The US passport official taking the blame should be offered some good news. I applied via UPS on 6 July.
On 9 July at 11am the documents were in the hands of the passport agency. (thanks UPS tracking). On 13 July at 10am the passports were in my hands. Bravo, passport folks. Yet more good news. The preceding story was for a third renewal so yes I suppose it would be somewhat quicker. However my daughter applied for her renewal and her husband and daughters first time passport on 12 July and received her travel documents for all the following Friday via internet. She did not pay the expedite fee; the system just worked. Now I realise that good news doesn’t get much notice, but this is a superior job in my opinion.