Monday holiday rumor accurate - up to a point!

Friday - 12/21/2012, 2:00am EST

Good news, bad news for federal workers as we head toward the end of 2012.

The good news, of course, is that the Mayan prophesy did not come to pass. The world is still spinning and with the North and South poles in their proper places.

The bad news is that federal workers, who had hoped the President would give them a bonus holiday the day before Christmas, so far, haven't got their wish yet. But....

There was a minor flap Thursday a.m. when feds began emailing each other a newspaper report which said workers would get Monday, Dec. 24th off. They were citing The Washington Post as the source. The Post is a pretty good source, especially about civil-service matters.

There was a minor panic here. Nobody likes being scooped, especially overnight and at the last minute especially about something as up-close-and-personal as a four-day Christmas weekend. What to do?

We immediately went into defensive mode. The idea was to cover our turf. Like the on-going investigation of the attacks in Libya, somebody high (but not too high) had to be blamed and take the fall.

My defense was that I was preoccupied Wednesday night fighting off a gang of home invaders. Besides, I argued, I was like one of those Wall Street firms, too big to fail. My colleagues thought otherwise.

So we checked and rechecked. Finally we got to the source of the rumor. Turns out the people who spotted the news story, and circulated word of the holiday, didn't proof-read it very carefully. There was a Post story about the President giving feds the Monday before Christmas off. But the date on the story was 2001. And the President was George W. Bush. The next year, when Christmas fell on a Wednesday, W gave feds a half-day off on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. But that was then, this is now.

The Monday before Christmas bonus day off is almost (but not quite) a tradition. It happens more often than not. But it doesn't always happen. Some observers said the talks over the fiscal cliff and sequestration doomed the bonus day off. They said it would look terrible, to a jittery public, if a couple of million federal workers got a paid day off when many people still don't have jobs.

Moral of the story: If the Internet rumor mill talks about a pending perk or benefit cut back, don't cheer or weep until you have read the fine print.

Editor's Note: Federal News Radio will send a breaking news email alert if/when we are told that feds will get the day off. Sign up here.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

The Christmas classic, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," was always tinged with a bit of melancholy. But as originally written, it was downright grim. Written for the 1944 movie musical Meet Me in St. Louis, the lyrics contained lines such as "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be your last" and "Faithful friends who were dear to us/Will be near to us no more.'' Fortunately, the star of the film, Judy Garland, intervened and convinced songwriter Hugh Martin to brighten up the lyrics.

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)


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