United States Postal Service

The USPS is a service.

A utility really. A vast network of delivery agents, offices, machines and infrastructure. Delivering the mail, packages and such is like delivering water or electricity or natural gas. It’s a Public Utility.

usps

And, as a Public Utility the service of mail and package delivery should be executed, governed and controlled by a public entity.

The USPS should subsume Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and the other delivery services. Hell, just look at the names of those other “corporate” entities: FEDERAL Express? UNITED Parcel Service? They’re practically already government services.

There’s no need for such a service as the delivery of the mail or packages to be a competition. Corporations should not be in charge of such a utility as the delivery of goods from point A to point B. The USPS was created to do exactly this. But today, the USPS is under the gun as its contractual obligations to its employees runs afoul of its ability to compete in what should NOT be a competitive market place.

Next Day Air is just that. Two Day Delivery the same. There should be just the one entity that performs this service, at a publicly decided price. Period.

That glass of water you just poured, or the kilowatt of electricity you just consumed are both delivered, managed and priced by a Public Utility.

And so should mail and package delivery.

 

 

Post COVID Blues

When this coronavirus is finally subdued:

  • I’m afraid when I go back to work my pants won’t fit anymore.
  • I won’t be able to get on an airplane without providing a blood sample.
  • Friday night at the movies will become Friday night at the Hulu.
  • Libraries will have all closed.
  • Cruise ships will be towed off shore and sunk to build up the Great Barrier Reef (yeay!).
  • You’ll need a license to go for a picnic.
  • There will be home machines you can buy to turn old books and furniture into toilet paper.
  • Clorox Company will buy Nabisco and make Bleach Blondie Brownies.
  • A home hazmat chamber will don every frontdoor.
  • Drone pilots will become an Olympic Sport.

When all this is said and done, Drumpf will have died from the virus (shot by an inoculated tranquilizer dart by Nancy Pelosi), and we’ll be resigned to living in a hyper-paranoid world where a six-foot distant “air hug” is considered affectionate.  Kisses — NOT!

 

Unexpected Consequences

In addition to apocalyptic scenarios, I also enjoy teasing out the possibilities of action/reaction in society’s macro behaviors. Like Freakonomics taught us, what are the implications to what we’re experiencing and how we’re reacting? Here are a few I’ve heard of and some I’ve dreamed up myself. My favorite is Goldie’s “there’s gonna be a rash of December babies born this year due to the work-from-home mandate.”

Close the borders and…

  • Migrant workers cannot come in to perform the agricultural work needed by 1/3 of the industry.
  • They won’t be there to pick, pack, and purvey the produce we need directly, and the food industry needs to create our canned, bottled and frozen foods.
  • Those same workers won’t be there to perform the planting that will result in crops in four to six months.
  • Close the borders and we eventually starve.

Close the schools and after school programs the daycare facilities and…

  • All the kids now need parents to stay home.
  • Many of those parents are critical service workers: police, healthcare, emergency responders, infrastructure repair.
  • And the kids won’t be staying home, or alone, or away from the elders who live with them. They’ll be out mixing it up with other neighborhood kids, perhaps more so that had they just stayed in school.

Shut down the hospitality industry and…

  • Fifteen million low to medium wage people lose work if not their jobs.
  • Another eight million in the airline industry lose work if not their jobs.

* Suppress spending across the entertainment, sports and restaurant industries and the velocity of money drops through the floor — ending up in a massive recession — one we’ve been expecting for three years.

* Drive the price of oil down below $30/barrel and the booming U.S. shale oil and fracking industry collapses throwing another million workers into the pit.

@ On the bright side, fewer cars on the road means fewer traffic accidents; less air pollution; quicker response to emergency calls (to save an elderly person with COVID symptoms).

* Force everyone to work from home and the homeless go WTF?

@ Fortunately, it’s already second nature to remain socially distant from the homeless.

@ Is there going to be a resurgence of home cooking where millennials learn to make more than Mac-a-cheese and Ramen?

* Too bad Grandma won’t be allowed in the kitchen with those asymptomatic carriers.

* Millions were forced from their homes to live at the whims of the rentier society during the last Great Recession.

@ Although thousands more will end up being force to foreclose during this calamity, at least we know that the rich are just as susceptible to this scourge — so there’s hope a proportionate number will die along with the rest of us.

* Is this the end of the Farmer’s market? Craft fairs? Concerts in the park?

No doubt the unintended and unexpected consequences from this pandemic will continue to play out. How many more can we come up with? I’m sure there are dozens just waiting to be exposed.

  • More marijuana smoking/eating?
  • More alcohol binging?
  • More reviews on movie venues, book venues, products?
  • More online psychologist sessions?
  • More facetime calls with estranged family?
  • More Amazon Prime memberships?
  • More neighbor altercations?
  • More house cleaning?
  • More nookie?
  • More?

China to invade Russia

There was a recent map published which showed population as area rather than area as area. What struck me was the juxtaposition of China and Russia.

Russia has 16.3 million square kilometers of land. China 9.3 million.
Russia as 144 million people. China has 1,415 million people.
Russia shares a border with China that is 4,200 kilometers long.

When China needs to expand guess which direction they’re heading?

We wonder about Russia’s vast military build up, maybe we shouldn’t wonder at all. Russia’s might to fight the US or NATO or the EU? Naw, they have a much bigger problem south of the border.

RussiaVsChina

With global warming turning the Siberian wasteland into potentially viable farmland. That and access to the Arctic Ocean might entice a Chinese takeover of Eastern Russia. All them resources just begging to be turned into high tariff products bound for the US and elsewhere.

Here come the choppers

When you hear the sound of a helicopter(s), what do you think?

• “Oh, it must be a Life-Flight, or the Coast Guard out saving someone, hurry, hurry!”
Or
• “It’s the authorities come to spy/harass/nab me or someone I know.”
Or
• Nothing, you never hear helicopters or if you do you don’t even wonder about why they’re circling your home, neighborhood, town.

Helicopters are the ultimate urban assault vehicle. They can spy, (now from great distance), travel quickly without worry of terrain, and carry agents who can be dropped to carry out clandestine, “official” business.

When I hear them I immediately think “GO AWAY! You’re noisy, arrogant, and invasive.”

I wonder what most folks thing about the sounds of choppers? Apocalypse Now? The Flight of the Valkyries? FBI, regional police departments? Or the military (domestic or, yikes, foreign)?

Are we trained through media (movies and television) to worry when helicopters start flying? I wonder if there’s an economic threshold. The wealthier you are, the more you think helicopters are here to rescue you (or protect you) and the poorer you are…