Dateline: Richard’s World

What’s Old Is New: Village Post Offices Coming Back

You probably know this. The United States Post Office is broke. Bad broke. Really bad broke. The USPS stands testament to what is wrong with today’s federal government … unionized government workers, defined pension plans, bloated workforce, non-performance based hiring and promotions, government trying to compete with the private sector … basically a government bureaucracy run amok.

I have long stated and believe that an entity such as FedEx or UPS or maybe a combination of both, could take over the USPS and it would be making a profit in less than a year. We’d have better service and probably lower rates for first class mail. But hey, even if we didn’t have lower rates for first class mail, at least our tax dollars wouldn’t be wasted to the tune of billions of dollars. Let the hate mail start flowing from the unionized government workers.

But we all know there aren’t enough politician around who will take the bold and necessary steps to eliminate the USPS. No offense to all my female friends … but they don’t have the balls.

So, I ran across this tidbit of info from the USPS Postmaster that was included in his recent speech about closing about 3,600 PO locations, primarily in small rural towns. He said, “The agency is looking to contract with about 2,500 small groceries, pharmacies, and other retailers to create ‘village post offices’.” He got my interest.

Granted, this alone will not save the USPS. It will probably delay the inevitable. But I have to give the Postmaster credit … not a bad idea.

When I was growing up on the southside of Atlanta back in the 50s, our PO was in the local grocery store … a Mayberry type grocery store. Yes, I’m that old. So I know what he is talking about when he speaks of ‘village post offices’.

At least these contracted Post Offices will be operated by business people. Your tax dollars will be going to a local business person who will then turn around and put it back into their local community. And many of these communities with closed POs will still have service … and probably better service.

Nope, I don’t think it will save the USPS but it’s a good idea. But who knows, maybe one good idea will lead to another good idea and another good idea.

Until next time,

Richard

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The Debates That Will Never Happen

Dateline: From Richard’s World

Well, another Republican debate in the books. And I watched every minute. Even watched some of the talking heads afterwards. And they were still talking this morning and all afternoon today. What about? Sound bites. Who scored the best laugh line? The best knock on the other candidate. And on and on …. blah, blah, blah, … yada, yada, yada. Hardly a word about substance.

Not that there was much substance. How can there be when the game is rigged? I don’t where they went to school or what their definition of a debate is, but that was no debate. That was sound bites. And right now, I don’t think we need sound bites as we try to get educated about the person who will face off in the POTUS election next year.

In Richard’s World, this is how debates would be conducted. They are based on business meetings where you bring in the big dogs, the muckety-mucks, and they all sit around a big round table and hash it out. There is a facilitator to keep things civil and moving along. Other than that, it is adults hashing it out – no physical punches allowed.

So, The Debates That Will Never Happen is where all of the candidates are sitting around a big round table. The cameras are positioned so they can get everyone – logistical matter for TV people – not my expertise. Time limit on total debate length to be determined by majority vote between the candidates.

The first one is a free-for-all. No questions from anyone but the candidates and statements by the same. They get five minutes each for opening statements. Then let the fun begin. Then 5 minutes for closing statements.

Who goes first? I don’t know., Draw short straw or do Scissor, Paper, Rock. The public would love that and they understand it – it’s simple. Everyone knows the rules.

The winner goes first. Remember, no rules, just civil debate between “friends” trying to solve a problem. Eventually, others will join in. They start having real debate. If someone gets out of line or someone is hogging the floor, the facilitator jumps in and restores order.

At the end of this first Debate That Will Never Happen, another one is planned for each and every month afterwards until the final candidate is chosen at the convention.

At the following Debates That Will Never Happen, there is a big bowl in the center of the table. In the bowl are questions submitted by registered voters. Granted, someone, maybe someone from the RNC, will need to cull through the questions beforehand and make sure the ones submitted from the dumb masses are thrown away. You know, we don’t want to waste time with questions like the talking heads ask, like, “Do you like Lady Gaga?”  Seriously, I heard this question asked of one of the Republican candidates weeks ago. Seriously. You get my drift. We want good questions from real voters.

Eventually, due to the format and business-like approach, several or one candidate will emerge that shows real leadership quality. Someone will stand out. And we’ll know a lot more about the candidates than we ever would using the current talking head format.

Next, we take this same format to the Presidental debates next fall.

I know, I know. You’re sitting there saying to yourself, great idea but this will never happen. You’re probably right. That’s why it is The Debates That Will Never Happen. But remember, you entered Richard’s World where we dream … and dream BIG!

Until next time – Richard


Supercommittee; Super Stupid

From Richard’s World

So now our lazy, so-called “statesmen” have selected their picks for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also being called the Supercommittee and Super Congress. I call it Super Stupidology.

It’s just plain laziness, cowardly, and dereliction of elected duty, IMHO. And I’m afraid we’re headed down another slippery slop that will take more power away from the people and give it to a select few political insiders. I’m afraid.

The stated goal of the panel — composed of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans from the House and the Senate — is to reduce federal budget deficits by a total of at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years. It was given a deadline of Nov. 23, 2011. Any recommendations it makes are to be voted on immediately by both chambers of Congress, with no filibusters or amendments allowed.

Read that again, please. Any recommendations it makes are to be voted on immediately by both chambers of Congress, with no filibusters or amendments allowed.

So why have the other legislators any more? Why not put the Supercommittee recommendations up on the Internet and let registered voters vote on them electronically – yea or nay. Why pay these hundreds of individuals to be there and all of their expenses and pensions and so on any longer. Shoot, we now have a Congress of 12 people.  Seems unconstitutional to me … but hey, what do I know … I live in Richard’s World.

I thought making legislation was about discussions, debates, compromise, amendments, and open dialogue in public. I read today where legislation has been introduced to FORCE this new Supercommittee to conduct their business in open public. So you know what that means, don’t you? Right now, as it is, they don’t have to conduct their business in open public. This is scary folks. Be very, very scared.

I know, I know … granted, Article I, § 5 of the Constitution provides that “Each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings.” They just changed their rules a tiny bit.  How convenient.

And the rules made by the Houses at one point may be changed later, and the Act acknowledges this: “The provisions of this title are enacted by Congress … with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of such House.”

But for some strange reason I’m just getting bad vibes from this Supercommittee idea. How about you?


Richard’s World
Fixing This Mess We’re In

They’ll never put me in charge. I know this. But humor me.

We have a mess in America right now. A REAL mess. We have a POTUS that has never held a job. Surprised at his leadership skills? I’m not. We have congressional leaders who don’t understand the meaning of Statesmanship. And they seem to have lost the concept of civil service and don’t understand the meaning of a citizen government. Our founding fathers wanted a citizen government – that would mean all citizens could run for office. Problem today is the average citizen can’t afford to run for office – especially against an entrenched incumbent who is beholden to special intereest groups and can raise big bucks to beat the little citizen with little financing.

We had a POTUS once name Roosevelt – FDR. A lot like the present one … he loved to redistribute the wealth, too. He was so popular with his giveaway programs, he got elected to four (4) terms as POTUS – poor guy died in his 4th term … guess it was too much for him. Some time after he died, some smart folks said, “Whoa, nobody should be POTUS for 4 terms. Let’s change that.”  Good idea, IMHO. They term limited the POTUS.

I think it is time to limit congressional terms, too. Too many of these folks are just too damn comfortable in their cushy positions. I say if term limits are good enough for the POTUS and America (It works), then so be it for Congress members.

That’s step #1. Now here’s Step #2.

I don’t advocate in Richard’s World more laws. I think we have enough laws. Plus, Congress should only be in session about 4 months of the year. Hell, Texas only meets every other year. The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days. Do you see Texas falling apart? I didn’t think so.

But I will propose one more law. Ban political parties.

Just run if you want to run. If you lean right, left or center, if people want to get to know you, they’ll figure it out. So when election time comes, you see all of these names on the ballot. No party affiliation. You had better do your homework. Oh damn, problem here, I’m asking the dumb masses to think. But yep, that’s what I’m saying. If you’re going to vote, find out what the person stands for and not what their party stands for.

There is one slight problem with this “no party” idea and putting everyone on the ballot. Maybe you can help me figure out a solutions.

I’m afraid if the names are listed in alphabetical order, we’ll have a lot of members of Congress with last names that start with an “A” or “B”. I apologize to all of the people with names starting with letters low in the alphabet … you’ll probably never get elected. But hey, maybe one of you will come up with a solution.

Until next time,

Richard


Abuse of Freedom of Speech and Other Cowardly Acts

I hate to bring any attention to someone who appears to be mentally deranged but those who follow the writings and leadership of Fred Phelps and his so called church are in my humble opinion in need of some serious help.  Fred Phelps calls his church a Baptist church but there is absolutely no affiliation with the real Baptist Church .  I hope non-churched individuals will realize this and not associate with those who attend REAL Baptist churches with Fred Phelps and his followers.

For the un-indoctrinated, Mr. Phelps (he calls himself a preacher) and his WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) pride themselves in picketing the funerals of military members killed in Iraq .  This in itself is, again, in my humble opinion, an act of treason but Mr. Phelps hangs his hat on first amendment rights.  Now, is it not ironic that brave individuals are dying for our freedom, including freedom of speech so that a self proclaimed preacher (I doubt he has any real credentials) can run around the country further inflicting pain and suffering on families who have lost loved ones.

This so called man of God has a website that spouts rhetoric and hatred equal to that of the Nazi party in the 1930’s.  I refuse to give any credence to his ravings by repeating anything from his website but needless to say the protesting of funerals is just one example of the apparent sickness.  One would be almost forced to ponder how much food this man has eaten from aluminum and iron cookware.  I am told a lifetime of eating from cheap aluminum cookware has a negative effect on the electrical impulses in the human brain. 

The latest outrage will be picketing the funerals of those killed at Virginia Tech earlier this week.  One of these funerals will take place in Augusta, Georgia this weekend.  Again, the irony here will be the fact that the local law enforcement will be required to protect the rights of Mr. Phelps and his band of village idiots from any harm that might be perpetrated against them.  I hope there is no violence for the sake of the family of Ryan Clark. 

Perhaps I am incorrect in my assumption that exposing Mr. Phelps and the WBC will give them more credibility.  Perhaps we should make it our mission to read the hatred on his website and realize that all the dangerous people in the world do not carry automatic weapons and kill human beings through mad acts.  Human beings can receive serious damage by madmen using the guise of religion and free speech to perform character assassination and emotional distress. 

Shame on Fred Phelps and shame on those who use religion as a crutch to spout hatred and their own political viewpoints!

Terry


Power Pride and Arrogance or Ignorance and Naiveté

Speaker Pelosi has placed herself in the position of defending the wording of her message to Syrian President Assad.

The issue is really not whether or not she delivered the wrong message – the issue is Speaker Pelosi’s obvious naiveté regarding politics on the world stage. Her demeanor is scary, dangerous and somewhat foolish.  She is the person only two steps away from assuming the Presidency of the United States and she is acting like a power crazed court jester.

Perhaps she did not violate any diplomatic rules when communicating with President Assad but she put herself in the position of being second guessed and criticized.  She is operating in an arena where she has no qualifications and obviously fewer skills on the world stage.  Does she really believe King Abdullah cares one bit about the number of women in authority in Saudi Arabia?  The comment did make for some good sound bytes however.

So now we have Prime Minister Olmert of Israel telling us that Speaker Pelosi delivered a message he did not authorize.  Speaker Pelosi’s press machine is already in full defense telling anyone who will listen how she did not break any rules and stayed within the boundaries of her office.  Once again, I say it does not matter what message she delivered it matters that she is not qualified to play in this sandbox. 

Will Syria now assume they are more than a second class country on the world stage?  No one really knows but visits from self important demagogues will certainly not take away from this perception.  Will King Abdullah realize the error of his ways and appoint more females to important posts within the Saudi government?  When pigs fly!!!  As a matter of fact King Abdullah is now preaching the rhetoric that the U.S. is an invader in Arab lands and needs to leave the area post haste.  He is putting a multi billion dollar arms deal with the U.S. in jeopardy with his current stance on U.S. Mideast Policy. 

One would have to suspect that King Abdullah is concerned with his power base in Saudi Arabia due to the large influence of radical Islamist in the country.  Perhaps we need to stop selling arms to the Saudi’s and let them slowly return to the 7th century.  The radicals talk about returning to the glory of ancient Islam but I really wonder what they would do if they no longer had air conditioning and Coca-Cola.  Remove the facade they have installed and we might see they really like Western culture. 

Speaker Pelosi – please keep up the good work and you may find yourself wearing a veil and being the servant matron for King Assad.  Should radical Islam get their wish and dominate the world stage including the United States, it will be ironic that individuals such as Nancy Pelosi would be the first to have their power diminished in a male dominated culture.  Good thing she does not qualify for one of the 72 virgins’ positions.

Terry


Finally, I have a better understanding of global warming.  Academy awards, congressional hearings and a mountain of written information have allowed me to see the light but it must be a CFL.  (Compact fluorescent light)  You know CFL is the replacement bulb for regular light bulbs and they only cost 4 times as much as incandescent bulbs. 

New terms have emerged because of the global warming scare and one should be cognizant of the definitions for these terms prior to engaging in any attempt at logical conversation.  The terms in question are Carbon neutrality defined as purchasing something called a Carbon Offset.  Basically, if you produce too much carbon in the atmosphere through driving, flying, using too much power at home or the office you can soothe your troubled mind by giving money to one of several companies in business to sell you a carbon offset.  Your money supposedly goes to projects creating power through non-carbon producing processes. 

I encourage everyone to investigate the motive behind global warming by visiting websites such as www.terrapass.com where you will be offered the opportunity to pay for the privilege of seeking carbon neutrality.  For example, you can enter your zip code and a little information about your power bills or your vehicle and you are quoted a carbon-offset fee.  I entered my power bill totals for the past month and as a result can receive a Terra Pass for one year for only $149.70.  For only $80.00, I receive a decal for my vehicle and have the opportunity to feel good about driving again.    Frankly, whoever is behind this website has my admiration.  Anyone who can pull this off has to be brilliant.  It remains to be seen if the American people will act like sheep running to the slaughter but I would wager these organizations would be extremely successful.

Does it seem a little strange we are requested to pay fees to allow us to abuse natural resources such as natural gas and petroleum?  I thought the purpose of reducing global warming was to reduce our dependence on these resources through conservation.  Now, we have a new industry evolving that will let me pay in advance for my sin of overindulgence.  Such a deal, I can purchase a vehicle getting 8 miles per gallon but put a decal on my window and be forgiven for my greed.

Follow the money! This ain’t brain surgery.

Terry