Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today -100: March 31, 1912: Of conservative people, government by a representative part of the people, and women lawyers

Pres. Taft says “The American people are the most conservative people in the world.”

Roosevelt attacks the Senate’s decision to exonerate Sen. William Lorimer (R) of bribery in his election by the Illinois Legislature. He says it illustrates the working “in actual practice of the president’s theory of government of the people by what he calls a representative part of the people,” because the senators who voted to uphold Lorimer’s election were going against the wishes of their constituents. This proves the need for direct election of senators.

Headline of the Day -100: “Woman Lawyer for a Negro.” A Miss Lucille Pugh now represents some black dude accused of shooting some white dude over a game of craps (nothing of any special interest in itself). The NYT naturally describes Miss Pugh’s clothing in detail and for no particular reason I’ll repeat that description: “a black tailor-made suit with modified waistcoat and a high starched collar, such as men wear. A white carnation was stuck in the lapel of her coat, and a dainty white lace handkerchief peeped from her coat pocket. She wore a vivid red tie containing a scarab scarfpin. Her heavy brown hair was piled up under a stiff black derby hat of the latest model.”

Friday, March 30, 2012

Today -100: March 30, 1912: Of lynchings, buying colonies, wobblies, and hats

After the lynching of two black men who supposedly got a white man drunk for the purposes of robbing him, posses of the white population of the ironically named town of Blacksburg, SC are now patrolling because of rumors of an impending invasion of revenge-seeking blacks.

Secretary of State Philander Knox’s Latin America tour has taken him unexpectedly to St. Thomas, raising rumors that the US plans to buy the island (and its residents) from Denmark (a plan along these lines was rejected by the Danish parliament in 1902, but will be accepted in 1917).

Nearly 50 Wobblies are arrested in San Diego for plotting to overthrow the US government.

British suffragette Charlotte Despard, leader of the militant (but not as militant as the WSPU) suffrage group the Women’s Freedom League, calls for a boycott on buying hats (among other things, but that’s the one that’s fun to put in headlines, so everyone does).

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I had my camera battery charged and ready for some original reporting at a Rick Santorum rally at a jelly bean factory not too far from here, hoping for a picture of Ricky under the jelly bean portrait of Reagan, but I took a nap instead. My bad.

Today -100: March 29, 1912: Of rumps, incitement, women’s suffrage in Michigan and Britain, and late Scotts

The Taft people have discovered that the Roosevelt people have taken an option to rent a theater in Chicago during the week of the Republican convention in June, in other words that they’re making plans to bolt the party convention and hold a rump convention. TR’s people deny they have anything to do with the person who made the arrangements.

British trade unionist leader Tom Mann is out on bail pending trial for incitement to mutiny for publishing in his newspaper The Syndicalist an open letter to troops asking them to please not shoot strikers in the coal strike.

Mayor Harry Shriver of Rock Island, Illinois, set off a riot in which one person died, shot by police, by assaulting the editor of The Rock Island News, John Looney, who wrote something about him that the NYT annoyingly refrains from repeating. The mayor is now barricaded in his office, surrounded by soldiers, issuing threats to kill the editor like a dog (when he gets out of the hospital).

The Michigan Legislature passes a bill for a women’s suffrage referendum in November.

The British Parliament votes against a women’s suffrage bill 222-208. This is a decline in support since last year, when a similar bill passed its second reading but went no further. Some of the opposition this time around came from Irish Nationalists afraid that it would take time away from the Home Rule Bill and disrupt the Liberal cabinet (in the debate, Prime Minister Asquith spoke against the bill, Foreign Minister Grey for). Also, the coal strike meant that Labour MPs representing mining unions were busy elsewhere. Also, Anti sentiment has been strengthened by the increase in militant suffrage activities (Spoiler Alert: they ain’t seen nothing yet).

Today is believed to be the day Commander Scott died on his Antarctic expedition (Turner Classic Movies is playing “Scott of the Antarctic” tonight as part of a South Pole marathon, along with Ice Station Zebra, With Byrd at the South Pole, Frank Capra’s Dirigible and The Thing From Another World).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Today -100: March 28, 1912: Of Jewish homelands, criminal farces, and physiological emergencies

Portugal is considering establishing a Jewish colony in Portuguese Angola.

Theodore Roosevelt denounces the New York primaries, which he lost Tuesday by a 2:1 margin, as a “criminal farce.” The only inspectors allowed at polling stations were anti-Roosevelt; in some districts, the names of Roosevelt delegates didn’t appear on the ballots; in others ballot papers were not delivered or were late. In Indiana, TR says, 200 of his delegates were thrown out of the Republican state convention, “and the will of the people reversed.” Ditto Colorado.

Sir Almroth Wright, a famous British immunologist (who doesn’t believe in washing), has a long and soon to be infamous letter in today -100’s Times of London explaining that, when viewing the militant suffrage movement, “no doctor can ever lose sight of the fact that the mind of woman is always threatened with danger from the reverberations of her physiological emergencies. ... there is mixed up with the woman’s movement much mental disorder; and he cannot conceal from himself the physiological emergencies which lie behind.” A NYT editorial in tomorrow -100’s paper notes that Dr. Wright is “likely to meet several [physiological emergencies] as soon as the suffragettes get after him.”

Wright continues, “A conciliation with hysterical revolt is neither an act of peace nor will it bring peace.” Fortunately, “Peace will come again. It will come when woman ceases to believe and to teach all manner of evil of man despitefully. It will come when she ceases to impute to him as a crime her own natural disabilities, when she ceases to resent the fact that man cannot and does not wish to work side by side with her. And peace will return when every woman for whom there is no room in England seeks ‘rest’ beyond the sea, ‘each one in the house of her husband,’ and when the woman who remains in England comes to recognize that she can without sacrifice of dignity give a willing subordination to the husband or father, who, when all is said and done, earns and lays up money for her.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Today -100: March 27, 1912: Of stolen primaries and crying prime ministers

Supporters of Roosevelt do indeed bolt the Indiana Republican convention after it instructs the delegates-at-large to the national convention in Chicago to vote for Taft. TR supporters claim he had the support of the actual majority of state delegates (some of the seats were contested) but that they were road-rollered. They hold a separate rump convention and name their own delegates-at-large to Chicago. One of the regular delegates is TR’s old vice president.

TR does badly in NY primaries. “They are stealing the primary elections from us,” he says of the party machine, noting that his poll-watchers were thrown out.

126 British suffragettes are put on trial for the window-breaking party in London early this month and given sentences of 4 to 6 months. The leaders of the Women’s Social and Political Union, at least the ones the authorities were able to find, will go on trial for conspiracy.

Headline of the Day -100: “Asquith in Tears; Strike Goes On.” A conference between the miners’ union and the owners broke down. Asquith tried to take it out of their hands by a bill which just passed the House of Commons establishing a minimum wage for miners. The king has had to cancel his plans to attend the Grand National (horsie races), so you know this shit is serious.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Blogger’s latest obnoxious innovation is that some in different countries are getting different domains for this blog: in Australia, in Britain, and so on for New Zealand, France, Canada, Brazil, etc.

As a result, near as I can see it from here, everybody is now seeing only those comments posted from their own domain (although the Recent Comments in the right sidebar works everywhere), and I’m not sure anyone can post a comment except at (although clicking on an existing comment in Recent Comments brings everyone to a JS-Kit page where they can respond), so people outside the US might want to bookmark and any other Blogspot blogs you comment in. You might also want to growl discontentedly.

Today -100: March 26, 1912: Take a tip from father

The governor of Indiana and his wife were refused a room at a Chicago hotel because of police regulations against registering couples without baggage. And the governor of Arizona spent a night in the penitentiary, just to see what it’s like. He had mush and beans for breakfast.

Theodore Roosevelt holds a bunch of campaign rallies in NYC, several of them in casinos, prior to the NY primaries (the ballot is 14 feet long). At the New Star Casino, Maud Malone, the president of the Harlem Equal Rights League, interrupts his speech to ask about votes for women. He says he would support “some sort of a referendum” of women. She continued to pepper him with questions, and he stopped her being thrown out – for a while. Then the band struck up “Take a tip from father,” then TR begged her to let him finish, she told him he wanted women to have babies but not votes, he told her that this “exhibition” showed that he has more respect for “your sex” than she has, and finally she was dragged out. When she was out, he claimed she’d been put up to it by the opposition, although he must have known who Maud Malone was.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Today -100: March 25, 1912: Of final tests, nominations, assassinations, and governors in sombreros on horses

Foreshadowing Headline of the Day -100: “Final Tests for Titanic.” I believe it failed the math portion of the tests: 3,000 passengers and crew divided by 20 lifeboats...

The Montana Republican state committee rejects the Rooseveltian proposal for a primary and will just go ahead and endorse Taft without asking the voters.

Taft wins delegate conventions and primaries in Indiana. A rumor which is “generally believed” holds that Roosevelt’s managers in the state received $15,000 in soft money (hey, that was a lot of money then), part of which they spent on newspaper ads warning of fraud in the primaries and conventions. The Rooseveltians will contest all of Taft’s wins at the state convention, possibly planning to bolt and hold a separate convention if the decisions go against them. In other words, the Taft people hold the levers of the party, here and in other states as well as nationally, and are using them ruthlessly against Roosevelt. TR’s supporters, who aren’t averse to pulling the same tricks where they have the power to do so, are establishing a narrative of a party machine using trickery to suppress the wishes of the majority of party members.

The Ottoman Empire’s prince-governor of the Aegean island of Samos is assassinated by a Greek.

Oregon Governor Oswald West has exhausted his travel budget and must now travel by horse instead of train to the convention of Western governors, 500 miles away in Boise. He will wear a sombrero.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today -100: March 24, 1912: Of collapsing platforms, strikes, kintopps, and invisible airships

In Portland, Maine, a platform on which Theodore Roosevelt was standing collapses. TR fell, but was not hurt. “It was the weight of intellect” that caused the collapse, the tubby former president tells the audience, before giving his speech as planned. He’d probably give his speech as planned even if someone shot him in the chest or something...

The coal strike in Britain has put 3 million people out of work, shutting down railroads, cotton mills, etc. Even worse, there will be no special trains for the start of the flat racing season next week.

In Berlin, a conference of the National Association of Managers, Actors and Playwrights comes to the conclusion that the number of movie theaters (kintopps, they were called at the time) should be limited so as not to compete with proper theatres, and movies’ subject matter should be confined to science and education and absolutely not drama.

Baron Adam Roenne has patented (in Britain) an “invisible” airship. It will be covered in chromium, which will make it reflective, rendering it invisible above 2,500 feet. In fact, there’s one above you right now, probably.

Proquest Typo of the Day (LAT story): “HOW THE COMPASS SHITS ABOUT.: CHANGES FROM 1750 TO 1910 NOTED BY UNCLE SAM”.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today -100: March 23, 1912: Of loans, Chinese suffragettes, and explosions

Rep. Charles Lindbergh (R-Minn.), father of the aviator/fascist, proposes a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Senate and have a unicameral Congress of 315 members, 300 elected for 7 years + 15 members-at-large elected for 15 years with veto powers over the rest of the members.

The Great Powers propose a $300m loan to China, $240m for railroads, $60m for arms. Russia is not best pleased, sees an American plot.

Chinese “suffragettes” force their way into the National Assembly and break some windows. Possibly the equal suffrage measure wasn’t quite as good as reported yesterday?

It seems that the explosion that killed the 28 Southern Pacific scabs in San Antonio was not nitro, but a common or garden variety steam-engine explosion.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

News Quiz USA

BBC Radio 4 is trying an American pilot version of its venerable news comedy show the News Quiz. With Lewis Black, Andy Borowitz, Kathleen Madigan, Todd Barry and Ted Alexandro. It’s not quite the same without short lesbians and funny English, Scottish and Danish accents, but whaddayagonnado?

Listen here for the next week. We should all encourage this attempt to bring Radio 4 comedy formats to America (I think the idea here is to sell this show to NPR), if only because of the ancient Mayan prediction that if Charlie Brooker and Lewis Black are ever in the same place at the same time, the world will end.

Today -100: March 22, 1912: Of suffrage and patronage

The Chinese parliament gives women the vote on the same terms as men (literacy tests, age 20, property owners). A woman, Yik Yug-Ying, is immediately elected to parliament from Canton.

The Senate Committee on Contingent Expenses will provide funds for an investigation (if one is ordered) into whether the Taft administration has been sending post office inspectors around the country to pressure postmasters to work for Taft’s re-election, which it has (and firing a lot of Roosevelt loyalists). In those days of a smaller federal government presence beyond Washington, the post office was a major source of political patronage. This was most important in this election in the South, where the Republican Party had a tiny presence, allowing postmasters to dominate the process of selecting delegates to the national convention. With so few states having popular primaries, the party nomination process was a dirty, dirty business. Unlike now, of course.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today -100: March 21, 1912: Are the American people fit to govern themselves?

Emil Seidel, Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, is defeated in his bid for re-election, the D’s & R’s uniting behind a unity candidate.

Gov. Woodrow Wilson denies rumors that he failed to vote for William Jennings Bryan in 1908 or that he ever said that he prefers Chinese to Polish immigrants.

Speaking at Carnegie Hall, Theodore Roosevelt defends his position on recalls, initiative, direct primaries and the like, saying that the fundamental issue before the Republican Party is “Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves?” Good question. He disagrees with the view of some (i.e., Taft) that the Constitution is a “strait jacket to be used for the control of an unruly patient – the people”. He notes that the country is “suffering from the tyranny of minorities” which own all the coal and water power, profit from adulterated drugs and food, control the monopolies and trusts and sweatshops – and the Republican convention.

The Massachusetts State Senate rejects women’s suffrage 17-14 and the direct election of US senators 19-14.

Democrats in Congress offer a plan to give the Philippines independence in 1921 (July 4th, naturally) after eight years of “probationary independence” during which the Filipinos would elect a congress (some Filipinos; there’d be a property franchise and a literacy test), whose legislation could be vetoed by the US president. A Philippines president would be nominated by the US president and confirmed by the US Senate. Polygamy would be outlawed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Newt Gingrich 1) attacks Robert De Niro for making a joke about America not being ready for a white First Lady, 2) surreptitiously asks aide to get Halle Berry’s phone number.

Today -100: March 20, 1912: Of warships and primaries

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill gives a speech in Parliament saying that Britain plans to keep building warships at a faster rate than any of its competitors, and this means you, Germany (specifically, he wants to build 60% more ships than Germany does).

A couple of days ago, President Taft claimed to support presidential primaries, such as those just set up by the Massachusetts Legislature (only 6 states had provisions for them at the start of the year), but with lots of caveats and, as Roosevelt points out, only several days after Massachusetts had already enacted them. But what about Maryland, Michigan and elsewhere, TR asks, where Taft’s people are fighting primary legislation tooth and nail?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today -100: March 19, 1912: Of bribery, presidential smooches, explosions, and married women

New Mexico has been a state for, what, a minute and a half? Four legislators are arrested for soliciting bribes, asking $5,000 each to vote for A.B. Fall for US senator. A sting operation was set up, with the cooperation of Fall, who will be one of NM’s first two senators and (spoiler alert) will go to prison for his role in the Teapot Dome scandal as President Harding’s Interior secretary.

President Taft kisses the first child of the re-election campaign season, one Mary Irene Barter, 11, in Boston. “It didn’t feel different from other kisses I have had, except it was before all those people,” Mary said on

New war scare in Europe: Russia v. Turkey over Persia.

32 strikebreakers working for the Southern Pacific Railroad in San Antonio die in an explosion believed to have been caused by nitroglycerine. The NYT lists some of the identified bodies by name, adding at the bottom of the list “five negro helpers,” who I guess didn’t have names. Also, an 82-year-old woman was killed seven blocks away when the front end of a locomotive crashed into the roof of her house.

The Continental and Commercial Bank of Chicago will require the “resignation” of all female employees who get married. A bank vice president says the bank would prefer not to have to hire women at all, but needs must.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Today -100: March 18, 1912: Of insane aliens, members for aviation, and shaving Chinese

Alarming Headline of the Day -100: “Too Many Insane Aliens.” A report from the NY State Lunacy Commission to Gov. Dix complains about the cost and wants them deported. The report says that 1/6 of NY’s revenues goes to taking care of the insane.

While many of the Republican convention delegates have already been chosen, by fair means and foul, Roosevelt wins his first state convention, that of North Carolina.

French aviator Jules Vedrines, who earlier this month became the first man to fly a plane faster than 100 miles per hour, loses election to the French parliament, to which he was running as “member for aviation.” He flew to his rallies, speaking of the need for a large air force.

Headline of the Day -100: “All China is Shaving.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I’m not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters

A week and a half ago, Obama held a press conference. I wrote up a post, decided it was sub-par, and deleted it. But there was one answer of his that I don’t want to let go. Asked about the “war on women,” he politely declined the opportunity to declare himself and the Democratic Party to be on the side of the women: “Women are going to make up their own mind in this election about who is advancing the issues that they care most deeply about.”

He went on:
there are millions of strong women around the country who are going to make their own determination about a whole range of issues. It’s not going to be narrowly focused just on contraception. It’s not going to be driven by one statement by one radio announcer. It is going to be driven by their view of what’s most likely to make sure they can help support their families, make their mortgage payments; who’s got a plan to ensure that middle-class families are secure over the long term; what’s most likely to result in their kids being able to get the education they need to compete. ... So I’m not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters.
Notice how quickly he moved to non-gender-specific issues like mortgages and education. He’s just not comfortable with the notion that women might vote based on their interests as women. He’d rather talk to them about mortgages and “a whole range of issues” than reassure them about their reproductive autonomy.

Of course women are interested in a whole range of non-vagina-related issues (unlike Rick Santorum), but it doesn’t make them (gasp) single-issue voters if they draw a line in the sand and say that, other issues aside, they will not vote for someone who attacks their right to control their own body. To suggest that such voters are “narrowly focused” is an insult to them and to the principle itself.

Today -100: March 17, 1912: Define “enlightened”

The NYT editor replies to a letter to the editor from James H. Hubert (an actual black dude, although the NYT may not know that, lacking Ye Olde Google), who says that Taft has not been as good for the blacks as Roosevelt was, having fired negro federal officeholders in the South. The editor responds, and I’ll quote in full: “The enlightened friends of the colored people in the South believe that their salvation can best be worked out in business and the industries and that the worst possible disservice to them would be to lead them into politics.”

Lawrence Oates of the Scott Antarctic expedition goes outside. He may be some time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Today -100: March 16, 1912: Of insurgent hysteria

The Woodrow Wilson presidential surge is stalling out. Of the 74 delegates to the Dem. convention who have been chosen, all are for Champ Clark, the speaker of the House, except for 10 from Oklahoma. Wilson is having to be progressive enough to win votes in this progressive year without alienating the South, which he’s finding a bit tricky.

The London Times has an editorial on the suffragettes entitled “Insurgent Hysteria.” It blames the militant movement on hysterics and on “less excusable” women: unmarried women with no aptitude for professions, women with an abundance of leisure and a somewhat vacuous existence, etc.

In Philadelphia, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw calls for “militant suffrage for America”: “If we are played with, made fun of, just tolerated, greeted with supercilious smiles by members of Congressional committees, there is nothing for us to do but to resort to militant methods.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

As they would say in Britain, we got thrashed

Obama held a press conference with David Cameron yesterday. According to him, people are really interested in the fact that the two of them went to that basketball game yesterday. “Some have asked how it came about.”

I’M PRETTY SURE THAT MEANS “HAD GAY SEX.” EVERYTHING THEY SAY IN BRITAIN MEANS “HAD GAY SEX.” “During my visit to London last year, David arranged for us to play some local students -- table tennis. As they would say in Britain, we got thrashed.”

I’M PRETTY SURE THAT MEANS “HAVE GAY SEX” TOO: “That said, I’m still trying to get David to fill out his bracket.”

IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, AND I THINK YOU DO: “We’ve just finished up a very good discussion, and it was a reminder of why I value David’s leadership and partnership so much.”

MAN, IT’S JUST ALL ABOUT THE GAY SEX WITH THESE TOO: “Between us, we have the largest investment relationship in the world”.

“TEAMS,” HUH? “and we’ve instructed our teams to continue to explore ways to increase transatlantic trade and investment.”

SEX SEX SEX: “And I very much appreciate David’s perspective on the fiscal situation in the eurozone, where both our countries... are deeply connected.”

THAT MOMENTUM WON’T BREAK ITSELF, YOU KNOW: He refers rather indirectly to some unspecified “tragic events of recent days” in Afghanistan. But insists that “we can never forget” that “our forces are making very real progress: dismantling al Qaeda; breaking the Taliban’s momentum; and training Afghan forces so that they can take the lead and our troops can come home.” Just like they’ve been claiming to be doing every day for more than a decade now.

THREAT: “We also discussed the continuing threat posed by Iran’s failure to meet its international obligations.” If Iran were actually developing nukes, that might arguably constitute a “threat,” but failing to meet international obligations does not.

THE GAY SEXIEST REFERENCE YET: “We believe there is still time and space to pursue a diplomatic solution, and we’re going to keep coordinating closely with our P5-plus-1 partners.”

IF ONLY BECAUSE HE’S NOT IMMORTAL: “I’ll say it again: Assad will leave power. It’s not a question of if, but when.”

IT’S TIME: “We also think it’s important that there is a political aspect to this -- that all the various factions and ethnic groups inside of Afghanistan recognize that it’s time to end 30 years of war.” You make it sound like that 30 years of war is entirely their fault, like the countries that keep invading them don’t have something to do with it.

OBAMA ENTERING CONDESCENDING MODE IN 3..2..1.. “you asked why is it that poll numbers indicate people are interested in ending the war in Afghanistan. It’s because we’ve been there for 10 years, and people get weary, and they know friends and neighbors who have lost loved ones as a consequence of war.” Yeah, that’s it, the American people are “weary,” it’s not that they’ve come to a considered judgment that this is a failed mess.

Obama gives what may be a new justification for stopping Iran developing nukes: “It would embolden terrorists in the region who might believe that they could act with more impunity if they were operating under the protection of Iran.” I’m not sure how that “protection” would actually work, but by all means let’s base our foreign policy on what terrorists “might believe.”

WAS IT THE GIGGLING THAT GAVE THEM AWAY? “We will do everything we can to resolve this diplomatically, but ultimately, we’ve got to have somebody on the other side of the table who’s taking this seriously.”

THE FASTEST WAY TO END THE KILLING: Cameron: “We think that the fastest way to end the killing, which is what we all want to see, is for Assad to go.”

Freedom of religion

A quick note on rhetoric.

The US Conference of Bishops issued a statement: “This dispute is not about access to contraceptives but about the government’s forcing the church to provide them.” Similarly, Darrell Issa, when refusing to let Sandra Fluke testify, said his hearing was “not about reproductive rights but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience”. Really, guys, this is not even a little bit about contraception and reproductive rights? We’re pretending that the actual content of this so-called freedom of religion is not relevant? That’s like saying that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery because it was about states’ rights. They could make the claim that the freedom of religion of Catholics not to be involved with anything they find icky trumps the right of women to control their bodies, but they don’t do that; they insist that “freedom of religion” is the only issue under discussion here. As a rhetorical device, it’s similar to the refusal of many social conservatives to talk about gay marriage when objecting to gay marriage. Instead, it’s all about “preserving traditional marriage,” as they try to marginalize gays even from the discussion of gay marriage.

Today -100: March 15, 1912: Of assassination attempts, fricks, asphalt heads, kings running with scissors, unmarried & comely cops

Anarchist (“amateur anarchist,” the LAT calls him) Antonio Dalba shoots at the king and queen of Italy, misses, hitting a bodyguard and his horse instead. Their majesties were attending the annual memorial service for the previous king, Umberto I, who was assassinated by an anarchist in 1900 (which inspired Leon Czolgosz to shoot McKinley). Dalba is a legal minor (20), so cannot be executed. He will be sentenced to 30 years, but, perhaps because of his increasing mental instability, will be pardoned in 1921, only to be committed two months later to a mental hospital, where he will die in 1953.

Headline of the Day -100: “Think Frick the Donor.” Yeah, frick him! Frick him! Oh, it seems an anonymous $2.5 million donor to MIT is believed to be Henry Clay Frick.

Another Headline of the Day -100: “Resigns as Asphalt Head.” Asphalt Head – president of the General Asphalt Company, or Taft-era superhero? Sadly, the former, because I was picturing one of those comic book covers where the superhero (whose head is made entirely out of asphalt) walks away from a garbage can with his costume sticking out of it.

Yet another Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “King Uses a Scissors.” King George V, and they were metaphorical scissors, probably the only kind he was permitted to handle. He snipped the red tape of court precedence: henceforth, wives of ambassadors will now have the same rank as their husbands (when the American ambassador was sick, his wife refused to attend court to present American women rather than suffer the ignominy of being ranked after junior ministers).

L.A. gets its first two female deputy constables. The LA Times helpfully points out that they are both “unmarried and comely.” Even more helpfully, it gives their address (they live together).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Today -100: March 14, 1912: Of stupid and fantastic stories

President Taft is (finally) planning to get Congress to ban the sale of arms and munitions to the combatants in the civil war in Mexico.

Some of the British suffragettes who broke windows are sentenced to 4- and 6-month prison terms.

The Cuban government asked its ambassador to get a statement from President Taft about “rumors” that the US planned to invade it again (those rumors possibly caused by Secretary of State Knox having threatened that very thing in January). Taft responds: “The United States cannot be expected to take the trouble to deny all the foolish gossip which is, unfortunately, spread about its foreign relations. It should be understood in Havana that whenever the United States has anything to say about her relations with Cuba it will be said by the President or the Secretary of State. ... I am astonished to learn from you of the stupid and fantastic stories which are being circulated in some circles in Havana to the effect that intervention is being planned... [rumors which are] all the more surprising and reprehensible in view of the transparent politics of the United States. The Government of the United States, as an act of friendship, has indicated where dangers are and has adopted what has been well called a ‘preventive policy,’ that is, a policy which consists in doing all within its power to induce Cuba to avoid every reason that would make intervention possible at any time.” Yeah, I can’t see how stupid and fantastic stories about American intervention could start.

Striking corset workers (which sounds like something out of some sort of historical porno) in Kalamazoo, hit with a court order against picketing, are instead praying outside the factory (praying that scabs join the strike).

NY Governor John Dix, a Democrat, “has put on war paint” in preparations for battle with the Democratic/Tammany machine, which has just defeated his nominee for a position on the Public Service Commission for the 2nd district, which was I guess Boss Murphy’s attempt to show Dix who really runs things.

The huge Lawrence, Mass. mill strike is finally over, after two months, the IWW agreeing with textile mill owners to a pay increase of 5 to 25% (the lower-paid workers getting the largest increases).

Headline of the Day -100: “20th Century Goes into River.” Not a metaphor, apparently: the 20th Century was the train between Chicago and NYC.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Caption contest

Barack Obama, having evidently borrowed Romney’s Casual Shirt, took British Prime Minister David Cameron to a basketball game today. Did they shove phallic-shaped food-adjacent objects into their mouths? Yes, yes they did.

Today -100: March 13, 1912: Of feathers in France

Headline of the Day -100: “France Won’t Ban Feathers.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today -100: March 12, 1912: Of young suffragists and doggies

The Tennessee Legislature (which in 8 years will be the state that puts the 19th Amendment over the top) hears its first speech in support of women’s suffrage. It’s by Anna Hooper, the 9-year-old daughter of the governor. She notes that ignorant men are allowed to vote (as long as they’re white, she doesn’t say), but educated women are not. (Except for the fact that Anna was the youngest delegate to the 1924 Republican convention and that she died at age 100, I can find out nothing about her.)

Headline of the Day -100: “Peary’s Opinion of Dog Meat.” Admiral Peary thinks the... catering... on the Amundsen expedition, while “not a regular item on the polar bill of fare... comes enough as a matter of course not to be thought of either as a delicacy or as particularly hard rations.” And dogs have the advantage over ponies that when one dies, its body can be eaten by both men and dogs, while ponies can be eaten by the men but not by thee surviving ponies.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Today -100: March 11, 1912: Of coal and mules

With Prussian and French colliers about to join their British brethren on strike, and an anthracite miners’ strike threatened in Pennsylvania, the coal strike is rapidly going global.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cabinet on Mules Goes to See Knox.” The Honduran cabinet, taking a five-day round trip out of their no doubt busy schedules, because for some reason Secretary of State Knox couldn’t get from the port of Amapala to the capital. The NYT notes that Knox “had no special mission” in Honduras. He is now on his way to Salvador, which is evidently what gringos called El Salvador back then.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today -100: March 10, 1912: Of the higher interests of art, spanking suffragettes, and ignoring primaries

A Munich jury acquits French dancer Adorée Villany of giving an immoral performance, deciding that she danced nekkid in “the higher interests of art.”

The Kentucky Legislature passes a bill for women’s suffrage for school board elections. Unlike male electors, women would have to be able to read and write.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times), on the subject of the British suffragettes: “‘Spank Them,’ Is Cry in London.” Or at least, that’s the cry “in first-class smoking compartments” (the equivalent of Thomas Friedman’s wisdom-spouting taxi drivers, I guess).

Sen. Leroy Percy (D-Miss.) refuses the Mississippi Legislature’s demand that he resign his seat. He says that his offer to resign if he lost a primary was restricted to 1910, and the primary was held in 1911.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Today -100: March 9, 1912: Of lynchers of nations, poles, and tyranny & confusion

Secretary of State Philander Knox is still touring Latin America, and while reporting is spotty, the trip doesn’t seem to be going that well. Nicaragua had to deploy troops to keep him safe and Costa Rica’s leading newspaper called him “the lyncher of nations.”

The NYT publishes Amundsen’s account of his polar expedition, with stern warnings for anyone who even thinks of violating their copyright. Warning: many dogs are killed and eaten in this story (Amundsen says they were delicious).

Norwegians may have discovered the South Pole, but under international law they don’t own it unless they also occupy it.

President Taft gives a speech in Toledo attacking Roosevelt’s idea of recall of judges as leading to tyranny and confusion.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Today -100: March 8, 1912: The whole world has now been discovered

The Senate passes the arbitration treaties with Britain and France, after gutting them to the point of making them meaningless. The NYT blames Roosevelt.

The Ohio constitutional convention votes to put women’s suffrage on the ballot in November.

A NYT editorial on British suffragette Christabel Pankhurst compares her disappearance to that of the Mona Lisa, and refers to her no fewer than three times as “little” (or “diminutive but tremendously aggressive”). It says that “No sane person can sympathize with the recent violent actions of the British suffragettes” at a time when there are a lot of strikes in Britain.

The NYT says of the Amundsen Antarctic expedition, “The whole world has now been discovered.” The head of the University of Chicago geology department says the discovery of the South Pole means that long-term weather predictions are now possible.

Headline of the Day -100: “Telephone Lines at War.” Rivalry between telephone companies leads one to cut off Hope, Blairstown and Belvidere, NJ.

The LAT reports under the headline “Disposing of a Leper” that John Early (we have encountered him before) will be “allowed to find a refuge” on tiny Eagle Island, Washington, by a federal government which feels no obligation to pay for his maintenance while he is involuntarily confined in this refuge. Also, he can’t cut down the trees, which help steamers in the fog somehow.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Today -100: March 7, 1912: Of airships, fugitives, and poles

Another advance in civilization: dirigibles are used in warfare for the first time, as Italian airships drop bombs in Libya.

The British police have so far failed to find and arrest suffragette leader Christabel Pankhurst, and will continue to do so (“They seek her here, they seek her there... that damned elusive Christabel”), possibly because when they raided WSPU headquarters yesterday she was on the roof. She is, in fact, now making her way to Paris, from where she will continue to general the militant wing of the suffrage movement (some of the militant wing; they were rather prone to splits) until the Great War begins.

Remember Capt. Lux, the French spy who escaped from a German fortress at the end of last year? He has been cited to appear at a local court in Germany for failure to pay a baker for the cakes he ate as a prisoner. Lux says he left a check in his cell which should more than cover it.

In honor of the forthcoming visit of US Secretary of State Philander Knox, Nicaragua locks up 100 opposition types, including the editorial staffs of two newspapers, which had suggested that an appropriate welcome for Knox would be dynamite.

Capt. Roald Amundsen has returned from the South Pole. The NYT seems to think that instead of having their sleds pulled by dogs, the Norwegians had trained polar bears.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Loaded term

I was gonna analyze Eric Holder’s state-sponsored-assassination-is-not-only-perfectly-legal-but-also-way-cool speech, but I ran into the problem that it was filled with words and terms I thought I knew the meaning of, but which Holder either stripped of meaning entirely or used to designate something entirely different from my understanding of those words: clear authority, robust oversight, due process, core Executive functions, and so on. It’s hard to debate with someone when you don’t share a common language (although seek out – because I need a nap and don’t feel like looking up the URLs – the responses of Glenn Greenwald, Charles Davis, Charles Pierce, and the ACLU).

My favorite bit, because it was so very like George Bush insisting that the US does not torture because when the US does it, it’s called something else, was where Holder insisted that the killing of people in foreign countries is not “assassinations.” “They are not, and the use of that loaded term is misplaced. Assassinations are unlawful killings.” Instead, this is “use of lethal force in self defense”.

So that’s okay then.

Today -100: March 6, 1912: Of primaries, retired presidents-for-life, and raids

Both houses of the Mississippi Legislature pass a resolution asking US Senator Leroy Percy (D) to resign, which he had promised to do if he lost the primary, which he did, last August, to racist pig and former governor James Vardaman. Of course, this is before the 17th Amendment, so the primary was entirely advisory, and Percy had proposed holding it in the first place. There was only a primary, no general election, so only the Democrats – the white Democrats – were asked to express their opinion.

The chairman of Roosevelt’s campaign committee, Sen. Joseph Dixon, challenges Taft’s chair (William McKinley, evidently no relation to the president) to primaries in every state to see just which candidate Republicans in the country actually prefer. McKinley asks whether Dixon has authority from TR to issue such a challenge.

Former Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz, in... retirement... on the French Riviera, denies that he plans to return to take a role in the ongoing revolution: “I have no intention of intervening in the strife of the parties, especially while they have not recovered their reason.”

London police raid the headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the suffrage organization responsible for all the window-breaking, and arrest all the leaders they can find (including Christabel Pankhurst, the NYT mistakenly reports). Public buildings, including the British Museum, have been closed, because who knows what the suffragettes will break next. Insurance companies are issuing special window-breaking-by-suffragettes policies (damage from riot is not ordinarily covered by insurance, so those department stores are shit out of luck). The London Times suggests that the government seize the WSPU’s funds. The Daily Express says, “We are all tired to death of the Suffragists.” One of the 150 or so suffragettes apprehended for window-breaking is American sculptor Alice Wright. The NYT asks a class-mate of hers at Smith if she’s pretty. Yes. As pretty as Inez Milholland (American suffragist pin-up)? No.

Oh, and today is evidently the 100th anniversary of the Oreo.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Better to be a dic.... tator than to su... oh, never mind

Berlarus dictator Lukashenko says “it’s better to be a dictator than gay.” Though, to be fair, being a dictator is probably pretty awesome.

Today -100: March 5, 1912: Well, he was pretty young to be stabbed

The House Rules Committee hears witnesses from Lawrence, Mass. about the conditions in the mill town that led to the current strike, which has been going on for seven weeks. The witnesses included 13 children, who testified about police beatings of women and children during the strike. Rep. Thomas Hardwick (D-Georgia) demanded that one witness, Samuel Lipsom, an immigrant from... somewhere... provide names of victims of police violence. Lipsom said that a Syrian boy had been stabbed. “Is that boy here?” “He’s stabbed – dead – to death. He was running away when the soldier stabbed him.” “How old was he?” “He was 16 to 20 years old.” “Then he wasn’t a child?” “Well, he was pretty young to be stabbed.”

The office of Massachusetts Governor Foss responds to a NYT inquiry about this testimony and admits that the not-child was killed by a bayonet stab; he was “in a mob which refused to disperse.” The reply blamed the violence against women on the strikers, who put them in the front. It says that some of the strikers have “slapped the soldiers in the face and thrown pepper in their eyes” and that the soldiers have not used undue force or clubbed any women or children.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Today -100: March 4, 1912: Of war dead, child’s garments, quiet suffragettes, women in trousers, and oddies

Italy admits to 536 dead in its little imperial war in Libya and 324 missing (note: the story’s headline gives a total of 660 instead of 860, suggesting either the Times’s math sucks or one of those numbers is a typo).

Woodrow Wilson calls the Republicans’ beloved protective tariffs “a child’s garment, not that of a man. We have outgrown it.”

Headline of the Day -100: “6,000 Police to Keep Suffragettes Quiet.” As if. British suffragettes in prison for the last bit of window-breaking have been breaking the windows in their cells.

For no particular reason, the LAT gives a list of the privileges women are granted in Kansas. They can keep their maiden names, own her own property, hold any government office, and can wear men’s trousers, as long as she doesn’t pretend to be a man (men cannot wear dresses in public).

The governor of Nevada in 1912 was named Tasker L. Oddie. That is all.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Today -100: March 3, 1912: Of non-interference, negro terror and rice, losing it at the movies, and whippings

President Taft issues a proclamation ordering everyone in the United States to refrain from interfering in Mexican affairs (except for the people selling arms to both sides, obviously, because capitalism is capitalism), and to be prepared to evacuate the country.

Headline of the Day -100: “Negro Terror May Shorten Rice Crop.” The “negro terror” is due to the voodoo sacrifice cult killing people in Louisiana and eastern Texas. A cop just killed a “negro faker” selling charms to ward off the cult’s killers. The NYT often uses local stringers for stories like this; you can tell by the use of the phrase “superstitious darkies” and the fact that the headline focused on agricultural matters and not on, say, the 31 murdered African-Americans. The Times notes that white planters are worried that the blacks are arming themselves against the axe killers and that after the sect fades away, the blacks “will be left with weapons any time the so-called race question bobs up.”

The NYT claims that a 3-year-old boy in New Orleans died due to over-excitement from an exceptionally stimulating cowboys-and-Indians movie.

French missionaries are massacred in the fighting in Beijing.

A Delaware man convicted of burglary is sentenced to 14 years and 70 lashes (40 yesterday, the other 30 a week later).

Friday, March 02, 2012

The prime minister does not have meetings on horses

In Britain, Horsegate continues, hilariously. David Cameron finally admits to having ridden Raisa the horse. Here are just some of the quotes from various people in The Guardian story about this:

“I think my staff have had to answer a lot of questions about horses.”

“I don’t think I will be getting back into the saddle any time soon.” (Update: the full quote is actually “I am very sorry to hear that Raisa is no longer with us and I think I should conclude that I won’t be getting back into the saddle any time soon.” Although David Cameron trying to ride a dead horse would be a good metaphor for something or other.)

“The prime minister does not wear pyjamas on the back of a horse.”

“The prime minister does not have meetings on horses.”

(The Independent deserves special mention for using the phrase “mounting criticism” in a headline).

Jumping the gun a little bit there

At a campaign event at ABC Home and Carpet in New York City yesterday, Obama was interrupted by a heckler right after he claimed that the US is “leading, again, by the power of our moral example,” give or take a few hundred drone strikes. The White House transcript has the heckler just saying “No more war!” although reporters say (and it’s what I hear too) it was “No war on Iran” – an interesting alteration.

He responded, waggling his finger, “None of this -- nobody has announced a war, young lady. (Applause.) But we appreciate your sentiment. (Applause.) You’re jumping the gun a little bit there. (Applause.)”

So remember, the time to oppose a stupid war is always after it has already started.

Today -100: March 2, 1912: Of maenads and parachutes

British suffragettes (“Mrs. Pankhurst and her maenads” as the London Times calls them) break windows in the West End of London. Lots and lots of windows. Shops, clubs, government offices, you name it. The London Times says it is a sign of despair, given the “obvious movement of public opinion from indifference to hostility”.

For the first time, someone parachutes from an airplane. Capt. Albert Berry, who has experience parachuting from balloons, is the son of balloonist Capt. John Berry. In a heartwarming sidebar, father and son were reunited after 20 years when John read in the newspapers about Albert going on trial for his part in the Coatesville lynching last year. So okay, maybe not that heartwarming.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Daily Telegraphy: The Witches of Windsor

Tomorrow’s Telegraph brings us one of the odder British political scandals: “David Cameron ‘Likely’ to Have Ridden Rebekah Brooks’ Ex-Police Horse, Number 10 Says.” The cosiness between the Metropolitan Police and Murdoch’s News International (elsewhere we learn that the assistant commissioner who refused to reopen the phone hacking investigation was fed expensive meals and lots of champagne at posh clubs by his good friend, the deputy editor of the News of the World) extended to the Met “lending” NoTW editor Brooks a retired police horse named Raisa and now it seems that Cameron probably rode Raisa but not, he insists, after he became PM. I especially like the triptych that accompanies the article:

In Mannheim, Germany, Google Street View captured the image of a naked man climbing into a car trunk, but really, who hasn’t done that?

But the Daily Telegraph Headline of the Day has to be “Witchcraft Is Growing Threat to Children in Britain, Warn Police.” A Congolese family in London killed a 15-year-old family member because he was a witch. Given the “Satanic ritual abuse” panics of the 1980s, I’d take police warnings about this with a grain of salt, but what really makes this the Headline of the Day is the layout of the front page:

Today -100: March 1, 1912: Of censors and partitions

British playwright Lawrence Cowen, after having his play Tricked banned by the official censor (the Lord Chamberlain), resubmits it under the title Quits, with new character names but otherwise exactly the same, and has it approved.

US Attorney General George Wickersham is trying to get the American Bar Association to rescind its decision to expel Assistant Attorney General William Lewis for the malfeasance of being a negro. When he was elected to membership, “His color was not the subject of inquiry.” Some Southern members of the Bar Association have been saying that he applied under false pretenses. Mind you, he didn’t say that he was white, so the false pretenses are presumably that any negro must under all circumstances announce themselves as such.

Germany, Britain, Russia and Japan have agreed to principles proposed by US Secretary of State Philander Knox regarding China: no power is to grab territory from China or make loans to it (the main non-gunboat means of gaining control over a country’s policies) without agreement from the other powers. There is some fear that China’s weakness due to its revolution (there is currently shooting in Beijing) will lead to a scramble to partition it.