Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Should federal workers take Columbus Day off?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Though many (but not all) federal employees are enjoying a day off Monday to mark Columbus Day, several states no longer give state workers the holiday, cities have canceled parades and some campuses have dropped Columbus's name to reflect the concerns of indigenous populations.

Which raises a question worth asking again this year -- as we did last year -- is Columbus Day worthy of a federal holiday? Are there other people or events that should earn the national distinction instead? Vote in the user polls below:

Vote in the polls and leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama and Vice President Biden visit Philadelphia to rally the faithful. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner answers five myths about TARP. David Axelrod doubts the need to halt foreclosures. A new breed of lawyers specializes in arguing before the Supreme Court. Make sure to buy stocks in the third year of Obama's term. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visits Vietnam. Former Bush budget director Rob Portman gets the David Broder treatment. Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers speaks out.

CPSC:
Can the government recall a book?: In short, yes.

FAA:
U.S. air traffic controllers record 51% rise in operational errors: It's only a fraction of the overall number of errors in fiscal 2010 because dozens of them each week are not included in the official record under a new system that encourages controllers to report their mistakes.

FAA mulls proposals for pilot qualifications: A group of industry and labor experts concluded that 500 hours of actual flight time, rather than the current 1,500-hour minimum, should be deemed adequate for some newly-hired first officers.

FDA:
Under Obama, a reinvigorated FDA: The agency steps up its warning letters and other regulatory activity, especially in the wake of the recent salmonella outbreak traced to egg production.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Prosecutor won't appeal barring of witness in terror trial: But he said the government was "prepared to meet its burden of proving" the guilt of the former detainee and did not want to further delay his trial.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE:
Two park rangers dead in Utah plane crash: The two were on a scouting trip for an upcoming elk hunt when their plane was reported overdue early Saturday.

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT:
GAO: Federal background checks can be risky business: The agency should improve its oversight of federal background investigations to ensure the security of personal information, according to a new audit.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
80% of post offices losing money: As mail volume plummeted 12 percent from 1999 to 2009, the number of post offices, stations, branches and carrier annexes shrank only 3 percent.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
Blackwater firm's embassy dogs not up to speed, audit says: State Department auditors say guard dogs deployed by two private security companies to protect American embassies in Afghanistan and Iraq are not being properly trained to detect bombs.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 11, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Blackwater firm's embassy dogs not up to speed, audit says
Next: Federal bookstore rebrands itself

Comments

Patriot Day? What, are Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, and Independence Day not enough for us?

Posted by: horseydeucey | October 11, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Why not eliminate Columbus day and give the Feds the day after Thanksgiving off as many businesses and states do? Every year, all Federal building must turn on the lights and heat, costing it millions and maybe 10% of the workforce actually shows up. Everyone else takes a leave day. I used to work for USDA headquarters facilities division. We had to have everything on for the employees who did not show. What a waste of taxpayers dollars.

Posted by: Joe4 | October 11, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Cesar Chavez Day, hoh man. It's a never ending campaign for these hispanic fifth columnists, like this hispanic O'Keefe. Happy Columbus Day.

Posted by: hared | October 11, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Joe4. When I worked for a major defense we used to get three floating holidays (President's day, Vet day, and Columbus Day (and sometimes MLK depending on how New Year's fell (ie Thursday or Tuesday, we would give up MLK day and get that Monday or Friday off))). Of course we could use those floaters and take those holiday's off, but I can not tell you how many people "saved" those holiday's for the day after Thanksgiving and make a "normal" three day weekend into a four day weekend. So what does that tell you about the rest of the holiday's they give us (like President's day, MLK day, and even Veteran's Day and I am a Vet myself)? Heck, the county I live in do not even give the kids today off.

Posted by: mitzi21 | October 11, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

If we can keep politicians and bureaucrats at home rather than their usual ruining the lives of normal people, then the more federal holidays the better.

Posted by: 1911a1 | October 11, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

No more holidays. Not unless private businesses are required to close down too. Schools are always fabricating reasons to close down. Lazy teachers already have 3 months of vacation built into their yearly salary anyway. Enough is enough!

Posted by: forgetthis | October 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Do away with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. He was no role model, and percentage-wise, he had no impact.

Susan B. Anthony.

Posted by: dskiff | October 11, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Forget Susan B. Anthony IF you believe women should not be able to vote, own property, be entitled to health care and medical research, earn equal pay, and are "property" under Islamic law.

Otherwise, Susan B. Anthony was more of a hero for more Americans than MLK will ever be.

Posted by: dskiff | October 11, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

As a Native American federal employee I am disgusted the federal government honors someone who began th colonization and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous peoples of America. Columbus didn't discover me, he confused me with southeast asians. Colombus was a moron.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | October 11, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of how one feels about Columbus (he was a full-on d-bag), he was not that important a figure in history. If he hadn't made his voyage, someone else would have within 10 years. He was not the first European to make it to the Americas, not by a long shot. He always believed he had made it to India. Basically, he was just a homicidal half-wit who got a little bit lucky once.

If I was Italian, I wouldn't want this repulsive no-account representing me. Let it go, people.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | October 11, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I really think Glenn Beck deserves a federal holiday. April 1 ever year.

Posted by: motogp46 | October 11, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I also agree with Joe4 about the day after Thanksgiving (which my employer does grant). The latest is that Columbus was Catalonian, not Italian, haha. We continue to "honor" this d-bag because of pressure from Italian-Americans. Silly.

I'm at work--private-sector--and I'm mighty peeved that my bus wasn't running today. With the closures, my 30 minute commute became 90!

Posted by: chunche | October 11, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I work for local government, and I'm at work today. We get the day after Thanksgiving instead. I prefer it that way.

Posted by: futbolclif | October 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with Columbus Day and I love the lighter traffic on the roads. If it were to be replaced, however, September 11 would be terrible as a holiday because its significance would wind up being lost. Same for Pearl Harbor, and another factor there is that it's barely two weeks after Thanksgiving (depending on how the calendar falls) and only a short time before Christmas and New Year's. Another holiday at that time of year isn't needed.

I've long thought, as others have said, that the day after Thanksgiving would make sense as a holiday. Companies I worked for gave us that day instead of Veterans Day, which I considered a fair trade-off. I think the significance of the November 11 date for Veterans Day has faded because, let's face it, not too many people now alive remember World War I. The other thing the private-sector companies I worked for used to do was that instead of Columbus Day, we would get one other day tied to a Tuesday or Thursday holiday to create a four-day weekend--for example, if July 4 fell on Tuesday, we got July 3 as well, or if Christmas fell on a Thursday, we got Boxing Day. I rather liked that setup, although I would rather have traded Martin Luther King Day (instead of Columbus Day) for that other day off. The weather on Columbus Day is usually nicer than it is on King Day, and King Day falls too closely after Christmas and New Year's (same problem I noted above as to the idea of December 7).

Posted by: 1995hoo | October 11, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It is an important historical event and a useful hall mark for kids in school. I grew up in a city that had a big time parade every year to celebrate his achievement. The bleeding hearts moan about exploiting native americans, but that would have happened anyway, witness Spain's exploitation of the americas, which was outright brutal.

Posted by: band | October 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Ben Franklin's Birthday. Probably the greatest American ever.

Posted by: beachy1 | October 11, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I would gladly swap Columbus day for Christmas Eve being designated as a Federal Holiday.

Posted by: tiger08 | October 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I had a friend who worked at a company that has a novel solution to his: Heritage Day. It was an Ad Hoc holiday that the employee could choose. If you were Italian, take Columbus Day off. If you were Irish, take St. Patrick's Day off -- black, MLK Day, etc.

The upshot of this is while it decreased the workforce somewhat, it didn't shut down the company for an extra day (or 2 or 3).

Posted by: kiernanje | October 11, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Take the off? Well we know at least those working at The Bureau of Indian Education don't need the day off!!! What are they doing at the BIE???? Read this:

A New Trail of Tears? by haskellnews

President Barack Obama’s political appointment for Assistant Secretary of Interior-Indian Affairs, Mr. Larry Echohawk appears to have embarked on a mission to bring national attention to the “state” of Indian education by journeying his own Trail of Tears.

In the last year, Assistant Secretary Echohawk has cried at Brigham

Young University, wept openly at The Pawnee Nation, shed tears at Haskell Indian Nations University and last week in San Diego at the National Indian Education Association he is reported to have dropped a crocodile tear or two.

It appears that Echohawk has now traveled the entire nation, north south east and west weeping. Is this apology Indian Country has been waiting for from the federal government?

Echohawk does not appear to be able to contain the mortification he has found in Bureau of Indian Education schools when he talks to Indian students and parents. Assistant Secretary Echohawk has now lasted longer than the last half dozen or so political appointments at that level, but surely the stress of such emotional commitment to Indian children must be getting to him.

It’s a good thing Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn and Venida Chenault are social workers and can step up to counsel him.

Of course, we think it would be a better thing if President Obama could appoint someone who actually did something positive for Indians kids instead of hiring and promoting totally unqualified people and then bawling because they screw up. But that’s because we believed President Obama had an Indian agenda—one that looked at education.

Likely you did too.

haskellnews commentary

Oct 11, 2010
LINK: www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/haskellnews/2010/oct/11/a-new-trail-of-tears

Posted by: haskellnewscommentary | October 11, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Do away with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. He was no role model, and percentage-wise, he had no impact.
Susan B. Anthony.
Posted by: dskiff | October 11, 2010 9:16 AM
________________________________________
MLK had no impact? WTF?? Do they have cell phones and laptops on your planet? Do people have to hunt for their food or do they have grocery stores? Just say NO !!!!

Posted by: letsgetreal | October 11, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

You are not honoring anyone or anything by taking a day of vacation with pay!!!!
AND, at the expense of non public sector
(read Civilian)taxpayers.

If you want to honor MLK or anyone else,
you could work that day and donate the days pay to their causes. It is a shame to just take something for nothing. What did you ever do to deserve a "freebie", just breathe the air? Is that what you are being given a vacation day for?

Posted by: PhillupSpace1 | October 11, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

You are not honoring anyone or anything by taking a day of vacation with pay!!!!
AND, at the expense of non public sector
(read Civilian)taxpayers.

If you want to honor MLK or anyone else,
you could work that day and donate the days pay to their causes. It is a shame to just take something for nothing. What did you ever do to deserve a "freebie", just breathe the air? Is that what you are being given a vacation day for?

Posted by: PhillupSpace1 | October 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

dskiff, you've got an opinion, nothing more. Apparently the rest of the country disagrees with you, since we celebrate MLK day, and there is no SBA day. What do I know about MLK? Lots and lots just by living and hearing about him. What do I know about SBA? Let's see, something to do with women's suffrage, and she was on a coin. So as to your choice for one who you deem to be more worthy of a holiday, I say - Who? I've heard her name, what did she do? Everyone knows what MLK did, and only an intellectually challenged dimwit would say he's no role model.

Posted by: red2million | October 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

How about eliminating Columbus Day and give the Feds 8 more hours of annual leave each year. I would like to see it as 8 bonus hours awarded on the 1st pay period of each year. Also, MLKJR day is too close to New Years. Could we move it to a Friday in April to eliminate the 3 month gap between Presidents Day and Memorial Day?

Posted by: ggwbike | October 11, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Sept 11 Patriot Day? That's a joke. Those Americans that quickly got "patriotic" when they felt afraid of the terrorists showed the whole world 1 month later that it was all a phony act. 1 month after 911, Americans resumed their cutthroat immoral politics and way of life. Columbus Day? That is even more stupid. Maybe in Spain or Italy but in the USA? This guy didn't even discover America. The Columbus day holiday is a sham and recognizes a false hero. Actually they should call Columbus day "Anti-Patriot" day....or "American Terrorists" Day. Not long after Columbus stepped foot on this land, whites were using terrorist tactics and guerrilla warfare to take the USA from the Native Americans...who rightfully accused the whites of terror and thievery. In American we like to believe our false myths and generate a phony undeserved "patriotism" when in reality, we engaged in the same behavior as the Islamic Terrorists when we stole this land from the Native American Indians. Americans are blinded by their stupidity and narcissism.

Posted by: vintel7 | October 11, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

i believe/know that culumbus is an idiot and we all glorify him he doesn't deserve his own holladay!!!! if you want proof just look at what he thought the native americans were! he thought they were indians and that he christopher culumbus was so amasing he 'found' a western route to asia! when he truly was only on a small island! I mean sersouly1 the guy is so stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: crazy_allycat | October 11, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Couple ways to look at this: It does not make any difference if Fed workers show up or not...little of substance gets done over their coffee and chats. On the other had if they have the day off they can't be formulating anything which is good.

Posted by: Nancy7312 | October 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Couple ways to look at this: It does not make any difference if Fed workers show up or not...little of substance gets done over their coffee and chats. On the other had if they have the day off they can't be formulating anything which is good.

Posted by: Nancy7312 | October 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Columbus Day is a holiday why? He was lost, never stepped foot on the continent, and was a brutal colonist. Why does he even have a day, much less a holiday? And, we have plenty of day-off holidays. No more are needed.

Posted by: jckdoors | October 14, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company