People who claim the U.S. Government is getting too uppity and too powerful will be interested to know that Acts of God that run longer than 3 days must be officially approved by Washington.

An Act of God, as defined by Uncle Sam, includes community, state or regional emergencies such as fires, floods, storms, tornadoes or hurricanes. When communities are hit by a serious Act of God, some federal agencies are forced to close down while outsiders are brought in to coordinate some form of disaster relief.

Acting on the theory that the mail must go through, no matter what, the U.S Postal Service allow slocal postmasters wide discretion to handle Acts of God. But only for 24 hours.

Postal employes, for example, may be excused for being late or absent for up to one day if the postmaster determines that the Act of God they got caught up in was a legitimate one. Giving workers additional time off, however, must be approved by a Higher Authority. That, of course, is Washington. It is spelled out in the "Acts of God" section of the Postal Manual.

"Postmasters have authority to approve administrative leave for up to one (1) day. Where administrative leave is warranted beyond one day for an "Act of God," approval must be obtained from the Regional Director. Regional Directors may authorize administrative leave beyond one day, but not to exceed a total of 3 days." After that, it becomes a policy matter which only Washington can handle.