Rural Post Office woes are news…but, they ain’t new!

Before the federal Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended his short-lived and highly controversial policy changes, the slowdowns it caused had already trickled into rural New Mexico.

Fernando Rodriguez, a window clerk at the Roswell post office, said mail that was usually processed in a day or two would take most of the workweek. Earlier this week, he said federal authorities were already trying to make cuts at his facility…

However, the Trump administration’s latest attacks on the Postal Service are just part of the issue in New Mexico. Rural post offices have faced cutbacks for years that have led to inadequate staffing and slow mail turnaround times.

“It’s really an attack on rural America,” said Roxanne Heckman, a maintenance worker and vice president for the New Mexico postal worker union.

Read it and weep, folks. Care for an important link in the chain that holds life in rural America together.

The Punk in the White House is clueless over the damage he’s causing over the Post Office


Putting the USPS in a deep freeze benefits no one
Matthew T Rader/Unsplash

A country that doesn’t hesitate to drop $700 billion on its war machine now finds itself quibbling over $10 billion to run a very essential service. Of course, a lot of this talk about shrinking the United States Postal Service has nothing to do with its budgetary shortfalls. It is yet another example of short-term political opportunism. USPS might as well stand for United States Political Shitshow…

It might be hard for politicians and their lackeys to see, but the postal service brings more than ballots and postcards. USPS plays a significant role in the US economy. Any actions against it have ramifications for businesses of all sizes. If there was any doubt, the pandemic proved that USPS is an essential service. It kept the country’s almost moribund economy moving, albeit at a sputtering pace.

The pandemic has made online commerce an incredibly significant part of our society. People across the demographic spectrum are now using some kind of online shopping. And many of those packages are delivered by our postal service. According to The Washington Post, “Week to week, package deliveries increased 20 to 50 percent in April compared with the year-ago period, and 60 to 80 percent in May.” If the package volume stays 15 percent over average, the USPS might not need further cash bailout…

USPS is part of the new future of retail. Main Street is no longer just on the street. Thanks to tools like PayPal, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Square, it is also online. And it needs USPS to do business.

Amazon can — and is — building their own logistics and delivery system. Not everyone can do that. All those politicians who complain about Amazon’s monopoly forget that the only way to fight the giant is to arm many David’s with slingshots. USPS is that slingshot. Instead of thinking about shutting down or shrinking USPS, we need to really work hard in helping it adapt to Mail Service 2.0..

Everything Om writes is readable. He could do my grocery list and I’d probably get home from town earlier – with money left over.

There’s lot to learn in his post on the USPS. Dimbulbs like the Fake President will never get it. But, the voting public has time before the next election to understand more about a stupid decision made for the grimiest of political reasons.

Post Office Pimp backs down. Think dozens of states cranking up lawsuits helped?

Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits.

DeJoy said that some of the deferred decisions mean that retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain in place and no mail processing facilities will be closed.

Apparently, he is neither as stupid nor as arrogant as his boss. That is rather a guarded analysis since the thug-in-chief is just as likely to override this decision as honor it. Trump doesn’t do honorable!

Debate over a long-time public service called the Post Office

Republicans want privatization, Trump wants to stick it to Amazon.

…The Trump administration…appears to be specifically hostile to the idea of a Postal Service bailout. Its distaste for a postal bailout merges ideological conservatives’ generic preference for postal privatization with the president’s hang-up about the idea that the USPS is giving Amazon a sweetheart deal on shipping.

In general, there are a lot of complexities to the long-term postal policy picture in the United States, but the immediate crisis is actually pretty simple: Mail volumes are plunging, taking USPS revenue down with them. And unless something is done relatively quickly to make up for those lost revenues, it’s hard to see how significant layoffs and service reductions can be avoided…

…At the core of that entity is a two-sided bargain. On the one hand, the Postal Service gets a monopoly on the provision of daily mail services. On the other hand, the Postal Service undertakes a series of public service obligations that a private company would not provide — most notably, daily mail delivery and flat postage rates regardless of where you live.

RTFA. Some discussion. Some debate. I see nothing useful in ending a public service that only has private alternatives that cost American consumers a boatload of money.

Driverless trucks start test runs on Southwestern Interstate highways

❝ The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight.

San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.

❝ If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.

The plan is to have these trucks on the road 22 hours at a time. Not exactly something human drivers are up for. Since long-haul runs are literally short thousands of drivers, timing couldn’t be better. If everything works OK? 🙂

The Feds Mandate That the US Postal Service Lose Money

❝ For the first three months of 2018, the US Postal Service reported a $1.3 billion loss, up from $562 million a year ago.

The basic issue is that revenue is growing more slowly than expenses. Total revenue grew by 1.4% while total expenses grew by 5.7%. Clearly, that makes for a less profitable business. This is a government-mandated financial squeeze and there are two main causes.

❝ First, regular mail—that is, the ordinary letters sent by individuals and businesses on a daily basis—is a declining business; volume-per-end-point (the mailbox) declined by 3.4% this year. Overall, regular mail is down 35% over the past 10 years. The problem is that the cost to deliver doesn’t decline with lower volume…

❝ Second, retirement expenses are growing significantly. Retiree health benefits increased 60% since last year and unfunded retirement benefits increased a whopping 142%…

RTFA. After all, there is some good news. Mostly from doing business with folks like Amazon.

Nature strikes back at urbanization

A postmaster seems dumbfounded in a 911 call he made to get help for a New Jersey letter carrier who was trapped inside his truck by several wild turkeys.

The incident played out Tuesday in Hillsdale, New Jersey. The audio was released Wednesday.

The postmaster initially tells police “you’re not going to believe this” before providing details about the attack, noting similar events have happened before. The police officer who took the call sounds equally amazed.

Authorities say about seven turkeys accosted the letter carrier, but he wasn’t injured.

Two officers scared off the turkeys so the letter carrier could continue his route.

Wild turkeys can be pretty scary. Too bad Ben Franklin didn’t win his campaign to make them the national bird. More character than most of their peers.

Your friendly post office takes photos of all your mail

The Postal Service takes pictures of every piece of mail processed in the United States – 160 billion last year – and keeps them on hand for up to a month.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the photos of the exterior of mail pieces are used primarily for the sorting process, but they are available for law enforcement, if requested.

The photos have been used “a couple of times” by to trace letters in criminal cases, Donahoe told the AP on Thursday, most recently involving ricin-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We don’t snoop on customers,” said Donahoe, adding that there’s no big database of the images because they are kept on nearly 200 machines at processing facilities across the country. Each machine retains only the images of the mail it processes.

“It’s done by machine, so there’s no central area where any of this information would be,” he said. “It’s extremely expensive to keep pictures of billions of pieces of mail. So there’s no need for us to do that…”

The automated mail tracking program was created after the deadly anthrax attacks in 2001 so the Postal Service could more easily track hazardous substances and keep people safe, Donahoe said…

Processing machines take photographs so software can read the images to create a barcode that is stamped on the mail to show where and when it was processed, and where it will be delivered, Donahoe said.

Don’t you feel safer, now?

The next question is less obvious. Is there any branch of government that isn’t tracking us?

Chickenshit commentary of the week!

Do you ever tire of articles, op-ed pieces, commentary from TV Talking Heads that avoid the point altogether? Here’s this week’s best example – Bob Greene at CNN offering a “humorous” commentary about the US Postal Service:

You seemed a little bit interested in last Sunday’s column: the one about the prospect of Saturday mail delivery being eliminated by the U.S. Postal Service.

That is what Postmaster General John E. Potter has asked Congress to authorize. Because of a budget crisis and a drastic decline in the number of items Americans send through the mail each year (an estimated 20 billion fewer items mailed this year alone), Potter wants to stop delivering mail on Saturdays.

Along with last week’s column, there was a feature where readers were invited to cast their votes on the subject (not a scientific poll, as they say; I think this means that Albert Einstein wasn’t counting the ballots).

More than 397,000 of you took the time to vote. The question was: “Would you miss Saturday mail if the Postal Service stopped delivering it?…”

Sixty-eight percent of you said you would not miss the Saturday mail if it stopped coming. Only 32 percent of you said you would miss it…

Postmaster General Potter says that getting rid of Saturday delivery would save more than $3 billion a year. My guess is that not only are they going to have to do away with Saturday mail — the time is probably coming when delivery on other days of the week will disappear, too.

So the question is not whether the days of mail delivery will be curtailed. It’s whether we will be happy about it.

The real problem hasn’t changed in 50 years. Junk mail doesn’t pay for itself.

The sleazy junk mail factories should be subsidizing the post office for all of us! From Capital One to Publishers Clearinghouse to my local Chevy Dealer’s Lucky Ignition Key – do you think these cruds look forward to shipping “the latest, greatest cookbook offer” to my front door via UPS or FedEx?

Congress will likely discover some populist lie acceptable to both Republican and Democrat lobbyists to maintain USPS subsidies. You wouldn’t want America’s biggest freeloaders to carry their own weight would you?

What I also don’t expect is an honest challenge to the corporate status quo from a smiley flack working for Time-Warner.