There definitely should be a postage stamp devoted to American
dialects. Perhaps put "O. K." on it. Elvis, Marilyn, James Dean, and even
Bugs Bunny are stamps. Mickey Mouse is undoubtedly next. There have been
American plants, animals, athletes, entertainers, et al.
If the American Dialect Society would draft a formal stamp proposal to
the U. S. Postal Service, it would be taken very seriously. Something to
think about for the annual meeting. Maybe we'll get SEVERAL stamps for
Which brings me, of course, to my FOIL request on the Stars & Stripes
Forever stamp, which was answered today. As I first posted on Presidents
Day, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is a Civil War phrase. John Philip
Sousa III lived in my apartment building. Stamps are considered seriously 2
1/2 years in advance, so in 1994 I suggested a 1997 100-year commemorative
S&SF stamp. The Postal Service never told me anything about the stamp, so I
filed a FOIL request. The stamp is due to come out August 21.
July 25, 1997
Dear Mr. Popik,
This letter responds to your Freedom of Information Act request for
information concerning the issuance of a stamp commemorating the 100th
anniversary of the song "Stars and Strips Forever," (actually, it's STRIPES,
and it's a march--ed.) written by John Philip Sousa. We apologize for the
delay in responding to your inquiry. (Hey, no problem, it's only a FOIL
requirement; the Chicago Historical Society broke their eight weeks promise
by one month--ed.)
You are one of many proponents who have supported the issuance of a stamp
honoring John Philip Sousa and the song, "The Stars and Strips Forever."
(STRIPES! STRIPES!!!!--ed.) Our records indicate that we received support
for the issuance of this subject in 1993 and your letter is dated July 21,
1994. (I wanted to know how my letter was considered. If being first is
important, then 1776, 1876, 1976, 2076, 2176, 2276, 2376, check it out.--ed.)
In our response to you dated August 8, 1994, we indicated that the subject
was before the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee and remains under
consideration. (I received a form letter--ed.) In addition, the U. S.
Postal Service gives no recognition to any proponent for the submission of a
The U. S. Postal Service does not maintain any records or reports that relate
to the stamp honoring "The Stars and Strips Forever." (I make loads of
spelling errors in these posts--which are made at crazy hours under difficult
family circumstances--but misspelling this THREE TIMES?!--ed.) The only
information maintained that relates to the issuance of that stamp is the
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee minutes. Committee minutes contain the
opinions of the members which the Postmaster General many or may not accept.
(Grammar is obviously not a strong point--ed.) Consequently, we consider
this information protected by the deliberative process privilege recognized
under subsection (b)(5) of the Freedom of Information Act and the Postal
Service's paralleling regulation at Administrative Support Manual 352.42 (d).
That privilege does not require release of documents that reflect the agency
decision-making process. (Obviously, important national security interests
are at stake here--ed.)
You have the right to appeal in writing to the General Counsel, U. S. Postal
Service, Washington, DC 20260-1100, within 30 days of the date of this
letter. The letter of appeal should include statements concerning this
perceived denial, the reasons why it is believed to be erroneous, and the
relief sought, along with copies of your original request (Sure, I keep these
things for years--ed.), this letter, and any other related correspondence.
We hope we have been able to clarify this issue for you. Your interest in
our stamp program is very much appreciated.
James C. Tolbert, Jr. (signed)
Wow. All I wanted was someone to tell me personally when the stamp would
be issued, and maybe to invite me to its premiere, like they did for Warner
Brothers and Bugs Bunny.
A simple "thank you" and a 32-cent stamp--an expense of less than one
dollar--would have made me real happy!