In praise of Millard Fillmore

Another holiday, another big East Coast snowstorm, notes Senior Correspondent Mike Causey. So how are you spending this holiday? At home, at work or stuck by th...

(Suzanne Kubota, my long-time editor/friend who died in 2011, said this was her favorite of all our holiday columns. We first published a version of it in February 2009. We don’t know who is working or who is checking our home page today and on other federal holidays. But we’re here, and we want you to know that if you’re off, have fun. And if you are working, thanks. So, back by popular demand, here it is: the annual Presidents Day column).

Whether you call it Presidents Day, which merchants seem to like, or Washington’s Birthday which Martha and I prefer, today is one of those holidays that many, maybe most people, don’t get off. Can you say retail?

Banks are closed. That’s nice because it means both tellers, branch managers, loan officers and bank robbers can sleep late.

Most federal workers are off. The Postal Service may not have regular delivery, but the mail is moving and being sorted as per usual.

Merchants, especially in the Washington area, used to make a bigger deal of Washington’s Birthday than they do now. That seems to have tapered off somewhat. Maybe because of the economy. Also, it’s one thing to do something in honor of the Father of our Country. It is another to be inspired to do dinner and then produce a romantic gift while thinking of William Howard Taft. Am I right or what?

Whatever you are doing today, have fun. Although last week was a midwinter treat for those of us in the mid-Atlantic, we know that some of our biggest storms tend to hit between the 10th and 25th of February. So enjoy, if you can.

Thanks to folks who are in the military and those supporting them. And to feds manning border patrol posts, collecting (and protecting) Customs operations, in VA, military and IHS hospitals and clinics. FAA controllers, keep us safe! And to all of you protecting us. The fact that the typical American doesn’t have a clue what most of you are doing right now is a tribute to the system.

When you make it possible for us to take you for granted, it means you are doing a superb job.

So what is this holiday really called? Is it Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday? Here’s what OPM says:

This holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

What say you? Drop me a line at


Compiled by Jack Moore

The classic film lines “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” delivered by Roy Scheider in Jaws and “You talking to me?” by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver were both unscripted ad libs.

(Source: IFC)


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