By DON BARNES
On Monday, the United States Postal Service announced they were going to ask the Postal Regulatory Commission for permission to downgrade First Class delivery standards by eliminating overnight First Class delivery.
They say they can eliminate about 250 sorting and processing centers including Tulsa which services LeFlore county. By eliminating the Tulsa center they say they can save about $3 Billion dollars and it will be a loss of about 600 jobs at the center.
The change means that our mail will be trucked to Oklahoma City for sorting and will take an additional one or two days for delivery to us. The Postal Service is a federal agency but functions as a private corporation and says it must take this action to avoid bankruptcy. The volume of First Class mail has been falling off over the past five years, thanks to an increase in the use of “electronic mail” being sent over the internet.
Packages being sent via American Express or UPS have also taken a toll on the Postal Service’s income and they are in danger of running out of cash. Something has got to give or else you and I may see the price of First Class stamps go up to $1. I’m sure many of you can remember when they were a dime, or even 5-cents? It was announced last Tuesday that the price of First Class stamps will increase by one-cent on Jan. 1, 2012, making them 45-cents.
Oklahoma Senator Harry Coates, a Republican from Seminole, has filed a bill to create a state guest worker program for illegal immigrants. He says the bill is designed to attract workers who may have left the state after the passage of House Bill 1804, which put Oklahoma companies at a disadvantage, by forcing immigrants to take up residence in other surrounding states where they spend millions of dollars in those communities.
Losing those workers has hampered Oklahoma’s industries such as agriculture, energy and construction and out of state companies are now coming to Oklahoma and getting contracts with the work force that was driven out of the state by HB 1804. Under Senator Coates’ bill, undocumented workers ages 18 and older would be allowed to stay in the state if they bought a $2,000 guest worker permit which would be renewable every two years. SB 995 would direct the state Department of Labor to administer the guest worker program.
The guest workers would have to find a sponsor to hire them and provide basic health insurance. And, if they lose their job they would have 30 days to find another sponsor or employer. Guest workers would be barred from driving. Senator Coates’ bill is drawing some criticism and opposition from some officials in the state. The “Times Are a Changin”!
Back around 1900 there was a rush from people from countries all over the world to come to the United States. They had to get off of a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some of them even got down on their hands and knees and kissed the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country at all times.
They learned English because it was the primary language of American households and some of them even changed their names so they would “blend in better”. They understood what being an American was and they were proud to be called Americans. They had come here from England, France, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Poland, Russia and Greece. Many of them were also Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani and Afghan. Or, members of one of our American Indian tribes. In America they were free to worship or believe in whatever religion they wanted to, or, in no religion. They will answer only to God, not to the government.
Even with our present day economy in bad shape we still live in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity is found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right for all of us to pursue happiness.
There were victims from 30 different countries who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. God Bless America Again….Please !