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Well, that was certainly dramatic: the debates, and then Covid 19. Still, we’re going to stay focused, persisting with our single in-depth subject related to the elections. The Post Office, The Census, the Debates, and today (brace yourself): The Electoral College.

The census?! Who cares? Boring! Well, if you think you know all about the census, you haven’t been paying attention. Enshrining this particular political tool in our Constitution marked a turning point in world history. Previously, censuses had been used to tax, confiscate property, or conscript male youth into military service. The visionary genius of our Founders lay in making this tool of government into a tool of political empowerment for the governed over their government. The plan was to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to determine representation in the Congress. Right now, it’s being manipulated to do just the opposite. But unlike the Postal Service, another fundamental American institution under siege, it isn’t garnering public support, although this is the first time the census has been conducted since the rise of social media, and the first time...

We're back and ready to roll! The Postal Service is the nation’s second largest civilian employer (after Walmart—another story), employing 633,108 personnel. It would rank 44th on the 2019 Fortune 500 list if it was considered a private company – which it decidedly is not: it is the only government agency mandated as a service — it's not the postal business, after all. As a government agency, it has a legal obligation to provide all the various aspects of universal service. It also has special privileges, including sovereign immunity, eminent domain powers, powers to negotiate postal treaties with foreign nations, and an exclusive legal right to deliver first class and third class mail. The Postal Inspection Service, USPIS, is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the nation. Founded by Benjamin Franklin during the Second Continental Congress in August 1775, its mission is to protect the Postal Service, its employees...

For the first time, a spacecraft has sent back pictures of the sky from so far away that some stars appear to be in different positions than we would see them from Earth. More than 4 billion miles from home and speeding toward interstellar space, NASA's New Horizons has traveled so far that it now has a unique view of the nearest stars, but it looks like an alien sky. The difference is due to parallax, the same effect you see if you hold up a finger and close one eye, then the other. It’s a shift in perspective, caused by New Horizons’ great distance from Earth. I love the concept of parallax. My latest novel is named for it. A shift in perspective changes . . . everything. But once you've dared experience it you might mourn the time you lost believing your previous perspective was the only one....

My country’s cities are burning again. Armed white men again in blue uniforms wouldn't again let an unarmed ununiformed again black man breathe again. Meanwhile, out in the Great Plains and Bread Basket other people are differently dying, the virus growing inside their lungs while meat packers sweaty with fever have to show up for work so their families won't starve, while farmers lie coughing and gasping for lack of equipment to keep them alive. Some of the people in small towns and on farms fell for the lie that all this was a hoax, the fault of dark people and people in cities; now they also can’t breathe. The blows come so fast and so heavy you can't stagger up from the last one before the new punch knocks you breathless again. Private enterprise launches itself into space, national economies collapse—hey, that’s the least of it. Heat waves melt South...