Friday, November 30, 2012

Today -100: November 30, 1912: Of diplomacy, hatpins, Albania, and men going mad and tearing themselves to pieces

Headline of the Day -100: “Death for Peace Envoys.” Emiliano Zapata executes an envoy sent by the Madero government. A simple “No” would have sufficed.

Oh, I spoke way too soon. New Headline of the Day -100: “Hatpin Saves Woman from Giant Robber; Elevated Ticket Agent Matches It Against Longshoreman’s Hook and Saves Her Cash.”

I missed this at the time, but in October, Taft shifted 51,000 presumably Republican postmasters he had appointed under the spoils system to the civil service, so that Wilson can’t replace them.

The NYT seems to have neglected to run an actual story on this, although it’s mentioned in passing in a couple of places, but Albania has declared independence.

Winston Churchill says that a general European war with Russia and Austria fighting over the Balkans would plunge Europe into the desolation of the Middle Ages. “The only epitaph history could write upon such a catastrophe would be this, that a whole generation of men went mad and tore themselves to pieces.”

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today -100: November 29, 1912: Of lynchings and dead letters

Three negroes who wounded a deputy are lynched in Vanceville, Louisiana.

British suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union have escalated their militant tactics: they are now destroying people’s mail by pouring acid and other liquids into mailboxes. The WSPU (which I should point out isn’t the largest suffrage organization, though it does get the most press) has moved from trying to convince the British public and politicians to trying to coerce them. Christabel Pankhurst explains that if a poor charwoman loses a postal order, she may be thankful if at such a price she takes a step nearer to enfranchisement.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today -100: November 28, 1912: Of pardons, mobilization, aerial warfare, and mince pies

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease pardons 16 convicted murderers and 17 other prisoners. One of the pardons, that of murderer William Mills, was a campaign promise. Here’s how it happened: in a stump speech, Blease promised to pardon anyone the people wanted liberated (a “welease Bwian” sort of thing); there were calls from the crowd for Mills (who had killed his wife’s lover) to be freed. Blease said fine, he’d do it if they voted out the current D.A. Which they did.

French army reservists are called up in nine towns on the German frontier in the dead of night pursuant to a general mobilization order that, it turned out, didn’t actually exist. Starting at midnight, troops took up positions protecting the post office, bridges, railway lines, etc. Church bells were rung, town criers went round town with drums (because this was evidently the 17th century). The officer who misread the order is now under arrest.

A Bulgarian aeroplane drops incendiary bombs on Adrianople.

In another sign of the ongoing non-viability of Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, none of the Republican members of Congress changed their designation to Progressive in the new Congressional directory.

Headline of the Day -100: “Taft Awaits His Mince Pie.”

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The last Daily Telegraphy?

I can get around the Telegraph’s new paywall, but a paywalled newspaper is one that has withdrawn from the public discourse and does not wish its articles discussed, so we won’t be doing any more of these Daily Telegraphy roundups.

British nudists, pardon... naturists... are complaining about a BBC documentary series, History of the World, depicting people in ancient times who would have been naked, pardon... naturist... as wearing animal skins and the like, which they didn’t. British Naturism says the Beeb is “sacrificing its reputation for commercial reasons.” Yes, it’s not showing nudity for commercial reasons. The nakedists are entirely right about the distortion of history, of course, but they’re still silly.

Police Constable Kevin Hughes of the Met says that when he remarked to another PC about three black men, “Look at them, they look like fucking monkeys,” he was merely engaging in a discussion of the theory of evolution and was referring to the gait of the man, not his skin color. He denies having said that black people are closely related to chimpanzees and Neanderthals, because he does not even know what Neanderthal means, which I really really believe. Hughes and another plod are in court on a charge of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour to cause another person harassment, alarm, or distress.

Finally, there’s a story about two ice cream van drivers, Zeheer Ramzan and Mohammed Mulla... no wait, that’s not funny. Mr. Yummy attacked Mr. Whippy’s van with a tire iron (or “tyre iron” – aren’t the English adorable?), to the tune of Greensleeves.

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Today -100: November 27, 1912: Of $25,000,000

Possibly Sarcastic Headline of the Day -100: “Carnegie Gives Up All But $25,000,000.”

Theodore Roosevelt says no one’s interested in Carnegie’s proposal to give pensions to ex-presidents (which is really intended to embarrass the nation into doing so) but are interested in pensions for the “small man” and widows (of any size, one assumes). Or to put it another way, Carnegie is only offering it to presidents from Taft onwards.

Eleven sailors of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are executed for inciting mutiny.

A lab assistant at Stanford University, Frederick Migge, claimed to be a professor to sell his baldness cure in advertisements. Stanford has now fired him.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Today -100: November 26, 1912: Of Balkan wars

The Great Powers are trying not to let the Balkan War turn into a, to coin a phrase, world war as a result of the smaller powers fighting the war making territorial claims that impinge on what the larger powers consider to be their interests. Austria in particular has been getting quite bellicose towards Serbia, but Germany seems to be trying to restrain it. Messages and meetings are going back and forth between German, Austrian and Russian kaisers and tsars. Russia, which is more or less allied with its fellow Eastern Orthodox Slavs in Serbia, denies reports that it is mobilizing its troops against Austria. Austria and Italy want a new autonomous state of Albania, but Serbia’s insistence on access to the Adriatic would carve that state in two.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today -100: November 25, 1912: Of suffrage and anti-war meetings

At the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association convention, W. E. B. Dubois says that he’s not asking the suffragists not to fight for negro suffrage per se, but to fight for all women, including black ones.

Socialist anti-war meetings in Budapest result in 14 dead. Killed by police.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Today -100: November 24, 1912: Of triangular smiles, race suicide, misuse of the mails, and Piltdown men

Fashionable women in London are cultivating something called the “triangular smile,” which only sounds incredibly filthy. Something about lifting the center part of the top lip to show the teeth. It’s supposed to suggest innocence and simplicity, although it actually sounds rather alarming. Some women have taken to wearing a band under their nostrils, fastened to the top of the head, while they sleep to pull up the nose and upper lip.

Headline of the Day -100: “Race Suicide Alarms France.” For a couple of years in the last decade, deaths exceeded births.

Eugene Debs is indicted, along with other Socialists, for obstruction of justice, for allegedly paying a witness to disappear rather than testify in a case of “misuse of the mails in posting obscene matter concerning the Federal prison in Leavenworth.”

This is funny: two stories appearing one above the other in the NYT index today: 1) Darwin’s assistant W. B. Tegetmeier has died at 96, 2) “Pleistocene Skull Found in England.” A major find in evolutionary... oh okay, it’s actually Piltdown Man, a hoax.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Today -100: November 23, 1912: A definite just-before-World-War-I vibe developing

Russia is backing Serbia’s territorial claims, so Austria has been mobilizing its troops in response, and now the German military is holding back railway cars in case they’re needed to transport troops.

Meanwhile, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria (formerly known as Prince Long Nose) has ordered a top mosaic-maker in Venice to make a mosaic portraying him and his wife as the Emperor and Empress of the Balkans, along the lines of a famous mosaic portraying the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora.

Taft won’t take the Carnegie Foundation pension for ex-presidents.

The coal strike in the Kanawha region of West Virginia ends with a massive victory for the miners – 21% pay increase, 9-hour day, union recognition – even though the governor declared martial law and sent in the national guard to protect strikebreakers.

Wait, there’s a town in West Virginia named “High Coal”?

Britain, like France a few months ago, but unlike the US, refuses to confront Russia on its discrimination against Jewish holders of British passports. Foreign Sec. Sir Edward Grey says that doing so might lead to the commerce treaty between the two countries being abrogated, and we can’t have that.

John Schrank, the guy who shot Theodore Roosevelt last month, is pronounced insane.

Woodrow Wilson threatens to “thrash” a photographer who took pictures of his daughters.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today -100: November 22, 1912: Of armistices and ex-presidents

Turkey rejects the armistice conditions and fails to make counter-proposals. It’s like they don’t understand diplomacy or something, everyone says. War resumes, I guess.

Andrew Carnegie says that since the US doesn’t give pensions to its former presidents and their widows, he will. $25,000 a year, 1/3 of the presidential salary. But not for Roosevelt.

Presidents didn’t get pensions until 1958.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today -100: November 21, 1912: Of airships and insane musicians

Count von Zeppelin denies that it was one of his airships seen over England last month.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Musician Becomes Insane. Santa Ana Man Loses Mind While Playing Organ at a Masonic Temple Dedication.”

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today -100: November 20, 1912: But the men must be bored

Woodrow Wilson, on vacation in Bermuda, says he’s actually beginning to forget politics. Don’t worry, Tom, politics hasn’t forgotten you.

Peace talks begin in the First Balkan War. However, the allies’ terms call for Turkey to surrender places the allies didn’t succeed in capturing, including Adrianople and Scutari, so we’ll see. Cholera has everyone worried, though the NYT claims that “Mussulman fatalism makes a cholera epidemic a less important factor” to the Ottomans than to the Bulgarians.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Peace News Hurts Wheat.”

The annual luncheon of the NY anti-women’s suffrage society came to grips with the problem of how to assert themselves politically to argue against asserting themselves politically. Said the president, Mrs. William Putnam, “It is high time there should be no silent women, though that sounds bad for an anti-suffragist.” “Let every man you meet know that you are an anti-suffragist. Never sit at dinner beside a man without letting him know that you are an anti-suffragist. ... I have been afraid of boring people, but the men must be bored. Tell every carpenter and every man who works for you.” Mrs. Martha McCullouch Williams said, “It is a woman’s duty to be delightful, ornamental, and useful, and she could not be more so with the vote. If she had it she would not know what to do with it. Where the ballot is placed in the hands of those unfit to use it there follows ruin, rapine, and terror. ... Woman is no more fit for the ballot than to be a trapeze performer or bareback rider.”

Noted in the LAT: they referred to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day even back then.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Name that penis! Another competition I may very well regret

For once – and only this once – Charles Pierce has let us down, referring to Col. Combover’s wang with less than his usual creativity as “little Petraeus.” Surely we can do better than that. So when he combs over his pubic hair and affixes the tiny row of medals beneath his cock in preparation for a night on the town, what does he call it?

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Today -100: November 19, 1912: Of Albanias, bathtub trusts, and baronesses

While the Great Powers want a new Albania established out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire, the Balkan League nations want to partition it amongst themselves.

Turkish troops finally do something right, stopping a Bulgarian attack at Tchatalja. This will save Adrianople and Constantinople from occupation.

The Supreme Court affirms that the Bathtub Trust was an illegal combination and should be dissolved. The ruling goes beyond bathtubs, saying that holders of patents can’t set a fixed price for retailers of that product.

Retired opera singer Minnie Hauk dies. She was the first to sing the title role of Carmen in the US, but retired when she married a German baron. This just goes to show that in this world you can be born a Minnie Hauk and die a Baroness von Hesse-Wartegg.

Correction: Her Wikipedia entry says she actually died in 1929.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

That’s preferable

Obama is in Thailand. He and PM Yingluck Shinawatra held a press conference.

A reporter asked if Thai “democracy” was “satisfying,” given the human rights abuses and people being imprisoned for very long prison terms for criticizing the king, etc. Obama answered that “democracy is not something that is static; it’s something that we constantly have to work on” and cited America’s shaky history. This is something he’s said before. Someone needs to follow up and ask some questions about American history, such as: when blacks weren’t allowed to vote in Mississippi, was Mississippi a democracy? If he’s going to keep using the word democracy for countries that aren’t very democratic, (later, on whether his trip to Burma is premature: “if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we’d be waiting an awful long time”) I’d like to know what his definition of it is.

He was asked about Gaza. He insisted that the “precipitating event” was “an ever-escalating number of missiles,” because we all know that that’s how history started. Adam and Eve and the ever-escalating number of missiles.

He said that “there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Wow. Just.... wow.

“So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.” He did not say how Israel’s shooting missiles at journalists (for example) or “send[ing] Gaza back to the Middle Ages” constitutes defending itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.

He said that if the missiles can be stopped without a full-scale invasion of Gaza, “that’s preferable; that’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis -- because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.” A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Explains Shit To You.

“But what I’ve said to President Morsi and Prime Minister Erdogan is that those who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future.” Um, a follow-up, Mr President: what was the “likelihood” of that before this?

He’s stopped even tacking on a suggestion that Israel avoid slaughtering civilians while exercising its “right to defend itself.”

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Today -100: November 18, 1912: Of attempted coups, UFOs, and what a great majority of men object to

An alleged plot by the Young Turks for a quick revolution to establish a republic has been thwarted.

For a month now, rumors have been going around about a mysterious object seen in the sky over England. Now it seems to be confirmed that it was a German airship, flown by Count Zeppelin himself, possibly blown off course, possibly testing out its capabilities in the laughably unlikely event of a war between Germany and Great Britain.

It’s a light news day -100, so let’s give some excerpts from a letter to the NYT by Everett Pepperrell Wheeler, a prominent lawyer, author, and failed candidate for NY governor in 1894, on the subject of last week’s women’s suffrage parade. I quote at length not because it’s exceptional but because it isn’t. It’s a rather typical anti-suffrage screed, nicely illustrative of the assumptions and arguments of many men and quite a few women:
And so 20,000 women paraded down Fifth Avenue to the sound of the trumpet and in the glare of the electric lights. Did their leaders really think that any sensible man likes to have his wife, or his mother, or his daughter thus parade the streets? It seems to me that this parade is one of the strongest arguments against universal suffrage for women that has yet been presented. It shows such a failure to adopt means reasonable to a desired end that it destroys the confidence any of us may have had in the good sense and sound judgment of the leaders of this movement.
Some of the women who have thus exhibited themselves to a curious public seem to believe that their rights are denied under our present laws. ... If it is better legislation that these zealous women desire, we can tell them that any woman who studies any subject and masters it can always have a respectful hearing from legislative bodies. ... What a great majority of men object to is the extension of the suffrage to nearly 2,000,000 women, citizens of voting age in the State of New York, whose time and strength are fully occupied by their present duties. These duties are most important. No man can perform them. These wives and mothers bear children, bring them up, train them.
He goes on to explain that good laws are useless without such training. I mean, look at the Ten Commandments: they’ve had a lot of publicity over the years, but they’re broken all the time.
It is to the mothers and sisters that we look primarily for that teaching and training in sound principles which will keep the man from committing these crimes, and to do this requires the undivided attention and thought and interest of the great majority of women.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Today -100: November 17, 1912: Of troop movements, insured tsarevitches, and incensed frogs

Another Balkan state is heard from: Romania moves troops to its border with Bulgaria. Trying to ensure Bulgaria doesn’t grab too much territory.

And West Virginia Gov. William Glasscock moves troops into the coal fields of Kanawha to impose martial law and protect scabs.

The LAT reports that Tsarevitch Alexei of Russia has relapsed. And says his life is insured for $5,000,000. Which seems rather unlikely.

Diplomatic Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “France Incensed at Russia.” For not supporting all of Serbia’s claims to new territory. Although the French actually seem more pissed at Germany, as was the custom. In Paris thousands march shouting “On to Berlin!” as they did in 1870 (as you’ll no doubt recall from the last words of Zola’s novel Nana), and that didn’t end particularly well (the Franco-Prussian War and the novel). “The French army is said to be in a perfect state of preparedness.” Preparedness for what, the LAT does not say.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Risk causing civilian casualties

The Congressional resolutions (passed unanimously today) supporting Israel’s “inherent right of self-defense” in dropping bombs on Gaza didn’t suggest any limits on that right of self-defense: even Obama suggested that Israel might try to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties, Congress did not.

Indeed, the sole mention of the fact that Palestinians are dying is this: “the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza”. Israel not only doesn’t get blame for the death of children and others, it doesn’t even get agency: Hamas is “causing civilian casualties” with Israeli bombs.

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Today -100: November 16, 1912: Of nobels, tariffs, and cholera

Gerhart Hauptmann wins the Nobel Prize for literature. Can’t say I’ve heard of him.

Wilson announces that he will call a special session of Congress in the spring to revise tariffs, although he denies supporting free trade, which he says is not advocated by any thinking Democrat.

More bad news for Turkey: a cholera outbreak among their troops. But some rare good news for Turkey: the cholera outbreak will make the Bulgarians afraid to occupy Constantinople.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama & Netanyahu shoot the shit, Palestinian children

The White House puts out a statement on today’s call by Obama to Netanyahu.

Evidently he “reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.” I’m not sure what “self-defense” has to do with what Israel is actually doing.

“The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.” Well, every effort except not firing missiles into crowded cities.

“The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate.” Because people totally have conversations that sound like this.

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Today -100: November 15, 1912: Of armistices, parliamentary decorum, and lynchings

Or maybe there isn’t an armistice in the Balkan War.

A couple of days ago, there was a huge disturbance in the House of Commons over the Home Rule Bill, forcing the House to be adjourned. Someone threw a book at Winston Churchill’s head (hit it, too). In a Tory rally in Albert Hall, Tory party leader Andrew Bonar Law says he didn’t regret the disturbance and did nothing to stop it.

(Usage note: I’m using the informal “Tory” to avoid confusion. During this period, the Irish issue was so central that the Conservative Party called itself the Unionist Party, or sometimes the Conservative and Unionist Party).

A black man is lynched near Ocala, Florida. He was seized from the jail, taken two miles out of town and told to run, whereupon the mob shot him a few hundred times.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama press conference: I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem

8 months since the last presser, and he really didn’t have much to say.

On Petraeus: “By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with with his family and with his wife. And it’s on that basis that he tendered his resignation, and it’s on that basis that I accepted it.” Obama is here avoiding saying whether he would have asked for Col. Combover’s resignation. As for those “standards,” and other discussion of Col. C “failing to live up to his own Code,” since the affair took place some time ago and he only resigned when it came out, the Petraeus Code is clearly Don’t Get Caught.

He calls the latest Syrian umbrella group “a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people.” Nice that someone found the legitimacy that Assad lost – it’s always in the last place you look.

But we won’t be recognizing them as government-in-exile or arming them (at least not openly): “And you know, one of the things that we have to be on guard about, particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures, is that we’re not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do Americans harm or do Israelis harm”. Did you notice what group he conspicuously omitted from that list? Syrians. If intra-Syrian ethnic/sectarian/factional violence is a factor in his decisionmaking process, it seems to have slipped his mind here.

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Today -100: November 14, 1912: Of armistices and revolvers

Armistice in the Balkan War.

Disappointing Sports Headline of the Day -100: “Revolver Shooting Winners.”

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daily Telegraphy: Ostrich anus edition

There may be a metaphor in here somewhere: “Nadine Dorries entered the jungle promising to bring serious political debate to the masses. Instead, the MP found herself eating lamb’s testicle and ostrich anus on primetime television.”

Also, a retired Anglican bishop is arrested for sexually abusing minors. His name is the Rev. Peter Ball, because of course it is.

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Today -100: November 13, 1912: This wretch has killed me

Spanish Prime Minister José Canalejas is assassinated by an anarchist, as was the custom. Last words: “This wretch has killed me.”


George Lansbury, Labour MP (and grandfather of Angela Lansbury), resigns from Parliament in order to stand again in the resulting by-election on the sole issue of women’s suffrage. Since the NYT won’t be following this at all as it develops, I’ll do the whole story in one go. The Labour Party had decided to continue backing the Asquith government, even if the women’s suffrage amendment to the Manhood Suffrage Bill failed (as Asquith intends). Lansbury thought his re-election would leave him free to follow his conscience. But his timing was bad, he didn’t prepare his electorate (the working-class Bow & Bromley section of London) so his resignation just looked mercurial, the Labour Party disowned him, and his sole opponent, Reginald Blair (Tory), didn’t cooperate in making it the straight fight on the suffrage issue Lansbury wanted. Though Blair did use the slogan “No Petticoat Government!”, he mostly fought on other issues. Still, when Lansbury lost, the London Times claimed that on the one occasion the suffrage issue was actually squarely before the (male) voters, it lost. Lansbury continued to fight for women’s suffrage, spending some time in prison in 1913, where he hunger struck and was forcibly fed, and didn’t get back into Parliament until 1922. In 1931 he became leader of a rump Labour Party (the members who didn’t join Ramsay MacDonald (boo hiss)’s coalition National Government).

A large strike in St Petersburg to protest the death sentences imposed on 17 sailors of the Black Fleet for mutiny.

To celebrate the recovery of Tsarevitch Alexei, the Tsar pardons an army private who was sentenced to life imprisonment for stepping out of line to hand the tsar a petition (about what, we do not know).

Austria and Italy are mobilizing their navies and armies, to prevent Serbian troops entering Albania.

Headline of the Day -100: “‘Magic Flute’ to Be Revived.” Sounds like the subject line of a spam email.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Daily Telegraphy: Boiled eggs and maggots

More news from the world’s leading newspaper.

“The Prince of Wales Does Not Have Seven Eggs for Breakfast, Insists Palace.” The story, which the Royal Family strenuously denies, is that he has seven eggs boiled and labeled according to cooking length, then chooses one of them to eat.

Nadine “Mad Nad” Dorries, a Tory MP since 2005, hitherto mostly known for proposing various forms of anti-abortion legislation, has taken some criticism (and been suspended from the Conservative Party) for taking several weeks off from her job of legislatin’ to appear on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Everyone in the country, including her colleagues, phoned in to vote for her to be buried in a coffin with cockroaches and maggots. It did not go well.

(Update: more British news. In addition to the guy arrested by the Kent police for “malicious telecommunications” for posting a picture of a poppy being set on fire, “In Bristol, a man who skateboarded alongside a Remembrance Sunday parade wearing a pink outfit and horned mask has been charged under the Public Order Act”.)

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Today -100: November 12, 1912: Where the nuts come from

Woodrow Wilson is considering calling a special session of Congress to revamp the tariff system. Otherwise, it will be over a year until Congress meets again.

Ohio discovers that four prisoners that were transferred from the state prison to the state hospital decades ago after being found insane were just left there, although their terms were up as long as 33 years ago. Normally it takes computers to fuck things up that badly.

California’s votes are still being counted and the presidential race has been going back and forth (Spoiler alert: Roosevelt will win, 283,610 to Wilson’s 283,436, with Eugene Debs coming 3rd with 79,201, 11.7% of the vote). The Democrats are trying to have all the votes from LA County thrown out, on the grounds that someone opened the envelope containing the precinct tally books and ballots.

English Actor W. S. Penley, originator of the title role in “Charley’s Aunt,” dies.

Filthy Headline of the Day -100, If You Read It Too Quickly (NYT): “Kaiser Felicitates Greeks.”

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today -100: November 11, 1912: Of balloonist spies and peculiar donkeys

The Great Powers are telling Bulgaria that its army will absolutely not be permitted to occupy Constantinople (just temporarily, until peace negotiations are completed, the Bulgars/Bulgarians are saying, getting rather ahead of themselves).

Headline of the Day -100 (NYT front page): “Balloonist Held as Spy.” An American blown off course wound up in Russia. He was held five days.

Headline of the Day -100 That I Didn’t Feel It Necessary to Click On (LAT): “Chinese Donkeys Are Peculiar.”

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today -100: November 10, 1912: Of independence, judicial recall, parades, and hemophiliacs

President Taft intends to work for the rest of his term (which ends next March) and afterwards fighting against independence for the Philippines (which the Democrat platform called for). Not exactly Jimmy Carter, is what I’m saying. He’s especially worried that an independent Philippines would confiscate land owned by missionaries.

Taft, you may recall, vetoed statehood for Arizona until the provision for popular recall of judges was removed from the constitution. But in this week’s election, Arizonans voted to put it back in.

A suffrage parade marches down Fifth Avenue in New York City at night, with orange lanterns, in celebration of the four new suffrage states (actually three: everyone still thinks women’s suffrage passed in Michigan).

LAT cartoon, 11/19/12:

The Russian monarchy admits that Tsarevitch Alexei is a hemophiliac.

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Today -100: November 9, 1912: You have no right to come here and talk about chrysanthemums

Greek troops capture Salonika, which surrenders without a fight.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Bulgars Merely Laugh At Turks’ Holy War.” The sheikh-Ul-Islam declares a jihad (a word which the LAT, which spells it Jehad, expected its readers to understand without having it defined for them). The head of the Islamic faith in Turkey, the sheikh says that the Christians called it a holy war first. Which is true.

In the Balkan War, French-manufactured artillery has been working better than German.

The US sends two warships to the region, just in case the Turks get any crazy ideas about massacring American missionaries.

Austria is trying to impose conditions on Serbia carving new territory for itself from the Ottoman Empire, including permanent friendly relations and a customs union, which Serbia considers as intended to make it a vassal state, which, yes, was the idea.

Austria, Italy and Germany are agreed on the creation of an independent Albanian state, which would wreck Serbia’s plans to acquire Adriatic ports. They don’t want any of the victorious Balkan states getting too big. The term for this strategy is, of course, balkanization.

A rare North Dakota lynching, a man (presumably white, since otherwise the NYT & LAT would have said) who murdered his wife and father-in-law. “The shooting is said to have been the result of family trouble.”

British suffragettes disrupt a speech being given by President of the Local Government Board John Burns at a chrysanthemum show in Battersea, one saying, “Mr. Burns, you have no right to come here and talk about chrysanthemums.”

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Today -100: November 8, 1912: Of waddling mates, hangings, ports, and rugs

Thanks to the addition of a Bull Mooser to his congressional race, Nicholas Longworth, Roosevelt’s son-in-law, loses his seat to a Democrat. That’ll be one awkward Thanksgiving.

Now that the election’s over, the burning question is: who will be Taft’s running mate (and I can’t believe I haven’t thought of using the term “waddling mate” until right this second)? Vice President Sherman died, but there needs to be a Republican candidate for veep to receive those 8 electoral votes. The front-runner for the thankless job is Gov. Hadley of Missouri.

Oregon will celebrate the election with a mass execution of 5 or 7 men on December 13 (since the voters turned down the governor’s proposal to end capital punishment).

Serbia says it wants three of the Ottoman Empire’s Adriatic ports when the Empire’s European territory is divvied up, and doesn’t care what happens with Constantinople.

But how, the average New York Times reader is no doubt asking themself, does all this affect the price of Turkish rugs? Not much so far, the paper reassures those average readers, especially since the war is confined to the European provinces.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

California props

I’ve update my recommendations post with the results and a few comments.

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Today -100: November 7, 1912: The time has come now to do a lot of thinking

Woodrow Wilson won’t be giving out any statements. “The time has come now to do a lot of thinking.” He will take a long vacation in Bermuda but will not yet resign as governor of New Jersey (this election gave the D’s a majority in the State Senate that will be sworn in January; before then, his replacement would be a Republican).

Taft says he will go home to Cincinnati and resume his legal practice. He says Wilson will face a Congress filled with new, untried men who have come to believe in “histrionic publicity.”

Women’s suffrage was on the ballot in 5 states, succeeding in Kansas (NYT headline: “Kansas Women Win; Men Apathetic”), Arizona and Oregon, but failing in Michigan (narrowly), and in Wisconsin, where “the Teutonic and Scandinavian sections” of the male electorate were strongly opposed. That’s 9 suffrage states total.

West Virginia votes itself dry; Colorado refuses to do so, but does pass a measure to build a railroad tunnel through the Rocky Mountains.

Oregon rejects a referendum to abolish hanging.

William Sulzer, the surprise nominee of the NY Democratic convention for governor just one month ago, wins.

I predict a long and successful career as governor for Mr. Sulzer.

The Bronx secedes from NY, forming its own county. NYT: “The Bronx has been bunkoed.”

Bulgaria’s secret weapon in the Balkan War: searchlights, which allow them to attack at night.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012


elects the first ever United States senator named Tammy.

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In other election news

The British bookmaker Ladbrokes has suspended betting on the outcome of the race to be next archbishop of Canterbury because a sudden run of bets suggests that the decision has already been made and insiders are trying to cash on. The Church of England, ladies and gentlemen!

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Today -100: November 6, 1912: As Vermont goes, so goes Utah

Woodrow Wilson wins 41% of the vote nationally, Roosevelt 27%, Taft 23%, and Socialist Eugene Debs 6% (almost a million votes). Wilson won 40 states, TR 6, Taft won Utah & Vermont (and Vermont just barely).

Debs got more votes than Taft in Arizona, California (where Taft wasn’t on the ballot and fewer than 4,000 people wrote in his name), Florida, Louisiana, and Nevada.

Wilson won with far fewer votes than William Jennings Bryan got in 1908. But he will have the largest electoral college victory (435 to TR’s 88 and Taft’s 8) since Grant beat a dead guy 40 years ago.

In Congress, the Democrats take 291 seats, up from 230, the Progressives (who ran, er, I’m not sure how many candidates, but they managed to run full congressional slates in only 14 states) get 9, Republicans 134. And D’s have taken enough state legislatures (even traditionally Republican New Hampshire and Massachusetts) that they will also now have a majority in the Senate.

The powerful Republican House Speaker until two years ago, Uncle Joe Cannon, loses his seat (Illinois).

Victor Berger, the only Socialist member of the US Congress, loses his seat (Wisconsin).

The income tax amendment to the US Constitution has been ratified by 34 states, needing just 2 more. Evidently Louisiana and Ohio ratified a while back but failed to tell anyone and no one noticed. 4 state legislatures have rejected the amendment: New Hampshire, Utah, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The British Parliament votes down an amendment for women’s suffrage in the Irish Home Rule Bill. Many shop windows are broken in protest. Proportional representation is also rejected.

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Monday, November 05, 2012


Paul Ryan tweeted this picture:

Caption contest.

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Today -100: November 5, 1912: Of platforms, emperors, protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, corsets, and triplets

Roosevelt gets up on a platform to give a speech in Mineola, NY; the platform collapses. TR is unhurt, though a water pitcher spills on him. TR, now speaking from an inclined plane, says “I assure you that the Progressive platform won’t break down.”

Because he was laid up after the assassination attempt, Roosevelt never got to register to vote. Gov. Hiram Johnson, his running mate, was too busy campaigning outside of California to register either.

Reports say that when Turkey is defeated, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria intends to name himself Emperor of the Balkans.

New Hampshire’s tenth Constitutional Convention rejects striking out the words “Protestant” & “rightly grounded on evangelical principles” from the provision authorizing towns, parishes, religious societies and bodies corporate, to hire “public protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality.” After a bunch of attempts before and after 1912, the words were finally removed in 1968.

This is not the first one of these I’ve reported recently: Joseph Hennella, a professional female impersonator, dies after collapsing onstage. Cause of death: a too tightly laced corset.

Headline of the Day -100 (NYT): “Baltimore is Disabled.” A ship, not the city, whatever you may have seen on “The Wire.”

A couple in Denison, Texas have triplets, who they name William Howard Taft Kyler, Theodore Roosevelt Kyler and Woodrow Wilson Kyler.

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Bill Clinton is always looking for people who can “do the job”

Bill Clinton says the military is now “less racist, less sexist and less homophobic, and we’re just looking for people who can do the job.”

Good, because we’d hate to have the job of killing foreigners sullied by racism, sexism and homophobia.

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Today -100: November 4, 1912: Of boss-ridden and privilege-controlled parties, mosques, the glory of war, and underwear trades

In one of his last pre-election speeches, Roosevelt says the Democratic and Republican parties are “boss-ridden and privilege-controlled” and “wedded to the dead issues of a vanished past, and they show not the slightest conception of the needs of the day or the steps now urgently necessary to take if grave disaster to the Nation in the future is to be avoided.” How times have changed, eh?

Roosevelt urges people to read the Progressive Party platform. President Taft says that that platform “attack[s] the existing Constitution of the country”.

And Woodrow Wilson hits his head when his car hits a bump in the road.

The Turks continue to lose battles and land as well as officers, who are being executed for losing battles and land.

The Germans, who trained the Turkish army, are looking sheepish.

The NYT suggests that the main goal of the Bulgarians is to turn the Church of St. Sophia from a mosque back to a Christian church (a millennium ago some Bulgarians were really impressed by the church and converted from paganism on the spot, or something)(and when Constantinople fell, the walls swallowed up a janissary who was threatening a priest, and a Voice said that a regenerated nation – which obviously means Bulgaria – would once again control the Church)(today it’s a museum).

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Glory of War for Filipinos. West Point Opens Gates to Orientals.”

Fashion Headline of the Day -100: “Underwear Trade Active.”

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Today -100: November 3, 1912: Of a spirit of the courtesy and real democracy that you don’t often see in political meetings

Note: the NYT Index went down while I was doing the reading for this post and didn’t come back up for a couple of weeks (it’s still not fucking working right). I switched to ProQuest during that period, so there will be no links for the next 10 posts.

Theodore Roosevelt says that the presence of women in the election campaign has made a great difference. For example, at his speech in Madison Square Garden, there was no rowdyism or hooliganism, “and there seemed to be a spirit of the courtesy and real democracy that you don’t often see in political meetings.”

The pope refuses to endorse any of the US presidential candidates.

Russia expels the artist Leon Bakst (do you know his work? he made some interesting paintings) from St Petersburg, because he’s a Jew.

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Friday, November 02, 2012

Today -100: November 2, 1912: Respect our authoritah!

The Bulgarian army is now within 25 miles of Constantinople.

The Italian Supreme Court refuses to allow the country’s only female lawyer to practice. Although she’s actually already won one court case.

Woodrow Wilson cancels the big Wilson parade scheduled for New York, out of respect for VP Sherman’s funeral.

Headline of the Day -100: “President Warns Against Free Sugar.” (That is, he opposes ending the tariff on imported sugar, which protects the domestic beet sugar industry.)

Foreign News Headline of the Day -100: “San Domingo Rebels Defy Our Authority.” If you’re wondering “And what ‘authority’ might that be?”, you must be some sort of Dominican rebel.

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Today -100: November 1, 1912: The people are now looking forward to Bulgaria becoming a great power in the Balkans

Gone and already forgotten, the late Vice President Sherman doesn’t even rate a mention on today’s front page of the NYT, although “One Auto Rams Another” does.

The Bulgarian Army routs the Turks. Back home, “The people are now looking forward to Bulgaria becoming a great power in the Balkans, as Turkey formerly was.” Good luck with that.

A Russian aviator who volunteered for the Bulgarian air force (if there is such a thing), is shot down by the Turks, the first aviator ever killed by the enemy in a war.

Cuban elections. Both major parties are advising their voters to go to the polls armed.

Kaiser Wilhelm inspects a new synagogue in Berlin.

Woodrow Wilson speaks at Madison Square Garden, to even longer applause (63 minutes) than Theodore Roosevelt got the day before, and without benefit of bullet either. I’m sure it’s a lovely speech, but it’s a long speech, and I have no intention of reading it.

(Update: scandal scandal scandal! It seems that there were “cheer leaders” to keep the cheering going, with staggered rest breaks.)

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