Sunday, September 19, 2010

Good Television

If you haven't seen the recent exchange on Fox News over privatizing the postal service, it's definitely worth watching (you won't hear me say that often about Fox News, but this is an exception).

Anyway, the video's making a splash because a racist Fox News commentator makes some pretty awful statements.  Unlike most of the time a racist Fox commentator opens their mouth, however, this time he gets called out and shouted down.  The whole thing makes for pretty good television, no question. 

But the racism is being covered in plenty of depth just about everywhere.  Instead, I want to talk about the issue Fox's panel of "experts" are in absolute agreement over: that the US Postal Service is a waste of money, and the whole thing would be better off in private hands.  They drop some numbers, and I'm just going to assume they're accurate: the Postal Service apparently loses seven billion dollars a year while their private sector competition turns a healthy profit, and that there are almost three times as many Post Offices in America than McDonald's.

Of course, the implication is clear: the Post Office is throwing away money on extraneous Offices.  Private industry, obviously, would be able to trim the fat, so to speak.  They could deliver the mail cheaper and more efficiently.

And - let's be honest - they could.  I have no doubt that UPS and FedEx could turn the industry around and make money delivering first class mail.

The important part is how they could do it.  And that takes us back to all those extraneous Post Offices.  You see, there are plenty of McDonald's here in New York City, just as there are in most every city.  That's because it's profitable to build a McDonald's in cities - just as it's profitable to build Post Offices and deliver mail here.  Wherever the population density is high, there's money to be made, because of increased volume.

But out in the various small towns and villages that dot America - you know the ones I'm talking about; they tend to vote Republican and watch Fox News - yeah, not many McDonald's around there.  And, if we turned mail delivery over to UPS, they'd thin out the Post Offices pretty quickly, too.  I'm sure it would still be possible to send mail, though, so long as you're willing to drive a few towns over to the nearest UPS store.  Likewise, I'm sure they'd be happy to deliver mail to those homes... it's just that it might cost a bit more.  Say, three or four times as much.

So if conservative America is really so sick of the socialized mail delivery system we have now, I for one would welcome replacing it with something more in line with their Capitalist ideals.  Because, frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of subsidizing their whining.

I'd rather just sit back and watch news footage of Congressional Republicans having to explain to their constituents why it now costs them $1.50 to send a postcard across town.  Because THAT would make for some really good television.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Apparently, a fan of Ayn Rand decided to express his love of the libertarian's writing by driving around the United States so the GPS tracking would spell "Read Ayn Rand."

I wanted to respond to this, but, as I live by the graces of New York's government funded public transportation system, I don't even own a car, nor do I have the tens of thousands of dollars to blow on gas.

I do, however, have a copy of Photoshop.

The article doesn't specify, but I'm going to go out on a limb and estimate it must have taken Nick Newcomen several months to complete his work.

It took me five minutes to improve it.  That seems reflective of the difference in intelligence between your average Ayn Rand follower and the rest of us.