Lawmakers' Whims

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Here's another for the And-They-Wonder-Why-the-U.S.-Postal-Service-Has-Problems Department. The USPS operates without taxpayer support, but Congress doesn't want to close unprofitable post offices because they are the town centers for so many communities. Now comes a bill from Rep. Jim Saxton, R-NJ, who wants postal carriers to provide door-to-door delivery service to housing facilities intended for seniors 55 and older with at least 80 percent occupancy of seniors.

"The increasing popularity of senior communities in New Jersey and across the country means more seniors will be denied daily access to send or receive letters, pay their bills and do other business conducted through the mail," Saxton said in a statement. "Icy walkways, curbs, leaves and snow pose dangers for seniors who are less mobile." He doesn't care what this costs or how much extra time it takes - and he says the postal service can plan its own means of implementation just as long as it's done within six months of the bill becoming a law. Um, thanks?

Saxton introduced similar legislation last year, but it never reached the House floor. He says he would like to see it tied to the current postal reform legislation working its way through Congress. Let's hope otherwise.

A 'Pearl' From Tom Weyr

Longtime DM News readers will remember Thomas Weyr, editor of DM News International from 1994 until 2001. While still covering international marketing for us, Tom started work on "The Setting of the Pearl, Vienna Under Hitler," which was just published by Oxford University Press. "It's a history of what a great city was like when the Nazis came and took it apart piece by piece," Tom told me the other day. Along with many months of research, Tom also drew on his own experiences as a child living in Vienna under Nazi rule to write the book.

But is there a marketing angle in all that? "Well, Vienna had lots of ad agencies, but I never did come across any catalog businesses. There wasn't that much to buy in the end," Tom said. "Everything was geared toward propaganda. The Nazis were one great selling machine. They were out to sell their ideology by any means." With this book finished, Tom said he has three other book proposals out there, and he and his wife just finished editing a biography of Pope John Paul II for Reader's Digest. Friends interested in catching up with Tom can e-mail him at

Tad Clarke is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting

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