Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today -100: March 12, 1911: Of midnights in Paris, Quakers & tigers, treating, summary executions, censorship, and drawing the line


French standard time was officially set back 9 minutes and 21 seconds, to fall in with Greenwich time. Parisians celebrated the two midnights in cafés and restaurants, because why not? Up until now, French clocks on the outside of railway stations marked the real time, while clocks inside railway stations were five minutes slower. It kept lazy French people from missing trains, or something.

Headline of the Day -100: “Quakers No Match for Tigers.” The University of Pennsylvania and Yale wrestling teams, respectively, not actual Quakers and tigers.

The Anti-Treating Bill passes the Missouri House 82-17. If it passes the senate, it will be illegal to stand a friend to a drink in a bar.

The Mexican authorities will begin summarily executing rebels. Which includes anyone caught in the act of highway robbery, cutting telegraph or telephone wires, or throwing a rock at a train.

One of rebel leader Madero’s spokesmodels claims the Mexican government has a scheme to import 15,000 Japanese veterans of the Russo-Japanese War and settle them along the border prepared to fight off the American Army if the US invades.

Los Angeles District Attorney John Fredericks orders that movies about the Mexican Revolution (fictional ones, not newsreels) be censored because such movies might cause trouble among Mexicans in America.

Commerce and Labor Secretary Charles Nagel gives a speech about immigration to the Republican Club. He says there is a need to “draw the line. If we are to hold aloft the flag of a republican form of government we must see that the people we admit are capable of self-government.” Nagel has absolute authority to send any prospective immigrant back from whence they came.

The German minister of war says that he will not tamper with the “free institution” of the military, by which regiments select their own officers. And since there is – he said it, not me – “widespread anti-Jewish sentiment in the country,” this mean effectively no Jewish officers allowed.

Sen. Reed Smoot (famous much later for the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, but in 1911 famous as the senator from Utah who was kept from taking his seat for four years while the Senate debated whether an “apostle” of the Mormon church could do so) defends a silver service with the portrait of Brigham Young which is to be presented to the battleship Utah. There have evidently been many protest meetings against the silver service (news to me).

Smoot also said he’d welcome an investigation of charges by British Home Secretary Winston Churchill that Mormon missionaries in Britain are trying to recruit girls to emigrate to Utah (where more wives are needed, for some reason).

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