The Ten-Year Plan

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS revealed a new ten-year plan on March 21, 2021 aimed at reinvigorating the postal service.  Parts of the plan are ready to be implemented, including increasing the cost of stamps, slowing down first-class mail delivery in favor of more lucrative package delivery, closing selected facilities, and cutting back post office hours and staffing.  Such changes are subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent Federal agency. First-class stamps are currently 55 cents First-class mail volume has decreased by 28% over the past 10 years, one of the…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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Who Selects the Stamps

Who selects the stamps?  Each year, the United States Postal Service issues approximately 35 new stamps, covering a wide range of images and fields of interest.  In short, it is not hard to find something to like.  New stamps are selected by the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) of the USPS, whose members are appointed by the Postmaster General. Playwright August Wilson is featured on a new Forever Stamp The CSAC was established in 1957.  Currently, the committee has 13 members, representing “…collective expertise in history, science, technology, art, education, sports, and other areas of public…

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Creating chaos at the U.S. Postal Service
Mailbox, Annapolis, MD

Creating chaos at the U.S. Postal Service

Multiple crises over the past year created an unprecedented level of chaos at the U.S. Postal Service.  The service has been disrupted by political disputes over mail-in ballots; removal of street mail boxes, mail sorting machines, and barcode readers; COVID-related illnesses among postal employees; and a much higher volume of mail and packages due to the pandemic.  Some of the causes of chaos were deliberate and avoidable. First, there was the dispute over mail-in ballots.  Due to the pandemic, many voters chose to cast their ballots by mail rather than wait in long lines to vote…

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Politics and Pandemic

Land's End, San Francisco At last, there is good news on the horizon, a promise that a year dominated by politics and pandemic will soon be over.   Politics never go away, but hopefully, the days will become calmer now that the November presidential election is finally over and a new administration is on the horizon.   With two new vaccines rolling out, there also is hope that the pandemic will subside in the first half of 2021.  Election years are always difficult, but 2020 was a doozy.  It was a brutal year in almost every way possible. …

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Dear Family & Friends: A Holiday Letter by Eileen Shields

Dear Family & Friends, Yes, you read that right. This is a “Dear Family & Friends” holiday letter.  Before I get into the nits and grits that tells you all about the wonder that is me, I thought I should do a bit of research about how best to approach these broad swinging missives.  Surely there are rules laid down for writing one all-encompassing letter to Everyone I Know.  I’m not quite sure what has possessed me to undertake this wholesale approach to communication and it remains a bit of a mystery of how I actually…

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New Threats to the U.S. Postal Service
Americans rely on mail delivery for letters, packages, checks, medications and more

New Threats to the U.S. Postal Service

Americans rely on timely mail delivery for letters, packages, checks, medications and more New threats to the U.S. Postal Service now challenge this essential service.   Ongoing budget troubles have been further exacerbated by the pandemic and a precipitous drop in the use of first class mail.  Add to that a new Postmaster General, a political appointee, who is making sweeping changes that reduce services, has endangered the ability of the Postal Service to manage mail-in voting Louis DeJoy, a businessman and major fundraiser for President Trump, took over the duties of Postmaster General on June 15,…

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The End of Silence: Vote!

San Francisco Botanical Gardens July 2020 Following five months of lock down due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we have come to the end of silence.  That initial peace, the joyful upside to our early stay-at-home directives, has been shattered by the sounds of returning activity, as well as increased frustration and tension.   Shelter in place jokes April 2020 When first sheltering in place, the streets were eerily quiet, with barely a car in sight.   Many streets closed in San Francisco to facilitate social distancing for walkers, skateboarders, and bicyclists.  All but the most essential…

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The Room Where it Happens

Live theater is the room where it happens, where stories come to life and leave you enchanted and spellbound.   Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is such a show, where the music, lyrics, and staging linger on long after the performance is over. Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter We were latecomers to the extraordinary phenomenon of Hamilton, despite the early urging of our New York cousins.  When the show first opened on Broadway, Michael and Amy suggested facetiously (I think) that even if we had to take out a second mortgage on our house, it…

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National Letter Writing Day

National Letter Writing Day is Friday, Dec. 7. The date is timely because it serves as a reminder to reconnect with the people you care about during the holiday season. The history and origin of National Letter Writing Day is unclear, but it is perpetrated by a website, National Today, which endeavors to find a reason to celebrate every day of the year.   National Today is the inspiration of PR Hacker, a broad-based San Francisco public relations firm specializing in technology and health. National Letter Writing Day is different from World Letter Writing Day, an endeavor…

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