February 20, 2013 |
Snail mail is fast going out of style. How is the U.S. Postal Service trying to stay hip? By launching a fashion line. The quasi-government agency, which is struggling financially and recently announced plans to stop delivering letters on Saturdays, said this week that it will start a line of clothing and accessories. The collection, to be called “Rain Heat & Snow,” will be made through a license agreement with Cleveland-based apparel firm Wahconah Group Inc. The Postal Service will not incur any cost and will collect royalties from sales, according to USPS spokesman Roy A. Betts.
February 11, 2013 |
This post has been updated. See below for details. Owl City can retire now -- the real thing is back. Synth-pop duo the Postal Service, whose one and only album, "Give Up," influenced a generation of bedroom producers with its catchy but complicated songs, on Monday morning released its first new music in 10 years. Called "A Tattered Line of String," the song features singer Ben Gibbard's typically infectious vocal melodies and programmer Jimmy Tamborello's dance-along rhythms.
February 10, 2013
Re "Cash crunch gives USPS a good chance to reform," Column, Feb. 7 I am surprised by the zeal with which David Lazarus advocates for massive changes at the U.S. Postal Service. Talk to the individuals who deliver your mail and you'll find that many letter carriers are military veterans. Massive job cuts will push many of them into a terrible economic situation. Forcing them to start over at FedEx or UPS is callous. Lazarus' idea of USPS Internet coffee houses makes me cringe.
February 10, 2013
Re "Misunderstanding the university," Opinion, Feb. 7 My time at Brooklyn College - which faces protests for the decision of its political science department to sponsor an event whose speakers supported boycotting Israel - was interrupted by three years of military service. But what I remember most about the school was the wonderful excitement of robust debate. At the time, students took sides on the tough, life-and-death issues of isolation versus involvement in World War II, the United Nations and more.
February 8, 2013 |
The beleaguered U.S. Postal Service can't seem to catch a break. Just two days after announcing it would cease Saturday delivery of first-class mail later this year, the agency Friday announced it lost $1.3 billion during the last three months of 2012. The October through December time frame is traditionally the postal service's strongest financial quarter because of the holiday shipping season. While package delivery was up 4% from the year-earlier period, that was not enough to buffer that $1.3 billion net loss.
February 8, 2013
Re "Saturday mail delivery slated to end in August," Feb. 7 It's called the U.S. Postal Service because it is a service, not a corporation. Who decided the Postal Service must be profitable? Do other government agencies, like the Defense Department and the Department of Education, have to turn a profit? Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general, and the Post Office has effectively served the American people for 237 years. But now it is under attack because, gasp, it's losing money.
February 8, 2013 |
Here's my response to the U.S. Postal Service canceling Saturday mail service: What a relief. Hey, I love the idea of getting wonderful things in the mail: big fat checks or torrid declarations of love (from someone I want to hear from). But the letter carrier doesn't deliver those things anymore, for the most part. Money you've earned gets deposited directly into your bank account. Lovers text and call. The last exciting piece of mail I got was my W-2 form. That means I can start the process of getting my income tax refund -- which won't come by mail but will be, yes, electronically deposited.
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.
February 6, 2013 |
So the Postal Service is pulling the plug on Saturday mail delivery . And all across America, millions of folks are saying: “Who cares? I've got email and Twitter and Facebook; I pay my bills online.” Sorry, guys, count me out. My reaction is -- well, let a great 20th century American philosopher say it for me. Here's Janis Joplin's “ Piece Of My Heart ”: “Take another little piece of my heart now, baby! Oh, oh, break it! Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I can't help it. I love mail.
February 6, 2013 |
The U.S. Postal Service, in its latest bid to save a few billion bucks, plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. It's not enough. The ugly truth is that the Postal Service's commitment to universal mail service is no longer financially viable in the age of email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter. As currently configured, it will never again be able to meet its legal obligation to pay its own way. To survive, the Postal Service will need to reinvent itself for the digital age. I have a few ideas on how to do that, which I'll get back to in a moment.