Wednesday, 6 February 2013

08:06 – Barbara made a flying visit home last night for dinner and a quick visit before heading over to spend the night with her dad. Her mom is no better and probably worse. She’s still in the hospital and seems likely to remain there at least through this week. There’s been no improvement in her mental condition, which may or may not be a result of the IV antibiotic they have her on for the lung infection. She’s still not eating and is sleeping only because they’ve increased the dosage of the drugs they give her in the evening. Barbara, her sister, and her dad are increasingly concerned that Sankie won’t snap out of it this time. My worry is that even if she does get back to normal and they send her home, the stress of trying to deal with Dutch’s condition will put her right back in the hospital within days.

The stress on Barbara and Frances, and of course their dad, is simply unbearable. Barbara and Frances are spelling each other, taking turns spending the night with their dad, but even that doesn’t help much. When Barbara is off-duty, she’s still spending a lot of time on the phone with Frances and the doctors, talking about what’s going on and making decisions about what’s to be done. The same is true for Frances when she’s off-duty. Neither one of them gets any real break.


09:55 – The USPS just announced that it will end Saturday delivery of first-class and lower mail starting in August. They’ll continue Saturday delivery of Express Mail and Priority Mail. Of course, Congress is supposed to have to approve such changes, but it sounds to me as though the USPS is going to do this whether Congress likes it or not.

I think this change is long overdue. USPS says it’ll save them about $2 billion a year, and few people will be adversely affected by the absence of Saturday delivery. In fact, I think it’s long past time for the USPS to tell Congress to go pound sand. USPS is, in theory, a private business, and it should start behaving like one. All of the financial problems the USPS has been having are directly attributable to Congressional meddling. USPS has hundreds if not thousands of post offices and other facilities that should have been closed long ago. They remain open because Congress won’t allow them to close them despite the fact that it make no business sense to keep them open. And Congress won’t allow USPS to close these facilities because voters object. USPS should be operating as an NGO (essentially, a non-profit), with its original goal of delivering the mail while breaking even. In fact, absent governmental meddling, that’s exactly what USPS is doing now.