Books

Benjamin Franklin Tag

Although I've lived for certain protracted periods in the country—once, notably, in New Zealand on a farm—I am undeniably and deeply a city girl. Specifically a New York City girl, I confess. Which may serve at least partly to explain why this week we're focusing on cities. There's a larger reason, though. The United States has always contained an internal dichotomy: cosmopolitan versus frontier mentalities, urban versus rural (and everything that that's metaphorically come to represent), east versus west (both now also versus "flyover" middle, for that matter). This has uniquely shaped people's lives in our Republic, because it's been there from the very beginning. For every city dweller among the Constitution's Framers, like Ben Franklin, there were three more farmers and plantation owners. Even otherwise urban John Adams had a farm (which of course Abigail tended). So this Republic was formed largely as an agrarian country—and therein lies the...

Serious studies are being done on this by reputable sources. The Pew Research Center, The Columbia Journalism Review in partnership with the TOW Center for Digital Journalism, The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, etc. Let's “unpack” this, then, to use the common parlance, which sounds as if we all had newly arrived someplace when actually we've hardly budged from our homes all year, due to Covid. A few facts. Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers continues to plummet, falling by around half since 2008. Within each of the industries analyzed by the Bureau of Labor statistics — newspapers, broadcast television, radio, cable, and digital — notable job growth occurred only in the digital news sector; since 2008, the number of digital newsroom employees has more than doubled, from 7,400 workers to about 16,100 workers in 2019. Sinclair, the pro-Trump, arch-conservative company taking over local broadcast news across the...

Let me note at the outset that if any readers are devoutly religious, please understand that no individual offense is felt or intended by my following remarks. I respect your spirituality, if not always your belief system. But I do feel strongly that the United States was founded as a secular country and must remain so.

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...