EDITORIAL: Fund Postal Service now

IS THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE a joke? Not if you depend on it for delivery of medicines or if you expect online purchases delivered to your doorstep. But last week the President of the United States called it “a joke.”

Maybe the president’s remark April 24 was sarcastic. He praised postal workers but said he wouldn’t support Covid-19 federal aid to the Postal Service until that agency raises the price to deliver e-commerce packages. He said the rates the Postal Service charges to deliver e-commerce packages should be four times higher than they are now, and he singled out Amazon as part of the problem. But charging that much more would increase the chances Amazon and other shippers will do their own deliveries, which would deprive the Postal Service of much-needed revenue. Is there a punchline here?

Columbia County has 32 post offices. Before we suspended distribution of The Columbia Paper print edition at the end of March, we had readers in every one of those 32 ZIP Codes and we delivered papers directly to all but two of those post offices. At some point the pandemic will be less of a threat and we can resume publishing our print edition. But we can’t return without the Postal Service to deliver each issue to subscribers. That’s why the president’s “joke” becomes a local story. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: How long have you had these thoughts?

I HAVE BEEN GETTING a lot of letters positing that Donald Trump is a very bad man so someone, somehow, has to do something about that. Here are a few of them:

Dear Doctor: Trump is so dangerous that the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution should be invoked.

This amendment allows for presidential succession, but the rules are so complicated and potentially partisan that even in the case of a madman like Trump, it just isn’t going to happen. For example, you would need the “principal officers of the executive departments” (the cabinet) to sign on. Does anyone really think that these Trump-appointed cowards would agree to that? Nope, not going to happen. Nor will the spineless wonders in the Republican-dominated Senate (especially Mitch McConnell) show the courage to agree to even temporary disqualification. Look, I know that people are frustrated but just because you’re unhappy doesn’t mean that the 25th Amendment can be invoked easily. Read more…

EDITORIAL: It’s a protest

THE COLORED CHALK LETTERS Wednesday morning were big enough to fill the Chatham sidewalk with three lines:

“EARTH DAY IS A PROTEST.”

The wind blurred the artist’s name.

Half a century on from the first Earth Day gatherings, what happened then is worth remembering if only for what we knew and when we knew it. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Governor stands up for the state

I’M A PRETTY LUCKY GUY. I got to know two of my heroes pretty well. One was Pete Seeger and the other was Mario Cuomo, with whom I had a radio show for many years. For a kid from the West Side, that’s pretty good. It now gets better. After a long period of Mario’s son, Andrew, apparently being mad at me, he and I have been spending a lot of quality radio time together.

While I reserve the right to be critical of Andrew, I must say that I am now very proud of the guy. Finally, we see a hero who can stand up to one of the most obnoxious, megalomaniacal, cruel men in the world. It takes a great deal of courage to do that. We are not only talking personal courage here; we are talking political courage to take on a man who loves to punish his enemies and the states they were elected to lead. Don’t get me wrong–I really like and respect Chuck Schumer. He is one of the most important politicians in the country. However, he just doesn’t use his platform to let Trump know where to get off. Contrast that with Andrew, who knows that he has to get along to produce for the state but who also knows that the future of this country is at stake. When Trump is finally out of here, Cuomo will be remembered as the guy who did what he had to do.

In a recent radio conversation, I asked Andrew about the president tweeting in the middle of Cuomo’s daily press conference, which Trump was clearly watching. Incredibly, the big bully told Cuomo to stop talking and get back to work. Andrew has a temper, but he held it in check, suggesting that perhaps the president was spending too much time watching television. I don’t know about anyone else who was watching at that moment, but my heart was full. Finally, I thought, we have someone who is up to sticking it to a would-be dictator who seems to be emulating his best buddies around the world. The last time I saw anything like it was when Obama gave it to Trump during that now famous Legislative Correspondents’ dinner and that was too early in the game to know what an absolute terror Trump would turn out to be. Read more…