Little Bits of History

Santa All Year Long

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 3, 2014
Santa Claus Land

Santa Claus Land

August 3, 1946: Santa Claus Land opens. Louis J Koch was a retired industrialist from Evansville, Indiana. He visited Santa Claus, Indiana in 1941 and like many of the children who came to the town, he was disappointed to find there was no Santa. Koch was the father of nine children and understood just how much trouble this might cause families and so he decided to build a park where children could have fun and visit Santa Claus all year long. Initial construction plans were delayed due to World War II but on August 4, 1945 the building of the amusement park began. A year later, Indiana’s second amusement park was opened to the public.

When it opened, the park offered children Santa, a toy shop, displays, a restaurant, themed children’s rides, and the Santa Claus Land Railroad. After the park proved successful, William Koch, Sr. – Louis’s son, took over running the park although the father remained active and added many new features to the park. The first Jeep-Go-Round ever built was placed at the park and Louis also opened a deer farm which eventually was home to fourteen European white fallow deer. In 1955, the park began charging an admission fee – fifty cents for adults although children were still admitted free. More features were added and future US President Ronald Reagan even visited.

Live entertainment was added and Lake Rudolph was the venue for Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show during the summer months. The Santa Claus Choir was comprised of local children and performed at the park for a few years. By 1976, the park opted to shift its focus from children only to the whole family. They also moved their entrance as they redesigned the park. In 1984 they added nine new rides, eight of them for older children and adults. For decades, the park was purely a Santa park but by 1984, the Koch family realized other holidays would make for a great expansion possibility. They added Halloween and Fourth of July sections and formally changed the name of the park to Holiday World. As there were more holidays which came to also include Thanksgiving, some of the ride names changed as well to reflect the shift from everything Santa.

Bill’s son eventually took over running the family business and more features were added. Splashin’ Safari was added in 1993 and a new wooden roller coaster, The Raven, was added in 1995 and voted the “Ride of the Year” as well as the world’s second best wooden roller coaster. It moved to the number one spot in 2000 and remained there for four years. Today, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is open from May through October. The theme and water parks sport fifty rides with four of them roller coasters and 23 of them water rides. The park sits on 120 acres and has 1.2 million visitors per year. The Koch Family remains as the owner and Matthew Eckert is the general manager. Tickets today start at $34.95.

I love going to the movie theatre, seeing live comedy, and going to amusement parks. – Jennette McCurdy

I look just like the girls next door… if you happen to live next door to an amusement park. – Dolly Parton

You can’t live on amusement. It is the froth on water – an inch deep and then the mud. – George MacDonald

I love sporting events and popcorn and pizza and being outside, like at a baseball or football game. I love amusement parks, going to ride roller coasters. – Carrie Underwood

Also on this day: Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue – In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for China.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – In 1900, Firestone Rubber and Tire Company was incorporated.
Lenny Bruce – In 1966, Lenny Bruce died.
Row, Row, Row your Boat – In 1852, the first Harvard-Yale Regatta was held.

Uniting

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 2, 2014
Albert “Ginger” Goodwin

Albert “Ginger” Goodwin

August 2, 1918: The first general strike in Canadian history takes place in Vancouver. The 1918 Vancouver General Strike was a planned one-day event. It was a political protest against the killing of draft evader an labor activist, Albert “Ginger” Goodwin. There were about 300 men protesting and they were met by soldiers recently returned from combat. The confrontation took place at the Labour Temple at 411 Dunsmuir Street. The protesters ransacked the offices of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council and attacked the Council’s secretary, Victor Midgely. A woman working in the office was injured when she came to Midgely’s aid as the protestors attempted to throw him out a window.

The general strike had been called for the entire province, but only in Vancouver did people actually participate in enough numbers to be noticed. Other strikes were also held in Vancouver that year and this was as much to show the strength of labor as for any other reasons. War-time inflation had seriously diminished the purchasing power of wages. The men were also outraged by profiteering from World War I while men of their own standing were simply used as cannon fodder. The realization that labor was able to make a statement was profound and although the strike didn’t cause much of a reform, it did lead to the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. Vancouver’s sympathy strike in support of Winnipeg’s strike was the longest general strike in Canadian history.

Goodwin was born in Treeton, England in 1887. He was a coal miner and arrived at Vancouver Island in 1910. He worked at the Cumberland mines but was not happy with management’s disregard for the workers. Goodwin began to organize workers and demand their rights be acknowledged. He was the force behind the formation of several trade unions and became a prominent leader of both social improvements as well as labor concerns. Goodwin had been a pacifist but did sign up for the draft. He was given a medical deferral. He led a strike at the Trail lead/zinc smelter in 1917 which was hoping to achieve a standard eight-hour workday. While striking, he was notified that his medical deferral had been changed and he was now “fit for duty.” He fled into the Cumberland bush, successfully hiding for several months.

He died suddenly on July 27, 1918 from a single gunshot wound to the head. The cause of death seems undisputed. Dominion Police Special Constable Dan Campbell fired the shot, but claims it was in self-defense. There are those who supported Goodwin who claim he was murdered to stop the proliferation of trade unions. Goodwin was given a large funeral with attendees claiming the procession was a mile long. His death sparked this general strike. In the 1980s, interest in his life’s work was examined and in 1986 Miners’ Memorial Day was held. The now annual event was organized by the Cumberland Museum and Archives and celebrates Goodwin and the 295 miners who have died in various accidents over the years.

The general strike has taught the working class more in four days than years of talking could have done. – Arthur Balfour

Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! – Helen Keller

If workers are more insecure, that’s very ‘healthy’ for the society, because if workers are insecure, they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health. – Noam Chomsky

I’m from a working-class background, and I’ve experienced that worry of not having a job next week because the unions are going on strike. – Annie Lennox

Also on this day: Counting – In 1790, the US conducts the first census.
Who’s Calling? – In 1835, Elisha Gray was born.
PT-109 – In 1943, John Kennedy’s boat sank.
It’s Hot at Summerland – In 1973, Summerland caught fire.

Slavery Abolished

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 1, 2014
Protector of Slaves Office (Trinidad) by Richard Bridgens

Protector of Slaves Office (Trinidad) by Richard Bridgens

August 1, 1834: The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 goes into effect. The Parliament of the United Kingdom abolished slavery throughout the British Empire – with the exceptions “of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company” along with the “Island of Ceylon” and the “Island of Saint Helena.” These areas eliminated slavery in 1843. The Act was given Royal Assent on August 28, 1833. It was put into practice on this day with adoption at the Cape of Good Hope on December 1, 1834 and Mauritius on February 1, 1835. The Slave Trade Acts of 1843 and 1873 further clarified the law. The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1998 repealed the laws although later anti-slavery legislation remains.

Slavery within the British Empire began in 1619 when Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, then a colony of the Virginia Company of London. Nearly 100 years later, in 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave a monopoly to the UK over Asiento – when the Spanish government gave permission to other countries to sell slaves to Spanish colonies. By 1772, the Somerset’s Case had Lord Mansfield granting a slave emancipation in England. This launched the effort to abolish slavery throughout the Empire since the decision’s foundation was the understanding that British law did not support the concept of slavery. There was no legal basis for exerting control over another human.

After the American Revolutionary War was over, there was a push to stop the slave trade within the Empire. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 (passed in 1808) outlawed the slave trade but not slavery itself. The Royal Navy’s West African Squadron patrolled the coast and suppressed trade but was unable to entirely stop it. Between 1808 and 1860 they captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans with many of them resettled in Jamaica and the Bahamas. In 1832 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed. The slave revolt in Jamaica in December of 1831 led to two inquiries held by the British Parliament and helped spur the enactment of this law.

On this day, slavery was technically abolished, but in practice, only children under the age of six were freed. For those over the age of six, freedom came in two stages. The slaves were rechristened as “apprentices” and their servitude was abolished in steps. The first “apprenticeship” ended on August 1, 1838 and the second was done on August 1, 1840. Slave owners were compensated for loss of property. The “freed” slaves were not compensated and were dismayed at the length of time they were still in a forced work situation. When the Act was repealed, it was replaced by the Human Rights Act 1998 which prohibits holding people as slaves.

No trace of slavery ought to mix with the studies of the freeborn man. No study, pursued under compulsion, remains rooted in the memory. – Plato

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. – Jonathan Swift

Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil. – Edmund Burke

Racism, xenophobia and unfair discrimination have spawned slavery, when human beings have bought and sold and owned and branded fellow human beings as if they were so many beasts of burden. – Desmond Tutu

Also on this day: “You’ll never look at music the same way again” – In 1981, MTV begins broadcasting.
Collapse – In 2007, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed.
University of Texas Sniper – In 1966, the Texas Sniper struck.
London Bridge is Going Up – In 1831, a new bridge across the River Thames opened.

Daniel Defoe

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 31, 2014
Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

July 31, 1703: Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory. In 1702, William III died and Queen Anne took over the rule of England with an offensive against Nonconformists. Defoe was a natural target because of his political activities which included pamphlet writing. In December 1702 he had published The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church. The pamphlet satirically poked fun at the way the Tory ministry was handling affairs and led to Defoe being arrested for seditious libel. He was given a punitive fine, held in prison until he could pay the fine, and publi humiliation in a pillory. During his imprisonment, he fell into bankruptcy which was probably a far greater punishment than being placed in stocks. Legend says that while in the pillory, rather than being accosted by noxious objects, citizen threw flowers instead.

After three days in the pillory, Defoe was sent to Newgate Prison. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer brokered for his release. Harley wished to secure Defoe’s cooperation as an intelligence agent for the Tories. In exchange for information, Harley paid some of Defoe’s debts and improved his financial standing. Soon after his release, Dafoe was back to his writing. His pamphlet, The Storm was based on the horrific storm that blew across England on November 26 – 27, 1703 which killed thousands as well as causing severe damage and uprooting millions of trees. It contains many eyewitness accounts and is considered to be a pioneering work of journalism and science reporting.

Defoe was born in London in 1659 or 1660. He worked as a trader, writer, pamphleteer, spy, and is mostly known today as the author of Robinson Crusoe. He was an early adopter of the novel as a writing form and he a few others were responsible for the English novel’s adoption by the masses. Born, Daniel Foe, he added the “De” for status reasons later in life. His father was a prosperous tallow chandler and member of the Butchers’ Company. Defoe saw some of the most unusual occurrences in English history from the Great Plague of London in 1665 which killed 70,000, to the Great Fire of London of 1666 where the Foe household and only two others in his neighborhood survived the blaze.

His parents were Presbyterian dissenters and by around age 14, he was schooled at the dissenting academy at Newington Green in London. Not attending the Church of England was not tolerated well by the government. As a young man, he began working as a trader and although he seemed to do well, he was rarely out of debt. His first writing saw print in 1697 and over the course of his lifetime he was able to produce over 500 books, pamphlets, and journals on a variety of topic which included politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. He died on April 24, 1731 probably while hiding from his creditors. He is known to have used at least 198 pen names.

As covetousness is the root of all evil, so poverty is the worst of all snares.

The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.

All our discontents about what we want appeared to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.

All men would be tyrants if they could. – all from Daniel Defoe

Also on this day: Mount Fuji – In 781, Mount Fuji erupts for the first time in recorded history.
Who Knows? – In 1930, The Shadow came to radio.
First US Patent – In 1790, the first US patent was granted.
All Wet All-Stars – In 1961, the baseball game ended in a tie.

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Grand Combin

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 30, 2014
Grand Combin routes

Grand Combin routes

July 30, 1859: Grand Combin is conquered. The 14,154 foot high mountain is part of the Pennine Alps located in Switzerland. It is one of the highest peaks in the Alps and is a large glaciated massif (an uplifted piece of the Earth’s crust) which has several summits – three of them over 4000 meters (13,000 feet). The first to make an attempt to climb was Gottlieb Studer of Berne who reached the Combin de Corbassiere with the help of guild Joseph-Benjamin Felley on August 14, 1851. More attempts were made and the first four parties reached only minor summits. The first complete ascent was made on this date by Charles Sainte-Claire Deville with Daniel, Emmanuel and Gaspard Balleys, and Basile Dorsaz.

Many ancient cultures created superstitious stories around mountains, giving them sacred places in their societies. Because they were closer to the sky, it was assumed this was where the gods might live. An example would be Mount Olympus. During the Enlightenment, scientific curiosity overtook religious reverence and mountains were climbed in order to learn more about the world we all inhabit. In 1741, Richard Pococke and William Windham visited Chamonix where several peaks are now tourist attractions with cable cars ascending to the peaks at 12,605 feet for Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner at 11,358 feet. In 1760, Swiss scientist Horace Saussure offered a reward to the first person to ascend Mont Blanc in France. It took 22 years before someone claimed the prize.

In the early 1800s many of the alpine peaks were conquered by scientists seeking more information. The shift changed from scientific endeavors to sporting triumphs by mid-century. Sir Alfred Wills ascended Wetterhorn in 1854 and made mountaineering fashionable, especially to the British. The Golden Age of alpinism began with the formation of the Alpine Club in 1857. Many prominent people began climbing mountains for fun, although some also carried out scientific experiments. The sport became more competitive and greater challenges were sought out. The first ascent of the Matterhorn was done in 1865 with Edward Whymper leading the party. Four of their party fell to their deaths which was the death knell to the golden age.

The focus shifted from the Alps to other European mountain ranges and eventually to other continents as well. Climbing the peaks in the US led to climbing South American mountains when Whymper once again scaled a mountain in the Andes, Chimborazo (20,564 feet). By the end of the 1800s most of the highest peaks in the Americas had been scaled. The last frontier loomed in central Asia. The Himalayas are a range of high peaks, which simply begged to be climbed. It took years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tanzing Norgay finally reached the top of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Enthusiasts continue to find the thrill of ascent, the conquering of the top of the world, to be an worthwhile pursuit. Today, there is a body of professional guides, equipment, and fixed guidelines to be followed. It remains one of the most dangerous activities in the world.

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. – Edmund Hillary

You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional. – Mark Udall

Highest of heights, I climb this mountain and feel one with the rock and grit and solitude echoing back at me. – Bradley Chicho

Also on this day: Where Did He Go? – In 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappears.
Follow the Money – In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law.
Exterminated – In 2003, the last old style Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.
House of Burgesses – In 1619, the legislative body first convened.

First Hague Convention

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 29, 2014
First Hague Convention

First Hague Convention

July 29, 1899: The First Hague Convention is signed. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were the first multilateral treaties put in place to address conduct during warfare and both were based on the Lieber Code – a set of instructions for the Armies of the United States put in place by President Lincoln on April 24, 1863. This early law was the first to set out in codified form, regulations for behavior during times of martial law. It protected civilians and their property and listed punishments for transgressions. Also protected were prisoners of war, hostages, and spies and regulations were set down in regard to pillaging, truces, and prisoner exchanges. The 1874 Brussels Declaration listed 56 articles based on the Lieber Code, but it was never adopted.

The peace conference was proposed on August 24, 1898 by Russian Tsar Nicholas II. He and his foreign minister, Muravyov, were instrumental in bringing the conference to fruition. It opened on May 18, 1899, the Tsar’s birthday. Borrowing heavily from the Lieber Code, regulations about disarmament, the laws of war, and war crimes were addressed. The need for a binding international court for compulsory arbitration to settle international disputes was primary. It was an unachieved goal for both Hague Conferences. What was accomplished was the creation of a voluntary form for arbitration – the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US, Britain, Russia, France, China, and Persia all favored a binding international court, but Germany led a small group of countries which vetoed this.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration still exists and has 115 state parties involved. The international organization is based in The Hague in the Netherlands. Many nations joined at the first convention with many more participating or reiterating their participation in the second. It is not a court in the conventional understanding of the term. It is, rather, an administrative organization which provides permanent and readily available means to serve as the registry for international arbitration and other related procedures, including enquiry and conciliation. They can assist with temporary arbitral tribunals or commissions. They are housed in the Peace Palace which was built specifically for the Court in 1913 with an endowment provided by Andrew Carnegie.

Also addressed at the 1899 conference was the laws and customs of war on land, adaptations to maritime warfare from the Geneva Convention of 1864, prohibition of discharging projectiles or explosives from balloons or other new analogous methods (Britain and the US did not sign this measure), prohibition against poisonous gases (the US did not sign), and prohibition against bullets which expand inside the human body (the US did not sign). The second council held in 1907 did little to advance peace. In the second conference called by President Theodore Roosevelt (but postponed until the war between Russia and Japan ended), thirteen more treaties were signed. Many of the rules laid down by the conventions were violated in World War I. By the end of World War II, at the Nuremberg Trials, most of the civilized world had recognized the laws and customs of war.

Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. – Lyndon B. Johnson

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. – Nelson Mandela

The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace. – Carlos Santana

If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. – Desmond Tutu

Also on this day: Arc de Triomphe – In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated.
Irish Unrest – In 1848, the English put down a revolt by the Irish at Tipperary.
I Spy – In 1864, Isabella Boyd was captured.
USS Forrestal – In 1967, a fire broke out on the aircraft carrier.

In the Stars

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 28, 2014
USS Constellation

USS Constellation

July 28, 1855: The USS Constellation is commissioned. She was the last sail-only warship designed and built by the US Navy. She was a sloop-of-war which means a single gun deck. According to the Naval Registry, the original USS Constellation – a frigate – was disassembled in 1853 at the Gosport Navy yard in Norfolk, Virginia and the sloop-of-war was then built at the same yard. Despite being a single gun deck, she was both larger and more powerfully armed that the original, her namesake. The sllop was laid down on June 25, 1853 and launched on August 26, 1854. She was commissioned on this day with Captain Charles H. Bell at the helm.

Constellation, now a museum ship, is 181 feet long at the waterline and 199 feet overall. She is 41 feet wide at the waterline and 43 feet at her most extreme. She has a 1,400 long ton displacement and her draft is 21 feet. When fully staffed, she carried 20 officers, 220 sailors, and 45 marines. She was armed with 25 guns, the majority of them 8-inch chambered shell guns. From 1855-58 she was part of the US Mediterranean Squadron and mostly performed diplomatic duties. In 1859, 1860, and 1861 she stopped three ships (one each year) which appeared to be part of the slave trade. Two of the ships were fitted out for transport of human cargo. One ship had 705 enslaved people aboard. They were set free in Monrovia, Liberia.

During the US Civil War, the Constellation remained in the Mediterranean Sea acting as a deterrent to Confederate cruisers and “commerce raiders”. After the war, she continued to sail near Europe and was part of the effort to bring food to Ireland during the famine. She also participated in bringing exhibits to the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1878. The Constellation also served as a floating barracks. During World War I, she was used as a training ship and over 60,000 recruits learned the ropes aboard her. She was decomissioned in 1933 but recommissioned in 1940 as a national symbol. She spent much of World War II as a relief flagship.

She was decommissioned again on February 4, 1955 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on August 15 of that year, 100 years after her first commissioning. She was taken to Baltimore, Maryland and was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 23, 1963. She is the last intact naval vessel from the Civil War. In 1994 she was condemned as unsafe and taken in for a $9 million restoration project which was completed in 1999. Tours are regularly available and there is a cannon firing demonstration daily. The USS Constellation is now part of the Historic Ships of Baltimore.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage. – George William Curtis

The effect of sailing is produced by a judicious arrangement of the sails to the direction of the wind. – William Falconer

You can’t believe how bleeding scary the sea is! There’s, like, whales and storms and shit! They don’t bloody tell you that! – Libba Bray

Also on this day: Dusting for Prints – In 1858, fingerprints are first used – sorta.
Motormouth – In 1958, Lord Jellico spoke for the first time in 19 years.
Plane Flies into Building in New York - In 1945, the Empire State Building was hit by a plane.
B-17 Flying Fortress - In 1935, a test flight for the WWII bomber was made.

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Bank of England

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2014
Bank of England

Bank of England

July 27, 1694: The Bank of England receives a Royal Charter. In 1690, France steamrolled over England with the naval battles proving to be England’s downfall. She desperately needed to rebuild her navy. King William III’s government was unable to borrow funds but needed £1.2 million (at 8% interest). To get funds, subscriptions were incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England (its official name). The bank was given exclusive rights to the government’s balances and was the only limited-liability corporation permitted to issue bank notes. Lenders gave the government cash (bullion) and were issued notes against the government bonds, which could be lent again. The monies were raised in twelve days and half was used to rebuild the navy.

With all the construction, supplying businesses sprang up – from nail making to agriculture needed to feed the new sailors. The nave quadrupled in size and an industrial boom fueled the economy. All this led to increased power at home and eventually to a global naval presence. The bank was the brainchild of William Paterso who put forth the idea three years earlier. Nothing was done until Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax resurrected the idea. The Royal Charter was granted on this day with the passage of the Tonnage Act 1694. The first governor of the bank was Sir John Houblon. The charter was renewed in 1742, 1764, and 1781.

The bank was originally located in Walbrook, in the City of London but moved to Threadneedle Street in 1734. During the 1700s, the idea of a National Debt came into play and this was also managed by the Bank. The gold standard was upheld until February 27, 1797 when war debts climbed and the nation’s gold reserves were so meager that the bank was not permitted to pay out gold. That lasted until 1821. Another crisis took place in 1780 when rioters in London attempted to storm the building. Every night – until 1973 – a detachment of soldiers patrolled the perimeters to protect the nation’s supply of gold.

Today the Bank of England is an independent public organization owned entirely by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government. They are one of eight banks authorized to issue banknotes in the United Kingdom. They have a monopoly on issuing banknotes in England and Wales and regulate the commercial banks of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee does what their name implies but works with both the Treasury and Parliament. Mark Carney is the current governor and has been since July 1, 2013. He is Canadian and will serve an initial five year term rather than the normal eight years. He is seeking UK citizenship. He is the first non-British person to hold the post. The bank has reserves of £403,003,000,000. The British pound sterling is used throughout the UK and in nine British territories.

At the heart of banking is a suicidal strategy. Banks take money from the public or each other on call, skim it for their own reward and then lock the rest up in volatile, insecure and illiquid loans that at times they cannot redeem without public aid. – James Buchan

I have always been afraid of banks. – Andrew Jackson

The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks. – Lord Acton

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. – John Kenneth Galbraith

Also on this day: What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Reign of Terror – In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was arrested.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.
Olympic Bomb – In 1996, a bomb goes off at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

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And the Rains Came

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 26, 2014
Mumbai flooding from 2005

Mumbai flooding from 2005

July 26, 2005: It rains in Mumbai. Rain began to fall around 2 PM. The trains came to a halt around 2:30 because the tracks were waterlogged. Since the trains weren’t running, more traffic took to the roads. The roads became treacherous with low-lying areas dangerous to drive through and in some cases, completely impassable. With cars and trains having difficulty, buses were filling. By 4 PM, a BEST bus left Churchgate for Mahim, 8.8 miles away. It took four hours to make the trip. By 5 PM cell phone networks were down and only some landlines were still functional. With the disruption in communications, radio and TV stations were unable to get weather updates, increasing the level of chaos.

Power Lake started to overflow at 4 PM and during the course of the storm discharged 5.95 million cubic meters of water (over 1.5 billion gallons) into the Mithi River. When looking at graphs of water movement after the storm, it was noted that two flood waves took place. The first coincided with the high tide. The second wave would normally have been absorbed because it was during a time of low tide. However, the first flood wave did not have time to recede and so the second wave met with still remaining water from the first. The drainage systems were clogged and unable to draw off standing water. Power was cut off during the evening since stations were submerged.

The rains continued to fall and 994 mm (39.1 inches) lashed Mumbai over a 24 hour period. This is the eighth highest 24 hour rainfall. Rain continued intermittently the next day as well. Between 8 AM and 8 PM, 644 mm (25.4 inches) fell. For the next week, torrential storms blew over the city. Other places in India were also struck by these storms. Historically, the greatest 24 hour rainfall in India took place in 2004 when 1,168 mm (46.0 inches) fell in Aminidivi on May 6. The previous record for Mumbai was 575 mm (22.6 inches) which fell during one day in 1976.

At least 5,000 people died as a result of these floods along with 24,000 animals. All commercial, trading, and industrial activity was halted for several days. Schools were shut down and post-storm the days were classified as holidays. The financial cost of the floods were estimated at $100 million. Neither the Bombay Stock Exchange nor the National Stock Exchange of India could fully function. All domestic and international airports were closed for over 30 hours which either cancelled or delayed over 700 flights. Much of the public transportation system suffered losses and damages. Over 26,000 vehicles had been stranded on the roadways. Emergency relief was organized and implemented as quickly as possible with over 25,000 people helped at fifteen locations.

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. – John Updike

You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it. – Denzel Washington

The rain begins with a single drop. – Manal al-Sharif

Also on this day: The Polite Bandit – In 1875, a strange, but polite, man commits his first robbery
First Railway – In 1803, Surrey Iron Railway opened.
As the Worm Turns – In 1989, Robert Morris was indicted.
Feebs - In 1908, the FBI was formed.

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“Temporary” Tax

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 25, 2014
Sir Robert Borden

Sir Robert Borden

July 25, 1917: Sir Robert Borden introduces a new temporary tax in Canada. Unlike their neighbor to the south and the Mother Country, Canada was able to avoid instituting an income tax until World War I. Prior to this, one of the key reasons for immigrating to the country was the lack of an income tax. Funding of the government came from tariffs and customs as well as management of natural resources. At the beginning of the twentieth century, one debate between the Conservatives and Liberals centered on whether or not to tax imports from the US. The Conservatives defeated the Liberals in 1911 as they supported free trade. The Conservatives also opposed an income tax in the hopes of attracting more US and British citizens to their lands.

Wartime expenses increased and the Tories had to reconsider their stance. Borden imposed what was to be a temporary income tax to help cover the cost of the war. With debts piling up in spite of having the tax imposed, it was impossible to simply stop after the war was over. A new Liberal government with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was brought in. The debate over dismantling it was abandoned and the income tax has been part of Canadian life ever since. The constitutional authority comes from section 91 paragraph 3 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Canada levies personal income tax on her citizens and certain types of Canadian-source income earned by nonresidents. The amount one must pay is based on the total of taxable income (income earned less allowed expenses). Taxes may be sent to the government via deductions at the source, installment payments, payments paid when filing, or arrears payments. The most often used deductions are for contributions to Registered Retirement Savings Plans, union or professional dues, child care expenses, and business investment losses. Other deductions are less used and certain amounts can be excluded from taxation altogether. Charitable contributions create a tax credit which is based on the amount donated.

Robert Borders was the 8th Prime Minister of Canada and served in that role from October 10, 1911 until July 20, 1920. George V was King at the time with Earl Grey as Governor General. Borders was born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and was originally affiliated with the Liberal party (1867-1891). He switched at that time to the Conservative party and remained so affiliated with them except for a stint as a Unionist from 1917 to 1922. After retiring from political life, he went on to become Chancellor of Queen’s University and at the time of his death in 1937 he was president of Barclay’s Bank of Canada and of the Crown Life Insurance Company. Just as an interesting fact, he is a distant relative to Lizzie Borden, accused murderer.

The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax. – Albert Einstein

There is no such thing as a good tax. – Winston Churchill

When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income. – Plato

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors… and miss. – Robert A. Heinlein

Also on this day: Oh Joy! Louise – In 1978, Louise Joy Brown is born.
TP – in 1871, a patent was granted for perforated toilet paper.
Free Press – In 1925, TASS is established.
SS Andrea Doria – In 1956, the ship was struck out at sea.

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