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The Daily Countable: WTF with Presidents' Day?

by Countable | 2.19.18

Hello, Countable friends -- are you celebrating Presidents' Day? …Yeah, almost no one I know, outside of federal government employees and school children, has any idea that it's a U.S. holiday. We don't even notice anymore that the bank's not open, amirite?

Well then, in the interest of self-education (if not total pedantry) I tell you this: Presidents' Day was originally established to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, who, if you asked him, was born on February 11, 1731.

"Huh?"

Right, that's pretty far off from the date we now celebrate (if you can call it that), which is the third Monday in February; somewhere between the 15th and the 21st.

Here's why: When Washington was born in the nascent colony of Virginia, this land was still under the power of the British empire, of course. And the British empire counted its days by the Julian Calendar, while much of the rest of the world had switched to the system we still use today, the Gregorian Calendar.

('Why?' you might ask? Well that's the story of a powerful king who wanted a divorce, and the subsequent reorganization of a nation, its people, and a lot of chopped-off heads.)

When, in 1752, Britain finally joined the western world's standard calendar, Washington's birthday was already 11 days off. The upshot is that his birthday, February 11th, is now our February 22nd. Got it?

(This actually doesn't explain anything, because Presidents' day is literally never observed on the 22nd. But I'm done with today's pedant moment.)

Onward!

One Big Thing

There is a new sense of movement in our nation's conversation about guns and gun-control, in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Students and teachers are planning walk-outs from schools and marches in Washington, leading President Trump to invite some to meet with him for a listening session this week. Find the details here.

On the Radar

Wondering how states are going to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats in the 2018 midterms? You're not alone. State elections officials - with limited resources and technical experience - are doing what they can to address vulnerabilities in voting systems. Click here to read about some of the efforts underway to protect election integrity.

Under the Radar

Bipartisan lawmakers in Congress are calling for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters to be moved from Washington D.C. to one of the 12 Western states where nearly all of the lands it manages are located. Read more about the proposed move here.

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House: President Trump in DC & FL

  • The president and First Lady will travel from Palm Beach, FL to Washington D.C.

The House of Representatives: Out

  • The House will return on Monday, February 26.

The Senate: Out

  • The Senate will return on Monday, February 26.

Next Week's Preview

  • The Senate will consider judicial nominations. While the House hasn't announced its schedule yet, it will likely take up immigration reform legislation in the hope of sending a bill to the Senate that it can then pass before the March 5 expiration of DACA.

Other Content You Don’t Want to Miss!


That's it for today, my Countable friends. As always, I'd love to hear from you -- especially your personal stories of switching from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. You know, as we do. No biggie.

Thanks always,

— Andrea Seabrook

Talk to Managing Editor Andrea Seabrook via email, andrea [at] countable.us, or on twitter, @RadioBabe. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.

Countable

Written by Countable

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(71)
  • M
    02/20/2018
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    Sadly for America our current president is nothing to celebrate. Bottom of the barrel!

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  • Jackie
    02/20/2018
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    Will celebrate the first 44 presidents who have served their country. 45 only celebrates himself.

    Like (69)
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  • Lora lynn
    02/20/2018
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    NOT MY PRESIDENT day! Nothing to admire or celebrate about this guy! I’ll celebrate his departure!

    Like (64)
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  • Tammy
    02/20/2018
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    Not a prude but using WTF is not appropriate in a supposed professional venue. Moments for class and dignity are sadly becoming a rarity. I think this site should be a role model since it has everything to do with our country. No matter how you feel, this is the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. We have the freedom to say whatever we feel about Her, good or bad, without worrying about losing our lives for doing so. I think that in itself is worthy of class, dignity and the ability to keep it free from F bombs.

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  • Shari
    02/20/2018
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    We used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. Instead of having both days off it was combined into President’s day on the third Monday in February. I will always celebrate these two great presidents who this day was meant to honor.

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  • Abbi
    02/20/2018
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    I'll celebrate when he either has a heart attack from his bedtime cheeseburger or he's in jail.

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  • SneakyPete
    02/20/2018
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    Yes..... Why not celebrate “President Day”? We’ve had 45 Presidents since the founding of our great nation. Each a has contributed to the nation’s great political structure which, in turn has been beneficial to the nation’s people. We should honor an respect each, regardless whether we may agree with their political pedigree, or not. He has occupied the nation’s top political office to the best of their ability and skills. 2*19*18.

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  • Lynn
    02/20/2018
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    I celebrate every day since this is the first president I’ve had SINCE REAGAN!! Thank God that worthless bag of dung that was our previous so-called president is gone! Yes, I celebrate Presidents Day. Finally.

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  • One4All4One
    02/20/2018
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    Sadly for America, this is the first time in several decades in which there is nothing Presidential to celebrate. There are those who must be using “alternative facts” to say they are celebrating POTUS 45, but the truth indicates that now we should fear for the future of our country based what the current so-called President has done.

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  • Dicr
    02/20/2018
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    What does Russia have on Donnie? What else explains his refusal to act when they threaten our democracy.

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  • David
    02/20/2018
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    Presidents’s Day is the day the President walks out on the White House lawn. If he/she sees their shadow, there will be another year of bulls**t!

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  • Joyce
    02/20/2018
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    I hope all who are offended by WTF have also called out 45’s use of the Kings English. Pussy grabbing,shithole and laughing their asses off to quote just a few statements. The constant name calling and belittling of anyone he disagrees with are dumbing down the political discourse . I Agree that we should not join him in the mud of insults but hard not to. He’s such an #&$@!

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  • Joann
    02/20/2018
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    Just about ready to drop this app all that is on here is a bunch of whinny Liberals!

    Like (9)
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  • Ty
    02/20/2018
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    Still trump and you losers can still cry

    Like (7)
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  • Ray
    02/20/2018
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    I never realized how significant it is for me to celebrate the president's day until I didn't have a president I wanted to celebrate. I am sad to say that I always felt a level of respect for the president but I have as much respect as a used diaper for our current president.

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  • William
    02/20/2018
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    Not all federal employees are off. Those in Federal Law enforcement are still working.

    Like (6)
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  • Maria
    02/20/2018
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    I just went to Mount Vernon and have a whole new appreciation for Washington and the office. The not my president mantra is sad. We have president I have agreed with and some that I have not. that’s the way it’s been through our history. This push pull makes us great. Trump is your president unless you plan on moving to another country and changing your citizenship. The great thing about that is you are welcome to do so.

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  • Steven
    02/20/2018
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    Obama day

    Like (5)
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  • Jim2423
    02/20/2018
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    Yes it is sad when Congress made it a holiday in conjunction with the weekend giving people three days off. But not for everyone, mostly themselves. We used to celebrate Washington and Lincoln birthdays but no day off. Same with Memorial Day, used to be Decoration Day, honoring dead soldiers. But it is now a three day holiday. Also Veterans Day but that to most Veterans have to work. Labor Day same way lost it’s day of honor to a three day weekend for congress. Congress has not moved Christmas yet. But being it does not recognize Christmas it won’t be long before we have a three day Winter ❄️ Holiday. Yes we have lost sight of our holidays and time off for all.

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  • Julia
    02/20/2018
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    Only if we had a President because what we have here is a seat filler taking orders from someone else along with his administration Lord only know how long this shenanigan is gonna last...Not my president

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