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A quick and dirty conversion of Tintin into Billy Batson

That's great!

So, when he says, "Shazam!" does he turn into Captain Haddock?

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

A quick and dirty conversion of Tintin into Billy Batson

Ha! I really want to see an adaptation of The Adventures of Captain Marvel serial drawn in the Hergé style.

Here's a clear, informed assessment of what's happening with the U.S. Postal Service, from Tonda Rush, director, Public Policy and General Counsel of National Newspaper Association. The NNPA represents community newspapers, many of which are in small towns and most of which use the USPS for delivery.

This is somebody who KNOWS what's she's talking about. 

If the link doesn't work, I've pasted the text below:

Tonda Rush on Facebook

Tonda Rush said:

People walk away from me when ‘postal’ comes out of my mouth. (My business colleagues will confirm it.). So, unless you are caught up in the USPS drama, I promise the following will be boring.

I have written treatises on this topic in my time, for 37 years, sadly enough. I watch the chaos today and am trying to discern whether there really a conspiracy to destroy the Postal Service. I don’t actually think so but there certainly is an inadequate will to preserve it.

End of the day: Congress is at the root of today’s problem. The institution cannot be successfully run as it was set up in 1970. Many members of Congress know it, particularly Tom Carper of Delaware and Gerry Connolly of Virginia. And Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. The problem is that they don’t like the solutions available. So, as in so many cases, the ones who try to fix it are ignored and the rest wait until they are forced to act.

Here is what I know for sure.

The decommissioning of mail sorting machines has been actively occurring since March, not just as a fevered effort to mess up vote by mail. I am on a USPS task force helping to determine how mail processing has to change, and have followed the shifts in automation pretty closely. There isn’t enough mail any longer to justify running all the big machines, particularly for ‘flat’ mail (not letters, not packages.) As far as I can tell, the tarping of machines isn’t being done diabolically.

The new PMG inherited an institution carrying at least $70B in debt. *Most* of that was created by Bush 43 and his Treasury Dept because it wanted to guarantee that if USPS went under, taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for pensions and health benefits, which are fairly generous for a post-industrial society. The idea was to salt away money from ‘profits’ so these expenses were already funded. But the year after this obligation took effect, the IPhone was invented. USPS ‘profits’ began to vanish. Postal hasn’t paid for the prefunded benefits since 2008. Its unpaid bill shows up as a debt. Note, however, that no other federal agency has been made to prefund obligations like this. Why is USPS unique? Because Congress continues to live in the fantasy that USPS can not only live off postage alone but that postage money can be used to shore up the rest of the federal retirement system. Without USPS money, all federal pensions are at huge risk.

This new PMG is indeed a Trump donor. That would be true of most Republican businessmen. He does not come from within the rank and file. But he ran a trucking company, which is part of the logistics world that USPS operates in. I would not say he is unqualified. The employees always distrust anyone from the ‘outside,’ but don’t necessarily trust any of the insiders either once they get to the top job. The past 3 PMGs have been insiders and the most recent, Megan Brennan, was frequently vilified by her labor folks. (I admired her and thought she did a pretty good job, considering....)

That said, no mere mortal can do this job. period. Whoever tries is looking for an imminent body bag. The system does not have enough money to supply universal service. And a rural nation like ours has to have universal service, by which I mean service to every household. And yes, rural areas in particular need that service on Saturdays.

Raising postage does not solve the problem— the big businesses that use mail will simply switch to digital. Labor costs cannot be cut by furloughs and layoffs, as a private company would do, because the law forbids them.

Can the budget be balanced by eliminating overtime and slowing down the mail? That is what I think the PMG is trying to find out. The strategy will most likely be a disaster and it is not clear to me that it saves enough money to balance the books. But since Congress will not fix the finances, this is the only tool the USPS has.

All of this was happening before the new PMG came in. What President Trump thinks about it is almost a sideshow. He reacts to whoever is whispering in his ear and clearly thinks Amazon’s owner is his political enemy because of the Washington Post. Can the President destroy USPS out of political pique? No, I don’t think so, but since Congress isn’t doing its job, the President has a platform to air his grievances as the system crumbles. Both sides are now using this institution with more than a half million employees as a political football. Shame on them all.

Now, could the elimination of overtime mess up mail delivery during election season? Yes, it certainly could. Why do the USPS bosses think this is a good time to knock out overtime? That is either an economic question or a political question or both. I am not, frankly, sure which one dominates. But I do know this: Congress made this mess and only Congress can fix it.

On the other hand, there's this wrinkle, posted by Jason Johnson, a professor at the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University:

from Twitter:

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

We know Trump is trying to destroy @USPS by having DeJoy remove sorting machines, cut back hours and increase the cost of stamps for mail in ballots. We also know DeJoy can be removed by the USPS BOG. But how did we GET here? You may not like the answer....
9:11 AM · Aug 14, 2020

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

@USPS BOG is supposed to have 9 members, but they operated w/ an emergency committee & without a quorum for YEARS because several Obama appointees to the committee were blocked. Who were they blocked by? Senator Bernie Sanders

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

Sanders was concerned that the @USPS BOG would continue to slash services & hurt employees so he was widely reported as blocking Obama's nominees. So much so that by Dec 2016, there was only ONE BOG member left. Trump has filled the positions in subsequent years

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

It was well meaning policy on the Sander's part, the problem is 4 years later it's given Trump almost total control of the only oversight that could stop DeJoy from rigging the fall elections. The Inspector General for the USPS can't remove him, and the BOG is loyal to Trump

from The Hill newspaper:

"Post Office Loses Another $5.1 Billion; Bernie Continues to Preven...

Buried in this thread is recognition that the USPS Board of Governors nominees blocked by Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to privatize the organization, kill Saturday delivery and break the unions. But the end result was that as governors finished their terms, they weren't replaced, until there was no one left on the agency and those seats stayed vacant for years ... until the current incumbent filled them with loyalists.

Consequently, the Board of Governors cannot be a check on what's going on.



ClarkKent_DC said:

On the other hand, there's this wrinkle, posted by Jason Johnson, a professor at the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University:

from Twitter:

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

We know Trump is trying to destroy @USPS by having DeJoy remove sorting machines, cut back hours and increase the cost of stamps for mail in ballots. We also know DeJoy can be removed by the USPS BOG. But how did we GET here? You may not like the answer....
9:11 AM · Aug 14, 2020

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

@USPS BOG is supposed to have 9 members, but they operated w/ an emergency committee & without a quorum for YEARS because several Obama appointees to the committee were blocked. Who were they blocked by? Senator Bernie Sanders

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

Sanders was concerned that the @USPS BOG would continue to slash services & hurt employees so he was widely reported as blocking Obama's nominees. So much so that by Dec 2016, there was only ONE BOG member left. Trump has filled the positions in subsequent years

Dr. Jason Johnson said:

It was well meaning policy on the Sander's part, the problem is 4 years later it's given Trump almost total control of the only oversight that could stop DeJoy from rigging the fall elections. The Inspector General for the USPS can't remove him, and the BOG is loyal to Trump

from The Hill newspaper:

"Post Office Loses Another $5.1 Billion; Bernie Continues to Preven...

Truly frightening.

And here I was going to post something about comic books.

Maybe tomorrow.

IIRC, President Obama was blocked from making "Recess Appointments" to fill vacant offices by the Senate staying in session (with a skeleton crew).

Why do service technicians and repairmen never use the doorbell? I have been ay my current address for 20 years and all I have ever received is a tepid knock. Is it because they hope you don't answer so they charge a service fee? I have never not answered the door, but deliverymen always ring the bell (at least when I am home), but I have never known a service tech to do so. For the record, I have never not answered a tepid knock, but why don't service techs use the doorbell?

They assume you're having a massive systems failure, and the doorbell doesn't work?

When I moved from Missouri to Texas in 2001, I was forced to leave my comic books behind in storage. In 2004, I rented a truck and hired one of my nephews to help me haul them across the better part of three states. After three years with no access to backissues, I was in heaven! But that was 16 years ago and, not only have I taken them for granted, I have grown lax about refiling them after having referenced them. Two days ago, when I came across three comics I had been unable to locate for three months I decided to take a new tack: I gave up.

In order to clear some much needed shelf space, I recently sold $750.00 worth of comics in two trips ($150.00 and $600.00). I am also in the process of re-reading, then recycling, about a yard's worth of old CBGs. Now, at the rate of approximately one box per day, I am sorting stacks of loose comics with the intention of sealing them in my air-tight vault for the foreseeable future. I have endured a forced separation from my collection in the past, and I can do so again.

"They assume you're having a massive systems failure, and the doorbell doesn't work?"

That must be it. I'll ask the sprinkler guy when he comes [sometime] later today why he didn't ring the doorbell. DISCLAIMER: My parents' house (built in 1948) never had a doorbell; my maternal grandparents' house (built in 1927) never had a doorbell; my paternal grandparents' house (built 1930) had a doorbell, but it never worked in my lifetime due to faulty wiring. So I didn't grown up with doorbells. I am sometimes considered a Luddite because I don't own a cell phone, but a doorbell? Practically every dwelling I've ever lived in has had a doorbell. 

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