Joe Biden selected his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of San Francisco. Most of us outside of California knew nothing about her until 2 or 3 years ago, including how to pronounce her name. When she announced her run for President most folks called her “Ka-moll’-a” Harris, even though it looked like Kamala should rhyme with Pamala.
Well, it doesn’t. Now we learn it’s “Comma-la” Harris. So, from now on I’ll just spell it Commala Harris so I don’t mess up. Her mother is a native of India, which makes Sen. Harris half Indian. But she won’t be the first Indian VP. My friend Charles Curtis, 1/16th Kaw Indian, was VP from 1929-33. (Now, don’t yell at me; I know the correct terms today are Indian-American and Native American.)
Another friend replaced Charley as VP after the ’32 election, John Nance Garner. VP candidate Harris may need reminded of his famous quote, “The Vice Presidency isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.” I think she is out to prove that statement wrong.
The Democratic Convention is this week. It’s mainly a Virtual convention, which means the protesters hardly know where to show up. They may decide to just stay in Portland.
Our U.S. Postal Service is drawing a lot of criticism lately. Keep in mind that people complained about it even when stamps cost 3 cents. Up until 1971, the President got to appoint all the local postmasters, which was usually a reward for a prominent member of his Party. The Post Office had 250,000 employees in 1928 and topped out at almost 800,000 in 1999. Today it is down to 500,000. Funding the retirements of those 800,000 and all the others is causing the current financial headache, along with email, FedEx, UPS and Amazon.
I mailed a package to a friend in San Francisco yesterday (Saturday). The Post Office says it will arrive on Tuesday. If they can get a package 2500 miles in 4 days, why can’t we count on them to get letters (ballots) between your county election headquarters and your house (less than 20 miles for most of us) in 3 days. Even if 150 million registered voters received mass mailed ballots, and all of the completed ballots get sent back by mail, those letters represent less than 1 percent of a normal year’s volume for the Post Office. Can you name any organization or business that can’t handle a 1percent increase in workload? If there is so much concern about ballots getting back to Election Headquarters by Nov. 3, let’s declare that no “junk mail” will be accepted or delivered between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Also encourage everyone to avoid mailing any letters during that week, except ballots.
A bigger problem is all the states that have never done mass mailing of ballots. Oregon has done it for a few years, but not many others. I heard a TV commentator say, “Any country that can send a man to the moon, should be able to do voting by mail.” Yes, when President Kennedy famously promised that, he did not say it would be done in 3 months.
Historic fact: Will Rogers had famously pleaded for a pension for old folks. On Aug. 14, 1935 President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. The next day Will and Wiley Post died when their plane crashed at Point Barrow, Alaska.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Now we got an election coming along and us ‘Injuns’ got an entry in the race. It’s Charley Curtis, who was smart enough to live in a Northern State, which is a physical hardship, but a political advantage. Charley has used awful good judgment in the Presidential ambitions. Indian Charley Curtis with one swoop embraced a requirement that will be of more advantage in a Presidential race than all the combined qualifications of the others: he’s a Republican. Of course, that ain’t saying much. So, if we get Charley in there we will see what he does for the Indians.” WA #267, Feb. 5, 1928
“Congress even has Slogans: ‘Why sleep at home when you can sleep in Congress?’… ‘Be a Politician — no training necessary.’… ‘Be a Republican and sooner or later you will be a (hometown) Postmaster.’” WA #122, Apr. 12, 1925
(A “conversation” between President Hoover and the Postmaster General)
Mr. Hoover: “How much does it cost to run your racket?”
“Eight hundred and thirty-eight million, Mr. President.”
Mr. Hoover: “Yeah?”
“That’s with strict economy and getting all the Congressmen’s free mail to the voters on time.”
Mr. Hoover: “Yeah? Well, you lop off the 38 million. We got to get Andy Mellon (Treasury Secretary) out of the red by November, ‘32.” DT #1509, May 25, 1932