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

several dialects?

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.

Here goes:

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

stamp subject.

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)


Stamp Development

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!