Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become

Romney victory speech in Florida.

SO I LOANED HIM ONE OF MY SEVERAL MANSIONS. HAH! JUST KIDDING. “In the last ten days, I met a father who was terrified that this would be the last night his family would sleep in the only home his son has ever known.”

MAYBE THERE SHOULD BE A MORATORIUM ON QUOTING HISTORICAL FIGURES WHO WOULD HAVE DESPISED YOU WITH A RED-HOT PASSION: “In another era of American crisis, Thomas Paine is reported to have said..” [i.e., Paine never actually said this] “...‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.’” I believe Paine had Romney in mind (he was just that foresighted) when he wrote: “It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.” (Age of Reason)

SOMEONE SIT ROMNEY DOWN IN FRONT OF A “HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW” FILMSTRIP: “He forced through Obamacare; I will repeal it.”

IT’S ALLITERATIVE, SO IT MUST BE TRUE: “Like his colleagues in the faculty lounge who think they know better, President Obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy.” What sector has he missed? Do tell the White House so he can get right on with that demonizin’ and denigrating’.

BY NOT TRAMPLING ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS, YOU MEAN: “President Obama orders religious organizations to violate their conscience”.

IT’S ASSONANT, SO IT MUST BE TRUE: “President Obama has adopted a strategy of appeasement and apology.”

IT’S ALLITERATIVE... AH, YOU GET THE IDEA: “If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, not our destiny, then I am asking for your vote.”

WE’RE “SPECIAL”: “I’m asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an American.”

SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT MICHELLE STOPPED SHAVING HER PITS? “I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become.”

I think that there’s a perception somehow that we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly

Yesterday, Obama answered questions on Google+. The White House website still has no transcript; the Bushies were much better about this sort of thing.

He was asked about drones and acknowledged for the first time that the US is bombing people in Pakistan.

NEITHER WILLY NOR NILLY: “I think that there’s a perception somehow that we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly,” he said, deploying the sort of folksiness we haven’t heard in government statements about killing foreigners since Rumsfeld.

DEFINE “HUGE”: “Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” he said, deploying the sort of dismissiveness about civilian casualties that we haven’t heard... well, actually government statements have always been dismissive about civilian casualties.

OH, THERE’S A LIST, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US THERE’S A LIST: “This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases, and so on.” Did he mention there’s a list?

DRONE LEASHES: “It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash.”

He explained that using flying robots to kill people in Pakistan was really all about respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty: “But understand that probably our ability to respect the sovereignty of other countries and to limit our incursions into somebody else’s territory is enhanced by the fact that we are able to pinpoint strike on al Qaeda operatives in a place where the capacities of that military in that country may not be able to get them. For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one that we’re already engaging in.” Obviously the possibility of just not killing people in Pakistan is off the table; that’s just crazy talk.

Today -100: January 31, 1912: We are progressive in the sense that we are making progress all the time

Taft, evidently finally tired of all the criticism he’s receiving from within the Republican Party, makes a speech at the Columbus Glee Club denouncing Progressives, or rather declaring that the old-line Republicans are quite progressive enough, without “chasing chimeras and... unsettling the foundations of government merely to indulge in the fancies of hope.” “We are progressive in the sense that we are making progress all the time. But we are not progressive if that means the overturning of the Constitution and all the guarantees of life, liberty, and property, and all the checks on the momentary passion of the people.”

A negro is lynched in Cordele, Georgia, for supposedly assaulting a white girl.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Today -100: January 30, 1912: Of playboys and lawyers

Chicago’s Common Council (the city council, I guess) orders the play “The Playboy of the Western World” banned (there was a lot of heckling and stink bombs and such when it opened in NY last year).

Clarence Darrow is indicted for allegedly bribing a juror in the McNamara brothers’ case.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today -100: January 29, 1912: Of nurses, dead generals, and Whigs

Italy seizes more Red Crescent nurses on the way to Libya, from a French steamer. One might begin to think that denying medical care was an intentional policy of some sort.

Not a good week for Ecuadoran military presidents. This time, José Eloy Alfaro, general and president 1895-1902 and 1906-11, who was arrested earlier in the month after a failed coup attempt, is killed by a mob that broke into his prison, along with his brother, who had been minister of war, and a few more generals.

The first woman to register to vote in Lake County, California, is 104 years old. She registers as a Whig.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Today -100: January 28, 1912: Of veterans, sacrifice cults, flying machines, and annoyed Italians

The last Civil War veterans still in the military are about to retire.

First NYT mention, I think, of a “Sacrifice Cult” in Louisiana, which has killed 26 people (five families). Victims and killers are all black, so I guess it’s not really news. (Update: the LA Times Jan. 30 issue says that no one has been arrested because no one is willing to talk about the cult, which is evidently a voodoo thing.)

The French military will purchase 328 flying machines (including dirigibles, I guess), because they heard Germany plans to do the same.

Headline of the Day -100: “Peace Pleas Annoy Italy.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

Republican Debate: You have to be realistic in your indignation / Trapped in a linguistics situation

Yeah, yeah, I’m late. And I couldn’t decide which quote to use in the post title.


PEOPLE COME TO THIS COUNTRY. First up: immigration! Santorum: “We are a country of laws. People come to this country. My grandfather came to this country because he wanted to come to a country that respected him.” Although it was his grandson who really made a name for himself.

He continues, “I’m someone who believes that - that we need immigration. We are not replacing ourselves.” More frothy mixture!

Gingrich: “I don’t think grandmothers and grandfathers will self-deport.”

Romney explains the self-deportation thing. People wouldn’t be able to find work (unless they worked off the books, exposing them to even more exploitation and abuse)(or were forced to turn to crime)(but those things would never happen, so, finding themselves completely broke, they’d catch a plane, one of those free ones, back to their country of origin).

Gingrich: “grandmothers and grandfathers aren’t going to be successfully deported. We’re not - we as a nation are not going to walk into some family - and by the way, they’re going to end up in a church, which will declare them a sanctuary.”

I PREFER TO BE INDIGNANT IN MY REALISM: Gingrich: “We’re not going - and I think you have to be realistic in your indignation. I want to control the border. I want English to be the official language of government. I want us to have a lot of changes.”

SKILL AND VITALITY AND VIBRANCE: Mittens says Gingrich calling him the most anti-immigrant candidate (in an ad) is “simply inexcusable.” After all, his father was born in Mexico (and never learned a word of Spanish, like everyone in the Mormon colony)(which is like a Moon colony, but blander)(and the cheese is Velveeta instead of green cheese). He says “I want people to come to America with skill and vitality and vibrance.” I don’t know what there is about the Republican nomination process that would make him think America needs to import skill and vitality and vibrance.

TRAPPED IN A LINGUISTICS SITUATION (WORST LIFETIME MOVIE EVER): Romney says he never saw his own ad and doubts it’s his ad, saying that Gingrich called Spanish the language of the ghetto, which Gingrich says he didn’t say (he did) but “my point was, no one should be trapped in a linguistics situation where they can’t go out and get a job and they can’t go out and work.”

Ron Paul calls for trade with Cuba.

NO MEANS NO: Paul: “Unfortunately, sometimes we slip up on our standards and we go around the world and we try to force ourselves on others.”

“NECESSARILY”? Paul: “I don’t think the nations in South America and Central America necessarily want us to come down there and dictate which government they should have.”

Santorum says Obama sided with Castro and Chavez in supporting President Zelaya of Honduras during the completely justified 2009 coup. (If you need a reminder, read my posts about the coup. Obama gave the mildest of tut tuts, never said that Zelaya should be allowed to return.)

Wolf seems to have done some googling during the commercial break and says that “language of the ghetto ad” was indeed one of Romney’s and he even did the “and I approved this ad” thing and everything.

IS THAT HOW MORMONS SAY SOMEONE FARTS A LOT? Romney on Gingrich working for Freddie Mac: “we should have had a whistle-blower and not horn-tooter.”

Then there’s the rich-guys-comparing-their-portfolios section of the debate. Gingrich reveals that Romney (gasp, horror) used to own shares in Fannie & Freddie (that always sounds like characters in a Jeeves & Wooster story to me) and Goldman Sachs. Romney says his trustee bought those and they were mutual funds and bonds, not stocks, which is really just like a US savings bond, and that Gingrich (gasp, horror) also has investments in Fannie & Freddie.

IN THIS SCENARIO, NOTE THAT GINGRICH IS NOT THE GIANT ELEPHANT: Gingrich: “compare my investments with his is like comparing a tiny mouse with a giant elephant.”

What do you think of this, Ron Paul? “That - that subject really doesn’t interest me a whole lot.”

But Paul says Fannie & Freddie “should have been auctioned off right after the crash came.” Yes, sell off government assets at their lowest possible valuation.

Gingrich says Blitzer asking him whether he’s satisfied with Romney’s disclosure of last year’s tax returns is “a nonsense question.” Dude, you’re the one who kept bringing it up the last couple of debates. He continues, “Look, how about if the four of us agree for the rest of the evening, we’ll actually talk about issues that relate to governing America?” There are few sights in American politics as absurd as that of Newton Gingrich pretending to seize the high moral ground.

THERE’S A TIME AND A PLACE: Blitzer quotes Gingrich’s own words on Romney’s tax returns back to him. Gingrich: “I did. And I’m perfectly happy to say that on an interview on some TV show. But this is a national debate”. Romney: “Wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t make accusations somewhere else that they weren’t willing to defend here?” There are few sights in American politics as absurd as that of Twitt Romney pretending to seize the high moral ground.

Romney says his having had a Swiss bank account is not at all suspicious, his trustee was just diversifying his investments. And “Speaker, you’ve indicated that somehow I don’t earn that money. I have earned the money that I have. I didn’t inherit it. ... I’m proud of being successful.”

Santorum says we shouldn’t tax the rich because trickle down blah blah blah.

MAYBE IT’S NOT A SOLUTION, BUT IT WOULD BE FUN TO HEAR THEM SQUEAL: Ron Paul wants to get rid of the 16th Amendment, because if you have income taxes you can afford a welfare state (“and if you have a welfare state, no matter whether the welfare state is designed to help the poor, you know, the welfare system helps the wealthy”) and policing the world. Says Reagan taxed too much, the fucking liberal. Taxing the rich “is not a solution.”

Blitzer: Ron Paul, you’re really old; are you going to die soon? Paul: “I’m willing to challenge any of these gentlemen up here to a 25-mile bike ride any time of the day in the heat of Texas.” Noon, Gingrich, bike shorts, slightly too-small bicycle. MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Then Paul warns Blitzer that “there are laws against age discrimination, so if you push this too much, you better be careful.” See, there is a type of discrimination he’s in favor of the state trying to prevent. Who knew?

MOST PHALLIC ROCKET? Romney would not build a moon colony because it would be too expensive. Gingrich says we could do it by offering prizes.

He wants an American on the moon “before the Chinese get there,” adding, “I mean, have you seen how tacky most Chinese restaurants are?” But his program “would probably end up being 90 percent private sector,” so it would all be done by Chinese child labor anyway.

HE LIKES FIRING PEOPLE: Romney: “If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’” And, by implication, Romney just fired Gingrich.

Ron Paul would send some politicians to the moon, ha ha. Possibly on a bike.

A woman says she’s unemployed and can’t afford insurance. Ron Paul this is the fault of Medicare. Because it raises the cost of health care by making it possible for more people to actually get it. Demand and supply, you know. Moron.

AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP: Gingrich wrote a book which “calls for you and your doctor and your pharmacist and your hospital have a relationship.”

JUST LIKE BARACK OBAMA: Then follows the 53rd iteration of Romney being forced to explain Romneycare while Santorum snipes at him – “And you have a pre-existing condition clause in yours, just like Barack Obama.” Romney denies that Romneycare is a government-run plan, then accuses Obamacare of being a government-run plan. Paul repeats that back in the good old days there was no Medicare or Medicaid, and everybody lived forever and rode bikes in the heat of Texas all day and night.

Which Hispanic would you put in your cabinet? Santorum sucks up to Marco Rubio. Gingrich more or less says that Rubio would be his running mate. He & Romney are able to name several Hispanics they like, Paul is not (I guess they don’t have any in Texas).

Why would your wife be the bestest First Lady ever? Ron Paul: she wrote a cookbook. Romney says his wife battled breast cancer and MS, a degenerative disease, “successfully.” Gingrich says all 3 of the candidates’ wives who are present today would be terrific first ladies, and I can’t think of a single joke to make about that. He says that Callista plays the French horn (I’ll bet she does, I’ll bet she does). Santorum says that his wife was a neo-natal intensive care nurse and then a lawyer and then married him and “gave that up” to have lots and lots of babies, like Jesus intended. And she wrote a book on manners.

THE ROMNEYBOT ATTACK MACHINE 3000: Gingrich: “Well, it’s increasingly interesting to watch the Romney attack machine coordinate things.”

OF COURSE NOT; THEY’RE IN THE CLOSET: Paul: “And people - I don’t think they see a Jihadist under the bed every night.”

Cuba. Oh, I think you can pretty much guess what they all said.

Middle East. Romney: “the Israelis would be happy to have a two-state solution. It’s the Palestinians who don’t want a two-state solution. They want to eliminate the state of Israel.” Obama saying that the 1967 borders are the starting point of negotiations is “throw[ing] Israel under the bus”. Gingrich repeats that Palestinians were “invented” in the late 1970s (he’s a historian, you know), possibly cloned from sweat taken from Arafat’s keffiyeh, and that peace negotiations are “war by another form” and he’d move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

What, Santorum isn’t going to be asked about the Middle East? I’ll bet he’d be hilarious.

Santorum won’t take a position on Puerto Rico statehood.

How would your religious beliefs affect your actions? Ron Paul. They wouldn’t. Romney would seek the guidance of Providence, Rhode Island, for some reason. Gingrich says he’s running to oppose the war against religion by the secular elite. Both Romney & Santorum bring up the Declaration of Independence, which evidently “described the relationship between God and man” (Romney).

UM, YEAH. Romney: “This is not just an average election.”

Gingrich’s campaign iS for “every American... who prefers the Declaration of Independence to Saul Alinsky”.

Santorum says Gingrich & Mittens both “bought into the global warming hoax”.

Today -100: January 27, 1912: The peace of the world is now assured

Manchester, CT, gives a pauper a wooden leg, stamped “This leg is the property of the town of Manchester, loaned to William Armstrong, and is not to be hocked, sold, or exchanged without a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen.” Because one selectman had complained that people with wooden legs often hock them.

General Pedro Montero, proclaimed president of Ecuador by the army less than a month ago, is shot, beheaded, and burned by a mob, as is traditional.

According to Karl Liebknecht, the strength of the Social Democrats (SPD) in the new German Reichstag means “the peace of the world is now assured”. Phew.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “The Famine in China: Nobody Much Interested in It so the President [Taft] Makes a Special Plea for Funds.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Caption contest

Today -100: January 26, 1912: Of kaiser divisions and free speech

German Socialist Karl Liebknecht, fresh off an 18-month prison term for anti-militarist propaganda, wins the “kaiser division” of Potsdam (where Wilhelm lives most of the time). The SPD is now the largest party in the Reichstag, with more than 100 seats.

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill agrees to find a new location for a Home Rule meeting scheduled for Feb. 8 in Ulster Hall, but insists that Unionists will not prevent him from making the speech. “It is my duty to keep my promise to the Ulster Liberal Association and assert the right of free speech in public meeting. ... It has... become of importance to public liberties that a meeting should take place at Belfast on Feb. 8”. The hall was where Churchill’s father coined the phrase “Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Separated at birth X2

All over the internet today, origins unknown:

A similar comparison was made right here a few years ago:

Today -100: January 25, 1912: Of spelling, Jews, murderer’s arms, and interracial marriages

Headline of the Day -100: “Blease Sure He Can Spell.” South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease sends a special message to the Legislature accusing it of deliberately inserting misspellings – explanitory for explanatory – into his messages when they are printed in the House Journal, to make him look illiterate. Also, he wants a committee appointed to inform the people just who it was who burned Columbia during the Civil War.

Russian Prime Minister Kokovstoff responds to questions from Colliers about Taft’s abrogation of the 1832 Russia-US treaty. He says it is unreasonable for the US to object to American Jews being banned from Russia. After all, the US bans people whose religion tolerates polygamy. And anyway, Russia discriminates against its own Jews, so why should American Jews enjoy greater rights in Russia than Russian Jews? These restrictions “are considered a measure of defense for the Russian masses against alien domination”, just like the US bans entry of Asiatics. So that’s okay then.

Medical Headline of the Day -100: “Refuse Murderer’s Arm.” A French surgeon wants to experiment with grafting limbs onto people who’ve lost theirs. But a one-armed man has refused to accept an arm from a guillotined murderer.

Racist Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “White Man and Negress Wed: ‘We Love Each Other and We’ll Be Happy.’” Inter-racial marriage was evidently big news. The couple were married on a boat going to Catalina Island. The captain of the boat says he would have stopped it had he known. The reverend who officiated called the district attorney first to find out if such a marriage was legal.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State of the Union Address: Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?


GOOD TIMES, GOOD TIMES: He starts by talking about Iraq. “We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.” Just ask the people of Haditha about that fucking respect.

Hey, did I mention I killed bin Laden?

It took him five full sentences to get to the binLadencide; you gotta admire the restraint.

And “The Taliban’s momentum has been broken”. He’s been saying that over and over for two or three years now and he keeps failing to say what it actually means.

For the first of several times, he suggests that we should all be like members of the military because “They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences.” In the last iteration of this, he adds “gay or straight” to the list of differences that don’t matter in the military, which is cute, I guess. It’s the only mention of gay people in the speech.

Boehner’s doing that thing with his mouth again this year.

In 2008, “the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.” So he’s saying they were too stupid to understand their mortgages – “couldn’t” understand them.

His narrative of the decline of manufacturing jobs is that these jobs actually still exist, but were moved overseas, one for one, and can be brought back by the right policies, mostly in the tax code. He mentions exactly one company bringing jobs back, Master Lock. See if you can spot the word in this sentence at which Republicans stopped applauding: “Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”

Did you guess “unionized”? I thought you would.

HE’S A MAN WAY OUT THERE IN THE BLUE, RIDING ON A SMILE AND A SHOESHINE: “I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.”

“Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.”

“Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.”

It’s tradition that every SOTU has its “mission to Mars” thing that is never heard from again. This time, it’s a proposal for states to raise the age of mandatory schooling to 18 (or graduation, whichever comes first). (Unless the mission to Mars thing is the vests “that can stop any bullet.”)

Threatens to reduce funding to colleges that raise tuition.

THERE’S A TIME MACHINE GAP! “Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.”

Call-out to another company: Energetx, which makes 1) wind turbines, 2) people wonder what they were thinking with that name.

WE WANT OUR FUCKING WIND BACK, CHINA: “I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany”.

He admits he’s giving up on getting this Congress to do anything about climate change.

HMM, WHO WAS IT WHO WANTED THE HOUSING MARKET TO HIT BOTTOM? “responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.”

He’s happy to get rid of “rules that don’t make sense,” such as something about spilled milk, because he could make an obvious unfunny joke about it. Obama should never ever try to tell a joke.

Am I right that I heard booing when he mentioned consumer financial protection dude Richard Cordray?

COULDN’T SOMEONE HAVE ARRANGED FOR A CAMERA TO BE ON MITT ROMNEY AS HE WATCHED THIS SPEECH? “a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.”

IT’S THE FUCKING RICH PEOPLE WE WANT TO SEE DROWNED IN GIANT VATS OF EXCREMENT: “We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it.”

“But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right now...” (“For this we’re missing ‘New Girl’?”) “...Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken. Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?” Yes, if they’re only feeling a little cynical.

ALTHOUGH A PERPETUAL CAMPAIGN OF MUTUAL DESTRUCTION BETWEEN NEWT GINGRICH AND MITT ROMNEY WOULD BE HILARIOUS: “We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction”.

IF BY “ACHIEVE” YOU MEAN REDUCING FOREIGN COUNTRIES TO RUBBLE: “Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve. That is the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.”

HE WAS IN FAVOR OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION: “We will stand against violence and intimidation,” he says, about two minutes after this drone-tastic line: “From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.”

He notes that Qaddafi is “gone” as an example to Syria’s Assad, who “will soon discover that the forces of change can’t be reversed, and that human dignity can’t be denied.” Qaddafi, for example, was pulled out of a sewer pipe, sodomized with a bayonet and then shot. You know, human dignity. Can’t be denied.

He will “take no options off the table” to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Re Israel: “the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.” What does that actually mean?

I HATE SEQUELS: “From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.”

“Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

“One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names.” And what looks suspiciously like dried semen.

AND WHO’S BEHIND YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW? JOHN BOEHNER. JUST SAYING. “This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs.”

Military justice triumphs

Sgt. Frank Wuterich is not, in fact, going to spend a single day in prison for leading the Haditha Massacre, because evidently he’s suffered enough. So 24 deaths, and he gets a reduction in rank (update: maybe not even that). I don’t even think he gets the reduction in pay, since that was only to be during his time in prison.

He issued a statement to the families of those he and his men slaughtered: “I wish to assure you that on that day it was never my intention to harm you or your families. I know that you are the real victims of Nov. 19, 2005.”

“For six years I have had to accept that my name will always be associated with a massacre, with being a cold-blooded baby killer, an ‘out-of-control’ monster and a conspiring liar,” the out-of-control monster continued. “There’s nothing I can do about whoever believes those things. All I can do is continue to be who I’ve always been – me.”

Republican Debate: Unnecessarily personal and nasty

Shorter Republican debate, as aptly summarized by Newt Gingrich: “You know, there is a point in the process where it gets unnecessarily personal and nasty, and that’s sad.”

Today -100: January 24, 1912: Confiscation? Really?

3 judges of the NY Court of Special Sessions rules that theaters can’t exclude black people. The NYT thinks that this amounts to a confiscation, because white people would stop attending, and that “The friends of the negroes [presumably the NAACP, which brought this case] are doing them a disservice in this matter.”

Obit of the Day -100: Capt. Julius Hargreaves of the Confederate Army, who may have fired the first gun of the Civil War. He lost a leg in the war and has died of apoplexy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I probably just should have said nothing

The military finally convicted someone for their role in the Haditha Massacre of 24 innocent Iraqi civilians in 2005. Frank Wuterich’s court-martial ended today with a plea deal. He’ll skate on all the manslaughter charges, but by gum they’ve nailed him for negligent dereliction of duty. Although telling his men, “shoot first and ask questions later,” as Wuterich admitted to having done, doesn’t seem “negligent.” A closer fit for “negligent dereliction of duty” would be the work of the military prosecutors, who somehow failed to get this single pathetic conviction in their prosecutions of eight of the war criminals.

Wuterich will get 3 months.


Here’s Wuterich, manfully taking responsibility today for the “shoot first and ask questions later” thing: “Honestly, I probably should have said nothing. I think we all understood what we were doing so I probably just should have said nothing.”

Today -100: January 23, 1912: Of kaiser districts, lynchings, aerial warfare (with camels), and new states

The German Socialists fail to take the “Kaiser district” of Berlin during the second round of Reichstag elections, so I guess the kaiser doesn’t have to move to Potsdam after all. The seat was won by a Radical by just 7 votes, including the votes of many Conservatives, who held their noses in order that the Socialists not get a symbolic victory.

Four negroes, one of them a woman, are seized from the Harris County, Georgia jail and lynched.

The LAT reports that 32 airplanes are attached to the Italian forces in Libya. They will accompany the expeditionary forces into the interior, but will require portable sheds, which will be dismantled and moved by camel. The Italians are finding one limit to aerial warfare: severe nervous strain on the aviators, requiring frequent rests and vacations to prevent nervous breakdowns. Also, dropping bombs from planes turns out not to be worth the risk to the pilots (who have to drop their own bombs from Italy’s single-seaters), and has been discontinued.

New Mexico has been a state for a whole week now. But there are some hitches. For example, Republican officials appointed by the old territorial administration have refused to resign to the new Democratic governor. Also, through another oversight in drafting the constitution, there’s no mechanism to pay state officials, who have to hope they’ll be reimbursed later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The weapons of the left

Romney accusing all critics of Bain Capital of an “assault on to free enterprise” is like accusing all critics of Netanyahu’s policies of being anti-Semitic.

Romney says “Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow.” First they came for Bain, and I said nothing...

Today -100: January 22, 1912: Of flower nations, nurses, and booms

China will now call itself Chung Hwa-Kwo, meaning Middle Flower Nation.

As part of its war in Libya, Italy seized a French steamer last week. Its captain then handed over 29 Turkish Red Crescent nurses, possibly at the orders of the French government, though France denies it.

The behind-the-scenes turmoil in the Republican Party has rather confused the press. The NYT reports that Taft supporters have (finally) figured out that the Roosevelt boom isn’t spontaneous but well planned-out and financed. The LAT, on the other hand, explains that Taft is serene despite the Roosevelt boom because he’s sure TR won’t accept the Republican nomination if it’s offered, much less run for it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today -100: January 21, 1912: Of apologies, bores, recalls, nefarious conspiracies and disgusted kaisers

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease vetoes a Libel Bill which would have allowed newspapers to issue an apology to mitigate damages in libel cases. Blease’s veto message attacked the press in such strong terms that the Lege is considering expunging it from the record. (Update: they do expunge it.)

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100: “Bores His Way Out of Sing Sing Roof.” For just a second I thought he told the guards dull stories to put them to sleep or something.

Speaking at the NY Bar Association dinner, President Taft condemns the idea of recall of judges, the inclusion of which in the proposed constitution of Arizona caused him to veto the statehood bill. He explains: “Popular government we all believe in.” Do you feel a “however” coming up? “There are those of us, however, who believe that not all people are fitted for popular self-government.” And I’d like to ask them for their votes for my re-election in just a few months. “The fact is that they are not. Some of us don’t dare say so. But I do.” I do, Billy One-Term. “The question of whether a people is fitted for popular self-government is determined by the ability of that people to place on itself the restraints by which the minority shall receive justice despite the majority.” Actually, his argument is the perfectly reasonable one that courts and the Constitution protect minorities and that judicial recall endangers that, but the tone of arrogant contempt for the majority of the electorate does seem like the sort of thing a politician might sensibly avoid.

I believe former president Roosevelt will be expressing his opinion on this issue shortly...

In addition to the Bar Association dinner, Taft also attended the Society of the Genesee dinner and the Jewelers’ 24-Karat Club dinner. They gave him a new watch because his old one had stopped working, possibly, he said, “because the mere association of a thing with me makes running difficult” – Taft made a fat joke! At his third dinner of the evening! And then he went back to the first dinner. It was a busy day: he also “helped put out a fire” at Yale University. Well, that’s what the headline says; he actually seems to have just stood in the crowd, unnoticed, watching the firemen put it out.

20,000 attend a Unionist meeting in Omagh. Sir Edward Carson calls Irish Home Rule “the most nefarious conspiracy that had ever been hatched against free citizens.” Ulsterites are practicing military drills and preparing to organize their own government the minute
Home Rule is put into effect to “hold Ulster in trust for the British Empire.” On the other side, Irish Nationalists are forming their own Boy Scouts.

Headline of the Day -100: “German Elections Disgust the Kaiser.” One-third of the electorate voted Socialist.

Friday, January 20, 2012

They’re probably not thrilled with GI Joes either

Iran is once again cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls. This is a long-standing vendetta on the part of the Islamic Republic. The Daily Telegraph, May 7, 1996:

THE appearance of smuggled Barbie dolls in shops in Iran has prompted Islamic hardliners to dub them ‘satanic’ in an attempt to dissuade people from buying them.

Hardliners say that the ‘unwholesome flexibility of these dolls, their destructive beauty and their semi-nudity have an effect on the minds and morality of young children’.

Republican Debate: I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that

Did you see that clip where Romney shouted at a protester who asked what someone in the 1% would do for the 99% that he was being divisive and should just go to North Korea and “America is right and you’re wrong” (he was against being divisive before he was for it)? Well, you may be thinking of that as an embarrassing example of a politician losing his shit and wondering if Romney’s temper and snippiness might make him even more unlikeable than he already is, but the Romney campaign wants people to see that clip and sent it out in an email, asking everyone to tweet & facebook it.

On to the debate. In Charleston. But no one did the charleston. Or ate a Charleston chew. Transcript.

DECENT PEOPLE? HOW IS THAT RELEVANT TO THIS SITUATION? The first question is to Gingrich about the “open marriage” thing. He blames the “destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media,” which “makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.” Appalled as he was, he went on: “Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things.” And every one of your ex-wives.

TO TAKE AN EX-WIFE: “To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.” Your ex-wives can probably imagine something closer to despicable, and by imagine I mean remember.

WHAT HE’S TIRED OF: “I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”

AND BY FALLEN, I MEAN NEWT TRIPPED OVER HIS OWN DICK: Santorum says “this country is a very forgiving country. This country understands that we are all fallen”.

What federal programs would put the American people back to work? Ron Paul says the federal government should “get out of the way” and do nothing, and no one is more qualified to do nothing than Ron Paul.

Gingrich would repeal what I’ve just noticed he called the Dodd-Frank “bill.” You would think the former speaker of the House would know that when it’s passed, a bill is called a law.

Romney says just getting rid of Obama will eliminate unemployment.

For the first time Mittens gives a number for jobs destroyed by Bain Capital. 10,000 “that have been documented.” I sense a major asterisk.

WHAT HE’S GOING TO STUFF DOWN OBAMA’S THROAT: Twitt Romney: “I’m someone who believes in free enterprise. I think Adam Smith was right. And I’m going to stand and defend capitalism across this country, throughout this campaign. I know we’re going to get hit hard from President Obama, but we’re going to stuff it down his throat and point out it is capitalism and freedom that makes America strong.” Stuffing and pointing.

MORE FOOD AND HEALTH CARE? THE BASTARD! Santorum says all Obama wants to do for the poor is “make them more dependent, give them more food stamps, give them more Medicaid.”

THEY HAVE THE BEST METH LABS IN THE WORLD: Santorum: “South Carolina can compete with anybody in this world in manufacturing.”

Santorum seems to say (there’s slippage between talking about Vietnam and talking about the present)(maybe I shouldn’t use the word slippage when talking about santorum) that veterans coming back from the war “very damaged” is “a very big part of the high unemployment rate that we’re dealing with” and claims that Obama “said he is going to cut veterans benefits”. Romney wants the states to get block grants to deal with veterans.

Gingrich says that we don’t actually need the provision for people up to 26 staying on their parents’ insurance, which Obama only wanted because “he can’t get any jobs for them to go out and buy their own insurance.” Under a President Gingrich, everyone will have jobs at 18 and all the colleges will be closed.

AND DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH: Ron Paul claims that when he was practicing medicine in the early 1960s “before we had any government,” “there was nobody out in the street suffering with no medical care.” Um, right.

Santorum: “Grandiosity has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich.” Gingrich says it’s a grandiose country.

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: Santorum: “I mean, Newt’s -- Newt’s a friend. I love him. But at times, you’ve just got, you know, sort of that, you know, worrisome moment that something’s going to pop.” Santorum shouldn’t be talking about “something’s going to pop.”

Romney: “We need to have someone outside Washington go to Washington.”

Romney deflates Gingrich’s pretense that he and Ronald Reagan were Batman and Robin only, you know, gayer, by noting that Gingrich is mentioned only once in Reagan’s diary, and not favorably.

Newt Gingrich released his returns online at around the time the debate started. Ron Paul says he won’t release his tax returns because “I don’t want to be embarrassed because I don’t have a greater income.” Romney says he won’t release his before he secures the nomination “Because I want to make sure that I beat President Obama. And every time we release things drip by drip, the Democrats go out with another array of attacks.” So he won’t release them because there’s stuff in there that can be used to attack him. But, he says, “I pay a lot of taxes.”

Everyone is against SOPA. Although Santorum says, “The Internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people”. I wonder what he could be thinking of.

Gingrich wants a guest worker program run by American Express, Visa or MasterCard, “because they can run it without fraud and the federal government’s hopeless.” And he elaborates on his idea of residency for illegal immigrants who have been here 25 years. The local draft board type thing could only give them residency; to get citizenship they’d actually have to go back to their country of origin and wait behind everybody else for a few years.

Santorum says he’s the grandson of an immigrant, so he’d be tougher on immigrants than the other candidates. In the transcript, the second word in the following quote is “agree” but I think he actually said grieve: “I agree/grieve for people who have been here 25 years and maybe have to be separated from their family if they were picked up and deported, but my father grieved for his father when he came to this country and lived here five years.” And if it’s good enough for his grandfather...

Ron Paul says we have illegal immigrants because Americans aren’t forced to take crap jobs for no money: “There’s an economic incentive for them to come, for immigrants to come. But there’s also an incentive for some of our people in this country not to take a job that’s a low-paying job. You’re not supposed to say that, but that is true.”

A EXPERIENCE IN A LAB: Gingrich: “Governor Romney has said that he had a experience in a lab and became pro-life, and I accept that.”

YOU’LL TELL US WHEN IT IS THE TIME TO BE DOUBTING PEOPLE’S WORDS OR QUESTIONING THEIR INTEGRITY, RIGHT? Romney: “It is -- this is not the time to be doubting people’s words or questioning their integrity. I’m pro-life.”

Paul says if government spends any money on medicine it will wind up funding abortion because “all funds are fungible.” He adds, “I see abortion as a violent act. All other violence is handled by the states -- murder, burglary, violence. That’s a state issue.” And he wants Congress to vote to remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

THE RIGHT OF OUR CREATOR TO LIFE: Santorum attacks Paul for saying abortion is a state issue: “you should have the willingness to stand up on a federal law and every level of government and protect what our Declaration protects, which is the right of our creator to life, and that is a federal issue, not a state issue.” Ron Paul wants to kill God, is what Santorum is saying.

Today -100: January 20, 1912: Of recognition, arguing Cubans, and cars

The new republican government of China asks the world powers to recognize it.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cubans May Come to Argue with Taft.” Members of the Cuban Veterans’ Committee. The NYT claims that the commercial classes of Cuba want annexation by the US.

Theodore Roosevelt – this is of course front-page news – now drives a car. But he prefers horses.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

With Governor Goodhair gone (see what I did there?),

Today -100: January 19, 1912: Of pardons, spies, and mighty good godfathers

President Taft pardons Charles Morse, a banker, shipping magnate, speculator, and general scumbag, who in his illustrious career cornered, or attempted to corner, the market in various products, including ice, and whose machinations single-handedly caused the Panic of 1907. He’s been in prison only two years on a 15-year sentence for misappropriating bank funds, but all his friends and lobbyists have been incessantly pressuring Taft. Now he’s reported to be near death from Bright’s disease. In fact, he’s faking it, having ingested chemicals (possibly soapsuds) to produce the symptoms, and will live another 21 years, going back into business and, indeed, criminality (but I repeat myself). Oh, the people he promised to make rich if they helped get him out of prison: he stiffed them.

Germany complains that Russia sent one of their spies to Siberia, when Germany treats other countries’ spies much more leniently.

Following the threat by the US to re-occupy Cuba, things seem to have calmed down there. So it’s time for the press to take a few condescending victory laps. NYT: “The intimation that our Government might interfere to restore order in the republic has brought them to their senses... They know well that if this country is compelled frequently to take over the government of Cuba, and teach the people how to administer their affairs, the time will come inevitably when there will be no further withdrawal.” LA Times: “But Uncle Sam is a mighty good god-father, and when little Cuba breaks out in a fit of bad temper or lawlessness, the sponsor has merely to hold up his finger and the god-child remembers her duty at once.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today -100: January 18, 1912: Compare and contrast

Taft sends a message to Congress calling for the end of all patronage in the federal bureaucracy, all posts to be filled by merit.

Alternatively, there’s this: Headline of the Day -100: “Lunatics to Run Railroad.” Really. A six-mile stretch from McManus, Louisiana, to the state asylum at Jackson.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh, just take her to the vet and have her put down already

Sarah Palin (who’s more or less endorsing Gingrich): “the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted to the degree that he should have been”.

Putting aside the irony of Little Miss Self-Aware complaining about the 2008 vetting process, there’s another irony in Little Miss I Read All the Newspapers basically accusing the United States electorate of ignorance. Also, it’s generally considered bad manners in a democracy to say that the voters made a “mistake.”

Republican Debate: I’m not going to describe all of my great exploits


WHAT, NEVER? NO, NEVER. WHAT, NEVER? WELL, HARDLY EVER. Perry brings up a SC steel mill Bain shut down. Romney blames the Chinese. The WSJ guy brings up a paper company Bain closed. Bain bought it with $5 million of their own money and a lot of debt, then defaulted when the debt crippled what had been a profitable company, and Bain took away $100 million in profits and fees. Romney: “Well, first of all you never want to seen an enterprise go bankrupt.” Never? Because Bain seems to have done very well indeed out of that enterprise going bankrupt.

Romney goes on to explain that Bain also bought another paper company and tried to consolidate the two plants. And by consolidate, he means fire all the unionized workers and offer them jobs in the non-unionized plant. It must take real self-restraint on Romney’s part not to grow a mustache just so that he can twirl it sinisterly when discussing his dastardly plans.

Romney clarified his position: “I don’t think people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again.”

WAR! Perry said, “The State of Texas is under assault by the federal government. I’m saying also that South Carolina is at war with the federal government and with this administration.” How did that work out for South Carolina last time?

NEWT GINGRICH EXPLAINS HOW TO BECOME EMPLOYABLE: Gingrich says people on unemployment should be forced into job training. At least that’s what will be reported, but what he actually said was “a business-run training program...” (In other words, free labor for corporations) “...to acquire the skills to be employable.” Which assumes that people are unemployed because they are unemployable losers and not because there aren’t any jobs. “Now, the fact is, 99 weeks is an associate degree.” Although under his plan, instead of a degree, you’d get to push a mop or file papers or whatever the “training program” consists of, and at the end get laid off and replaced by more government-provided “uemployables.” “It tells you everything you need to know about the difference between Barack Obama and the five of us, that we actually think work is good.” And he again called Obama “the best food stamp president in American history,” whose goal is “to maximize dependency”. Happy Martin Luther King Day, everybody!

Q: what is the highest federal income tax any American should have to pay? Perry: 7% flat tax. Santorum would have two rates, 10% & 28%. Romney: 25%. Gingrich: flat tax of 15%. Paul: 0.

HE’S HEARD ENOUGH: Will Romney release his tax returns? “time will tell.” “I think I’ve heard enough from folks saying, ‘Let’s see your tax records.’ I have nothing in them that suggests there’s any problem, and I’m happy to do so. I sort of feel like we’re showing a lot of exposure at this point, and if I become our nominee, what’s happened in history is, people have released them in about April of the coming year, and that’s probably what I’d do.” So he’s saying that primary voters don’t deserve that information. I’m also a little confused about whether that’s April of 2012 he’s talking about or 2013 – the “coming year,” he said, and after “I become our nominee,” which won’t happen by April of this year. It’s weird how ill-prepared he is to answer an inevitable question.

A SWEATER-VEST IS ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE: Santorum attacks Obama for some program aimed at helping at-risk black girls which Sicky says has been banned from propagandizing for marriage. “This administration is deliberately telling organizations that are there to help young girls make good choices, not to tell them what the good choice is.”

Ron Paul says that Martin Luther King would be with him on the drug war thing and the war war thing, which is true, but probably not winning him that many votes among South Carolina Republicans.

Gingrich says it’s not insulting to say that black children should work as janitors in their own schools. Why, he made his daughter do janitorial work at a Baptist church when she was 13, and she learned that “if you worked, you got paid.” And schools can hire 30 black kids for the cost of one NYC school janitor, so they’ll learn that when black kids are forced to work, they get paid crap, and that when adults get paid reasonably well, they’ll be fired and replaced by school children. Happy Martin Luther King Day, everybody!

Paul says the US should have tried to get Pakistan to turn bin Laden over. Everyone jumps on him. Paul, that is, not bin Laden.

AND BY ENEMIES, HE MEANS INDIANS – LOTS AND LOTS OF INDIANS. Gingrich: “Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: kill them.” He’s a historian, you know.

Paul: “My - my - my point is, if another country does to us what we do others, we’re not going to like it very much. So I would say that maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in - in foreign policy. Don’t do to other nations [BOOING] what we don’t want to have them do to us. So we - we endlessly bomb - we endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder - wonder why they get upset with us?” I’m pretty sure that booing means the audience wanted other nations to bomb us too.

THE RIGHT THING: Romney: “The right thing for Osama bin Laden was the bullet in the - in the head that he received. That’s the right thing for people who kill American citizens.”

Romney: “The right course for America is to recognize we’re under attack and we’re going to have to take action around the world to protect ourselves, and hopefully we can do it as we did with Osama bin Laden, as opposed to going to war, as we had to do in the case of Iraq.” Had to do? “The right way...to keep us from having to go to those wars is to have a military so strong that no one would ever think of testing it.” How strong is that? We do have nuclear weapons and shit, right?

Romney says it’s wrong to negotiate with the Taliban as long as they’re killing American soldiers. He thinks we should negotiate with the Girl Scouts, because they’re not killing American soldiers. Added bonus: cookies!

Perry said Turkey should be kicked out of NATO because it is “ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamist terrorists.” Of course Rick Perry probably perceives the pope as an Islamist terrorist.

PERRY ALWAYS HEARS GONGS. ALL THE TIME. Perry says to the moderator about Paul, “I was just saying that I thought maybe that the noise that you were looking for was a gong.”

DISDAIN: Perry says that Panetta’s referring to the American soldiers’ urination on dead Afghans as despicable shows “this administration’s disdain all too often for our men and women in uniform.” You know what really shows disdain? Oh, you’re way ahead of me here.

Romney supports indefinite detention, although he admits it “could possibly be abused.” But he’d never abuse that power, so that’s okay then. He even says Obama wouldn’t abuse that power, but then he never says what would actually constitute an abuse of that power, so he may be setting that bar impossibly high, like when Bush said we don’t torture.

BECAUSE NOTHING SAYS “HOPE OF THE EARTH” LIKE A HONKING BIG MILITARY BUDGET: Romney: “We simply cannot continue to cut our Department of Defense budget if we are going to remain the hope of the Earth.”

Romney wants to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security “a year or two.” Gingrich wants to get “the government out of telling you when to retire.”

DELIGHTED: It being South Carolina, where there was suspicion four years ago that Romney didn’t enjoy shooting things as much as a real man does, he was asked whether he’s been keeping up his varmint-hunting. “I’m not going to describe all of my great exploits,” he said (or perhaps that was his explanation for not releasing his tax returns). But he killed a moose – no, wait, an elk! – and some pheasants. “I’m not a serious hunter, but I must admit, I guess I enjoy the sport and when I get invited I’m delighted to be able to go hunting.”

By the way, it’s probably just as well that during the I-love-guns-more-than-you-do portion of the debate, no one brought up the assassination of the guy whose birthday this is.

Gingrich says Mittens’ Super PAC ran ads saying Newt wants to abort adorable Chinese babies. Mittens counter-charges that Gingrich’s Super PAC’s anti-Romney film is “probably the biggest hoax since Bigfoot,” upsetting Ron Paul supporters who believe Bigfoot runs the Fed. He says he wants Super PACs ended. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give what they would like to to campaigns?” asks the multi-millionaire.

OH RICK, IF YOU WERE PRESIDENT, YOUR HAND WOULD NEVER BE OFF THE BIBLE: Perry: “And when I’m the president of the United States that border will be locked down and it will be secure by one year from the time I take my hand off the Bible.”

Then they all urinated on Juan Williams, the end.

Today -100: January 17, 1912: Much against its desires

The US chargé d’affaires in Nicaragua evidently asked that the country’s new constitution not be implemented until the new US ambassador arrives, so he can express his opinion on it.

Secretary of State Philander Knox sends a warning to the Cuban government threatening military intervention by the US, “much against its desires,” if they don’t settle the country down. A movement of veterans of the wars of independence against Spain has grown increasingly assertive in its demands (which are basically that the government should be run by veterans of the wars of independence), and members of the active military have been mixing with them despite orders not to. Cuban President Gomez says he thinks there isn’t reason for American intervention, thank you very much.

Scott reaches the South Pole.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today -100: January 16, 1912: Of secrecy, bayonets, and thunders

The Senate debates in closed session whether to debate the arbitration treaties in secret, but decides to debate them in open session.

The militia charges Lawrence, Massachusetts mill strikers with bayonets, kills one.

NYT Index Typo of the Day: “SAYS ITALY PLANS TO FIGHT AUSTRALIA.” That’s Austria, for crumb’s sake.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fact-check of the day

“But neither [Patton nor Churchill] was known to have urinated on human corpses.”

It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that one of the candidates would actually step in to defend pissing on corpses, but if one of them would, yeah, it was always gonna be Rick Perry.

Today -100: January 15, 1912: Mincing around

Raymond Poincaré forms a new French government. He will be both prime minister and foreign minister.

Headline of the Day -100: “More Mince Pie Protests.” The students at Simmons College are allowed it only once a year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In direct opposition to everything the military stands for

The top US general in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, said of that video of Marines peeing on dead Afghans that the images “are in direct opposition to everything the military stands for,” adding “first you pee on them, then you shoot them.”

Today -100: January 14, 1912: Of secret talks, obedience, and cranking

The leaking of the fact that there were secret negotiations between France and Germany, which toppled the Caillaux government in France this week, has pissed off Britain, which backed France up as it edged up to war with Germany without having been informed of the talks. Britain is now realizing that it could wind up embroiled in a, to coin a phrase, world war, because its ally is pursuing self-interested policies of which it is kept ignorant.

Germany is rumored to be negotiating to purchase Portugal’s colonies in Africa.

Two British suffragists, Victor Duval and Una Dugdale, got married. The Archbishop of Canterbury sent two priests to monitor the wedding and make sure the word “obey” was included in the marriage vows – although Una refused to repeat that bit after the vicar.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cranking is Dangerous.” 43% of automobile accidents involve the crank kicking back and injuring the autoist, breaking arms and ribs. So self-starters are becoming popular.

Friday, January 13, 2012

“Just like John Kerry”

A month ago, I made a little joke about Romney and Gingrich hiding the shameful secret that they can both speak French. Now Gingrich, who can speak French, puts out an ad making fun of Romney for speaking French. As the French would say, oy vey.

Live and learn, I guess

At the Haditha Massacre court martial of Frank Wuterich, Hector Salinas, asked what he would do differently, besides massacring a bunch of innocent civilians including children and a septuagenarian in a wheelchair, said he would have called in an air strike to level the house with the innocent civilians including children and the septuagenarian in a wheelchair.

Today -100: January 13, 1912: Of fifth columns, war at sea, and socialists

The assistant chief of staff of the Army tells the House Committee on Military Affairs that there are 35,000 former Japanese soldiers living in Hawaii, and that in the event of a war between the US and Japan, they would support Japan.

The war between Italy and Turkey over Libya is still going on, with an exciting new element: a naval battle in the Red Sea (a week ago, actually). As it turns out, the Ottomans suck at fighting wars at sea as bad as they suck at fighting wars on land.

German elections: the Socialists win big in the first round, but mostly at the expense of the center-left parties, so the Conservatives will remain in charge (and much power, including picking the chancellor and his cabinet, is entirely in the hands of the kaiser rather than the Reichstag anyway).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today -100: January 12, 1912: Of the death penalty, inconsistency, and thrifty negroes

New York Gov. John Dix has come out against the death penalty. There will be a vote in the Legislature shortly.

New Jersey Gov. Woodrow Wilson gives a speech to the National League of Commission Merchants in which he defended inconsistency: “A man who cannot change his mind gives evidence of the most pathetic ignorance.” In other words, yes I wrote about knocking William Jennings Bryan into a cocked hat before and I’m sucking up to him now, deal with it. He also livened up his speech with that staple of political speeches, a darky story (which I didn’t understand, something about an old negro on a train sleeping with his mouth open and someone puts quinine on his tongue and he wakes up and says “Conductor, I’ve done busted my gall.” Maybe you had to be there.)

Condescending Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Negroes Becoming Thrifty.” About the spread of negro banks.