Monday, August 31, 2015

Today -100: August 31, 1915: Of horse thieves and foreign-policy elections

San Antonio police arrest 26 Mexicans, thwarting a supposed plot to kill gringos (and Germans) and reattach Texas to Mexico.

A posse of Texas Rangers, customs guards, the 13th US Cavalry, and civilians kill 5 horse thieves from Mexico near Hillsburg, TX including, it is suspected (correctly), Gen. Pascual Orozco, who jumped bond last month after being arrested with Huerta. It’s actually a little murky. The rancher Dick Love who called in the authorities didn’t tell them Orozco was one of the Mexicans, although they knew each other. Love may have been carrying out a personal vendetta against Orozco and those may not even have been his horses, but Orozco’s.

The NYT thinks the 1916 elections will be the first US election ever fought on foreign issues. They quote the Boston Herald saying that the D’s will fight on “He kept the country out of war.” First time I’ve seen that phrase in the NYT. Won’t be the last.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Today -100: August 30, 1915: Of fire and snakes

A mob in Sulphur Springs, Texas, lynches two negro brothers who killed a couple of sheriffs. They are burned (one alive, one dead) at the stake. The NYT describes that as a “compromise” between those who wanted the men burned alive in the town square and those who wanted to allow the law to take its course. Who says Texans don’t believe in compromise?

Germany is supposedly now using phosphorus shells to set enemy soldiers on fire. Are Germans actually Texans? Are Texans actually Germans? Someone check Wikipedia.

Feel-Good Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Today -100: August 29, 1915: Of negro women suffragists, TR speeches, and tighter skirts

The Woman Suffrage Party in NY will open a branch for black people (ahead of the November referendum).

Theodore Roosevelt responds to Secretary of War Garrison’s criticism of his speech in typically temperate terms and it’s like watching him degenerate into a Fox News commentator.

Headline of the Day -100: 

German dressmakers had intended to bring out wider, material-wasting skirts simply to do the opposite of whatever is current Paris fashion. The government would rather save the cotton.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Today -100: August 28, 1915: Blackjacked

A fire in the Presidio kills the wife and three of the four children of Gen. “Blackjack” Pershing, who will lead US expeditionary forces during World War I. Evidently there are standing orders for Presidio personnel not to pull an alarm to call the SF Fire Department until they’ve tried to put it out themselves (with old, inadequate equipment).

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Today -100: August 27, 1915: When mobs are no longer possible, liberty will be dead

Russia abandons Brest-Litovsk.

Former SC Gov. Coleman Blease shows up at the Conference of Governors and speaks out against the use of the third degree by police, which he says is a violation of the Constitution and a blow to the whole spirit of our institutions.  Unlike lynchings, which of course he totally supports: “when mobs are no longer possible, liberty will be dead.”

The US is now pushing Germany for a response to its last Lusitania letter about submarine warfare. That letter actually said that it didn’t require a written response, just not torpedoing quite so many Americans in the future, but now, with the Arabic sinking, the US demands an explicit response. Germany is evidently telling the US privately that it already sent orders to modify submarine warfare and refrain from attacking passenger ships (which the U-boat that sunk the Arabic ignored), but that it won’t say so publicly because the German people are really committed to sub warfare, in part because the government is exaggerating how successful it is and how vital to the war effort.

France announces the end of martial law outside of actual war zones.

The New York Constitutional Convention reverses itself and drops the literacy requirement.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The British and German ambassadors to the US both turn up at the Shoreham Hotel restaurant for separate lunches. They do not make eye contact.

German occupation forces appoint a city council for Warsaw, 12 Poles, 12 Germans, and 6 Jews.

A W.J.L. writes a letter to the NYT saying that he’d offered a German street band a dime to play the Marseillaise but “They are not out for cash, it seems.”

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Today -100: August 26, 1915: We have treated elocution as a substitute for action

Haitian President Philippe Dartiguenave, in office less than two weeks following his predecessor’s precipitate removal from office by a murderous mob, signs the convention giving control of Haitian finances and police to the United States. It now has to be ratified by the Haitian Congress and US Senate. Secretary of State Robert Lansing is openly using the term “protectorate.” He says, “The United States Government has no purpose of aggression and is entirely disinterested in promoting this protectorate.” Hell, he says, we haven’t even demanded Mole St. Nicholas be ceded to the US like Guantanamo Bay.

Theodore Roosevelt says Americans should stand by Pres. Wilson only so far as he is right. In a speech at the US Military Instruction Camp at Plattsburg, he denounces “professional hyphenated Americans” and also “professional pacifists and the poltroons and college sissies who organize peace-at-any-price societies,” and the man with a mean soul. He wants every young man in America to be given military training, just like Switzerland. He says the US has “played an ignoble part among the nations” since the start of the world war, shirking its responsibility to defend Belgium. He says, and you know I believe he might just be referring to President Wilson, that “We have treated elocution as a substitute for action. ....  Reliance upon high-sounding words unbacked by deeds is proof of a mind that dwells only in the realm of shadow and of sham.”

Tomorrow Secretary of War Garrison will issue a very public rebuke to Gen. Wood for letting Roosevelt make that speech.

The proposal that the right to vote be contingent on an ability to read and write in English passes the NY constitutional convention. For now.

What the NYT calls the “Grape Juice Hiatus” at the State Department comes to an end, as Lansing reverses Bryan’s ban on alcohol at diplomatic dinners. The NYT asks why grape juice was made the go-to substitute for booze, instead of, say, ginger ale.

Paris jewelers have developed a wrist watch for soldiers - complete with a compass and a glow-in-the-dark radium-coated dial (World War I saw the widespread switch from pocket to wrist watches, which were much more convenient in the trenches).

Headline of the Day -100:

German saboteurs are being blamed lately (sometimes correctly) for every industrial mishap, but this time (in Jersey City) they have gone too far!

Headline of the Day -100: 

That’s why you should always use SPF 30 or higher.

Headline of the Day -100:

I dunno, if Staten Island didn’t have a criminal class, it wouldn’t have any class at all.

Headline of the Day -100:

Nope, I can’t even think of a joke to make about this one.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today -100: August 25, 1915: Of arabics, literate voters, unknown lynchers, sops, and emperors

Germany has been leaking suggestions that the Arabic wasn’t torpedoed but sank because it hit a stray floating mine. The government has asked the US for a delay for it to prepare an answer after it investigates how the Arabic was sunk and even whether the American passengers who died were actually American.

At the New York constitutional convention, there’s a debate over a proposed requirement for voters to be able to read and write in English. Charles Young (R) says that German immigrants who can only read the German-language press are a grave menace to the US, while Prof. Louis Marshall points out that the requirement would piss off the 1 million Jews who can only read Yiddish.

Completely Unsurprising Headline of the Day -100:

Headline of the Day -100: 
The 10% who are Catholic or Protestant or who work at US consulates.

Chinese President Yuan Shikai denies planning to make himself emperor (while being obviously behind the propaganda campaign for the restoration of the monarchy). He says that his sons are unfit to be non-commissioned officers, much less succeed him as emperor. I foresee an awkward Thanksgiving.

The US gives Haiti until noon to agree to a 10-year treaty giving the US control of its customs revenue and police forces.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Today -100: August 24, 1915: War is a dirty business

Serbian Prime Minister Nikola PaĊĦic says the Serbian army hasn’t been fighting lately because of sanitary conditions. He also says, through gritted teeth, that he is giving in to his allies in allowing Italy to pretend it controls Albania.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Today -100: August 23, 1915: Universal peace will be any color you want, as long as it’s black

William Jennings Bryan says that the sinking of the Arabic is not a cause for war, and again blames the American passengers who put their convenience above their nation’s welfare for their own deaths, and should we really let selfish dead people like that drag us into war?

I still don’t know exactly how many Mexican leaders, generals etc were sent those letters by the US and the Latin American ambassadors demanding a conference be called to settle, you know, everything, but some of the answers are beginning to trickle in. All of Carranza’s generals got one, and they’re all replying “Hey, talk to the boss. We just work here.” Including Gen. Obregon, who some Americans are considering putting into power.

Henry Ford says he will use his fortune to campaign for universal peace.

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