Friday, September 21, 2012

Today -100: September 21, 1912: Of lost hope, alliances, warplanes, and making imperial ends meet


Election 1912 Headline of the Day -100: “Roosevelt Has Lost Hope.” According to one letter he allegedly wrote to some unnamed person in London (this story is sort of like the Huffington Post -100).

Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece (which last week initiated conscription) form a military alliance against the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan League.

(Usage note: In English, Serbia was called Servia until early in World War I, when it was decided that Britain’s brave little ally needed a less, um, servile-sounding name.)

The Interparliamentary Union, whatever that is, approves a ban on the use of airplanes in warfare, proposed by Belgium’s former prime minister (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Auguste Beernaert. So that settles that.

Congress snuck into the Post Office Bill a provision that any newspaper going through the mail has to display the names of its owners, editors, and publishers.

In Britain, Dr. Elizabeth Wilks of the Tax Resistance League has been protesting the lack of women’s suffrage by refusing to pay income taxes. Thanks to a quirk of British law (tax law hasn’t caught up with the notion that married women can own property in their own right, which has been the case for a few decades now), it’s actually her husband who has to report her income (but he has no legal power to compel her to tell him what her income is) and pay the tax. Indeed, when the Inland Revenue seized her furniture, she went to court and won a claim that they could only go after her husband for her income tax. So now Mark Wilks, who in any case can’t afford to pay her tax from his own, smaller income (he’s a schoolmaster) is going to jail.

The former Empress of France Eugénie is shocked at the current price of gowns in Paris. Why, when she was empress, she never paid more than $120. “Even then I was accused of extravagance. If I had had to pay what you ladies pay I should never have been able to make both ends meet.”


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