Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today -100: October 10, 1913: Of opium, bullfights, roads, plague rats, hunger-strikers, impeachments and blood libels


Britain plans to establish an opium monopoly in Hong Kong, to facilitate ending the trade, supposedly.

French President Raymond Poincaré is visiting Spain. They scheduled a bullfight in his honor, but he said fuck no, he likes animals.

Nebraska has two of those everyone-work-on-the-roads-for-free days.

Headline of the Day -100: “Plague Rat Dooms a Building.” A rat with bubonic plague is caught in the Old Seattle Hotel, which is ordered demolished.

British Home Secretary Reginald McKenna orders the resumption of forcible feeding of imprisoned suffragettes. The Cat & Mouse Act was supposed to end that by releasing hunger-strikers for a bit to recover and then putting them back in prison (the last part the government has been doing at its discretion, because it would rather intimidate suffragettes into “behaving” than make martyrs out of them), but McKenna has decided that those convicted of arson should not be released.

The former judge acting as NY Gov. Sulzer’s attorney in his impeachment trial tells the High Court of Impeachment (which consists of the state senate plus high court judges) to shit or get off the can on the issue of whether a public servant can be impeached for acts that took place before he held office: “If that can be done in the present instance, then this court could convict the governor of the state and remove him from office because he stole cherries when a boy or spat on the sidewalk when a man.” He also argues that the law requiring the reporting of campaign expenses applies only to money expended, not donations received, and anyway no affidavit or oath is required, so no perjury was committed.

Speaking for the prosecution, Alton Parker, former chief judge of the NY Supreme Court and the 1904 Democratic candidate for president, says that Sulzer can indeed be impeached for the cherry thing, although I can’t say he makes much of a case for it. He also says of Sulzer blaming the incomplete campaign donation statements on a subordinate, “if Sarecky’s morals were bad and his business methods questionable, we must remember that he got all his moral and business training as an attaché of Mr. Sulzer’s office.” Wow, that is some crappy lawyering, Judge Parker. The prosecution is also doing a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose thing with Sulzer’s (laughable) claim that the donations he didn’t report were personal rather than campaign contributions: the prosecution case is that if that’s true, Sulzer is guilty of larceny because the donors would have assumed their money was going to the campaign.

700 Hungarian rabbis sign a declaration that Jews don’t use blood for religious purposes and send it (the declaration, not blood) to the court in Kiev currently trying Mendel Beilis.

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