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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Tempest In A Teapot

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Stampme
23 Jun 2014
07:21:17pm
I decided to see what would happen if I affixed the recent Harvey Milk stamp to mail addressed to various American Family Association (AFA) offices around the country.

Earlier news reports explained that the leadership of the AFA was exhorting its membership to refuse any mail with the Harvey Milk stamp and return to sender. Milk was a gay activist and elected politician in California who was slain along with the Mayor of San Francisco.

Apparently, the AFA felt that a stamp commemorating a gay man was proof that the fabric of our nation was being undermined by Satan or perhaps it was a slow news day and the need to replenish the coffers required a new scapegoat. Not sure.

Anyway so far I have received three of the 19 mailings back. All three have different return labels from the post offices. Only one has return to sender written in red magic marker and received the correct mailing lable.

One has I/A written in ink on the envelope. (The address was correct so the scribbler at the AFA lied about that one. That's between him and his lord, I guess.)

The third one has no writing from the recipient and just the postal return label. This label is also technically incorrect as the address information was complete.

I'm expecting returns from them all. This might be the start of one of those quirky philatelic collections.

Bruce

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philb
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23 Jun 2014
08:13:49pm

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re: Tempest In A Teapot

Wow, hard to believe...the power of a postage stamp.Not sure if power is the right word !

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
24 Jun 2014
08:15:06am
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Hi Bruce,
Quite an interesting exercise. It seems like a dumb thing for AFA to do. They could miss some important mail.

Regards ... Tim

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
24 Jun 2014
09:05:56am
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Reminds me of the returned mail for Soviet-bloc countries during cold war. The champions of freedom series was often refused because they represented nationalist ideals in countries under communism.

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Stampme
24 Jun 2014
10:54:11am
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Plus, I'm doing my part to keep the USPS in business!

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philatelia
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24 Jun 2014
10:57:13am
re: Tempest In A Teapot

What an interesting idea to create covers documenting this strange involvement of philately in reactionary politics. Spiffy!

Maybe the AFA's real complaint is that they actually wanted to see Sean Penn on the envelope instead, eh???

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
25 Jun 2014
07:20:38am
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Do you think the DNC would refuse a letter with a Reagan stamp?
Would Green Peace refuse the Paul Bunyan stamp?

Lars

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Stampme
25 Jun 2014
04:37:03pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Cover number four was returned from Kentucky, today. Fifteen still out there.
Bruce

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Zipper
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26 Jun 2014
02:56:05pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

I assume the AFA won't have a float in the Gay Pride Parade this coming Sunday.

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Bobstamp
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26 Jun 2014
05:55:21pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

They probably won't attend Vancouver's Gay Pride Parade, either. Too bad — they could see this intersection, just a few blocks from my apartment, on Davie Street:

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My wife, Susan, and I have lived in Vancouver's West End since 2001. It's about the gayest place on the continent, possibly excepting San Francisco. In two apartment buildings, we've had seven gay couples as good neighbours (unlike many of our heterosexual neighbours!). My stamp club has had a gay president, two gay VPs, and four or five very active gay members. One member that I never met, because he died of AIDS before I joined, spearheaded the drive for a Canadian AIDS stamp, which was issued in 1996 (Scott #1603).

Before we moved to Vancouver, my wife and I taught in Prince George, 500 km/800 miles north of Vancouver. A Grade 7 student in my first class, Brian McLennan, is the only student I ever taught who became a good friend. In the mid-1990s I learned from his brother that Brian had contracted AIDS as a student at the University of British Columbia, where he was studying robotics. I had the opportunity to hang out with him on several occasions after that. One day he told me about his experiences in high school; boys used to bully him, and call him a faggot, which puzzled him, because he not only didn't know what a faggot was, but he didn't understand that he was homosexual, even though he had never been interested in girls. In university, he was seduced by an older student, and of course finally did learn about his sexuality, but too late. He died a horrible death, at home; I spent an hour with him about a week before he died. He could hardly eat or drink because of a fungal infection in his mouth and throat; he was so weak he could not even sit up in bed; he was nearly blind, and barely knew who I was.

I have less than zero respect for gay bashers worldwide. I don't care what their reasons are, not that they actually use reason. And the ones who hide behind religion are the worst. I'd rather have a world full of Brians than endure their constant homophobic invective.

While I'm on my soapbox, it would be nice never to hear another word about how gays shouldn't be in the military because you can't trust them in a foxhole. In boot camp, I became buddies with another recruit and spent hours with him in the company office, with the door closed to keep the noise from the other recruits at bay. After boot camp, he looked me up to tell me that he was being discharged because the navy had learned that he was gay. It was news to me: he had never made the slightest sexual advance towards me, even though he had many opportunities. Now about those foxholes: I was in a few foxholes in Vietnam, and in combat that left me badly wounded and many of my fellow Marines dead, and I can tell you that when bullets and grenades are flying, the last thing on your mind is sex! I was far more concerned about their marksmanship!

Bob

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Stampme
26 Jun 2014
06:42:08pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Thank you, Bob, thank you very much for your comments.
Bruce

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
26 Jun 2014
10:32:56pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Bruce,

Can you forward me the address to the Kentucky office? I live in Kentucky and it would be interesting to see if they return a letter from a Kentucky address with a Harvey Milk stamp!

Lars

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
27 Jun 2014
03:13:55pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Thank you for your comments and photograph, "bobstamp".
Whether you like it or not (pun intended) Bob, you are the recipient
of the first and only "like" (thumb up) I will awarded in this life.

I enjoy Stamporama's discussion board because of its unrestrained
free speech (rude and vulgar commentary excepted). Our membership
is loaded with argumentative, contrarian, yet accommodating,
stamp collectors whose views, beliefs and perspectives make for
robust, informative, infuriating and educational reading.

My local newspaper, the supposed voice of freedom of the press in our
provincial capital, has more inhibitions (still unable to come to grips with
trans-sexuals, metro-sexuals, bi-sexuals or whatever the latest manifestation
of sexuality happens to be) and far less free speech than has Stamporama.

John Derry


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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
11 Aug 2014
06:26:50pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Bruce,

Thank you so much for pointing out this interesting topic! My results appear to be more colorful (that's colourful, Bob) than yours! I sent my first letter to AFA in Kentucky, and what a reply I received!

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I just LOVE the "Obama honors Gay Pedophile Harvey Milk" manuscript! They were even kind enough to tie the message to the stamp ever so slightly, but the red ink does mark the stamp in two places. Well done!

But let's consider this a bit further. Is it legal to place a political statement on a cover that you are refusing? It is legal to refuse an unopened letter, but I doubt it is legal to add a message to the cover and essentially have it delivered for free by USPS, so thanks for the illegal cover!

You can't read the original postmark from Paducah, KY, but Louisville postmarked it 7-14-14 and placed the NIXIE label on it 7-18-14. (The 402 on the NIXIE label is the Louisville PO prefix. At the bottom, 420251007 is all you need to get to my PO Box).

So I was curious: Would AFA treat a donation the same way? Let's find out, shall we?!?

I sent the same sized letter addressed exactly the same way, but added "DONATION ENCLOSED" at the bottom of the envelope, and enclosed a check (that's cheque, Bob) for $1. It has been gone for some time, and I even looked online last week to see if the check cleared, but it hadn't. Well, it showed up today, and at first I was impressed that the AFA had the integrity to stick to their misguided principles:

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Again, they were kind enough to tie the message to the stamp, but on closer inspection the letter has been taped shut at the top! That's right, AFA OPENED the letter, saw that the check was only for $1, taped it up and refused it. I haven't opened the envelope to see if they added a note to my check, but using backlighting I can tell that my check is in there. So thanks, AFA, for ANOTHER illegal cover because you can't refuse an OPENED envelope.

This begs the question: At what price WOULD AFA prostitute themselves for a donation. Apparently $1 wouldn't do it, but they wouldn't have opened the envelope if they didn't have a price!

This envelope is also interesting in that it went through Nashville for some reason. There are actually two cancellations on top of each other. The first is Nashville 26 (or 28) JUL 2014. I can't make out the city on the other postmark, but the date appears to be 31 JUL and the ink dots are ON TOP OF THE TAPE AFA USED TO SEAL THE ENVELOPE! So why is there a blank label placed over the address? It was obviously placed there AFTER the manuscript RTS message in red. Is the "FWD" in pencil meant as an attempted forward? Also, why is the NIXIE label so different? And where was my little missive from 7-31 to 8-08?

Fun stuff!

Lars

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cocollectibles
11 Aug 2014
09:07:13pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Lars, send them $100 in Confederate currency.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
11 Aug 2014
09:33:17pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Quote:

"Lars, send them $100 in Confederate currency. "



Peter,

I don't have any Confederate money (but I do have some CSA stamps). It would be fun to find out the point at which their "principles" give way to greed, but I'm not willing to throw them a bone worth more than a buck. This reminds me of the old joke where a man asked a woman if she would sleep with him for TEN MILLION dollars and she said, "Yes!" He then asked if she would do it for just ONE dollar and she said, "No, I am not a prostitute." He replied that they had already established that she was, indeed, a prostitute. They just hadn't determined her lowest price, yet.

Lars
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DavidG
APS member since 2004
12 Aug 2014
06:34:12pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Okay! Somebody in America contact me through the SOR e-mail with an address for the AFA. I'm going to send them a letter using a few of the Canadian AIDS stamps and the Human Rights Museum stamp that is being issued this month.

I promise I will post scans of the returned letters!

As an aside, my girlfriend and I attended the Ottawa Pride Parade last summer, for the first time.

Having served in H.M. Canadian Forces, I've marched in my share of parades. It was a lovely event... very colourful.

I'll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!

David in Ottawa

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Stampme
12 Aug 2014
07:42:16pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Lars!
Two great covers especially the first one with the anti Obama and anti gay message. Mine pale in comparison, and I willingly admit: I'm a tad jealous. But despite that all-too-human emotion, I am glad you received two stellar covers highlighting such bigotry.

Bruce

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
12 Aug 2014
08:27:35pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

i enjoy how the AFA attribute postal commemoration to the President, although it's typically the CSAC; and how they promoted Harvey from plain gay guy to pedophile.

As I always say, never let facts get in the way of a political agenda.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
12 Aug 2014
08:41:55pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Quote:

"Okay! Somebody in America contact me through the SOR e-mail with an address for the AFA. I'm going to send them a letter using a few of the Canadian AIDS stamps and the Human Rights Museum stamp that is being issued this month."



David,

The address for the Kentucky chapter is:

AFA - Kentucky
PO Box 8089
Louisville, KY 40247

Unfortunately, I don't think you will get the result that you desire. These are mentally-challenged xenophobes reacting in a Pavlov-esque way to a specific stimulus. You are anticipating that they will connect the dots between a US Harvey Milk stamp and a Canadian AIDS stamp. Good luck with that. They are more likely to be confused by your letter and just discard it. Your best bet is to get a US Harvey Milk stamp and place it in the bottom left corner of your cover. Then properly address and frank your cover in Canadian postage and hope for some magic!

Lars

AFA represents homophobes and xenophobes, but they always cloak themselves in some semblance of righteousness. That's why they attack Harvey Milk as a pedophile instead of a gay rights (or human rights) activist.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
12 Aug 2014
08:56:31pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Quote:

"i enjoy how the AFA attribute postal commemoration to the President, although it's typically the CSAC; and how they promoted Harvey from plain gay guy to pedophile. "



Just to be fair, the message was "Obama honors gay pedophile Harvey Milk." It didn't say Obama honored him with a stamp. It is true that Obama presented Harvey Milk's nephew with the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Mr. Milk, so Obama did, indeed, honor Harvey Milk. So "Obama honors Harvey Milk" is actually correct. "Obama honors gay Harvey Milk" isn't much of a stretch, and not likely to be disputed, nor would "Obama honors caucasian Harvey Milk."

It's the pedophile allegation that disturbs me. If true, why is he honored on a stamp? If untrue, why no pushback from the media?

Lars
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larsdog
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12 Aug 2014
09:46:00pm
re: Tempest In A Teapot

Quote:

"They probably won't attend Vancouver's Gay Pride Parade, either. Too bad — they could see this intersection, just a few blocks from my apartment, on Davie Street"



My wife and I went to Whistler for our anniversary and discovered it was Gay Pride week. It was some of the BEST skiing we ever had because most of the folks weren't that much into skiing. We contacted our favorite restaurant and asked for a quiet table since we were celebrating our anniversary. We enjoyed a nice, quiet, romantic dinner with no worries. We walked hand-in-hand back to our room and encountered another couple going the opposite direction doing the same. Just happened to be two guys. No worries.

The next day we were on the slopes and it was almost deserted! Great skiing and great fun! And just when we thought the "gay" stuff was at the base of the mountain, some dude goes blazing by on skis with a huge rainbow flag in tow. Gotta love it!

Lars
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