Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Today -100: December 21, 1916: They seem the same on both sides

Woodrow Wilson writes to leaders of the European belligerents asking them to state their peace terms. “The leaders of the several belligerents have, as has been said, stated those objects in general terms. But, stated in general terms, they seem the same on both sides. Never yet have the authoritative spokesmen of either side avowed the precise objects which would, if attained, satisfy them and their people that the war had been fought out. The world has been left to conjecture what definitive results, what actual exchange of guarantees, what political or territorial changes or readjustments, what stage of military success even, would bring the war to an end.” He not so subtly hints that they ask him to mediate.

Chicago psychic Elmira Brockway is in jail in England, the victim of a recent crackdown on fortune-tellers preying on soldiers’ families. Which I only include so I can mention a similar case in 1944, in which Helen Duncan became the last person sent to prison in Britain for witchcraft.

France asks Cuba to see if any part of the island is being used as a secret German submarine base.

Headline of the Day -100:

A NY Supreme Court justice rules that movie theaters can remain open on Sundays because the NY blue law was enacted before the advent of moving pictures and so can’t apply to them.

And a NY magistrate refuses to issue arrest warrants for some actors who danced on Sundays. “What harm is there in a little dancing?” asks Magistrate Murphy. “The women wear abbreviated costumes, which are varicolored,” answers Detective Turk, but to no avail. “This is New York, and not Hohokus [New Jersey]” observes Magistrate Murphy.

A lawyer named Albert Reese sues his West 160th Street apartment building for its rule that babies are only allowed to use the freight elevator and the freight entrance (which is down 3 steps) rather than the main entrance, although dogs may use the main entrance, as is only right and proper.

(Update: Supreme Court Justice Nathan Bijur agrees with Mr. Reese).

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