Before I get started with this edition's column, I just want to say farewell, but not good-bye to LaMarr Billups who will be leaving town Friday to assume his new position as an assistant vice president at Georgetown. LaMarr has been a unique mover and shaker in the Madison area since he assumed his duties in the UW Chancellor's Office back in 1996. While he has focused on many community issues that impact the university, LaMarr has been civically engaged on many other fronts, be it as a member of 100 Black Men or of the Madison Police & Fire Commission. And while he has advanced steadily in his career and participated in the upper echelons of decision-making in Madison, LaMarr has not forgotten from whence he came. He has helped many individuals and organizations in the African American community and other communities of color secure resources and become engaged in community life. And while LaMarr is perfectly comfortable hobnobbing with the Jerome Frautschis of the world, he is equally at ease talking to the Brothers on the street. While no person is indispensable, Madison will miss LaMarr for many years to come, make no mistake about it.
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      I had heard about it through e-mails sent my way and in some brief news items on the Internet. But it wasn't until I went to the U.S. Post Office on Milwaukee Street last Monday that the reality of it hit me. Small periodicals like The Capital City Hues got the very bad end of the stick in the new postal rate hike that just went into effect. While the rate for a letter went up from 39 cent to 41 cent;  a 5% increase, the rate to mail one 20-page issue of The Capital City Hues first class went up from 63 cent; to  97 cent -- a whopping 54% increase! Small bulk mailers will see their rates go up by 30% or more.
      Now I hate to spend time griping about something that hits so close to home. I am willing to pay my fair share of what it takes to ship The Hues to subscribers near and far. It would be nice to know if I am paying my fair share. But unfortunately, that information is not available because the U.S. Congress never looked at and approved this rate hike. This rate change wasn't developed by the postal service with input from the public. There were no public hearings. There was no request sent out to small bulk mail permit holders like myself to ask us what we thought about the new rate increase. There was no      democratic process like this used by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
      Instead, the USPS basically allowed mega-shipper Time Warner to step in and write the rules for the new increase when the USPS board of directors adopted their proposal over a proposal put forward by USPS. And since Time Warner -- the folks who publish Time magazine, but also countless pieces of junk mail -- a private entity was writing the rules, they wrote them in favor of mega-shippers like themselves. So while my rate went up by 54%, Time Warner's rate goes up by less than 10%. In the future, in essence, I will be subsidizing Time Warner's shipping.
      Not satisfied with your profit margin? Just use the federal government under the Bush regime to rewrite the rules in your favor. It's done with the Internal Revenue Service and tax laws to create      more favorable income streams for the powerful and connected and already wealthy in this country. No wonder our income levels are becoming more skewed between the haves and the have nots.
      Outside of the fact that USPS is reverse Robin Hooding me -- taking from the poor and giving to the  rich -- I am also troubled by the fact that private corporate interests are formulating public policy without public input. Remember Dick Cheney and his secretive meeting with oil industry interests to formulate    the nation's energy policy? This goes beyond lobbying and working with an individual U.S. Senator to devise a bill and have it submitted to the Congress for its consideration. It's different than lobbyists drafting bills and putting the names of some Senators on it and helping to grease the skids for the legislation through well-placed contributions to election campaigns.
      No, this is blatant operation of the government for corporate interests without public input. Our democratic government is evolving into something that my father and many of his generation fought against in World War II, namely Mussolini';s form of fascism called corporatism. I remember learning about this when obtaining my political science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison back in the 1970s. I remember being abhorred and feeling that it could never happen here.
      Well, we do have creeping corporatism, a form of fascism, choking the life out of our democracy like a killer vine wrapping itself around a small bush. Unless it is clipped away, it will destroy the bush. This form of corporatism will kill our democracy if giant interests like Time Warner are allowed to dictate public policy. Who';s looking out after you and me?
      While this new postal rate hike will cause some hurt financially for The Capital City Hues, it won't destroy us because most of our copies are distributed for free. But there are many other publications that could be fatally harmed through this postal hike. Not only will this postal hike start to destroy the foundation of our democracy, free speech as exhibited by many independent publishers like The Capital City Hues, it is also destroying the foundation of our democracy through the erosion of the public policy-making process.
      Call Rep. Tammy Baldwin (258-9800) and Senators Russ Feingold (828-1200) and Herb Kohl (264-5338) to let them know that we will not tolerate creeping corporatism and the erosion of the public policy process and want Congress to investigate this rate increase.
May 16, 2007
stories/columns


*
The Literary Divide: Paul Wolfowitz, the man who always lands of his feet, stumbles...
by Dr. Paul Barrows

*
Telling Tongues: A Latin@ Anthology on Language Experience,
by Jonathan Gramling

Projecting the future: An interview with MMSD's Art Rainwater (2),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
2007 Links Scholarships: Excellence personified,
From the Madison Metropolitan Links

*
Simple Things: More, more, bigger, faster,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
Asian Wisconzine - Cambodian New Year,
by Heidi M. Pascual
(
www.asianwisconzine.com)

*
Common Wealth Development receives the 2007 Governor's Financial Literacy Award

*
The isolation of being different (Part 3 of 3),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Poetry: Possibilities,
by Eileen Cecile Hocker

Barack Obama:
@Race for America's future
,
by Andrew Gramling
@A call for national unity,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Defending Pao's legacy,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
China Dispatch: Enjoying China's nature,
by Andrew Gramling

*
Mothers Full of Grace:  Beautiful inside and out,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
MATC's Cinco de Mayo,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Voices: We all have priorities,
by Dr. Jean Daniels

*
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's 99th Founder's Day,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
WOAA Direction Meditation,
by Jonathan Gramling
VOL 11 NO. 10               MAY 16, 2007
Precise Expression
The Javanese dance of Peggy Choy
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
Reverse Robin Hood
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