Coping: With Presidents, Punctuation, and Profits

imageWe will be having a blessedly short communion around the coffee pot this morning because this is President’s day.  The Markets are closed and if I had a lick of sense, I’ve be off sawing zzz’s for all I’m worth – which on an inflation-adjusted basis isn’t much.

There’s much to be said about this being Presidents Day.  Starting perhaps with the first data point in our discussion this morning:  This is ALL happening on the wrong day.

You see, George (the other one) was born on February 22.  And if you want to toss Lincoln into the mix, well, he was born on February 12th.  I don’t care how sleepy-eyed or hung over you might be this morning, the calendar math on this isn’t wrong:  Today is neither of those dates.

Here’s the real lowdown:  This is a peachy example o how corporations have taken over government.  Why?

Well, back when, the President’s Birthdays were observed – on their birthdays.  I know, I know…too damn logical when corporations were just in their ascendancy to power. 

This figured that it would be “better for business” if all holidays were on Mondays or Fridays, so they didn’t screw up the work week so much.

As you may remember, Ures truly grew up in Washington State.  When I was a boy – back in the pre-historical (BC – as in before computers) times we celebrated not one but two holidays in February.  My mom had a sweet tooth for chocolate covered cherries and Lincoln’s birth triggers an almost Pavlovian visit to a downtown candy store because when Lincoln arrived, Valentines followed shortly thereafter. Pappy was no fool. 

Granted, this was in the 1950’s.  That was back when America had the actual by-God remnants of a Union movement.  Unions back then typically held two items above all (after the 40-hour work week, a minimum of two weeks of vacation, and almost mythically – employer-paid healthcare).  twelve holidays per year and a usury interest cap.

As I have mentioned – repeatedly – the big problem with corporations is that they have been in the slow-motion process of stealing back every gain made by Unions they can.  In the last 50-years of air consumption, I have seen employer-paid healthcare put on the run, the number of paid holidays dropping from as many as 13 down to some companies where there are zero – maybe half a dozen “personal days” and that’s it.

Then there’s the usury cap.  Up until the 1960’s or so, this prohibited loans from charging more than 12% interest.  Then, a couple of upper Midwest states removed the interest caps, bank card outfits flocked to the Midwest, and state repealed the interest rate caps because they “didn’t want to lose business.”

So by the time it got to be 1971, the Uniform Holiday Act was made the law of the land and there went holidays – from birthdays to a corporate scam.  Expediency rules over profits, time and time again throughout history.

Now let’s consider my second point:  Punctuation of today.  This note in Wikipedia nails it:

“Because “Presidents’ Day” is not the official name of the federal holiday, there is variation in how it is rendered, both in the name of official state holidays and colloquially. Both “Presidents Day” and “Presidents’ Day” are common today, and both are considered correct by dictionaries and usage manuals. “Presidents’ Day” was once the predominant style, and it is still favored by leading authorities, notably, The Chicago Manual of Style, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Webster’s Third International Dictionary, and Garner’s Modern American Usage. In recent years, as the use of attributive nouns (nouns acting as modifiers) has become more widespread, the popularity of “Presidents Day” has increased.[23] This style is favored by the Associated Press Stylebook (followed by most newspapers and some magazines) and the Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference (ISBN 978-1582973357).

“President’s Day” is a misspelling when used with the intention of celebrating more than one individual (see also apostrophe). However, as an alternate rendering of “Washington’s Birthday,” or for the purpose of commemorating of the presidency as an institution, it is a proper use of a possessive. Indeed, this latter spelling was considered for the official federal designation by U.S. Rep. Robert McClory (IL) who was tasked with getting the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act through the House Judiciary Committee. Though “President’s Day” is sometimes seen in print,[24] even on government websites,[25] this style is not endorsed by any major dictionary or usage authority,[citation needed] but is the legal spelling in eight states.

So not to be a whiner here, but any damn fool can see there has been something lost with all this holiday mish-mash and we should really get it back.

There is nothing special about sleeping in on a Monday – we’ve all done it.  Blamed it on “food poisoning” or traffic, or whatever.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have other days off – and what about the missing holidays.

Oh – and a national punctuation act would be nice, too.

Come to think of it, so would a 40-hour workweek so we wouldn’t all need to hold six part time gigs – and so would employer provided healthcare.

Yep, no doubt about it, I’m an old reprobate if there ever was one…

Write when you break-even and what are either of us doing up at this hour?


9 thoughts on “Coping: With Presidents, Punctuation, and Profits”

  1. George,

    Massaging history is only one reason young people have little regard for their nation, but it’s a huge one – for, as the saying goes “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” And, so here we are today.

    When I was a youth – in the 1950’s- Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday were separate holidays, each with distinct observations. Lincoln’s BD may have included a parade with some local beauty perched on a flatbed truck followed by a public picnic and fireworks. Washington’s birthday would be similar. But, the thing I most remember about George’s special day was that local hardware stores would give away little Cherry trees to kids to take home and plant. I planted several as a little kid and before I left home they were mature and bearing the fruit of my labor.

    Oh, the innocence of our youth! How wonderful it was… and how perishable.

  2. I thought that was the law of the land; employers with 50 full time employees or 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees are mandated by Obama Care to pay 92% of their health care costs. So for businesses that have part time employees, as in the service industry, you have to count the total hours worked in a month by the part time people then divide it by 120 to get the FTE. If you have 50+ full or FTE employees then you are looking at paying penalties (now deemed taxes from Chief Justice Roberts) of $2k-$3k per employee you don’t cover. Don’t tell me that businesses aren’t paying for health care. OK except for the list of businesses friendly to the administration found here:….

  3. They could always move the ‘Fourth of July’ to the first Monday after the ‘Fourth of July’ and slap an ‘Observed’ on it. Just to really mess with our minds.

    • God help us all if they ever make a holiday of August 4th, the putative(unverified) birthday of the worst so-called president in US history(so far).

      I’m told that a nation gets the government that it deserves. Something to think about.

  4. Edit:

    They could always move the ‘Fourth of July’ to the first Monday after the 4th of July and slap an ‘Observed’ on it. Just to really mess with our minds.

  5. That “no SCOTUS” nominations in an election year action was Senate res. 334
    (denoted as senate vote #415..1960).

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