'Tis unmanly grief


Craig Cantoni writes in a forwarded email:

According to my calculations, it will cost taxpayers $575 million to give federal workers a day off for Reagan's funeral on Friday, although the last thing that Reagan would want is for federal workers to get another holiday. Check my math: There are approximately 2.5 million federal workers who earn on average approximately $230 per day in pay and benefits. Thus, 2.5 million times $230 equals $575 million. I admired Reagan, but I'll be working on Friday and so will my wife. But we work in the private sector and have to work to pay our taxes so that federal workers can have a day off. And don't you know that all the Democratic unionized government workers will be mourning Reagan's death.

Though I think no expense should be spared in giving the Gipper a sendoff worthy of a Viking, the problem as I see it is that they should be taking today off, not Friday. The more people I see die, the more Judeo-Islamic injunctions for a quick funeral and burial make sense. Now we've set ourselves up for a weeklong wallow in mourning.

I'll confess to the purest of motivations here—selfishness: I've got highly perishable articles that were supposed to run in Sunday week sections of two papers this Sunday, and I'm assuming both will be axed to make room for the Reagan retrospectives they weren't able to include yesterday. But let's be honest: We've all had ten years to get acclimated to a Reaganless world, and it's unlikely the legacy will budge much in either direction given how ascendent the Reagan view is on even small matters. (Even James Watt was proven right when Steven Gaines' Heroes and Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys hit bookstores back in Old 86.)

Still, we look for a silver lining in all things, and here's one, from a story on John Kerry's decision to take a week off from campaigning:

The events Kerry canceled include two star-studded fund-raisers that would have raised millions of dollars for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee - in Los Angeles on Monday and in New York on Thursday. Performers who were participating included Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor and John Mellencamp.