The check is no longer in the mail
Hey, what's the price of convenience? Perhaps it's a dollar, which is what the U.S. Postal Service charges citizens for using the agency's online change-of-address notification service.
There is no fee if you go to your local post office and fill out the necessary form. The online fee is the price for security, Postal Service officials said. It also lets agency officials recover Visa or MasterCard charges that all vendors incur for requiring a credit card. USPS spokeswoman Monica Hand explained that the credit card "lets USPS know you are who you say you are."
Apparently, the dollar fee is not stopping anyone from going online. According to Hand, since the beginning of the year, 1.3 million people have used USPS' online MoversGuide to change their postal mailing address.
"The dollar fee may surprise people," she said, "but it's not a deterrent."
We're not sure we buy that, frankly, because it deterred us. Instead of paying the fee, we went down to the post office and filled out the form free of charge.
Security is fashionable
In 35 states, trucking associations are joining a program created by the Transportation Security Administration to train truck drivers nationwide to spot suspicious activity and report it. American Trucking Association officials are negotiating a $19.2 million contract with TSA to train more truck drivers in the art of trucking espionage. The truckers get alerts transmitted to them and receive word when the Homeland Security Department raises the alert signal from yellow to orange.
New York officials recently trained doormen to spot suspicious packages and other deliveries.
We don't know who government officials will enlist next to secure the homeland, but it won't be the postal workers. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, USPS authorities declined to be part of a network to feed information to authorities if they saw anything remiss. They are prevented from participation by a variety of work rules.
No Y2K redux
John Koskinen, the man who helped quash the Year 2000 computer bug for the U.S. government, is taking on a new challenge. He is executive director of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
The new post may sound like a stretch for someone who worked with the government for many years. Most recently, he served as deputy mayor and city administrator for the District of Columbia. Previously, he was chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.
But he is a soccer aficionado. His resume includes a lengthy list of achievements in the popular sport. In 1989, he was named Maryland's youth soccer coach of the year. He was vice president of the American Professional Soccer League from 1987 to 1991, chairman of the D.C. Host Committee 1994 World Cup and chairman of Washington, D.C.'s 1996 Olympic Soccer Committee.
Two are better than one
The past year has been eventful for Amit Yoran.
First, DHS officials appointed him to be director of DHS' National Cyber Security Division in September. Now, he is father of twins.
Yoran's wife, Catherine, gave birth to Joshua and Hannah June 29. No word yet on whether Cyber Dad has registered e-mail addresses for the twins. And please no gifts.
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