Why do we celebrate Labor Day? When did it become a holiday? | Five for Your Weekend

By: - September 5, 2020 6:30 am

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Happy weekend, everyone!

In honor of the long holiday weekend, this week, we’re sharing some Labor Day trivia to test your knowledge of the holiday that is often considered the unofficial end of summer and the harbinger of autumn.

When did Labor Day become a national holiday?

What president signed Labor Day into law?

What city was the first to celebrate Labor Day?

As always, below are the top five stories of the week.Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. After ‘bullish’ use of powers, Wolf reaches end of executive rope on evictions

Legal experts are scratching their heads over Gov. Tom Wolf ending his 116-day old eviction moratorium this week.

Since mid-March, evictions have been significantly held in check by a string of statewide orders, starting with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The court was set to lift its  hold on evictions May 11. On May 7, Wolf announced a backdoor ban by removing a key notice requirement that stopped landlords from evicting renters who were behind on their payments.

“I am protecting housing for Pennsylvanians who may be facing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wolf said at the time.

Now, after a mid-summer extension, those protections will expire Aug. 31. In a letter to the General Assembly Monday, Wolf, claiming legal handcuffs, told lawmakers that further executive action was “not a viable option.”

Instead, he asked for the General Assembly to “act immediately to prevent evictions and foreclosures.”

Republicans reacted to the ask with anger, saying it showed the dangers of one man ruling by fiat. But in the balance of this brewing standoff are tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who now face being left homeless in the summer heat and with the coronavirus still looming.

2. ‘He’s not a leader, he’s a dictator’: Republicans backing Biden warn of four more years of Trump

In 2016, Sue Humes, a dairy farmer from Erie County, held her nose and voted for Hillary Clinton for president. The lifelong Republican said she was “in the closet” about supporting the former first lady, and didn’t want her friends to know.

Four years later, Humes is facing no such challenge when it comes to Donald Trump. She’s voting for former Vice President Joe Biden, and believes four more years of Trump would be a disaster for the country.

“This time around, if we don’t make a change now, I’m afraid that, in four years, the Republican Party will not exist,” Humes said Thursday during a conference call organized by Biden’s campaign touting Republican support for the Democratic nominee.

“He is not a leader. He is a dictator,” Humes continued. “And maybe we should all brush up on our Russian, because that’s where we’re going.”

3. From Oliver Cromwell to Donald Trump: Here’s how to stop a slide into despotism | Tom Brier

The United States Constitution was “written by fifty-five men—and one ghost,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Dave R. Palmer observed in his 1994 book, “1794: America, Its Army, and the Birth of the Nation.

The ghost was that of Oliver Cromwell, the liberator turned despot, who conquered the English monarchy in the mid-seventeenth century before devising a government that, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, combined “cruelty with ultimate inefficiency” to form a tyranny worse than any that had ever existed under the English Kings.

For five months in the spring and summer of 1787, Cromwell’s shadow lurked inside an austere assembly room in Philadelphia as fifty-five of America’s most reputable statesmen gathered together to draft what would become the most celebrated document in human history.

Indeed, for many of the Founders — and for Alexander Hamilton in particular — the ultimate concern during the Constitutional Convention was that, without adequate safeguards, an ill-educated populace of “malcontents” could be duped “by a Cromwell” and thereby plunge the nation into “despotism.”

4. With little notice, Pa. Senate panel advances voting bill that Wolf, Dems opposeA state Senate committee convened on roughly 18 hours’ notice Thursday to advance an election reform proposal that has divided Republicans and Democrats in a series of party-line votes this week.

The Senate State Government Committee voted 7-4 at the end of the brief meeting Thursday to approve the only piece of legislation on its agenda: a bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, that advances the deadline for voters to request a mail-in ballot and bans ballot drop boxes ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The 2:30 p.m. meeting was not on the Senate’s public schedule by Wednesday afternoon.

5. Central Pennsylvania DA faces calls for resignation over Kenosha-related social media post

A central Pennsylvania prosecutor is facing calls for his resignation over a Facebook post that he says is being blown out of proportion.

On Sunday, Cumberland County’s elected district attorney, Republican Skip Ebert, responded to a Facebook post wondering why money was being raised “for a 17 yr. old killer,” and not for “a father of 3, shot 7x in his back and now paralyzed.

The former was a reference to Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Illinois teen, who has been arrested and charged with shooting two protesters to death in Kenosha, Wisc., last week.

The latter is a reference to Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back seven times during an altercation with a Kenosha police officer, sparking more than a week of sometimes violent clashes on the streets of the midwestern city.

Trivia answers:

1. Labor Day became a national holiday on June 28, 1894.
2. President Grover Cleveland signed the holiday into law.
3. New York City was the first to city to celebrate Labor Day on Tues., Sept. 5 1882.

Source: The History of Labor Day – U.S. Dept. of Labor

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here Tuesday. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.