March 9, 2013 |
A Berkeley city councilman is proposing an email tax to help the cash-poor United States Postal Service stay afloat. Gordon Wozniak suggested that using email, which is partially responsible for killing off demand for letter-carrying services, could save “vital functions” of the post office, the news site Berkleyside reported. “There should be ... a very tiny tax on email,” he told the City Council. “There should be something like a bit tax. I mean, a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollar a year.” The problem is, such a levy wouldn't be legal unless the Internet Tax Freedom Act is allowed to expire in 2014.
February 7, 2013 |
As AOL used to say, “You've got mail!” But maybe not on Saturdays if the mail you are looking for is being delivered by the much-maligned “snail mail” of the United States Postal Service. On Wednesday, the USPS announced Saturday delivery of letters would be eliminated by August in order to save $2 billion annually. The Postal Service has been struggling financially for a long time, as we all know, so this sort of cutback is hardly surprising. As the latest reduction in service is discussed and debated, though, it is worth remembering that the Postal Service's troubles are not entirely a result of the historic shift in how Americans communicate with one another.
December 25, 2012
Re "Gun reform ideas more than just talk," Dec. 23, and "NRA calls for armed guards in all schools," Dec. 21 Finally, I understand the thinking of the National Rifle Assn.: It wants to put armed guards in all schools to protect us from the people it is protecting, when what we really need is protection against them. An armed society is an intimidating society, in which people fear saying what is on their minds because they fear being shot by the armed person next to them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 11, 2012 |
Movie producer Joel Silver brought his Hollywood panache to Venice on Wednesday, unveiling plans for revamping the former Venice Post Office as the new headquarters of his Silver Pictures. With Tom Hanks putting in a cameo appearance, Silver and his design and construction team spoke to dozens of invited guests amid the exposed concrete and wires of the 1939 Works Progress Administration building that the producer of "The Matrix" and "Lethal Weapon" franchises recently bought from the downsizing U.S. Postal Service.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 1, 2012 |
If there's a place in this immigrant hub where all lives intersect, it's the Little Saigon post office. The regulars, grandmothers and mothers who write letters to loved ones week after week greet one another as if at a reunion. The folks who don't earn enough to even have bank accounts wait next to patrons carrying $2,000 purses. Elders are allowed to go to the head of the line out of respect for their age. And single guys check P.O. boxes as regularly as soccer scores, because they don't get mail at their boardinghouses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 7, 2012 |
Joel Silver, producer of movie franchises "The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon" and "Sherlock Holmes," has bought the former U.S. post office in Venice and plans to refashion it as the new home of his Silver Pictures. The red-tile-roofed 1939 Works Progress Administration building on Windward Circle has been a beloved fixture in Venice. The interior features a mural painted by Edward Biberman in 1941 with the coastal community's visionary developer Abbot Kinney at its center, surrounded by beachgoers in old-fashioned bathing suits, men in overalls and once-ubiquitous oil derricks.
August 21, 2012 |
The U.S. Postal Service didn't do itself any favors with Homer and the rest of the Simpsons -- less than a third of the 1 billion stamps created to commemorate the cartoon family have been sold. The USPS wasted $1.2 million in printing costs overproducing 682 million stamps, according to an audit from the agency's inspector general. Just 318 million Simpsons stamps, which were created to mark the characters' two-decade stint on television, were sold in 2009 and 2010. ( Hat tip to Bloomberg )
August 8, 2012 |
The U.S. Postal Serviceis in trouble, and there's no telling whether it will survive. It's been battered by the Internet and a dragging economy, besieged by commercial competitors and stymied in its efforts to trim a costly web of post offices and delivery routes. On Aug. 1, it defaulted on a $5.5-billion payment to the U.S. Treasury for future retiree health benefits. Some think that it's time to privatize the service, bringing an end to one of our oldest federal institutions. The outlook is grim, though the crisis is not unprecedented.
August 7, 2012
Few members of Congress want to take away your Saturday mail delivery or close your underused local post office - or at least, not shortly before election day, when such actions might come back to haunt them. That explains a lot about why Congress has cravenly failed to take the necessary action to put the U.S. Postal Service on a path to solvency, instead forcing it to default last week on a required $5.5-billion payment toward the health benefits of future retirees. The irony is that one of the best and boldest routes Congress could take is also the one that largely absolves it of responsibility: It should let the post office solve more of its own problems.
August 7, 2012 |
While thumbing through the household mail one recent day - a bill from the vet, a statement from the bank, 47 come-ons for low-interest credit cards and a birthday card from Grandma - I pondered the following riddle: Why is it that the same conservatives who harped on how an obscure provision of the U.S. Constitution should have invalidated the healthcare reform act never talk about the provision that gives the federal government responsibility for...