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Earlier this week we dealt with the popular belief that because the US Constitution mentions post offices, it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate or privatize the USPS. Today we have the flip side of that myth- the belief that the US Postal Service isn’t part of the federal government. You see this in news stories often- FedSmith ran a column just a week ago referring to the USPS as a “quasi-governmental entity”, that had been privatized in 1971! The Gallup Organization, which was responsible for the poll we reported earlier today naming the USPS the best-liked government service, referred to “the quasi-governmental U.S. Postal Service” in an earlier poll report. A recent story in the Atlantic claims that “Postal services were quasi-privatized in the US decades ago”. Just to make things interesting, the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe once referred to the USPS as “a quasi-federal outfit”– whatever that means!

Most of the quasi-confusion can be traced back to the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act, which eliminated the old Post Office Department, replacing it with the US Postal Service. The act was intended to make the USPS self-financing from its own revenues, and to make it an independent, non-political public service. Prior to the PRA, postmasters (including the postmaster general) were political appointees; rates were set by Congress, and the POD had to go through the appropriations process to get the money it needed to operate.

The PRA established a Board of Governors who were responsible for selecting the PMG and setting policies and budgets. It allowed the USPS to use its revenue to finance its operations without any appropriation process. It set up a separate commission to set postage rates.

What it didn’t do was privatize the postal service in any way, shape or form. Some in Congress, then as now, would have favored privatization. Consideration was also given to making the USPS a government owned corporation, like the TVA or Amtrak. But neither of those things happened. Here’s what the Act says:”The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States”. It also defines the USPS as “an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States”. Being “independent” doesn’t make the USPS a “quasi-” anything- it simply means it is not part of one of the cabinet departments. Other “independent” agencies include the CIA and NASA.

In a footnote to its most recent report on postal finances, the Congressional Research Service, part of the Library of Congress, had this to say:

The USPS often is mischaracterized as a quasi governmental or private entity. It is neither. The USPS is a government agency that was created by Congress to achieve various public purposes. Federal law defines what products and services the Postal Service may offer. Additionally, the USPS’s employees are federal employees who participate in the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

The Supreme Court has even weighed in on what being “independent” means for the USPS, in an opinion from 2004:

The PRA’s designation of the Postal Service as an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States,” 39 U. S. C. §201, is not consistent with the idea that the Postal Service is an entity existing outside the Government. Indeed, the designation indicates just the contrary. The PRA gives the Postal Service a high degree of independence from other Government offices, but it remains part of the Government.

That would seem to settle it, wouldn’t it?

Source: postalnews.com

Published in News

The issue date for the set of four Tyrannosaurus Rex forever stamps is expected to change to late August, the U.S. Postal Service has announced.

The planned ceremony date for the set of four Tyrannosaurus Rex forever stamps will be rescheduled, the United States Postal Service announced May 15.

“Due to a scheduling conflict, the previously announced first-day-of-issue ceremony for the Tyrannosaurus Rex forever stamps is being rescheduled from June 28 to possibly the last two weeks of August,” the Postal Service said in a press release. “We will announce the specific date and more details about the event as information becomes available.”

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is still expected to be the ceremony site, according to the Postal Service.

Source: linns.com

Published in News

The United States Postal Service is selling a boxed set in association with the Transcontinental Railroad forever stamp pane issued May 10 in Promontory Summit, Utah.

The set contains six imperforate (not die cut) panes of what the Postal Service describes as progressive proofs, in the following forms: cyan proof, magenta proof, yellow proof, black proof, cymk [cyan, magenta, yellow, black] composite, and gold foil.

Also included are a standard die-cut pane of the issued stamps, a red protective sleeve with gold foil imprint, a certificate of authenticity card, and a 44-page book with a yellow cover that is imprinted with gold foil.

The box containing these items has a gold foil impression on the otherwise solid blue lid. Sepia illustrations decorate the inside of the base and the lid.

The boxed set was offered at the USPS sales counter in Utah during and after the first-day ceremony for the set of three Transcontinental Railroad forever stamps, with a selling price of $79.95 as USPS item No. 570429.

The box and the book are sized just slightly larger than the issued stamp pane and the proof items, which measure 5.85 inches by 10.32 inches.

The boxed set bears some similarity to the $2 Jenny Invert numbered boxed set offered by the Postal Service for $200 in 2013 and sold between Aug. 9 and Oct. 15 of that year.

The prooflike items contained in that earlier set are mentioned in a note in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers following the listing for United States Scott 4806, but not assigned a value.

The new Transcontinental Railroad boxed set, which is not numbered, seems likely to receive a similar catalog treatment.

Roughly two-thirds of the book tells the story of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, while the final pages describe the process of designing, printing and processing the new stamps.

The stamps were the first to be printed on the Gallus RCS press by Banknote Corporation of America, combining four-color offset lithography with the application of gold foil in an inline-process. One benefit of the inline foil application is that it reduces the opportunities for printing errors.

The new machinery allows the successful printing of gold foil lines at .72 points of thickness, “a mere hundredth of an inch,” according to the book.

The individual proof panes for the four single colors each show an impression of one color only, with just the single plate number digit for that color showing in the bottom margin area.

The composite color proof has no gold impression and shows the full plate number of B1111.

The gold foil proof has no plate number and no additional color.

The proof panes provide the collector with some insight into the production process: specifically, how the four colors and the gold foil are combined in the standard pane to create the framed train portraits by Michael Deas and the ornate typographic elements by Kevin Cantrell.

Although various products associated with the Transcontinental Railroad issue were offered on the USPS Stamp Store website after the stamps were issued, including pin sets, cacheted covers, art prints and more, the boxed set was not offered online as of late Tuesday morning, May 14

Source: linns.com

Published in News

Two forever stamps will be issued to celebrate the 1969 manned moon landing by the crew of Apollo 11. The issue date has not been announced.

The United States Postal Service will issue two forever stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

No issue date or location was announced for the nondenominated (55¢) stamps. The format in which the stamps will be issued also was not revealed.

“One stamp features a photograph of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the surface of the moon,” the Postal Service stated in a March 13 press release. “The image was taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong.

“The other stamp, a photograph of the moon taken in 2010 by Gregory H. Revera of Huntsville, Ala., shows the landing site of the lunar module in the Sea of Tranquility. The site is indicated on the stamp by a dot. The selvage includes an image of the lunar module.”

USPS art director Antonio Alcala designed the stamps.

On July 21, 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon after the Apollo 11 lunar landing module Eagle carried them to the surface from the orbiting command module Columbia, piloted by Michael Collins.

The historic event was broadcast live on televisions around the world. The three astronauts returned to Earth safely three days later, on July 24.

While numerous living individuals have been depicted on U.S. stamps, the stamp picturing Aldrin is unusual in that its still-living subject was acknowledged and named by the Postal Service.

The current USPS stamp subject selection criteria says that “Living people will not be considered at the present time.”

Armstrong, the photographer, can be seen on the stamp in the reflection on the visor of Aldrin’s helmet.

Aldrin celebrated his 89th birthday in January. Michael Collins will turn 89 in October.

Neil Armstrong died at age 82 in 2012.

Suorce: linns.com

Published in News
Friday, 22 February 2019 10:04

Alabama Celebrates 200 Years

The U.S. Postal Service announced that the Alabama Bicentennial Statehood Forever stamp will be issued on February 23 at 10 a.m. CST, at Constitution Hall Park, 109 Gates Ave., in Huntsville, AL. The third-largest city in the state, Huntsville has been home to textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

This stamp celebrates the bicentennial of Alabama statehood according to a release by the USPS. Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the Union on Dec. 14, 1819. The stamp art is a photograph taken at sunset in Cheaha State Park.

Alabama photographer Joe Miller took the picture from the park’s Pulpit Rock Trail. With Pulpit Rock in the foreground, most of the area in the valley below the overlook is part of the Talladega National Forest, which surrounds the state park.

The name of the state and the year of statehood are included in the stamp art. The art director is William Gicker. Greg Breeding designed the stamp with Miller’s existing photograph.

“Alabama’s rich history stretches from its earliest inhabitants and settlement by European colonists to its significant role in the civil rights movement and its participation in the nation’s space program," the USPS noted. “The state was at the center of many important events in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, including the 1965 Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, a route now commemorated as a National Historic Trail.”

Yellowhammer_1 Along with the 2019 Alabama Bicentennial stamp, there are 87 spaces for stamps in the newly updated Alabama Bicentennial stamp album pages from the American Philatelic Society. Fill a binder with the 30 - 8.5 x 11" color pages, including four blank pages for first-day covers and memorabilia.

In addition to stamps featuring the symbols of the state like the Yellowhammer and camellia flower, Alabama is represented by stamps honoring famous innovators. Booker T. Washington, Civil Rights icons like Rosa Parks, pioneer aviators like C. Alfred “Chief ” Anderson, national musical treasures such as Hank Williams and Nat King Cole, and towering sports figures like Joe Louis and Bear Bryant are all featured on US stamps.

Official postmarks must be requested within 120 days by mail. New stamps may be purchased at a local post office or usps.com/shop. Stamps must be affixed to envelopes (addressed to the postmark recipient) and placed in a larger envelope stamped with the required postage and addressed to:

FDOI – Alabama Statehood Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5¢ charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by June 23, 2019.

Download the free Alabama Bicentennial stamp ablum pages from APS here.

Source: APS

Published in News