Friday, August 12, 2011

The Post Office Gets It

I can't believe this, but for the second time in two weeks, I'm singing the praises of the US Postal Service. Why? Because they get it. Someone there understands that when you don't have the money, you don't ignore the fact and keep spending. You make cuts. From a CNNMoney report:

According to documents obtained by CNNMoney, the United States Postal Service is appealing to Congress to remove collective bargaining restrictions in order to lay off 120,000 workers. It also wants congressional approval to replace existing government health care and retirement plans.

The post office claims it needs to eliminate 220,000 positions, or more than 30% of its staff by 2015, but only 100,000 of those positions can be made through attrition. The other 120,000 must come from lay offs, according to the documents.

"To restore the Postal Service to financial viability, it is imperative that we have the ability to reduce our workforce rapidly," the USPS wrote.

Two weeks ago, the USPS announced the plan to close 3,600 offices. Now plans to cut workforce. How about that. Nip at the edges to save the whole. Not raise the price of stamps, thereby driving away yet more customers. Cut costs. The picture will be complete if the USPS lowers the cost of postage. I won't hold my breath. How can I? I'm singing me some praises! Rah-rah, USPS! Dare I even dream of selling off this antiquated beast? That would be so appropriate, but hey, let's not get greedy. A move in the right direction warms the heart and clears the bleary eyes.

Feh. Congress will probably stand in the way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Abdul Leaving WXNT

This was shocking, sad news to receive today. My friend Chris Ward texted me a few minutes after receiving Abdul Hakim-Shabazz's tweet that Friday would be his last show on WXNT, 1430-am. It's disappointing to me for several reasons.

First and foremost, Abdul was always very good to me personally. He had me on the show many, many times- as a candidate for Secretary of State in 2006 and County Council in 2010, as the opposition to light rail, and as a proponent of fair redistricting, as party to a lawsuit against the Town of Fishers for sitting on a valid petition, commenting on State of the Union and State of the State addresses, etc.

Abdul was always fair with the Libertarian Party in general. His motto of "I am an arms dealer" was applied to us in a very inclusive way. Libertarians aren't always included in media dialogue, unless it's to be a dog to be kicked. Abdul included us because we are a bona fide political party and on the ballot. That's fairness, and it has always been deeply appreciated.

But I'm a fan of live radio that focuses on local topics. This is something woefully scarce in Indianapolis media. I was spoiled in Cleveland, with live local talk on several full power stations, plus the college radio scene, which I was a part of. When I came to Indy some 10 years ago, it was immediately apparent that radio here SUCKED in comparison. All of the media, really. Being in the state capitol, it always appeared that the media was interested in covering 'big' statewide news, at the expense of local issues. If the Star put the staffing into a City Desk that it does into Sports, it would have something vibrant. Alas. So, Abdul- yes, a guy from Illinois and with a foot still very much in the door in Illinois- was bringing better, more interesting, more useful radio to Indianapolis than the natives were creating.

And now, because WXNT apparently doesn't get any money budgeted to it, will shed Abdul in favor of yet another nationally syndicated show. In other words, they're trashing their top asset, and replacing it with something utterly forgettable. *sigh* This is where I dream of having piles of riches in reserve, so that I could launch a real local radio station, just to show 'em what that's like.

And again, Abdul has always been very good to me. A friend. So, I wish him well in whatever he undertakes to put him back up to at least 3 jobs at once. A good man deserves as much.