State Capitols Celebrate the Real Gem of the Holiday Season: Festivus

It’s the holiday for Florida, Wisconsin, and the rest of us.

A Festivus celebration in Adams Morgan, Washington.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
Matt Berman
Dec. 9, 2013, 10:44 a.m.

It’s nearly Fest­ivus! And to cel­eb­rate, at least a couple state cap­it­ols are get­ting ready to take out the poles and air the griev­ances.

What is Fest­ivus, ex­actly? Fest­ivus is the, ori­gin­ally fic­tion­al, “Fest­ivus for the Restivus” cre­ated by Frank Cost­anza in a 1997 epis­ode of Sein­feld. As le­gend has it, Cost­anza cre­ated the hol­i­day when he failed to ac­quire a doll for his son George when he was a child. It’s cel­eb­rated on Dec. 23 by “gath­er­ing your fam­ily around and telling them all the ways they have dis­ap­poin­ted you in the last year,” a prac­tice more form­ally re­ferred to as “the air­ing of the griev­ances.” In­stead of a tree, there is a bare alu­min­um pole to rally around. The hol­i­day also fea­tures feats of strength, when the head of the house­hold chal­lenges someone else to a wrest­ling match.

The Wis­con­sin and Flor­ida state cap­it­ols will both have Fest­ivus poles on dis­play this hol­i­day sea­son. In Wis­con­sin, a sil­ver pole is already stand­ing between two nativ­ity scenes in the packed ro­tunda. A sign hangs on the pole prom­ising an air­ing of the griev­ances on the 23rd, but no feats of strength “due to li­ab­il­ity is­sues.”

In Flor­ida, where a stand­ard Fest­ivus pole wouldn’t quite be ap­pro­pri­ately weird enough, a nearly 6-foot-tall poll made out of empty PBR cans will go up this week in the Cap­it­ol build­ing. The pole will be on the same floor of the ro­tunda as the more stand­ard nativ­ity scene that’s been up since last week. Chaz Stevens, who was the Flor­ida res­id­ent to ap­ply to put up the Fest­ivus dis­play, says that he con­siders it his “ri­dicu­lous state­ment versus what I con­sider, as an athe­ist, as their ri­dicu­lous state­ment.”

Amer­ica: where free­dom of re­li­gion means stuff­ing a cramped ro­tunda for a week or so with a di­orama on the birth of Je­sus and a stack of empty beer cans. Or, well, at least that’s the case in Flor­ida.

In the war on Christ­mas, Ha­nukkah, and the gen­er­al hol­i­day sea­son, Fest­ivus al­ways wins.

What We're Following See More »
INCLUDES WAIVER FOR MATTIS
Congress Releases Stopgap Funding Bill
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Congressional negotiators released a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to fund federal agencies and programs through April 28." The 70-page continuing resolution includes $170 million to aid Flint, Michigan's water supply, and a waiver that would allow Ret. Gen. James Mattis to assume the role of secretary of Defense.

Source:
INTERSTATE COMPACT GAINING TRACTION
Democrats Explore Electoral College Changes
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"A number of Capitol Hill Democrats have revived proposals to reform or abolish the Electoral College," chief among Michigan's John Conyers, who "held a panel on Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss options for eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a system where a national popular vote elects the president. ... The plan with the most support to reform the election college at the panel was the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a proposal first developed in 2001 that would give the national popular vote winner the majority of electoral college votes through an agreement between the states."

Source:
EFFORT LIKELY TO DIE IN COMMITTEE
Jordan Can’t Force a Floor Vote on Impeaching Koskinen
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan attempted to force a floor vote on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, but "the House voted overwhelmingly to refer it to the Judiciary Committee. ... The committee will not be required to take up the resolution." Earlier, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "made a motion to table the resolution, which the House voted against by a 180-235 margin, mostly along party lines."
Source:
AFTER THE VOTE FOR SPEAKER
Ryan: No Committee Assignments Until New Year
20 hours ago
THE DETAILS

House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.

Source:
EXPECTED TO FUND THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH SPRING
Funding Bill To Be Released Tuesday
1 days ago
THE LATEST

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login