Congress Accidentally Creates Nov. 31

ByABC News
January 22, 2002, 10:35 AM

Jan. 15, 2002 -- -- If you go by thousands of calendars some senators and congressmen bought to send to their favorite constituents, you'll have an extra day to shop for Christmas gifts Nov. 31.

Put on your second-grade thinking caps and repeat after me: "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except for February which has 28."

Some folks in Washington had to relearn that lesson. It seems that the nonprofit organization that supplies much of Capitol Hill with calendars the U.S. Capitol Historical Society made a major blunder this year and didn't realize it until 650,000 copies of the "We, the People" calendars had been printed.

"Nov. 31? Doesn't anybody proofread these things?" says Amy Weinberg, a TV writer and producer in Los Angeles, who received the calendar after writing a letter to Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., to protest the $15 billion bailout of the airline industry. 'To Err Is Human Even for Americans'

Weinberg received back from Berman a generic letter touting "a renewed spirit of patriotism and unity" and "the strength of our democratic institutions." And as a gift, she received the faulty calendar, which was custom-printed with the congressman's name on it.

But it's hard to talk about "renewed spirit" when a calendar has Dec. 1 on a Monday, instead of Sunday the day on which most experts expect it to arrive this year.

"My American pride started to slip," Weinberg says. "I just can not for the life of me comprehend the fact that no one bothered to proofread the calendar."

Berman's office had in fact noted the error. In a letter to constituents, it notes that the events of Sept. 11 have "brought all Americans together" and offers "this beautiful calendar as a constant reminder of the strength of our democratic institutions."

The letter goes on to explain, "To err is human even for Americans.

"The U.S. Capitol Historical Society reports that after printing millions of calendars, it discovered that November was printed with 31 days so that the entire month of December is incorrect.