Monday, June 30, 2014

Today -100: June 30, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand is still dead


The NYT thinks that Austrian reactions to the assassinations yesterday “are likely further to embitter the relations” between Austria and Serbia, and with Serbia’s protector Russia.

The Bosnian (still a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) Diet convenes to express sorrow at the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Four Serb deputies show up not wearing dark suits (not sure if that includes the president of the Serbian group, who is arrested for inciting the people to sedition).

Someone throws a bomb in Sarajevo, injuring one person slightly, but it sets off an anti-Serb demonstration. Serb homes and businesses are damaged and looted by Croats and Muslims who presumably didn’t really care so much about the archduke and more about fucking with the Serbs. In the afternoon, martial law is declared.

Russian newspapers have been saying some not very nice things about the late Archduke F.F.

The new heir to the Austrian throne is the 26-year-old Archduke Karl Franz Josef, grandnephew of the emperor, which is considered a bit young (Emperor Franz Josef was only 18 when he ascended to the throne, but that was 65 years ago). Also, his career has been military rather than royal, so everyone’s hoping the dottering emperor hangs on for a few more years. Karl F.J. is married to Princess Zita of Parma, and suddenly I’m hungry for Italian food for some reason.

A 20% increase in bread prices in Madrid leads to a good old-fashioned bread riot.

Many of Huerta’s soldiers are deserting for the more lucrative career of pillaging.

Rebels claim to have proof that Huerta is planning to lease large swathes of Baja California to form Japanese colonies.

Pancho Villa may have extorted from Carranza complete control of the rebel military but, it turns out, Carranza kept the ammunition, so Villa has to abandon plans to expand his campaign in the south.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Today -100: June 29, 1914: Do you think Sarajevo is full of assassins?


Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s 83-year-old Kaiser Franz Josef I and heir to his throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo in a somewhat inept plot that only worked because someone drove down the wrong street. The first two assassins along the route fail to act at all. A third, 19-year-old Nedeljko Čabrinović, throws a hand grenade at the open-topped car containing Franz Ferdinand, his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie (that means her children would not be in the line of succession because she was a mere Czech), the governor of the Bosnian province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Oskar Potiorek, and a colonel. But the archduke swats it away (or it bounces off the car, depending on whose version you believe) and it explodes behind his car, only hurting a few insignificant non-royals. The archduke then orders his car to stop while they figure out what had just happened, but the plotters weren’t prepared for such a boneheaded move.

When he arrives at his destination he interrupts the mayor of Sarajevo’s welcoming speech to exclaim, “It is perfectly outrageous! We have come to Sarajevo on a visit and have had a bomb thrown at us!” Then he graciously allows the mayor to continue his speech, not at all awkwardly, while he mentally composes a scathing Yelp review. Afterwards, Franz F. decides to go to the hospital to visit the bystanders injured by the grenade. When someone suggests this might be dangerous, Potiorek retorts, “Do you think Sarajevo is full of assassins?”, totally ignoring the city’s motto.



Still, Potiorek decides that after the bomb incident they should take an alternate route. But he forgets to tell the driver. The route they did take took them right alongside a café where Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old member of the conspiracy, was either sitting gloomily, thinking he’d lost his chance, or standing outside attentively (the NYT is full of contradictory details). “Hey, that’s the very car I was looking for!” he said, probably, and emptied his pistol into it, killing FF and Sophie (he said at his trial that the he was aiming at Potiorek, not Sophie). It was their 14th wedding anniversary.



According to the NYT, Princip and Čabrinović “expressed themselves to the police in the most cynical fashion about their crimes.” I’m telling ya, these kids today -100. Both are from Herzegovina, which was annexed by Austria (officially) in 1908 along with Bosnia. The two assassins are singing like canaries, or boasting like, um, peacocks.



The NYT is already reporting (correctly) that the bombs were supplied by Serbia, I think because Čabrinović admitted it.

Censorship is clamped down so quickly in Sarajevo by the Austrian authorities that the first news of the assassination to reach Budapest, which is after all one of the capitals of the Dual Monarchy, comes via Belgrade.

Headlines of the Day -100: 1) “Paris Press Fears War.” “Several journals express the fear that the consequences will be sufficiently serious again to plunge the Balkans, if not Europe, into a conflict.”
2) “Tragedy May Alter Politics of Europe.” Ya think?

A Mrs. Alma Vetsera Hayne pops up in New York claiming to be the daughter of Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress the Baroness Maria Vetsera (played by Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux in Mayerling or – dear God why – by Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve in the remake), who committed suicide together in 1889, and that therefore her son is now the true heir to the Austrian throne. Presumably a con artist or fabulist, but her personal history is so dysfunctional, she’d fit in perfectly with the Habsburgs. One incident: the LA Times mentions a Canadian who was on his way to marry her a few years back (although she was already married) when his father had him arrested: “The young man was put in an asylum to effect a reconciliation with his wife.”

At a banquet in Monterrey, Venustiano Carranza says that the US is taking a dictatorial attitude toward Mexico. He rejects any foreign interference in Mexico’s internal affairs. Elsewhere, Constitutionalists are denying a story in the New York Herald that the rebel movement is financed by American businessmen like financier Henry Clay Pierce (who has big oil and railroad interests in Mexico).

The Dominican Republic: a US gunboat fires at government batteries which are bombarding rebel-held Puerta Plata. It was okay when they were just killing rebels, but damaging US-owned property is right out of bounds.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Today -100: June 28, 1914: The blood of the murdered is on his head


After a fact-finding visit to Albania, George Fred Williams, the US ambassador to Greece and Montenegro, resigns so he can freely speak out against Prince William of Albania, who “has no more right than I have in Albania, and the blood of the murdered is on his head.” He thinks there is currently no real government in Albania, or rather five of them (the 6 Great Powers, the commission controlling civil government, Dutch soldiers controlling military government, the prince, and the powerless Cabinet). He says the prince’s government “has shown skill and success in one respect only: It has been able to prevail upon the various religious and racial forces of Albania to set upon each other with murderous purpose.” Williams wants Albania to have a decentralized cantonal system, like Switzerland’s. Just remove the foreign warships and withdraw the foreign armies and Albania “will not be a menace to the peace of the Balkans. If they be allowed a trial nobody but themselves can be harmed should they fail in self-government.”

France is selling off some islands near Corsica it isn’t using any more. French newspapers are worried Italy might buy them.

A case of bubonic plague is discovered in New Orleans, as was the custom.

The Russian government has been working with (presumably bribing) the British press to shore up the alliance between the two countries. Which might explain why four London papers recently defended Russia’s anti-Semitic policies in similar terms, explaining that restrictions on Jewish residence are merely to protect Russian peasants from Jewish peddling, liquor dealing and usury.

How They Died 100 Years Ago: A Mrs. A.H. Miller of Woodcliff Heights, New Jersey buys a goose and heads home on her horse-drawn wagon. As they’re crossing a bridge the goose honks, the horse panics and breaks through the guard rail. Mrs. Miller, the horse, the wagon, and the goose all go into the reservoir. Mrs. Miller and the horse drown, the goose is unharmed.... for now.

Theodore Roosevelt is suffering from, ahem, jungle fever.

In November, Arizona voters will face a large number of propositions, including ones to ban employers asking prospective employees about criminal records; ban mines employing more than 20% non-Americans; establish mothers’ and old-peoples’ pensions; and abolish the State Senate.

English suffragist Margaret Stockman of Hampstead has written a will disinheriting her son in favor of her daughter unless there is women’s suffrage when the will goes into effect.

Headline of the Day -100: “Knock King’s Hat Askew.” This time the suffragettes have gone TOO FAR!

You can argue about the effectiveness of those sort of militant tactics, but at least they get noticed. An A.P. report in the LA Times today -100 is entitled “Many Women of English Nobility Have Affiliated With New Women’s Organization in London.” The “new” National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was in fact founded in 1897, and it united local groups some of which dated back to the 1860s. It’s also the largest suffrage group in Britain, but the A.P. has apparently never heard of it before because its members only holds meetings, petitions, supports Labour candidates, etc and don’t burn anything down.

In the US, suffragists from the 10 women’s suffrage states go to Washington to talk to members of congress and others. Speaker Champ Clark tells them women’s suffrage is as “inevitable as the rising of tomorrow’s sun” (one of the lobbyists is his daughter Genevieve). Vice President Marshall says his wife won’t let him support women’s suffrage. William Jennings Bryan ran into an elevator when he saw the suffragists coming.

Prince Humbert (age 10), starting on his career in the Italian Navy, faints while watching a bullfight (for some reason watching a bullfight is part of his training for the navy). The queen wants him returned home but the king says, “My son must not be a muff.”

The commander of Germany’s 15th Army Corps wants to ban beer evenings paid for out of the canteen surplus. He thinks the soldiers would appreciate much more some non-alcoholic beverages and an excursion to a battlefield.

That theory will be tested soon.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Today -100: June 27, 1914: Of volunteers, old cars, plane crashes, races, moose herds, and bribery


Some private citizens in Vienna are raising a volunteer army to fight for Prince William of Albania. However, they’re recruiting from amongst reservists in the Austrian Army, so they probably won’t be allowed to go.

Congress again refuses to buy a new car for the vice president, who drives a 1909 model, which Rep. James Mann (R-Ill.) calls “a sight to fill any decent American citizen with chagrin.” (The NYT suggests he take the trolley.)

Two more German military aviators die in one incident, and one in another incident. Wait for the war, guys. There’ll be plenty of pointless death to go around.

Mexican Revolution Headlines of the Day -100: “Villa Chasing His Beaten Foes” (The capture of Zacatecas is followed by a precipitate retreat by the federales).
2) “Rebel Leaders Race for Mexico City.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Moose Herd Has Colonel Cornered.” The NYT thinks Theodore Roosevelt is being backed into running for governor against his will, after he rejected the idea of the Progressive Party nominating NYC District Attorney Charles Whitman, the probable Republican candidate.

The Progressive candidate for governor of Colorado, Edward Costigan, says mine owners offered him $50,000 to support a candidate (whom he does not name, but who is sitting in that very room as he gives his speech) for US senate.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today -100: June 26, 1914: Of unjust and obnoxious discrimination, verboten signs, butchers, bathtubs, and fires


The State Department took ten months to respond to Japan’s complaint about California’s racist alien land law (“unjust and obnoxious discrimination”). Bryan insists that the law isn’t racist but wholly economic. Japan responds, Yeah right.

Lord Brassey is briefly arrested in Kiel as a suspected spy, as he sailed his yacht’s dinghy a little too close to the imperial dockyard. Brassey notes, “There was no ‘Verboten’ sign, which is seldom failing in Germany”.

Brassey is in town for Kiel Week, which is some sort of German Navy thing. Kaiser Wilhelm visits the British ship the King George V; while on board he was nominally in supreme command of the British fleet, in which he is an admiral, and has the uniform to prove it (dude collected uniforms). There are 4 British dreadnoughts and 3 cruisers participating in Kiel Week. Nice to see the British and German navies getting along so well.

One of the men killed during the capture of Zacatecas is Col. Rodolfo “The Butcher” Fierro, the man who killed William Benton, the Scottish rancher about whom there was so much fuss.

Pancho Villa has a $1,000 porcelain bathtub shipped to him from Chicago to Juarez. With a gold-plated rubber ducky, I’m assuming.

Bank examiners investigating the failure of ousted US Sen. William Lorimer’s La Salle Street Bank discover that former Sen. Thomas Paynter (D-Kentucky), who voted to allow Lorimer to retain his seat, and indeed was on the committee investigating the bribery charges against Lorimer, had a $40,000 loan from Lorimer’s bank.

The Prince of Wales is now so worried about the possibility of meeting a militant suffragette that when he sees two women coming towards him while he’s at the beach, he dives into the water and swims away.

Salem, Massachusetts is hit by a large fire, caused by witchcraft, probably.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Today -100: June 25, 1914: Merely the belated payment of blackmail with an apology to the blackmailers


Pancho Villa’s army captures Zacatecas.

At the Niagara conference, the US and Huerta delegates sign a protocol. The US waives any war indemnity “or other international satisfaction” (i.e., the stupid 21-gun salute) from Mexico, but plans to continue occupying Vera Cruz until there’s a new government. The Huerta and Carranza representatives will negotiate with each other informally.

Theodore Roosevelt is back in the US, and while still refusing to run for governor of New York, he has a few thoughts he’d like to share on national issues. He denounces the proposed treaty with Colombia for paying it $25 million in compensation for TR’s theft of Panama from it, which he calls “merely the belated payment of blackmail with an apology to the blackmailers” (he uses the word blackmail a lot. I mean, a lot.) The foreign policy of Wilson and Bryan, he says in his best John McCain mode, has made the US “a figure of fun in the international world.”

Serbia’s King Peter seems to have fled Belgrade “on account of difficulties with army officers” (and claiming ill health) and named his son regent (no jokes about Regent being a girl’s name).

A federal district judge overturns Iowa’s law providing for the compulsory sterilization of men twice convicted of crimes.

At the funeral of the nine Austrian military aviators killed in the dirigible vs. plane incident, 20 airplanes fly a guard of honor and astonishingly, none of them crash.

And German aviator Gustav Basser flies for 18 hours and 10 minutes without landing, a record, and one which will last nearly to the end of the week.

New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel accidentally shoots former NY State Senator William H. Reynolds, at least that’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Today -100: June 24, 1914: Of battleships, dancing, mashers, home rule, and dynamite


The House votes to sell a couple of old battleships to Greece and use the proceeds to build a shiny new dreadnought. Turkey is not best pleased.

The audience at a Birmingham, Alabama theater expressed disapproval (hissed, walked out) at the sight of a black man and a white woman dancing. No, not dancing together – they weren’t suicidal – but one act following the other. According to the Birmingham News, this constituted an assertion of social equality which cannot be tolerated in the South. The police have forced the firing of the black man because of course they have.

The Massachusetts State Senate passes the “masher’s bill” which punishes men who accost women or girls with whom they are not acquainted with 6 months in prison.

In Reading, England, a presumably suffragette bomb fails to explode in the Church of St Mary the Virgin. There’s probably a joke in there somewhere.

Oh, I just thought of one. I’ll be keeping it to myself.

The British government introduces a bill to amend its Home Rule Bill – which isn’t even law yet, having passed the House of Commons but not the Lords – along the lines already rejected by Sir Edward Carson, but since Carson didn’t negotiate, just said no (as is the custom in Northern Ireland), it hasn’t been altered. Each county in Ulster will vote on whether to exclude itself from the jurisdiction of the Home Rule Parliament for six years only.

France and Germany are threatening to seize Haiti’s customs houses unless it pays back its loans. Nice to see France and Germany getting along so well, isn’t it?

IWW miners storm a meeting of the Western Federation of Miners in Butte, Montana and are shot at by sheriff’s deputies, who hit 3, at least 1 fatally. One was a visitor who thought it was a parade until, you know, the bullet grazed him. The sheriff shouts to the crowd that he wants 500 men to volunteer as deputies. He gets 0 men. Sniping goes on back and forth for a few hours without any more injuries. At midnight the Wobbly miners dynamite the Miners’ Union Hall.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Today -100: June 23, 1914: Of informal talks, strong white parties, and American soil


There will be informal talks between the Huerta, Carranza, and US delegates (in other words, the Argentine, Brazilian and Chilean ambassadors are withdrawing from their roles as mediators in a sulk because the rebels refused their demand for an armistice).

The problem with Southern politics, according to a NYT editorial and assholes generally, is that the race issue forces all the white men to vote for the Democratic Party, regardless of their opinions on other issues. So what’s really needed is... two white men’s parties, and the Progressive Party is attempting to fill that gap, at least in the 3rd Congressional district of Louisiana. Says the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “the establishment of another strong white party would make for more wholesome conditions in Louisiana.”

Missouri women’s suffragists collect enough petitions for a referendum in November.

Wobblies again try to hold a free speech rally in Tarrytown, NY, whose populace meets them with rotten eggs and other produce, as was the custom. Becky Edelson, defying the police as they try to shut down the rally, which lacked a permit, says, “I’m here on American soil,” whereupon someone threw some American soil at her.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today -100: June 22, 1914: Of inheritable blood, flaming brides, and universal peace


The Supreme Court rules on whether relatives of former slaves can inherit their property. The property of non-slaves in Tennessee who died intestate and without children would go to their siblings (rather than their spouse), but when Tenn. passed a law after the Civil War legitimizing slave marriages, it failed to extend that provision to the siblings of former slaves, so in this case the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that ex-slave siblings have no “inheritable blood”; in effect, their kinship was trumped under the law by their former legal status as slaves. The US Supreme Court upholds that ruling.

Luis Cabrera, one of Carranza’s delegates to the Niagara conference – or he would be if Carranza’s delegates were actually at the Niagara conference – says that there will be no compromise with the forces of reaction. He absolutely rejects the Huerta delegates’ insistence on a neutral person being named president: “At the stage which the Mexican revolution now has reached, the only neutral men who remain in the country are, in fact, those who, through fear, lack of patriotism, or indifference to political questions have kept aloof.” The only other prominent men who have stayed out of politics are rich people who are basically, you know, conservative, and hence unacceptable.

The US is happy to see the conference drag out with no result because if it fails the armistice with the Huerta military ends and then what? The Wilson admin has been somewhat heartened by the Carranza-Villa differences, because Villa has increased his power and they think they have more influence with him (I think they’re underestimating his ego and desire to be seen to lead his people to military victory). Carranza’s notes to the mediators earlier in the month have been leaked. They reject the right of the conference to deal with Mexico’s internal affairs.

Headline of the Day -100: “Bride Aflame at Wedding.”

Ironic Headline of the Day -100: “HAS UNIVERSAL PEACE BEEN BROUGHT NEARER?” By that “F-ray” device that can supposedly blow shit up. I’m not sure I entirely follow the argument, but sure, let’s say universal peace was probably achieved sometime around 1914.

Speaking of universal peace, the Baroness Bertha von Suttner, Austrian novelist, peace activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (she was once briefly Alfred Nobel’s secretary), dies while, um, dieting. She’s best known for her 1889 novel Die Waffen nieder! (“Lay Down Your Arms!”), which was soon (August) to be a Major Motion Picture.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Today -100: June 21, 1914: Of deputations, guns & teapots, oh the humanity, homesteads, happy train wrecks, beheadings, beleidigungen, and elevators


Prime Minister Herbert Asquith meets Sylvia Pankhurst’s deputation of working women, although Sylvia, debilitated from hunger-striking, was not present. They tell him about the life of poor women, including a horrific tale of workplace sexual harassment at a jam factory which I’m rather pleased at the thought of Asquith having to sit and listen to. Asquith welcomed them as representatives of “an association [the East London Federation of Suffragettes] which disassociated itself from the criminal methods of those who have done so much damage and put back the cause of women.” Says the man who has done his damnedest to put back the cause of women. The ELFS, by the way, is rather insulted to be thought of as anything other than militant (Sylvia will write to the newspapers that “it takes all kinds of militancy to win votes for the women of this country”). Asquith does agree that if women are given the franchise, it should be on the same terms as men (which is far less egalitarian than it sounds, given that there are still property/taxpaying qualifications).

Turkey says it will allow the Greeks it expelled from their homes (and the country) to return.

The NYT recounts an “amusing” story of gun-running to Ulster in the guise of crockery, distributed through a fake auction into which wandered the Duke of Abercorn, a collector, who made his mind up to buy a Delft teapot. Not put off by being told he’d have to bid on the entire crate, he gamely outbid the straw bidders, wondering why the bids just kept going up and up, and wound up the proud owner of a cheap copy of a Delft teapot and a bunch of rifles. Our Bertie Wooster figure went on to become Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone and Governor of Northern Ireland (1922-45). And great-grandfather of Princess Di.

Another day, another horrific aeronautical accident. Austria’s military, worried about how it would fight Italian and Russian dirigibles in the unlikely event of a war, holds a simulated attack by airplanes on Austria’s only dirigible, which turns into a non-simulated mid-air collision, resulted in the fiery destruction of both craft, with nine dead.

Still, you can’t say nothing good comes out of all the aerial mayhem. A French aviator who lost a leg in a flying accident a couple of years ago invents a better prosthesis, weighing only two pounds. There might just be a great demand for his invention soon.

How quaint: homesteading is still going on. The Department of the Interior designates 300,000 acres in California and 284,000 in Oregon for settlers.

Headline of the Day -100: “Jersey City Wreck Makes 500 Happy.” A minor train wreck, no one hurt, but it occurs in Jersey City’s Italian district, and, the NYT implies, you know what those Italians are like. Hundreds of them swoop in and carry off all the wood and 40 tons of coal.

The British government introduces a bill in the House of Lords to reform the government of India, for the first time making it obligatory to appoint a couple of Indians to the Council of India.

The Manchester News notes that only 4-8% of Germany’s death sentences are carried out, compared to over 50% in Great Britain. All German executions are by beheading, although there is variation in how the beheadings are carried out. Regions which were once annexed to France by Napoleon still use Dr. Guillotin’s invention, while other regions use axes or swords. In Prussia, the prisoner sits in a chair and is struck by a sword swung horizontally.

More on the German justice system: the most common crime is “insult” (beleidigung), with 224,000 cases in 1913. Examples of criminal insults in the A.P. story include a man telling a man in plain clothes who has just said that he is a police officer, “You look like it”; the wife of a striker who spat to express her opinion of a strikebreaker (but not at him); a striker fined for saying “Pew!” at non-striking employees; someone who sent Socialist literature through the mail to a policeman in Prussia; a Socialist editor who referred to a petty thief/panderer as “the crown witness” for his role in testifying against another editor.

NYC is considering requiring that elevator operators be licensed.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Today -100: June 20, 1914: I have never found a man with a tail, but I still have hopes


Two Russian military aviators die in airplane accidents. Honestly, could war really increase the fatality rate for these guys?

25 lawyers who signed protests against the ludicrous ritual murder prosecution of Mendel Beilis in Kiev are convicted for insulting the Ministry of Justice and given sentences of 6 or 8 months.

An explosion in an Alberta coal mine kills at least 36, with 200 still entombed – which is a really scary word – and presumed dead.

Brandon Thomas, actor and playwright, author of the 1892 play “Charley’s Aunt,” dies.

The NYT is upset that Prime Minister Asquith agreed to meet Sylvia Pankhurst, who the Times declares is no Joan of Arc: “She is an obstinate, illogical, and contentious woman of the shrewish type... She conquered, because she could not be returned to prison and the Government was afraid to let her die in the street.” The Times appears to have no such fears.

At the annual meeting of the Eugenics Research Association, Dr. Howard Knox of the US Public Health Service reveals the hobby he practices while screening immigrants: “In my experience at Ellis Island I have never found a man with a tail, but I still have hopes, for I have seen them with nearly every other reversion anomaly that one could imagine.” He tells of a Finn he deported for too closely resembling the Missing Link, but complains that the law doesn’t allow him to reject all such throwbacks. He notes that immigrants from “certain countries” are almost all “physical inferiors.”

Headline of... no, wait, it’s a week early: “Shot Hit Grand Duke's Car.” The Grand Duke of Olbenburg’s car is hit, it is thought accidentally, while his daughters the two duchesses were being driven. No one is hurt.

Headline of the Day -100: “Empress Erratic, Say Alden Crew.” A ship, the Empress of Ireland, not an actual royal person.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Today -100: June 19, 1914: Of yielding, civil wars within civil wars, neutrals, gunboats, treaties, assassination plots, ethnic cleansing, and damaged kaisers


Headline of the Day -100: “Asquith Yields to Suffragettes.” The prime minister agrees to meet a deputation of East End working-class women, Sylvia Pankhurst is informed as she hunger- and thirst- strikes on the steps of Parliament, having come straight from Holloway Gaol to continue her protest. Shuttle diplomacy between the prime minister and Sylvia was undertaken by Labour MP (and former secret lover of Sylvia) Keir Hardie.

Pancho Villa denies that there are any differences between himself and Carranza... at least any that will interfere with the war. What seems to have happened is that he demanded and got absolute control of the rebel military while Carranza has control of the government.

The American delegates to the Niagara conference, while complaining that the Mexican delegates released their note to the Americans to the press, do the same. They insist that the US is only interested in the pacification of Mexico and deny that they intend to impose a rebel government. But, they say, if the Huerta delegates got their way and a “neutral” interim president were chosen, the Constitutionalists would simply ignore him and continue to capture Mexico City. Also, at this late date, who’s left who’s neutral?

As the rebel gunboat Tampico is sinking after being attacked by a Federal gunboat, its captain, Hilario Malpica, rather than be captured, shoots himself in the head. The story going around is that he was a Federal lieutenant but in love with the daughter of a Constitutionalist leader, who made turning over the boat a condition of being granted his daughter’s hand. Seems unlikely.

Congress is considering a treaty with Nicaragua that includes a $3 million loan to allow that country to pay off loans from American banks. Some congresscritters are threatening to investigate just how it was that those banks got control of Nicaragua’s railroads and national bank, maybe even question a banker or two. It is also noted that Nicaraguan institutions are now infested with over-paid American employees. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan blames the situation on Taft administration policies.

There’s a report that someone tried to assassinate the Russian tsar by placing a bomb on railroad tracks. Russian officials deny anything of the sort happened, but a mail train preceding the royal train did wreck itself.

Greece is now expelling ethnic Turks from Macedonia. Fortunately, the refugees are finding that there are whole villages in Turkey now denuded of Greeks, so they can move right in. Amazing how these things work out.

Given the shortfall in revenues from the new income tax, the commissioner of internal revenue is asking for extra powers to force companies to tell it who owns their stock and what dividends they are paid and to allow access to all their records, and the power to compel testimony under penalty of a $10,000 fine.

I guess the US military is still occupying the Colorado coal zone. Small coal companies are complaining that the order excluding all miners who hadn’t previously worked there is hurting them, while the larger mines, operating happily at half-capacity, have no incentive to settle the strike while their smaller competitors are being driven out of business.

Headline of the Day -100: “The Damage to the Kaiser.; BIG LINER BUELOW IS FAST ON ROCKS.” Again, that’s a ship, not the actual royal person.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today -100: June 18, 1914: Woodrow Wilson forgets about the Jews


Parliament authorizes the Admiralty to invest $11 million in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, to ensure plentiful oil supplies for the Navy’s ships. Winston Churchill complains that trusts have driven up the price of oil.

Rebel brigade commanders refuse Carranza’s order to come to Saltillo to consult about who should replace Pancho Villa. They tell Carranza they no longer recognize him. Evidently some of the friction between the two leaders comes from Villa’s having sneakily appropriated the entire shipment of arms that arrived on the Antilla, depriving Carranza’s eastern forces of ammunition. By the end of the day, it seems to be over, with Villa restored to command.

The Huertaist delegates to the Niagara conference make public their note to the US delegates rejecting the idea of a Constitutionalist as interim president: “In a country unused to electoral functions, such as Mexico,” they say, if Constitutionalists were in control of the government they would rig the next elections (Huerta is about nothing if he is not about free and fair elections). Why, they say, it wouldn’t even be good for the rebels, who would be accused “of having brought about the intervention of a foreign nation to enable them to achieve power, and of wielding an authority submissive to a foreign Government.”

Theodore Roosevelt won’t make any campaign speeches in the fall. Doctor’s orders, bad larynx, he says, or possibly whispers. It’s almost like he doesn’t care about the Bull Moose Party’s prospects unless he’s running for something himself.

William Lorimer, the former US senator from Illinois who was expelled in 1912 for having gotten the seat through bribery, is about to be indicted for the failure of the La Salle Street Trust & Savings Bank, of which he is president and which he and his partner looted through loans to corporations owned by themselves, using valueless securities as collateral.

Woodrow Wilson responds to a letter wondering whether, in his address at dedication of the American University, he forgot about the Jews when he said, “scholarship has usually been most fruitful when associated with religion, and scholarship has never, so far as I can this moment recall, been associated with any religion except the religion of Jesus Christ.” Wilson says he was speaking off the cuff and did “not stop to consider the whole field”. Used to be president of Princeton.

Greece threatens Turkey with war if it doesn’t stop persecuting ethnic Greeks. Greek PM Eleftherios Venizelos says in the National Assembly, “If a stop is not put to these conditions the Hellenic government will be forced not to content itself with joining in the lamentations of unhappy refugees.” Meanwhile, Turkey is declaring martial law in Asia Minor in an attempt to prevent Greeks fleeing the country.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the state’s eugenic marriage law, saying it’s not discriminatory even though it makes only men undergo physical examinations. They seem to have addressed the problem that the $3 fee set by the law is too low by saying that doctors should just give $3 worth of examining, which is close enough for government work.

There are now a few militant suffragettes in Canada, who have taken to turning their backs when “God save the King” is sung in theaters.

In Champaign, Illinois, a special policeman, Michael Murphy, raises his hand to stop a car he considered to be exceeding the limit stop, but he isn’t in uniform and the driver ignores him, so he shoots at the car, which turns out to contain Graf Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador. He misses. Mr. Murphy is no longer a special policeman.

Headline of the Day -100: “Kaiser Wilhelm II Collides in Fog.” A ship, not the actual royal person.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Today -100: June 17, 1914: Of races, ex-republics, civil wars within civil wars, and massacres


Over 1,000 cops protect the races at Ascot (and the king and queen) against possible suffragette disruption.

The Italian general strike, such as it was, is over. And I guess the republic is un-declared.

The US delegates to the Niagara talks shuffle off to Buffalo to chat unofficial-like with Carranza’s delegates.

There’s some sort of conflict within the Constitutionalists between Villa and Carranza. Villa’s men seize the Constitutionalist bureau of information in Juarez from Carranza’s men and indeed seize some of Carranza’s men (although Villa will soon claim that his men misinterpreted his orders). There’s a story, which sounds like one of those rumors but is actually more or less true, that Villa resigned last week but all the military chiefs said they would accept no one else as their leader.

Turks are reported to have massacred 100 Greeks in the town of Phokia, and thrown the bodies down wells, as was the custom. The LA Times says that Greece is about to invade Turkey. Russia is sending a warship to Smyrna.

And the civil war in Albania, Muslims revolting against the imported prince William, is bubbling along.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

The height of folly


John McCain says it would be the “height of folly” to partner with Iran to stabilize Iraq. John McCain – bad choice of partner – folly... no, I can’t think of anything to say about this.

Speaking of bad decisions, how many of the liberals now complaining about all of the talking heads talking their heads off about Iraq on their teevees being the ones who were wrong about Iraq ten years ago were berating Terry Gross last week for asking Hillary Clinton when and why she stopped being wrong about gay marriage?

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Today -100: June 16, 1914: A man is a fool who attempts to avoid the income tax


Dr. Charles Mercier, a British psychiatrist and public supporter of the forcible feeding of suffragette prisoners, has a letter in the London Times which says that if Home Secretary McKenna is correct that scores of women would volunteer if one were allowed to hunger strike to death, it would be another example of “epidemic mimicry,” such as fashion, witch-finding, suicide, tarantism, flagelantism, lycanthropy, and the violence of the French Revolution.

Countess Mollie Russell sues the 2nd Earl Russell (Bertrand Russell’s brother) for restoration of conjugal rights. The earl has a famously complicated personal life, and was convicted by a trial in the House of Lords of bigamy for marrying Mollie in 1901, because English law didn’t recognize his Reno divorce from his first wife. He is the first and I believe only Labour Party member of the House of Lords.

The new federal income tax has (so far) fallen short of the income it was expected to bring in, by $23 million, and the Treasury Dept is readying itself to go after tax-dodgers. “A man is a fool who attempts to avoid the income tax,” says Commissioner Osborne. “He is sure to be detected sooner or later. There is no chance that tax dodgers can escape.” And sure enough, rich people have been paying every cent of their taxes ever since.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “Wilson Alleges a Plot To Break His Will.” Pres. Wilson notes that a coordinated flood of letters has been coming from businessmen demanding that Congress adjourn before dealing with the anti-trust bill (“wantonly harassing business,” as one circular letter calls it) and claiming that business is being harmed by the prospect of legislation. Wilson says that business is doing just fine, and that any depression is purely psychological.

Storms in Paris. A street caves in at the Place Saint Philippe du Roule killing 14.

The ABC mediators respond to Gen. Carranza’s letter naming delegates to the Niagara conference by politely reminding him that he seems to have somehow neglected to mention whether he will agree to their conditions (an armistice and accepting everything already agreed to). Well, he’s busy, he probably just forgot. In the meantime, the US and Huerta delegates are deadlocked over who should be the next president of Mexico, and the mediators are considering calling it a day.

Latest rumor in Mexico: Pancho Villa has been forced to flee to the US after his troops revolt because they discovered papers showing he had agreed to sell part of Mexico to the US.

The House of Commons passes the third reading of the Plural Voting Bill, which would eliminate multiple votes for people who own property in more than one parliamentary constituency or are university graduates. Nothing will come of this until 1948.

An alleged plot by suffragettes to blow up London reservoirs is thwarted, if it ever existed.

Men from the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine doing their mandatory military service will no longer be allowed to serve in those provinces, because Alsatians are to blame for having leaked to the press about all the anti-Alsatian bigotry in the barracks during the conflict between the military and locals last year.

The Bijou theater in New York re-opens as a colored theater, with an all-negro production, “The Darktown Follies of 1914.” The NYT notes that the ticket-seller is still a white man and the owners are, um, named Rosenberg, but the ushers are black.


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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Today -100: June 15, 1914: Of mobs and rioters (yeah, I said it, what’re you gonna do about it?)


The rebels are advancing on Guadalajara.

The NYT’s Italian correspondent breathlessly tells of the depredations during the short-lived republic declared by the socialists/anarchists, with food requisitioned and distributed for free and so on. It notes the relative lack of loss of life both when the mobs were in control and when the forces of order reasserted themselves, attributing the lack of bloodshed during the latter to “patience, endurance, and self-control, which heretofore has been supposed to be an attribute of the humble followers of St. Francis of Assisi rather than characteristics of military men,” but fails to enumerate the virtues which stopped the mobs killed all the rich people.

The Brotherhood Welfare Association in New York City (i.e., hoboes) turn down a kind offer to transport them all to Kansas via cattle cars (250 hoboes to a 60-foot car) to help bring in the wheat harvest, with no guarantee of proper wages in Kansas (and I didn’t note a mention of return fares either), saying it’s Pullman cars or nothing.

The fight between the miners’ union and the IWW in Butte, Montana, continues. As with any conflict involving miners, dynamite was available, and was used on the house of one union official and the safe in the union’s offices. A crowd rescued two prisoners from the jail and hijacked a fire truck. The mob also visited the three newspaper offices and suggested politely that they refrain from using the words “mob” or “rioters.”


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Today -100: June 14, 1914: Of furies, Chios and Lesbos, republics, darlings, and Vice President Adlai Stevenson


Queen Mary is threatening to leave London for the rest of the Season if any more of those horrid “furies,” as she calls them, show up to disrupt her entertainments and remind her that women are being tortured in British prisons.

Oh, and suffragettes burned another cricket pavilion, this one in Reigate. One begins to suspect they have something against cricket.

Greece formally annexes the islands of Chios and Mitylene (I assume by the latter the NYT means Lesbos, on which the town of Mitylene is located), which it seized in the first Balkan War but hadn’t formally annexed. Turkey is not best pleased.

There’s been a debate in the NYT letters page over whether NYC should have a public defender’s office.

The Niagara conference is discussing who the next president of Mexico should be, almost as if their opinion is, you know, relevant. The US wants a prominent Constitutionalist, the Huertaists want an obscure one, and I think the ABC countries want a neutral guy (later the Huertaists would insist on a neutral). Carranza’s delegates still haven’t shown up, evidently having been given orders to come no closer than Buffalo until word came whether they’d be admitted.

Crowds have taken to the streets in major Italian cities and many minor ones. Railroads and telegraph wires and churches are destroyed. A republic is proclaimed in many of these places (the Times is a little unclear on whether anarchists or socialists or some unholy combination is behind these events, but then it’s not clear that the Times understands the difference). And then the military crushed them. Many (well, some unknown number) are dead, but the NYT persists in seeing it as a “farce,” because Italians are funny or something.

France: René Viviani succeeds in forming a cabinet. Nobody expects it to last very long.

In Butte, Montana, Wobblies attack a miners’ union parade and invade the Miners’ Union Hall. Would have blown it up, but there was a saloon next door.

The German army breaks another zeppelin, and two more French aviators die in a crash.

Name of the Day -100: Jasper T. Darling, the secretary of the National Bureau for the Advancement of Patriotism, who is complaining that Sen. Smoot plagiarized an old speech of his on Decoration Day.

Death of the Day -100: Adlai E. Stevenson, vice president in the second Cleveland administration and William Jennings Bryan’s running mate in 1896 after the D’s failed to give him the nomination for president, making him one of only two vice presidents to run for the thankless job again under a different presidential candidate. Grandfather of Adlai III, who ran for president against Eisenhower twice.

Charles Fairbanks, if you were wondering who the second one was, and don’t pretend you weren’t.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Today -100: June 13, 1914: Of delegates, eternal friendship, ribots, balloons, and tangoes


Carranza appoints three delegates to the Niagara conference, simply ignoring the mediators’ demand for an armistice as a condition of allowing them to participate. I believe he’s calling their bluff.

Japanese Vice Admiral Kuroi, visiting San Francisco with some cruisers, as is the custom, says the friendship between the US and Japan will never be broken.

New French Prime Minister Alexandre Ribot forms his cabinet, takes office, and resigns office after losing a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies. 2½ days in power. Next up: Viviani, again.

Many people think Greece and Turkey are about to start another war. Greece is complaining about Turkey’s expulsion of thousands of Greeks.

Rep. Matthew Neely (D-West Virginia) presents impeachment charges against US District Judge Alston Dayton, who during the recent coal strikes issued injunctions against miners and said he wouldn’t let the United Mine Workers operate within his jurisdiction.

A large balloon crashes during a balloon race and is currently lost somewhere in the forests of the Cascade Mountains, its captain injured, which we know because the news was sent by carrier pigeon. (Update from tomorrow’s paper: they crashed into a pine tree and were caught in its branches 100 feet above the ground. They sent the pigeon and then climbed down, the end.)

Headline of the Day -100: “Queen Mary Sees Tango and Likes It.”

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Today -100: June 12, 1914: Advertisement of their acts is a thing they desire above all


The House Insular Affairs Committee has worked up a proposed constitution for the Philippines. Not surprisingly, it’s a “condensation” of the US Constitution. Members of the Congress will have to be literate in English or Spanish and own property.

The Senate passes Wilson’s bill to repeal the exemption of American ships from Panama Canal tolls, 50-35.

Headline of the Day -100: “Militants Blow up Coronation Chair.” In Westminster Abbey. The news reached Parliament while it was debating what should be done with the suffragettes who commit crimes. Home Secretary Reginald McKenna insists that government policies are working and should be given time. He claims that of 83 prisoners temporarily released from prison under the Cat & Mouse Act, 15 gave up militant activity, 20 are in hiding, and 6 have fled the country. And the number of women sent to prison has decreased since the Cat and Mouse Act (even he calls it that) was implemented, which he says shows its deterrent effect (arguably, it led to a shift from open militancy such as protests at the House of Commons which courted arrest to more violent secret acts which avoid it). McKenna asks the press to stop reporting on militant activities: “Advertisement of their acts is a thing they desire above all.” He talks up plans to go after the Women’s Social and Political Union’s subscribers in court, portraying them as “rich women paying their unfortunate victims to undergo all the horrors of hunger and thirst striking” (The WSPU will respond by asking pointedly if he’d be willing to undergo those horrors for £2 a week). He quotes an (unnamed) medical expert who says that the class of militants now entering prison shows a decline from earlier, that they are more “highly nervous,” even physically “degenerate,” in other words that cripples, epileptics and women with heart and lung disease, who can’t stand up to forcible feeding, are being deliberately employed. McKenna, not the brightest bulb, claims that all the militants are paid, but also says that if they weren’t forcibly fed they are such fanatics they would starve themselves to death, and for each one allowed to die, scores more would come forward for the honor of earning the crown of martyrdom.

The general strike in Italy is back on. Barricades, fighting, attacks on trains. Six warships have been sent to threaten Ancona.

Woodrow Wilson hasn’t decided if he’s going to campaign for any congressional candidates this fall.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Today -100: June 11, 1914: I don’t want to watch spooners; it is a mean job


Evidently Woodrow Wilson accepted an invitation to a Catholic mass for next Thanksgiving. The Reformed Church Synod considered criticizing him for this but instead decided to set up a rival service and force him to choose. If that doesn’t say Thanksgiving, I don’t know what does.

A general strike fails in Italy and is called off.

Police seize Sylvia Pankhurst as she attempts a deputation to PM Asquith.

Bayonne’s lady policewoman Ruth McAdie resigns, tired of being given the duty of breaking up couples in the park: “I don’t want to watch spooners; it is a mean job.”

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Today -100: June 10, 1914: England all over


The US Cabinet decides to prevent any further arms shipments to Mexico from the US, such as the one that nearly derailed the Niagara talks. So a shipment of ammunition intended for Tampico has been ordered detained in Galveston, although no actual law allows for such an order. And gun-running via third countries (or pretending to be going to third countries but actually going to Mexico, as is the case with the liner Arcadia) can continue.

At the Niagara Falls conference, the American and Huerta delegates are drawing up their fantasy cabinet tables. They’ve now agreed that the new president must be a Constitutionalist, but not Carranza or Pancho Villa. So now the US and the bitter enemies of the Constitutionalists are choosing which Constitutionalists should best represent the Constitutionalists.

Starvation in besieged Mazatlan forces the Federal governor to permit any non-combatant who wishes to leave for the Constitutionalist lines to do so (knowing that many will be recruited by the rebels).

The Danish Parliament votes 102-6 for women’s suffrage (and to democratize elections for the upper house). But the Conservatives boycott the vote in the upper house, so there’s no quorum. Prime Minister Carl Theodor Zahle will advise the king to dissolve the upper house and call new elections.

Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond gives his party’s official approval to the Nationalist volunteer movement.

A suffragette “destroys” George Romney’s “Portrait of a Boy” in the Birmingham Art Gallery.



George Bernard Shaw writes in The Evening Standard: “As we have neither conviction enough to starve the militants to death nor common sense enough to pledge ourselves to the inevitable reform, there is nothing to be done but wait until the women provoke a mob to lynch them and the Government hangs a satisfactory number of the mob in expiation. Then the women will get their votes after the last inch of mischief and suffering has been squeezed out of a situation which several civilized and reasonable countries already have disposed of without the slightest trouble. That is England all over.”



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Monday, June 09, 2014

Today -100: June 9, 1914: Of titled suffragettes, sieges, and unwanted Cohens


The (London) Standard publishes a list of the most socially eminent subscribers to the Women’s Social and Political Union (lists which were seized by the police in the raid a week or two back). They include a couple of princesses, various Ladies-with-a-capital-L, a bishop, and Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman doctor in England and the sister of the president of the non-militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. The Standard accuses the princesses of being class traitors, because, it claims, the suffragettes had plans to burn Hampton Court Palace.

The Huerta Junta now claims it never intended to blockade Tampico, and won’t withdraw from the Niagara talks after all.

The US follows Huerta in accepting in principle the Niagara conference plan.

Under siege by the rebels, Mazatlan is starving.

NY state Attorney General Thomas Carmody directs district attorneys to prosecute summer resorts advertising that they don’t accommodate people of certain races, creeds, or colors.

The Supreme Court rules that Indians count as “mixed-race,” and thus allowed to sell lands on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota, if they have even a drop of white blood (the federal government was arguing that less than 50% does not count).

Rep. Fred Britten (R-Ill.) introduces a bill to make it illegal for cabinet secretaries to accept pay for giving lectures, as William Jennings Bryan has been doing. It would also ban the practice for members of Congress, but only when it’s in session.

Headline of the Day -100: “No Country Wants Cohen.” Poor Cohen. Nathan Cohen, who was born in Russia, arrived in the US from Brazil two years ago and went insane a year later, which was within the three-year period after arriving in which he could be legally deported for insanity. So he was shipped back to Brazil, which refused to let him land, then back to Ellis Island, then to Russia, which refused to let him land, saying he had no papers proving he was Russian, then back to Ellis Island, then to Brazil again, which still refused to let him land. Now he will evidently live the remainder of his life at Ellis Island, which I’m sure had excellent facilities for long-term care for the mentally ill, at the expense of the steamship company that originally brought him from Brazil.

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

Today -100: June 8, 1914: No one wants to be prime minister of France


The US delegates at the Niagara conference tell the Mexicans that they intend to keep Tampico an open port, by which they mean open to arms shipped to the rebels from the US in violation of its promise to prevent such shipments. When the US said after the Constitutionalists captured Tampico that it would ensure Tampico remained an open port, they mostly meant oil being exported to the US rather than arms being imported, but hey an open port is an open port.

Constitutionalist governors will declare currency issued by banks invalid.

Yesterday (a Sunday) suffragist speakers in several parks London were attacked and their stands destroyed. The NYT says that they were saved from beatings or duckings by the police. Although in the past such attacks have been by youths and young men out for a bit of violent Sunday fun, tolerated by the police up to a certain point, the NYT is willing to accept the actions of a small number of thugs as “striking evidence that the public has been goaded by the militants beyond the limits of endurance,” while failing to accept the actions of a small number of militant women as striking evidence of anything larger.

British suffragists have been accusing Holloway Gaol of drugging hunger-striking prisoners, but so have they. A solicitor’s clerk is charged with smuggling an emetic to Grace Roe.

France: Delcassé turns down the invitation to form a government, citing health reasons. So does Paul Deschanel, citing being a manic pixie dream girl, no wait that’s Zooey, and so do Jean Dupuy and Paul Peytral. Next up: Alexandre Ribot. This will be the 72-year-old Ribot’s third time as prime minister, the previous times being in the ‘90s. I’d suggest he enjoy it while it lasts.

The Greek government denounces the Carnegie Peace Foundation’s commission’s report on atrocities during the Balkan Wars, especially something about Bulgarian atrocities being committed under “provocation.”

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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Today -100: June 7, 1914: Of blockades, French governments, naval tutors, and sinking steamers


The Huerta Junta announces a blockade of Tampico, to prevent US ships (including, rather gloriously, the schooner Sunshine) landing arms for the rebels.

The mediators at Niagara Falls think that if the Constitutionalists will only agree to a suspension of hostilities, the fighting will never resume. The mediators at Niagara Falls are delusional idiots, and their delusional idiocy is reportedly shared by Woodrow Wilson, who thinks that if he just mansplains to the rebels that their goals can be achieved through this plan of pacification they’ll agree not to seize the power they’re on the brink of seizing.

Following the French parliamentary elections, President Poincaré offered the office of prime minister to René Viviani, but he proves unable to form a ministry. That’s okay, nothing important ever happens in June. Viviani’s efforts foundered on divisions over the length of compulsory military service, recently extended from 2 years to 3. Ironically, that issue will become moot very soon.

Next up at bat: Théophile Delcassé. The NYT assures us that Germany has forgiven him for his anti-German policies when he was foreign minister. (Spoiler alert: he won’t be prime minister either, but he will have a chance to be an anti-German foreign minister again).

Mother Jones is visiting Canada, after immigration officials’ decision to exclude her was overruled by Ottawa. British Columbia has its own coal strike...

The Italian royal family announces that for the first time the heir to the throne, Prince Humbert, will be a sailor instead of a soldier. This summer he will be put on board a man-of-war with a “naval tutor.” He is 9.

Headline of the Day -100 (NYT Sunday Magazine): “Making Life in Russia Intolerable for Jewish People.”

Naval and Not-At-All Scatological Headline of the Day -100: “Corinthian Sinks a Steamer.”

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Friday, June 06, 2014

It’s outrageous to say that limiting speech is necessary for democracy


Sen. Chuck Grassley condemns Pat Leahy’s proposed constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling. “It’s outrageous to say that limiting speech is necessary for democracy,” Grassley says, noting that this would be the very first amendment to the original Bill of Rights. But Grassley was for amending the Bill of Rights before he was against it.

Grassley has repeatedly tried to get a constitutional amendment outlawing flag-burning.

Of course, Grassley doesn’t believe that the First Amendment was intended to cover “nonverbal speech.” Campaign donations, on the other hand...

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Today -100: June 6, 1914: I pray God it may not be necessary for our boys at Vera Cruz to use any more force


Britain has recently banned mixed-race boxing matches.

A Milan jury, evidently convinced by Vincenzo Perugia’s claim that he only stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in order to return it to Italy and certainly not for money, gives him only a one-year sentence.

The London Times ponders how suffragettes might be dealt with. They can’t be deported to an uninhabited island because they’d just come back. Flogging isn’t really on. The general public would be okay with letting the hunger strikers starve themselves to death, but under the current law prison authorities are legally liable for prisoners’ survival. The Times supports new legislation to remove that liability. Indeed, it rather licks its lips at the thought of suffragettes dying in prison.

The NYT mentions the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’s campaign to oppose Liberal candidates for parliament and back Labour ones as a means to achieve women’s suffrage. Which I mention because, while the NYT deplores the militant suffragettes and keeps insisting their tactics won’t achieve anything, this is their first mention of the non-militant NUWSS, which is far larger than the militant wing of the suffrage movement, in months, and even this mention is a parenthetical aside in an article headlined “Another Church Burned.” The London Times isn’t much better. Organize 100 quiet meetings and 1,000 quiet petitions and *crickets* but burn one church....

Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond refuses to meet suffragists, saying previous meetings only led to unpleasantness – and if there’s one thing Irish politicians hate, it’s unpleasantness – and that the issue of suffrage should be decided by the Home Rule Parliament rather than in the Home Rule Bill. Of course that means a Home Rule Parliament elected exclusively by men.

Woodrow Wilson, speaking to graduates of Annapolis: “I pray God it may not be necessary for our boys at Vera Cruz to use any more force.” He calls the US army and navy “the instruments of civilization, not... instruments of aggression.”

The Mexican Federales will probably send gunboats to intercept the Antilla and its cargo of arms for the rebels. If that happens, they will probably be stopped by US warships. Also, another ship has left another US port with arms for the rebels, even though the US was supposed to be preventing that while talks are going on.

Speaking of gun-running, some Ulsterman with a yacht smuggles 3,000 rifles to the Ulster Volunteers, most of which are unloaded in Belfast “under the eyes of the police,” whatever that means.

Margaret Brown, aka “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” of Titanic fame, is running for the US Senate in Colorado.

Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first Tarzan book, Tarzan of the Apes, is published.

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Today -100: June 5, 1914: Mexico is entitled to clean up its own back yard


Carranza is taking his time in replying to a note from the ABC mediators, although his agent says, “Mexico is entitled to clean up its own back yard, and does not seek nor desire any interference from any quarter.”

Sylvia Pankhurst, distancing herself from the authoritarian leadership style of her mother and sister, plans to have the deputation to Asquith from her East London Federation of Suffragettes elected by mass meetings, with each meeting electing two women and one man.

Somehow I think that when the NYT calls Theodore Roosevelt “as wise as a whole zoological garden of serpents” for refusing to run for governor of New York, it’s not really a compliment.

Headline of the Day -100: “Albania’s King Not Saluted.” King (technically, still just a prince) William had luncheon aboard the Austrian dreadnought Tegethoff, but they skipped the usual 21-gun salute for fear it would damage talks with the insurgents (who still demanded that William be replaced by a Muslim prince).

Railroad people are testifying against young Sam Rayburn’s Anti-Trust Bill to curb the powers of railroad companies. The lawyer for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad says the bill would give the Interstate Commerce Commission dictatorial powers such as in the most tyrannical days of Venice and Russia.

An (unnamed) member of the British royal household is accused of cheating at cards at London clubs. The king has personally interviewed the accused and his accusers, after he’d invited the man to dinner after the Derby, which resulted in a boycott of the event by members of the Jockey Club, including various people with “duke” and “prince” in front of their names. The king has now tried to banish the man from England, but he refuses to go.

At Buckingham Palace during the running of the debutantes, or whatever they call it, Mary Blomfield (daughter of Lady Blomfield) starts to appeal to the king on the subject of suffrage or possibly forcible feeding before she’s tackled. And that was after the police, expecting such an attempt, carefully scrutinized everyone arriving at the palace. Royal garden parties will be canceled for the rest of the season.

The second half of that story is a description of what all the women who attended the Court were wearing, because of course it is.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Today -100: June 4, 1914: Of bloody brats, crassness, antillas, morning canters, dunkards, and wet wobblies


Bernard Shaw got away with including the line “not bloody likely” in Pygmalion, but the Lord Chamberlain bans an entire play, “The Supplanters” by Irish unknown J. B. McCarthy, for including the phrase “bloody brats.”

The NYT finds the depiction of Red Indians in movies to be insulting to civilized Native Americans (who are now the majority of Native Americans, it says), although it praises “Hiawatha” (which the Internet Movie Database says was the first film with an all-Native American cast)(but as usual doesn’t say whether it’s one of the many silent films which have been lost, which would be useful information to include, IMDb) for its accurate depiction of Indian culture. That film and “L’inferno,” the first and quite possibly only film with an all Dante-scholar cast, prove that “The period of crassness in this new art is near its close.”

Although it was understood that no arms would be shipped from the US to either side in Mexico while the Niagara Falls talks were going on, the liner Antilla leaves New York for Tampico with 3 million rounds of ammunition (and two airplanes) for the rebels. William Jennings Bryan claims to know nothing about it, saying that orders to prevent such sailings were sent to Southern ports first and may not have reached NY yet. Totally believable.

A suffragette attacks an attendant who tries to stop her hacking at paintings with a hatchet at the Doré Gallery in London, evidently not having gotten the message about harming only property. Elsewhere, two suffragettes attack Dr. Forward, the medical officer of Holloway Gaol with a horse whip (or dogwhip, according to the London Times). And another cricket pavilion goes up in flames, as was the custom.

The British government is thinking about charging every contributor to Women’s Social and Political Union funds with conspiracy. The theory is that most of the arson and picketing and whatnot is performed these days by women on the WSPU payroll rather than volunteers as in the glory days, making the WSPU vulnerable to an attack on its finances. Also, it allows the government to portray the militants as well-paid mercenaries (they are, of course, neither).

Sylvia Pankhurst is threatening to hunger-strike on the steps of the House of Commons unless Prime Minister Asquith receives a deputation. This is potentially a significant escalation in tactics: all previous hunger strikes have taken place in prison.

That article on various suffragette doings ends with the Sentence of The Day -100: “The King has discontinued his morning canter in Rotten Row.”

Czar Nicholas is thinking about responding to the decline in foreign investments by gradually removing the restrictions on Jews participating in joint-stock companies.

The national conference of the German Baptist Church (“Dunkards”) in Frankfort, Indiana votes to discourage its members owning automobiles, “at least until such time as they become in general use or until we get more light on the subject.”

Headline of the Day -100: “500 Wait to Duck I.W.W. Men in River.” (The LA Times’s typically dickish headline for the same story: “They Despise Clean Water.”) To prevent the Wobblies holding a free speech demonstration in the Tarrytown, NY, Fountain Square, the locals have laid down a layer of tar one inch deep. The 500 Tarrytonians waited at the train station to give any arriving activists the traditional Tarrytown welcome of a bath in the Hudson, but none came.

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