Three days after Hurricane Sandy, the mailman finally resumed his appointed rounds, one day after the UPS man was able to deliver a package. So much for the “neither snow nor rain ...” motto of the U.S. Postal Service, which by the way, is not an official creed of the agency. Could Romney be right? Could private enterprise function better than a quasi-governmental entity?
Perhaps, since “brown,” FedEx and any other company probably would not have to operate under the same constrictions imposed on the Postal Service, such as requiring congressional approval for rate hikes and service-related decisions, including the ability to cut off some delivery days and routes. Free enterprise is great but we should realize there are some functions that serve our national best interest if they are either government run or at the least government regulated. For example, could you imagine what would happen if the government did not oversee nuclear power facilities? How safe would you feel living near such a power plant. Even with government oversight I’m not too comfortable living within 28 miles of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, NY.
Maybe government supervision of nuclear energy is easy to accept. How’s about something simpler, such as cell phone service. To be honest, our cell phone capabilities are lousy, far behind those in most other countries, including Third World nations. It’s because the government did not set national standards when the industry began. Only recently did consumers obtain the right to keep their telephone numbers when they switched carriers.
Reagan and his blind followers were wrong to blame government as the problem. Waste is the problem. Even with occasional delays in getting my mail—mostly bills, promos for more credit cards and mail order prescriptions—our postal service is among the best in the world. If you have friends or relatives living in other countries, ask them about their postal horror stories.
By the way, if you didn’t know any better, you’d have sworn Barack Obama and Chris Christie were the best of buddies the way they hung together and talked effusively about each other during the president’s tour of wreckage in the governor’s state of New Jersey. Some reports say Republicans are upset with Christie for praising Obama when the election hangs in the balance. Obama, meanwhile, didn’t seem to hold a grudge for recent attacks Christie has launched on his leadership. The photo-op of Obama looking presidential visiting and comforting the Sandy’s victims was worth swallowing some pride. See, Democrats and Republicans can work together, or at least give the appearance of such.
Turf Wars: Or should I say, tree wars. I wonder, what with all the downed trees, is there a nesting war going on among squirrels and birds forced to find new homes above us in trees already staked out by their rodent and aviary cousins? (Actually, squirrels live in nests called “dreys,” usually built in the forks of trees limbs.)
In anticipation of winter, squirrels have been packing food away all around their neighborhoods. How’s the new landscape going to impact their winter feeding? Just wondering ...
More to wonder about ... The Pied Piper legend had him ridding Hamelin of its rats by luring them with his flute to jump into Germany’s Weser River where all but one drowned. I wonder, has Hurricane Sally basement and tunnel flooding killed off many of the rats that reside in subterranean Manhattan? Just wondering ...
Today being Wednesday I usually deliver food to seniors living in Yonkers. But the social service agency couldn’t get its food shipment so the ladies will have to hunker down for another day as a delivery is planned for Thursday. They’re a pretty resilient group, these octogenarians and nonagenarians (those are 80 and 90 year olds, for those not familiar with those terms), so I’m not too concerned they’ll waste away. But I do feel responsible for checking in on them, some of whom still live in free-standing houses.
A few limbs fell off some of our evergreen trees, but for the most part we emerged unscathed from the storm. Some 30 years ago, however, in our first house, we experienced a startling tree casualty. One Sunday as I was working in our breakfast nook around 9 pm, I heard what sounded like a mortar blast in our back yard. Half of an enormous weeping willow tree in one of our neighbor’s yards had snapped and fallen across three yards, ours included. Luckily, no house was hit. No damage except to the neighbor’s pocketbook. It cost more than $2,000 to have the tree chopped down, cut up and hauled away. Willow is not good firewood, so none of it was worth salvaging. Too bad, because at the time 80% of our heat came from wood I gathered for our wood burning stove.