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14 October 2013 @ 05:23 pm
Columbus Day  
If you've been on the Internet the last few days, you've probably seen that long piece on The Oatmeal about why Christopher Columbus is unworthy of being honored a Federal holiday. (Here's a poem by Jimmie Durham making essentially the same point.) It's true, but until today I just couldn't very exercised about it. But then today I wanted to mail a letter, but when I got to the post office, it was locked up tight. Damn you, Columbus!

Here in Madison, Columbus Day is largely being ignored. The public schools are in session, the city offices are open, buses are running on a normal weekday schedule. The state offices are also open, except for the DMV, but they're closed for staff training, not in observance of the holiday. It's just the Federal government offices, and the banks. (Why is the financial services industry the only private enterprise that recognizes every Federal holiday? Even government contractors don't observe most Federal holidays. If you're a contractor and your worksite is closed, you're expected either to come to the office and work or take a personal day or unpaid leave.)

Of course, with the exception of the independently (though inadequately) funded United States Postal Service, all the Federal offices would have been closed anyway, thanks to the ongoing government shutdown. Which, I may as well add, since some of the people I'm friends with on Facebook seem confused on the issue, remains the sole responsibility of the Republican Party politicians who control the U.S. House of Representatives (and to a much lesser degree the Republicans in the Senate), and any attempt to claim otherwise is a self-evident fraud. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Speaking of Christopher Columbus, and of Congress, the former can be found all over the place in the home of the latter. Three depictions of Columbus landing in the New World can be seen in the Rotunda: in the frieze at the base of the dome; in a huge painting hanging at floor level; and in the lunette at the top of the Columbus Doors. (The doors also depict many other scenes from the life of Columbus.) There's also a relief profile of Columbus in the Rotunda. No wonder we can't get rid of this holiday!
Current Music: Judge John Hodgman - Strictly Courtroom
a2zmoma2zmom on October 14th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Actually it depends on which finalcial services industry you're talking about. Anybody that follows the stock market calendar was open today (prime example: my company).