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Why Many Married Women Were Banned From Working During the Great Depression

March 5, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

In 1930, the United States needed a miracle. Months before, the stock market had crashed, and the economy had begun to tank with it. As the Great Depression pummeled millions of American workers, Frances Perkins, New York’s Commissioner of Labor, warned that New York faced a particular threat from a surprising group: Married women with jobs.

“The woman ‘pin-money worker’ who competes with the necessity worker is a menace to society, a selfish, shortsighted creature, who ought to be ashamed of herself,” Perkins said. “Until we have every woman in this community earning a living wage…I am not willing to encourage those who are under no economic necessities to compete with their charm and education, their superior advantages, against the working girl who has only her two hands.”

Frances Perkins in 1933.

Within two years, Perkins would go on to become Secretary of Labor in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cabinet. And though she is known as one of the architects of the New Deal, her attitudes toward working women were shared by many who embraced FDR’s seemingly liberal economic policies of relief for unemployed workers.

Perkins wasn’t the only one who was suspicious of married women in the workplace. The 1930s would see a spike in policies and laws that discriminated against, even forbade, women to work when they were married. During the Great Depression, discrimination against their employment even became law.

“Nine states had marriage [work ban] laws prior to the Depression,” writes historian historian Megan McDonald Way, “and by 1940, 26 states restricted married women’s employment in state government jobs.” As women around the country struggled to make ends meet during the nation’s deepest economic crisis, they became an easy scapegoat for people looking for someone to blame.

By the time Perkins made her speech, the debate over working women—and whether women should work once they married—had been raging for decades. Arguments about married women’s work often centered on the idea of “pin money.” Originally coined to refer to the small amounts of money women spent on fancy items, it had become shorthand for all women’s work by the 20th century.

Unemployed, single women protesting the job placement of married women before themselves at the Emergency Relief Administration headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.

“The revised idea of pin money,” writes Janice Traflet, “increasingly served as a justification for paying …read more


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Why the Knights Templar Gave False Confessions of Depravity

March 5, 2019 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Some in the powerful medieval order were greased up and roasted until they ‘confessed’ to perversions like sodomy, cat worshipping and navel kissing.


Spies compile a dossier

Still, the Templars’ reputation as warriors persisted. So, when Pope Clement called the order’s Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, to France in late 1306, supposedly to discuss launching another crusade to the Holy Land, the request didn’t seem unusual.

Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

De Molay arrived in France in early 1307, with an entourage of 60 knights, and spent the next several months in meetings there. During that time, “The secret agents of the French king immediately circulated various dark rumors and odious reports concerning the Templars,” wrote Charles G. Addison in an 1842 history of the group. Philip’s spies also attempted to infiltrate the Templars and compiled a dossier of scurrilous charges against them from disaffected former members and others with battle axes to grind.

READ MORE: Why Friday the 13th Spelled Doom for the Knights Templar

Grisly torture was used to elicit confessions

That was all the excuse Philip needed to send out his arrest orders in September 1307. Not only were the Templars to be arrested, and their property seized, but they were to be imprisoned, interrogated and, if necessary, tortured. The instructions added, “you are to promise them pardon and favor if they confess the truth, but if not, you are to acquaint them that they will be condemned to death.”

The purpose of torture “was not to obtain the actual truth,” writes French historian Alain Demurger in his 2019 book, The Persecution of the Knights Templar, “but to elicit the specific truth that the accusers wanted to hear—it was that truth, or death.” Among the charges the Templars were expected to confess to: renouncing Christ and spitting on the cross.

King Philip IV torturing the Templars.

In Paris, the king’s inquisitors tortured 138 Templars, most of whom eventually made confessions. Many were subjected to “fire torture,” which Addison describes in vivid detail: “their legs were fastened in an iron frame, and the soles of their feet were greased over with fat or butter; they were then placed before the fire, and a screen was drawn backwards and forwards, so as to moderate and regulate the heat. Such was the agony produced by this roasting operation, that the victim often went raving …read more


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Catholic Church to Open Long-Secret Archives on Pope Pius XII

March 5, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Did Pope Pius XII do enough to protect Jews during the Holocaust? That question has raged since World War II. But since historians have no access to Roman Catholic files related to his reign, it has gone unanswered.

Until now. Pope Francis announced on March 4, 2019 that the Vatican will open its secret archives on Pius XII. During an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of Pius XII’s election to the papacy, Francis said he had given orders for the archive to be opened in March 2020. “The Church is not afraid of history,” he told the group.

The decision was hailed by historians, who have been agitating for more information on Pius XII’s activities during World War II for decades. Though some Catholic institutions rescued Jews during the Holocaust, Pius has been criticized for his silence during the war years and his failure to publicly condemn the Nazis.

Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime set up networks of concentration camps before and during World War II to carry out a plan of genocide. Hitler’s “final solution” called for the eradication of Jewish people and other “undesirables,” including homosexuals, gypsies and people with disabilities. The Jewish children pictured here were held at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

View the 13 images of this gallery on the original article

READ MORE: Holocaust Photos Reveal Horrors of Nazi Concentration Camps

“Information received by the Vatican from 1942 onwards was not disseminated, nor was direction given to bishops and the Catholic faithful, with regard to the treatment of Jews,” notes Yad Vashem. But though Pius XII’s public silence is known, it’s unclear how he may have responded in private.

The decision represents a change of course for the Roman Catholic Church, which usually waits at least 70 years to release documents about popes. Since World War II, the Vatican has given historians outside the Catholic church minimal access to the files.

That lack of direct access has led to speculation on the part of historians and confusion about Pius’s role within history. In 2009, when the Catholic Church announced Pius XII was being considered for sainthood, the move was widely criticized despite Church insistence that he had quietly helped save Jews.

Though the archives are called “secret,” they are not actually hidden. The name was given to the Catholic Church’s official …read more


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First Mardi Gras: Not in New Orleans?

March 5, 2019 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

The answer depends on a few technicalities—and who’s answering the question.

If you thought Mardi Gras—that annual celebration that marks the last day before the Christian season of Lent—began in New Orleans, you’re clearly not from Alabama.

Although The Big Easy in neighboring Louisiana is perhaps best-known for its Mardi Gras revelry, the port city of Mobile, Alabama, founded in 1702 by French settlers, lays claim to being the city that first observed the event, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French, and marks the the 40-day fasting season between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Of course, this is up for some debate. Some point to 1699 as year the first American Mardi Gras was held, when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed about 60 miles south of present-day New Orleans near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the eve of the holiday that dates back to Medieval days. Le Moyne dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras.

But Donnelly Lancaster Walton, archivist with the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library at the University of Alabama, says though the holiday’s origin honors may be complicated, they go to Mobile.

A flower decorated automobile for the Floral Parade at Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama 1905.

“Apparently, as early 1703, the French held a type of Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile,” she says. “New Orleans wasn’t founded until 1718. Therefore, strictly speaking, Mobile had the earliest celebration of the two cities.”

According to the Mardi Gras New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations were common in the city by the 1730s, although the first recorded Mardi Gras parade didn’t float through the New Orlean’s streets until 1857. Meanwhile, Alabama news site reports that the Boeuf Gras Society, a mystic society started in Mobile in 1710, kicked off a 1711 parade down Dauphin Street with a giant bull’s head on wheels (the fatted bull was used in ancient Carnival celebrations in France).

Early celebrations in Mobile were also tied to New Years until 1866, rather than the lenten season, when they were moved to Fat Tuesday.

“In 1830, cotton factor Michael Krafft and a group of revelers paraded through the streets of the city, carrying cowbells and rakes,” she says. “This celebration marked the foundation of the Cowbellion de Rakin Society, the nation’s first mystic society. The society continued its annual parades on New Year’s Eve, and …read more


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Trump-Kim Summit Ii Runs Aground, but Negotiations Have Not yet Sunk

March 5, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

A breakthrough agreement between President Donald Trump and
Chairman Kim Jong-un was widely expected in Hanoi. Hopes for peace
were raised by reports that the two leaders would issue a
declaration of peace, establish liaison offices, and formalize
closure of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities.

Such a pact still would have been only a start, not a finish.
But it would have included important specifics and offered the
basis for expansion. However, it was not to be. The two governments
cut negotiations short and cancelled the working lunch.

The administration’s explanation was that Kim sought to
lift all sanctions in response to eliminating just a portion of his
nation’s nuclear program, namely Yongbyon. Yet the North
Koreans disputed this account, contending that they had proposed
only a partial lifting of sanctions. If true, President
Trump’s decision to walk, even without anger, as he insisted,
was harder to justify.

Washington should see its
primary goal as creating a stable, peaceful Korean peninsula.
Denuclearization is an important means to that end, but
denuclearization is not necessary to achieve that end.

If the two governments could not agree on the degree of
sanctions relief, they could have endorsed this approach and
indicated that officials from both nations would be meeting to seek
a satisfactory formula. They also could have announced several
“easy” steps, such as increased efforts to recover the
remains of Americans killed during the Korean War.

Perhaps Washington viewed the North’s demands as excessive
and figured an abrupt rejection would shock Kim into taking a more
realistic position. However, the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea is not the only party with an interest in the proceedings.
Seoul has made reconciliation a priority because it sees
reconciliation as important as denuclearization. America’s
failure to ease inter-Korean economic cooperation is a major blow
to the Moon government.

Cooperation with China and Russia is also necessary to maintain
economic pressure. If Beijing or Moscow believes that Washington is
being recalcitrant and therefore is the culpable party, they could
complicate the Trump administration’s task by relaxing
sanctions enforcement. This would also advance other objectives as
well, such as increasing pressure on the Trump administration to
deal on trade and Ukraine-related sanctions by China and Russia,

Some U.S. analysts wonder if National Security Adviser John
Bolton convinced the president to demand full denuclearization
before granting the DPRK any meaningful concessions. Such an
unrealistic demand could have shortened the latest meeting.

However, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both
insisted that the talks in Hanoi made progress. There is no reason
the two governments cannot move ahead. They should begin regular
consultations about how to normalize their relationship.

With the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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It's Never Too Late to Stop a Transportation Megafolly

March 5, 2019 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

California should never have begun building its high-speed rail
project, and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement last month that
construction will be limited — at least for now — to a
segment already under construction is one of the best decisions he
could have made.

But President Donald Trump’s demand that the state return federal contributions to the project is
wrong, both because it was federal funding that enabled the project
in the first place and because that demand creates perverse
incentives for other states and localities to waste money on
similarly useless projects.

Back in 1997, researchers at the University of California at
Berkeley compared the cost of travel by auto, air and high-speed
rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The state had not yet
estimated the cost of constructing a high-speed rail line
connecting the two cities, so the researchers assumed it would be
about $10 billion. At that cost, they found, both air and auto
travel were less expensive than high-speed rail.

California’s governor was
right to put the brakes on a high-speed-rail boondoggle. That
doesn’t mean that the state should have to return the federal funds
it received.

Then, in 2000, California estimated that the actual cost would
be $20 billion. That made it a megafolly: a hugely expensive
project with negligible benefits. The state should have stopped
right there. Instead, in 2008, it asked voters to approve the sale
of $9 billion worth of high-speed rail bonds. The bond sale, the
state promised, would be conditional on getting matching funds from
the federal government and other sources. By that time, cost
estimates had risen to $33 billion, but if the state could find $9
billion in matching funds, it would have enough to complete about
half of the line.

Voters agreed, but nothing would have happened without federal
matching funds. The following year, President Barack Obama
persuaded Congress to make $8 billion available for high-speed rail
projects around the country; later, Congress added a couple more
billion. California’s share was less than $3.5 billion, allowing
the state to sell a similar amount of bonds.

The state began construction in the Central Valley. However,
projected costs quickly escalated to $77 billion, with indications
that they might exceed $100 billion. Obviously, the state had less
than 10 percent of what it might end up needing.

This wasn’t a surprise to anyone. California was up front from
the very beginning that it only would provide matching funds for
whatever the federal government gave it and that the total cost
would be much more than that. The Obama administration gave it the
money anyway, so it would …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Pay Politicians £500,000 Each per Year and Maybe We'd Get Better Quality MPs

March 5, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Few people are as hawkish on government spending as me. However,
there is one area where taxpayers should be willing to spend much,
much more: the salaries of our members of parliament.

Last week, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
announced that MPs’ basic pay was to increase by 2.7 per cent to
£79,468 from 1 April. Outrage ensued.

Given that there is seemingly no shortage of wannabe
politicians, and other public sector workers have endured pay
restraints, this response was to be expected. But the truth is that
we’d get better outcomes if we paid our MPs £500,000 or even
£1m each per year.

Their pay should be
linked to what happens to real GDP per capita over the
parliamentary term, and grow or be reduced accordingly.

I know, I know. Imagining our current politicians getting these
salaries is sickening. Given current events, many (or perhaps most)
are being paid more than they are worth. Some might even struggle
to find work with a minimum wage employer.

But before the TaxPayers’ Alliance set the pitchforks on me, the
whole point of much higher base pay would be to attract more
talented people into politics in the first place.

In general, we know that if we want a better phone, computer, or
house, then we must part with more money. Yet when it comes to our
elected representatives, who make hugely important decisions that
will affect our lives, incomes, house prices, education, and
health, we pay far less than the market rewards granted to top
roles in other sectors.

Few people would disagree that we’d prefer knowledgeable,
experienced elective representatives. But it’s difficult to
attract such talent when the financial rewards are so low compared
to other more lucrative jobs, particularly in business.

A decent legislator should be about much more than parroting the
party lines, dealing with a bit of casework, and turning up for
whipped votes. Given the size and scope of government, we should
desire people who have a firm grip of the legal implications of
their decisions, an appreciation of economics, knowledge of foreign
affairs, good public relations and media skills, and the ability to
weigh trade-offs and prioritise.

Yes, plenty of people are willing to put themselves forward for
election right now. Yet there’s a thin gruel of candidates
who possess all these skills within parliament. Higher pay would
increase the number and range of people willing to run. It might
even help break the party system too, if more independent MPs or
parties are attracted into politics with the ability to self-fund
their campaigns.

Even when talented MPs do get into parliament right now, the
high …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Let's Withdraw from Afghanistan, and Learn the Hard Lessons

March 5, 2019 in Economics

By John Glaser

John Glaser

A new joint resolution introduced in the Senate calls
on the executive branch to withdraw all U.S. troops from
Afghanistan within one year. President Trump has already expressed
a desire to draw down, and with negotiations with the Taliban
showing promising signs, it seems America’s longest war is coming
to an end.

However, politics always lag substantially behind reality. While
polls show public support for withdrawal, much of
Washington opposes bringing the war to a close. Policymakers must
face some hard truths on Afghanistan.

Refusing to fight
unwinnable and unnecessary wars is the first step to not losing

1. We lost.

The core of our nation-building mission in Afghanistan has
failed. We have not been able to pacify the Taliban insurgency, nor
have we created a viable democratic government that can maintain
order without external support. The Taliban now hold more territory, about half the
country’s districts, than at any point since 2001. Last year
marked the highest recorded number of civilian
deaths since 2009.

A recent Inspector General report found that the strength of the Afghanistan
security forces is at its lowest point since 2015, as it suffers
from desertions, depressed morale and low re-enlistment. An
astounding 45,000 Afghan police officers and soldiers have died
since 2014.

We have tried everything: light footprint, heavy footprint,
troop surges, regional cooperation, increased aid. Nothing has
brought us closer to our objectives. The Taliban will fight in
perpetuity until a full U.S. withdrawal and until they regain
political power in Kabul.

Americans don’t like to hear that they have lost a war.
During Vietnam, officials in Washington had acknowledged privately as early as 1965 that
most of the reason for keeping the war going was not to achieve our
objectives, which were basically lost, but to avoid the humiliation
of defeat. But extending that horrible war for years on this basis
was wrong. It’s time to simply face the hard truth: We lost.
Now, let’s cut our losses and leave.

2. The ‘terrorist safe haven’ is a

The security rationale for continuing to fight
this lost war is to prevent a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan from
being a sanctuary for terrorist groups. But Al Qaeda’s
presence Afghanistan in the lead-up to 9/11 did not have real operational utility in
enabling the terrorist group to perpetrate the attacks on New York
and Washington. The attacks were also planned from Germany and
Malaysia, and even the United States itself. In an age of instant
global communications, a territorial haven in remote, land-locked
Afghanistan isn’t much help to terrorist groups plotting to
attack …read more

Source: OP-EDS