Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today -100: March 20, 1914: Of women and negro suffrage, divided armies, half-baked anarchists, and vulcanists (the most pacifist and logical of races)

The Senate votes 35-34 in favor of a women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution, well short of the necessary 2/3. Most of the debate is about race rather than sex. An amendment to the resolution offered by arch-racist James K. Vardaman (D-Miss.) to repeal the 15th Amendment loses 19-48. An amendment to restrict women’s suffrage to white women, offered by Mississippi’s other, slightly less racist (but still racist as fuck) senator, John Sharp Williams (who seems to have used the N–word rather a lot and who goes off on some weird tangent about how he’d give negroes a little leeway, for example by not sending them to prison like he would a white man for stealing chickens or for bigamy), fails 21-44. The 35 senators who voted for women’s suffrage included 14 D’s & 21 R’s; the 34 who voted against were 22 D’s and 12 R’s. Only three Southern senators voted in favor. The only senator willing to directly come out against women’s suffrage was James Martine (D-NJ), who wonders if pro-suffrage senators found objection to Jesus not having chosen six female apostles.

The White House claims that First Lady Ellen Wilson’s recent indisposition is the result of an accident – she tripped on a rug and had a minor injury, they lie. And a “slight operation” because she had a... bruise. (Update: “lie” may be too strong: she was keeping her condition secret even from Woodrow).

The NYT says there are 150,000 Ulsterites drilling in preparation for civil war. There are rumors that warrants have been signed for the arrest of Ulster Unionist leaders. The British government denies it, but Sir Edward Carson, the Marquis of Londonberry and others are making their way to Belfast, where presumably there will be a fight if arrests are attempted. In Parliament, Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law demands a referendum of the entire UK on Home Rule, including the provision for referenda in Northern Irish counties. He says if Asquith refuses his generous offer, it must be because the government wants to settle this by bullets (a bit rich from the man encouraging Ulsterites to import arms). He threatens that if there is a civil war, “The army will be divided, and that force be destroyed on which we depend for our national safety.”

The IWW invade and disrupt a meeting in Cooper Union called by socialists to discuss the unemployment problem. One of the socialist speakers calls them “half-baked anarchists” and asks why they came to “break up a respectable meeting.”

British aviators are charging passengers $250 for flights (or 15s a mile), including loop-the-loops. Evidently, women are particularly keen on the loops. Other passengers include Prince Paul of Serbia and some guy who brought along two little black pigs because why not. And yet another British military airman dies in a plane crash, the 36th.

Ironic Death of the Day -100: Prof. Giuseppe Mercalli, vulcanist, seismologist, and Director of the Vesuvian Observatory, burned to death by an overturned paraffin lamp. (Update: Wikipedia says he was actually murdered and his body burned to cover up a robbery.)

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