Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Today -100: August 12, 1920: Society owes me a chance to redeem my past


France recognizes the White “South Russian Government” of Gen. Pyotr Wrangel, “taking into consideration the military success and strengthening of the Government of General Wrangel,” which, yeah, no. The Soviet government had asked the allies to get Wrangel to surrender, and this is France’s response. France will send a high commissioner (ambassador).

Charles Ponzi admits having been to prison, once in Canada for, he says, taking the blame for his persecuted employer (it was for forging a check), and once in the US for smuggling Italian immigrants into the US, but he says “Society owes me a chance to redeem my past” (and how’s that redemption going, Carlo?). Authorities close the Hanover Trust Company, in which he bought a one-quarter share.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Today -100: August 11, 1920: Of peace terms, patriot-poets, and actors


The terms issued by Russia to Poland include shrinking the Polish army, handing over arms – quite similar to the terms the Allies imposed on Germany, really – but nothing about turning Poland into a communist workers’ paradise or drastically altering its borders. Lloyd George tells Parliament that the initial Polish attack on Russia was not justified, and Russia is justified in imposing certain conditions, but not in erasing Polish national existence.

To add insult to injury, Poland won’t be able to participate in the Olympics because of the war.

The US is trying poet Fabio Fiallo by court-martial in the US-occupied Dominican Republic. He could be executed for failing to comply with US censorship (a pro-independence article, I believe).

Actor James O’Neill dies, and the NYT’s theatre page misspells his name, which he would NOT have appreciated, and gets his age wrong, which he would. He is most famous for playing the Count of Monte Cristo for decades; he wanted to move on to other roles but the public insisted, as his son Eugene will portray in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. There’s a 1913 film version of his Monte Cristo, which I can’t find online although it is not lost.



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Monday, August 10, 2020

Today -100: August 10, 1920: We oppose a mere period of coma in our national life


Franklin D. Roosevelt, the recently resigned Assistant Secretary of the Navy, accepts the Democratic party’s nomination for vice president in Hyde Park, NY from “the largest front porch which has yet appeared in the campaign”. He says Harding’s message is “We are tired of progress, we want to get back to where we were before, to go about our own business, to restore normal conditions – I mean conditions of normalcy.” Oo, making fun of Harding’s favorite non-word.

And what do the Democrats oppose? “Our  opposition is to the things which once existed, in order that they may never return. We oppose money in politics. We oppose the private control of national finances. We oppose the treatment of human beings as commodities, we oppose the saloon-bossed city, we oppose starvation wages, we oppose rule by groups or cliques. In the same way we oppose a mere period of coma in our national life.”

Lloyd George has decided not to go to war with Russia to defend Poland, quite yet. This may be because the labor movement has made it very clear it will use strike and other action to prevent it. French Gen. Maxime Weygand offers to take command of the Polish Army (which is what he thought was going to happen when he went to Poland last month). They say no thank you. The Polish government is retreating from Warsaw.

The Massachusetts state bank commissioner orders Charles Ponzi’s bank to stop honoring his checks, since he is overdrawn (which he denies). Massachusetts Attorney General J. Weston Allen says there is no evidence that the vast sums Ponzi says he is sending to, and receiving from, Europe actually exist.

The Evening Standard (London) claims that Sinn Féin has a $500,000 slush fund to influence the US presidential election, and a further $1 million to work for US recognition of the Irish Republic. Irish President De Valera admits to having funds for the latter but denies trying to buy himself a US president.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s ship arrives off the Irish coast, and he is taken off it by a freaking destroyer, one of several deployed for the purpose, so that he won’t set foot on Irish soil. Mannix says the government “are putting me to a little inconvenience, but are making themselves very silly.” The Lord Mayor of Dublin says the action shows the government “are in a state of nervous prostration.”


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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Today -100: August 9, 1920: Of blockades, brain stuff, and bicycling eggs


British Prime Minister Lloyd George asks Russia for a 10-day truce with Poland. Russia says no. France and Britain are talking about re-establishing the blockade of Russia.

French President Paul Deschanel has cerebral anemia.

Headline of the Day -100: 



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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Today -100: August 8, 1920: The house of civilization is to be put in order


Gov. Charles Cox gives his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination, endorsing US entry into the League of Nations: “The house of civilization is to be put in order. The supreme issue of the century is before us, and the nation that halts and delays is playing with fire.” He is strongly against making a separate peace with Germany, as Harding wants. “We are in a time which calls for straight thinking, straight talking and straight acting.” He doesn’t explain what times don’t call for these things.

The Sunday NYT Magazine tells us that Harding is a baseball fan who played first base on the Marion team, and that Cox likes horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

Tennessee Gov. Albert Roberts finally calls a special session of the Legislature to vote on women’s suffrage. Including a poll tax provision, in case you laughingly thought Tennessee would allow black women to vote.

The “race war” in West Frankfort, Illinois against Italians continues, despite the occupation of the town by State Guards with machine guns. A mob attacks a house and kills a man.

Under the deal for Pancho Villa’s surrender, he will get a large estate and the government will pay 50 of his followers to act as guards.

Charles Ponzi says his new Charles Ponzi Company will open tomorrow. “Some of [my managers] may be arrested, but I doubt it.” He expects investors to give $10 or 20 million in the first couple of weeks, with no other security than his word. “My clients must have faith in me. I’m going through.” He plans to buy Shipping Board vessels. He’s ignoring Massachusetts Attorney General J. Weston Allen’s request that he come in for an interview because he is too busy to “bother” with it.


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Friday, August 07, 2020

Today -100: August 7, 1920: Of street car strikes, Irish crimes, and frooks


Denver police and/or armed strikebreakers open fire on striking street car workers who were advancing on the car barns, killing 3. The city is now being patrolled by tanks with machine guns. The American Legion is also patrolling.

The British Parliament passes the Irish Crimes Bill 206-18, after a walkout by Labour and Irish Nationalist MPs. An amendment to limit the imposition of courts-martial to one year is rejected.

Dorothy Frooks, lawyer and suffragist orator since the age of 11, announces that she will run for Congress from the 27th district of New York. I don’t think she does, although she will in the ‘30s, but this is a good excuse to link to her 1997 obit.


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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Today -100: August 6, 1920: Of revengeful spirits, prohibition, ethnic cleansings, hysterical womanhood, and duels


Germany says it will refuse the Entente permission to send troops through Germany to help Poland against Russia. The Times of London  falsely reports that Russia and Germany signed a secret treaty before Russia began its offensive.

In the debate on the Irish Crimes Bill, which would replace civilian juries with military courts-martial in disturbed areas, Irish Secretary Sir Hamar Greenwood says they would not operate “in a revengeful spirit.” So that’s okay then. In the debate, former PM H.H. Asquith calls for giving Ireland dominion status, like Canada & Australia. In response, Lloyd George asks if he’d allow Ireland an army and a navy or give it control over its own ports and says that during the war current Sinn Féin leaders had an arrangement with Germany to “attack us at the moment of our greatest peril.”

Maryland Attorney General Alexander Armstrong says cops can’t make raids or arrests under the (federal) Volstead Act.

A large mob takes over the town of West Frankfort, Illinois, disarming the police, taking over the phone and telegraph lines, beating up people, and possibly killing a photographer trying to take pictures. They order all Sicilian residents, as well as the mayor and all the cops, to leave the town within 24 hours. It’s unclear from the story who the mob consists of, but they arrived by cars, so not locals. This was all precipitated by the discovery in the woods of two dead boys who had claimed to know things about a series of robberies. Several men arrested for the crime were spirited out of the jail before they could be lynched.

Human weathervane Warren Harding decides he will help push Tennessee to ratify the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, sending telegrams to Republican leaders, which is the very least he could do.

Charles Ponzi says he’s about to launch a $100 million world-wide project, and he expects the public to be investing $5 million a day by next week. Mass. Gov. Coolidge approves funds for a state inquiry into Ponzi’s scheme.

In a letter to the NYT,  the leaders of the Alabama Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage are so disgusted by the two parties’ positions on the Susan B. Anthony Amendment that they “demand” that the men of the South not vote for president this year. Blah blah blah weakened temporizing manhood blah blah hysterical womanhood. Susan B. herself “stirred the fanatical fury that put us under the rule of former slaves,” so yeah there’s racism too. “‘The Solid South’ is the white man’s Government, the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Uruguay legalizes duels, if approved by a court of honor.


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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Today -100: August 5, 1920: Of councils of foreign powers, cables, and generals


From his front porch in Marion, Ohio (the only place he intends to campaign until October, following McKinley’s strategy – he even has McKinley’s flagpole), Warren G. Harding gives a speech referring to the League of Nations as “a council of foreign powers [which] shall summon the sons of this republic to war anywhere in the world.”

Pres. Wilson orders a British ship laying a West Union telegraph cable into Miami harbor without US permission in order to connect Miami to Barbados and then to Brazil to be blocked by destroyers, by force if necessary.

Mexico Pres. Adolfo de la Huerta fires all the generals in his cabinet except the minister of war, making them ambassadors.


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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Today -100: August 4, 1920: Of armistices, magistrates, absent doctors, and smiling ponzis


Russia breaks off armistice talks with Poland, opting to try to capture Warsaw instead. It seems likely this will happen.

132 Irish magistrates have resigned recently, they say in protest, the British say because of Sinn Féin terrorism. After Protestant Belfast workers’ expulsion of Catholics from jobs in the shipyards and elsewhere, the South of Ireland is preparing to boycott goods from Belfast and Sinn Féin has warned bakers not to send bread to Belfast. SF also bans Irish people emigrating without its permission.

Woodrow Wilson’s doctor goes on vacation, leaving him with no doctor in attendance for the first time in nearly a year, because he’s just sooooo recovered (although the NYT says he looks much older than his age. Rude).

Headline of the Day -100:


Ponzi says he still has “mountains of money” to pay any claims.


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