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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 - 06:27 am:   

Please consider adding your name to this petition: http://www.freepress.net/postal/
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Jetse
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 - 11:04 am:   

Can foreigners also sign?

Update that: obviously, they can't. I filled in my details and got this:

We're sorry, but it appears that you are not eligible to participate in this campaign. This could be for one of several reasons, possibly:

--You do not live in the target state or district, or if you do;
--We may have not been able to map your address to your elected official

Oh well, I tried.
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GSH
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 - 11:51 am:   

BTW, you can visit this House of Representatives page to quickly ID your rep and send an individual e mail. When you fill in the blanks and click on the "Contact My Representative" button, you'll get a pre-addressed form with an empty text box. So, just copy-and-paste the text of the petition from the page Mr. Van Gelder has provided above.

Lots of individual e mails probably help, along with adding your name to the petition. It only takes a moment!

Why should our favorite small publications be subsidizing the likes of Time-Warner?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 - 02:32 pm:   

Done.
Is there any way to protest the discontinuation of the M bag to mail books and other "lots" of objects to foreign countries cheaply? Suddenly, there's only airmail and the price to ship a bunch of books has risen by a huge amount.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2007 - 03:45 pm:   

From the looks of the current total of signatories, I'll be 86,029 out of the 100,000 signatures sought.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2007 - 03:59 pm:   

The webpage said that my signature and the petition would be sent to my local congressional representative, which happens to be (sigh) the _former_ (African-American) mayor of Kansas City, MO; one Rev. Emanuel Cleaver (Democrat). Fat chance he'll pay any real attention to it. They renamed a major boulevard after him a few years ago, but we in the local delivery business (both black and white) refer to it as Emanuel (Beaver) Cleaver Blvd. :-)

Thank goodness we now have a new mayor here in KC who stands on principle rather than polls, or a minority lobby. The current mayor recently stood toe to toe with the radical Hispanic group La Raza, who threatened to cancel their 2009 convention unless the new mayor fired a member of the Parks & Recreation board because she was a member of the Minutemen. She had no influence or connection to anything remotely involving those in charge of the convention, and the mayor told La Raza to take a hike...which they did. The city is applauding his stance, even though it will cost KCMO several millions of dollars. Big whoop.

So I doubt if my signature on the petition to the right Reverand Emanuel (Beaver) Cleaver will have any impact at all. But we'll just have to wait and see, and hope.
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GSH
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 10:50 am:   

"Return to Sender: Congress Takes Up Unfair Postal Rate Hikes. Publishers Testify at Tuesday Hearing About Threat to Independent Magazines." October 30, 2007 article
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - 09:29 am:   

Being a foreigner, I can't sign, but I'm with you.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 05:36 pm:   

Dave Truesdale's Congressional rep in Kansas sent him this response to the protest:

*

Dear David:



Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposed increase in periodical rates by the United States Postal Service (USPS). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.



As you may know, the USPS has proposed revisions to the periodicals portion of its mailing standards that will accompany the new periodicals pricing that will go into effect on July 15, 2007. The new mailing regulations will include magazines and newspapers. The USPS has expressed that the new prices will serve as incentives for mailers to use efficient containers and bundles. New prices will also affect the editorial portion of a mailing in order to give mailers of high-editorial-content publications access to lower-destination rates.



Since the USPS is self-funding, Congress does not allocate federal funds to the service, nor does it have any input in rate changes. The USPS organizes a comprehensive budget on a yearly basis, and all rate adjustments are documented through the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The PRC holds hearings on the request, during which any interested party has the option to express concerns and supply evidence. After the review, the PRC then transmits its recommendations to the Governors of the Postal Service, who are appointed by the President, and the USPS then acts on the recommendations.



Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I may be of further assistance. Also, I encourage you to visit my website at http://www.house.gov/cleaver, where you can sign up for my electronic newsletter and receive updates on my latest activities as your Representative.





Sincerely


Emanuel Cleaver, II

Member of Congress
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GSH
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 12:19 am:   

"New prices will also affect the editorial portion of a mailing in order to give mailers of high-editorial-content publications access to lower-destination rates."

Huh?

I guess what's stated here is that if you mail huge volumes of widely distributed material that you pre-sort and bundle and pack in containers to save the post office some work, you can take advantage of the same reduced rates by including your smaller circulation stuff in with the same lot.

So he's just restated what's so unfair about the whole scheme, right? It gives giant corporations a special deal that the small publisher can't take advantage of.

If big corporations happen to print "high-editorial-content publications", it makes it cheaper for them to get their own opinions out. It also gives the big guys an edge in competing for small targeted market niches. That could affect a lot more than the diversity of editorial opinion.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 04:53 am:   

This was confusing for me as well, GSH. I guess we need someone in the know to decode all of this for us; to let us know what this double-speak really means. As it is, your interpretation is as good as any. It seems it's favoring the large over the small in order to save money, which is always the bottom line isn't it? Or is the money-line just the cover for the unintended consequences we're all so concerned about?

A concern for me also is that if the USPS is self-regulatory, then who speaks for _us_? From Cleaver's response he makes it clear it's not the responsibility of Congress and there's precious little (if anything) he can do, right? Or am I misreading what he's said?
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 07:07 am:   

As you may know, the USPS has proposed revisions to the periodicals portion of its mailing standards that will accompany the new periodicals pricing that will go into effect on July 15, 2007. The new mailing regulations will include magazines and newspapers. The USPS has expressed that the new prices will serve as incentives for mailers to use efficient containers and bundles. New prices will also affect the editorial portion of a mailing in order to give mailers of high-editorial-content publications access to lower-destination rates.

Since the USPS is self-funding, Congress does not allocate federal funds to the service, nor does it have any input in rate changes. The USPS organizes a comprehensive budget on a yearly basis, and all rate adjustments are documented through the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The PRC holds hearings on the request, during which any interested party has the option to express concerns and supply evidence. After the review, the PRC then transmits its recommendations to the Governors of the Postal Service, who are appointed by the President, and the USPS then acts on the recommendations.


Hey, I've read the above before. It's a translation, an awfully good one at that, of one of the more poignant passages from The Necronomicon. And people wonder why readers of The Necronomicon go insane!
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R.Wilder
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 07:22 am:   

This is what my rep sent me in response:


Thank you for contacting me about the Postal Board of Governors' recent
decision to increase rates, including periodical rates. I appreciate
knowing your concerns.



As you may know, the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (the
Commission) is an independent regulatory agency charged with examining
and recommending postal rate changes. The Commission holds public
hearings and takes public comments on every proposed rate increase. It
then recommends rate increases to the Postal Service Board of Governors,
which in turn may accept or reject the recommended increases. Congress
does not play a role in increasing postal rates.



On May 3, 2006, the Postal Service proposed adjustments for
all postal rates and fees, including periodical rates. These proposals
were subject to public hearings at the Postal Regulatory Commission. The
Commission heard from both small and large publishers. On February 26,
2007, the Commission issued its recommendations to the Board of
Governors. On October 29, 2007, the Commission issued its final
regulations.



A primary principle of any ratemaking process is that each class of mail
or service must raise enough revenue to cover its costs. Mail that is
pre-sorted and bundled before it is delivered to the Postal Service will
cost less than mail that needs to be sorted individually. The Postal
Service wants to cut costs by encouraging publishers to become more
efficient when mailing periodicals.





As I mentioned earlier, Congress generally does not play a role in
postal rate increases. However, the Hou se Committee on Oversight, the c
ommittee with jurisdiction over the Postal Service, recently held a
hearing on this issue. If legislation is considered to change this rate
structure, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.



Thank you again for contacting me. With warm regards, I am,



Sincerely,


Vernon J. Ehlers

Member of Congress
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 06:15 pm:   

Dear R.,

What state is your representative from? Just curious. :-)

His response seems less scripted than my rep's did. Don't think it makes any difference, but like I say I'm just curious.
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Robert Brown
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 10:04 pm:   

Dave wrote: "From Cleaver's response he makes it clear it's not the responsibility of Congress and there's precious little (if anything) he can do, right? Or am I misreading what he's said?"

Dave, your question is especially relevant considering the power of the congress to enact legislation is constitutionally limited to matters of interstate commerce. I suppose it isn't surprising that congress might ignore matters of interstate commerce considering how much of their activities do not involve interstate commerce. It shows a kind of perverse consistency-- or perhaps obstinacy-- at least.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 01:08 pm:   

Dave: I'm in Michigan. Vern Ehlers's press secretary is a close friend, and I'm attending his wedding next month. I'm going to ask him about the response, and the issue, then.
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GSH
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 02:10 pm:   

At least they're providing more interesting stamp options:

Marvel Super Heros

I'm sure we're all looking forward to the Blotter Acid Art set.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 03:46 am:   

Dear R.,

You said, about your rep's press secretary: "I'm going to ask him about the response, and the issue, then."

(Chuckling, with an optimistic grin), I ask you to do so after he's had a few at the wedding reception...but not too many so's that he'd forget the issue the next morning...

In reality, and in all seriousness, regardless of who "we" might know, and while I desperately _want_ to be optimistic about these sort of issues (and by inference your possible influence), I must confess my cynicism about anything changing re _this_ issue. And my cynicism has naught to do with your brave efforts, but just the sad way politics works in general...especially these days.

That said? Please do go for it. It most certainly can't hurt, and more power to you.

And, um, good luck with the horny single bride's maids (assuming you're single, of course). I actually (to put it crudely, but the woman pursued _me_), scored at a wedding once, back in the 70's. This was back when the original incarnation of Tangent had just begun in the early 70's and I was finishing up college after a two-year layoff. That "magazine _editor_" thing caught her nubile, naive, literary fancy (heh, heh), and what was I supposed to do?? She made this fancy ceramic TANGENT plaque (she was an Arts Major, dontcha know) with hooks on the back for wall mounting and everything, presented it to me just before the wedding of her girlfriend (which I was hornswaggled into attending from another female friend), and...one thing led to another. She was very sweet, attractive, and...soo innocent/nice. Looking back on it now, I screwed up by not pursuing her instead of eventually living with the (petite, blond, sexy) b*tch I ended up living with for five years. I really screwed up on that one. Live and learn the hard way.

Er, ahem, to get back to bizness? So talk to your congressional rep's secretary _after_ you hopefully meet someone very _nice_ at the wedding (again, only if you're single). Fidelity is the only way to go, believe me.

Hopefully, your rep will see the light on this issue and will be faithful to it as well.

How's _that_ for tying up sex and politics with the same metaphor? :-)
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R.Wilder
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 10:08 am:   

Dave: I have no hope whatsoever of having any influence with Vern over any issue, regardless of my friendship with his press secretary. He is a politician after all. I'm just curious of how that response was crafted, and if other constituents have addressed it.

There will be hot babes at the reception. I will be doing shots of tequila and keg stands. I'm filled with hope that there will be females of the partying variety.

Now if they only read SF too...
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Curt Phillips
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 04:57 pm:   

Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia just got my petition. It was # 980,085 so the signitures are adding up.

Curt Phillips
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 07:48 am:   

I'd say the post office could no more undo that rate hike than a postman could untie and change his shoes after a day's hike of his own. The post office seems to be an accellerating bureaucracy.

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