’m not a big fan of Hanna-Barbera, but they had their moments. The Flintstones was particularly good, but then, how can you go wrong with a series based on a “modern stone age family”?

Clyde Barrow was born in 1909. He was only 25 when he died. Although he was a very troubled, evil man, I still like him more than Warren Beatty, whose birthday is next Saturday. The great, but old fashioned choreographer Onna White was born back in 1922.

Lots of entertainment birthdays today. The great bass player, Carol Kaye is 78 today. Hardass character actor R. Lee Ermey is 69. Nick Lowe is 64. Louie Anderson is 60.

And because it is a slow day for famous births, today is Harry Houdini‘s day. He was born in 1874. When I was a kid, I read all kinds of biographies of him. It was only later that I learned they were almost all fiction. There was so much mythologizing about him. It is my working theory that he was gay. Or maybe he was just in love with himself. He did have a good body and he was fond of showing it off—especially naked. And then there’s the fact that he never had kids. What’s up with that? Anyway, he was quite an interesting performer. I tend to prefer his brother Theodore Hardeen, who is under-appreciated. He, for example, was the one who figured out that the straitjacket escape was more impressive if done in view of the audience.

Anyway, happy birthday to Houdini!

Afterword

This one goes out to Carol Kaye: