Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today -100: July 31, 1914: Of menacing mobilizations, neutrality, neurality, hysterical fervor, and sinopes

(NOTE: The NYT website really screwed up this issue, replacing all but 2 pages in the index and Timesmachine with a 1916 issue. Stories I had to get from Proquest have no links. Sorry.)

Austria captures Belgrade. So I guess World War I is over now? I really don’t know what the big deal is.

Alliteration of the Day -100: Germany demands an explanation for Russia’s “menacing mobilization.”

The Netherlands declares itself neutral.

The British Labour party does the same, its MPs passing a resolution that it “hopes that on no account will this country be dragged into a European conflict in which, as the Prime Minister has stated, we have no direct or indirect interest.”

Woodrow Wilson says he has no intention of offering any of the European nations his advice or good offices. To be fair, no one’s asked him for either.

World War I in Los Angeles: a Serb, Jerko Kojarchick, shoots at three Austrians in West LA, misses and runs away, but is soon stopped by a Juvenile Officer, who doesn’t know why Kojarchick was running and whose search fails to discover the gun in his pocket. A crowd had collected after the shooting, so the cop brings him towards it to find out what had happened. Kojarchick starts firing at the crowd, but again hits no one.


In the (British) Women’s Freedom League’s newspaper The Vote, Nina Boyle writes of the pro-war demonstrations in Berlin, “Their fervour, had it been displayed by female persons alone, would undoubtedly have been characterised as hysterical!”

The Lick Observatory discovers a new moon of Jupiter, which will only be given a name, Sinope, in the 1970s.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today -100: July 30, 1914: Of bombardments, mobilizations, warships, and presidents running amuck

Austria is bombarding Belgrade.

Russia mobilizes 1,200,000 men.

(Tsar Nicholas’s diary: “Had a delightful bathe in the sea.”)

The NYT says diplomats find some hope because “Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy do not want war, and do not think the Austro-Servian quarrel important enough to justify it.”

Austria is taking as prisoners of war all military-age Serbs living in Austria, although they weren’t actually in the Serb Army.

To show how much of an emergency this is, Russia is temporarily suspending the restrictions on Jews serving on boards of directors.

World War I continues on the Los Angeles front, where a Serb, Steven Galich, shoots one Austrian and stabs another, saying “We’ll kill all you Austrians off before you get to the old country.” Other armed Serbs are arrested.

Headline of the Day -100: “Spain Assembling Her Warships.” Fucking Ikea instructions, ammirite?

Supposedly, Russia would refrain from backing Serbia if Austria promised not to chop up and annex parts of the country (NYT: “The Vienna theory that the war is a mere punitive expedition is not admitted by Russia.”) In fact, Austria’s intentions regarding Serbia are unclear, not least to itself. Earlier this month, the chef de cabinet of the Austrian Foreign Office, Graf von Hoyos, was asked about Austria’s objectives by his German counterpart and had to improvise something on the spot; he said that Serbia would be partitioned between Austria, Bulgaria, and Romania. The Foreign Office had to walk this back.

Headline of the Day -100: “Not Running Amuck, President Says.” Wilson responding to complaints from the National Trade Association of Wholesalers about his anti-trust legislation, which he says will calm the agitation about business practices. He seems to think businessmen feel bad that their fellow citizens think they have come by their millions illicitly. Isn’t Woodrow just adorable?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today -100: July 29, 1914: With a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points

Austria declares war on Serbia. A manifesto from Emperor Franz Josef says “The intrigues of a malevolent opponent compel me, in defense of the honor of my monarchy and for the protection of its dignity and for the security of its possessions, to grasp the sword after long years of peace. ... In this solemn hour I am fully conscious of the whole significance of my resolve and my responsibility before the Almighty. I have examined and weighed everything, and with a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points.” No other countries are at war yet.

Germany rejects Sir Edward Grey’s proposal of an ambassadorial conference.

Germany has told Russia that if it mobilizes, even partially, it will mean war.

(Tsar Nicholas’s diary entry for today: “played tennis; the weather was magnificent.”)

Serbia’s war plans involve invading the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s province Bosnia to raise an insurrection among Bosnian Serbs.

Austria offers amnesty to anyone who deserted the military or left the country to evade mandatory service. This means you, Adolf Hitler (Spoiler Alert: Adolf joined the German Army instead. This meant that when he’d served his time for the Beerhall Putsch and Germany tried to deport him, Austria refused to take him back, saying he’d relinquished his Austrian citizenship by joining the German Army, so Hitler was stateless for seven years until 1932, when he ran for president of Germany.)

Conscription might be more... interesting in Serbia, which greatly enlarged itself during the two Balkan Wars, and which has not treated the people in the annexed regions especially well.

In Los Angeles, a mob led by Austrian sympathizers attacks the Serbian Red Cross hq (which doubles as the Balkan Coffee House) with stones and bullets. No one is injured.

50 French socialist members of parliament meet and issue a statement that France shouldn’t be drawn into a war by “occult agreements.” Meaning secret treaties, not deals with the devil. Probably. Although the French alliance with Czarist Russia is arguably a bit of both.

The trial of Madame Caillaux concludes. In their closing statements, the prosecutor attacks Henriette as a mere mistress who had triumphed over and displaced Joseph’s legitimate wife. I read this as an attempt to head off a “crime passionnel” acquittal by attacking her character, arguing in effect that she doesn’t deserve the benefit of the traditional jury nullification afforded bourgeois women in murder trials. He also says that she lacked the requisite femininity: “She is a cool, sensible woman, without emotion or pity. ... she prepared the assassination with as much calm as a society woman fitting in calls between two tea parties.” When he describes the shooting, she faints, as was the custom. Her lawyer Fernand Labori (who during the Dreyfus Affair defended both Capt. Dreyfus and Emile Zola) asks the jury to “keep our anger for our enemies abroad. Let us leave this court resolute and united to face the perils which threaten us.” The jury takes less than an hour to acquit her. Le Figaro says the acquittal for the murder of its editor “is the most enormous scandal of our epoch and covers the radical republic with mud and blood.”

The US Senate has postponed consideration of the 20 peace treaties Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan negotiated.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Today -100: July 28, 1914: We have stood this sort of thing for seven and a half years. It is enough.

Today’s paper is incoherent as hell, with some stories saying the chances of war have receded, but a two-paragraph last-minute report says that Austria has invaded Serbia at Mitrovicza.

British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey is proposing a conference of European ambassadors to prevent war (update: actually, it sounds like he’s only trying to prevent war between Austria and Russia, which would bring in those countries’ allies, not war between Austria and Serbia). Russia claims not to be mobilizing its army (Spoiler Alert: Russia is totally mobilizing its army. Russia is big, so it has to start mobilizing early or the war might start without it). In keeping with the theme of the NYT contradicting itself, elsewhere it says that Tsar Nicholas ordered a partial mobilization, with the words, “We have stood this sort of thing for seven and a half years. It is enough.” (To be fair to the Times, the tsar was pretty contradictory on the question of mobilization himself. Also contradictory: my use of tsar/czar).

Cossacks shoot at German army officers who were supposedly crossing the border in the wrong place.

Headline of the Day -100: In the Cologne Gazette, expressing Germany’s attitude toward Russia protecting Serbia from Austria: “Hands Off!”

A NYT editorial entitled “The Man of the Hour” thinks that Kaiser Wilhelm is the dude who could make the little local difficulty between Austria and Serbia escalate into a war involving Russia, France, and Britain, “and the civilization of Europe would give way to savagery, the greatest war of all human history would be in progress. That is too dreadful for imagining, and because it is too dreadful it cannot happen.” Pfew, for a minute there I was worried.

According to the NYT, no one’s prepared for the greatest war of all human history. “Servia Hopeless If Left Unaided,” says one headline.
“Austria-Hungary Is Not Ready For War,” says another. All true. In fact, one reason it took so long after the assassinations for Austria-Hungary to issue an ultimatum to Serbia is that many of the troops from agricultural areas were on harvest leave.

So who is prepared for the greatest war of all human history? Lloyd’s of London, which has set a premium of 40 guineas per cent. (whatever that means) against the start of a Serb-Austrian war.

Dublin crowds attack military barracks in response to yesterday’s bloodshed, but are dispersed by the police. The assistant commissioner of police who called in the military yesterday is suspended, leading the police commissioner to resign in protest. Even in John Bull’s Other Island, using the military against civilians is no small thing. Dublin municipal authorities are also not happy that they were not consulted. John Redmond tells Parliament that Catholics “will no longer be bullied and punished for conduct which is allowed to go scot free in Ulster” by Protestants. Prime Minister Asquith says “The difficulties in Ireland are due to the attempts in this House to govern a people they cannot understand by a parliament imperfectly equipped for the task” (in other words, they’re an argument for Home Rule). Tory leader Bonar Law says the government should have enforced the law in Ulster before or resigned and held a general election.

The Constitutionalist governor of Nuevo Laredo state, Mexico, Gen. Antonio Villareal decrees that the Catholic Church sucks and its activities will be limited. Foreign priests will be expelled from the state, priests will stay out of politics or be expelled, confession is banned, etc.

At the Madame Caillaux trial, Joseph Caillaux introduces what he says is evidence that Gaston Calmette took bribes from Hungary, in the form of documents given him by Count Karolyi, leader of the Hungarian Radical Party, and also Calmette’s will, showing that he left a suspiciously large amount of money. Asked by the judge how he happened to have a copy of the will, Caillaux replies, The same way Calmette got hold of my private letters. Henri Bernstein, the controversial playwright, insists on being heard. “Why certainly, random spectator,” I’m assuming the presiding judge said, “The more the merrier.” Bernstein accuses Caillaux of standing on a coffin and making a pedestal of it.

Headline of the Day -100: “War Scare May Affect Tennis.”

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today -100: July 27, 1914: The interest of civilization and humanity

Headline of the Day With the Word “War” In It -100: “Francis Joseph in War Mood.”

Headline of the Day With the Word “War” In It -100, Runner Up: “British Troops Shed First Blood in Ulster War.” Trying to seize rifles smuggled to the Nationalist Volunteers in Dublin. Four or more are killed with bullets and bayonets by the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Some of the police refused to attack and have been suspended. I’m unclear on how many of the 1,000 rifles the authorities managed to capture.

Headline of the Day With the Word “War” In It -100, Miss Congeniality: “10,000 Sing War Songs.” Germans. In Brooklyn. The Allied Germanic Societies of Brooklyn sends the kaiser a telegram congratulating him on his forthcoming war, by which they hope “the supremacy of the German race in Europe shall be established for the future in the interest of civilization and humanity.” Nothing expresses civilization and humanity quite so well as the strains of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles.”

Although the war hasn’t officially kicked off, rumor says that Serbs shot across the Danube at ships transporting soldiers.

Belgium is preparing for war by mining its bridges. Britain’s King George is preparing by canceling plans to go to the race track, because sacrifice.

Carranza says he intends to issue an amnesty, but won’t promise one, because “amnesty is only granted by the conqueror to the conquered as an act of generosity” rather than as a condition of surrender.

The US Navy will now allow enlisted men to buy their way out of their enlistments. Enlisted men guilty of drunkenness, or overstaying their leaves twice, will be dishonorably discharged. The Navy can afford to do this because there is a waiting list to get in.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Today -100: July 26, 1914: War will be a relief

Ten minutes before Austria’s ultimatum was due to expire, Serbia gave a reply, which Austria considers insufficient. It accepted every one of the ten conditions (although with caveats along the lines of Sure we’ll suppress anti-Austrian propaganda, expel from the military people working against Austria etc, just as soon as Austria proves they exist) except the one allowing Austrian officials to come into Serbia and try Serbian subjects, which they accept only in as much as it agrees with “the principle of international law, criminal procedure, and good neighborly relations,” and it wants the Hague Tribunal to rule on it.

Austria is under martial law. Serbia is removing the royal family and government from Belgrade to Kragouyevatz, further from the border. The Tsar orders the mobilization of the Russian Army. Excited pro-war crowds gather in Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, the latter shouting “To Berlin!”, which readers of Zola’s Nana will remember they also shouted in 1870. Probably best not to recycle slogans from your most humiliating defeats. A “prominent banker” in Berlin tells the NYT reporter, “The atmosphere had become insufferable; war will be a relief.” (Spoiler Alert: war will not be a fucking relief).

The chief of the Serbian Army’s general staff, Gen. Putnik, chose this time to be in Austria, and is arrested.

Mexican Gen. Terrazas sells 300,000 head of cattle to some Texan for $4 million. He will split the proceeds with Pancho Villa, who will then give him his son back.

Joseph Caillaux’s letters to his then mistress, the current Madame Caillaux, are finally read in court. They make clear that the relationship was an adulterous one, if anyone in France was still out of the loop on that one, and revealed his cold-blooded strategizing about ending his marriage only after the next election (“What is irksome for us both is that for long months we shall have to employ extreme precautions”). As the lawyer got to the bit about “A thousand million kisses upon every part of your adorable little body,” Madame C. fainted.

There was a lively discussion between two of the judges in the case over the presiding judge’s handling of the trial, which resulted in a challenge to a duel. Between two judges. But first, they have to ask the Ministry of Justice for permission to duel (Spoiler Alert: the Great War will begin before all this dueling admin is completed. Paperwork, man).

Several hundred members of the Virginia Militia attack a jail in Gordonsville in an attempt to lynch a negro who supposedly attacked a militiaman.

An LA Times article on “Griffith of the Movies” mentions that D.W. is working on a big drama based on Dixon’s novel The Clansman (yes, that would be Birth of a Nation). It describes him getting negro children to gambol about happily by throwing dimes for them to dance for... and then doing the same for an old negro (with a shiny half dollar).

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Today -100: July 25, 1914: Of letters, ultimata, volunteers, and Hawaiians

The Madame Caillaux trial continues. Yesterday Joseph Caillaux’s first wife, after a display of reluctance so theatrical it’s hard to believe it was innocent, handed the two remaining letters that Calmette hadn’t published at the time of his untimely demise over to the defense lawyer Fernand Labori, putting him in the position of either using letters that put the Caillauxes in a bad light (they were written by Joseph to Henriette to Henriette while he was still married to Berthe) or looking like he was suppressing them. For now, after Berthe repeatedly refuses to take them back, he’s keeping them under wraps.

Imperial Arrogance of the Day -100: “The Haitian and Dominican situations are being closely watched by American naval officers on the scene, who have given stiff warnings to the combatants in both island republics that peace must soon be restored and that no interference with foreigners or their property will be tolerated.”

The Colorado Democratic Party county assemblies are meeting to elect the state assembly which will name the party’s candidates. Everyone wants to (and will) dump Gov. Elias Ammons, whose siding with the bosses during the coal mine strike/Ludlow Massacre looks like costing the party working-class votes for some reason.

Germany says the Austria/Serbia kerfuffle is Austria’s business and it won’t involve itself... Unless, of course, some other Power involves itself and prevents Austria getting satisfaction from Serbia.

Some other Power, aka Russia, asks Austria to extend the ultimatum it gave Serbia, implying war to defend its client if Austria refuses.

There are demonstrations against war in Vienna, where the people think that Germany is pushing an unwilling Austrian government into provoking war so that it can start a “preventive” war with Russia. Austria is calling its reservists outside of the country to join their units.

Also preparing for mobilization: the Ulster Volunteers, as the conference called by King George to end the Northern Ireland crisis fails. The Irish Nationalists were more or less willing to concede the exclusion of Ulster, but no agreement could be reached on how many counties that means. County Tyrone (which is majority Catholic) was an especial sticking point.

Prince Jonah Kuhio, Hawaii’s delegate to Congress, campaigns for re-election for a 7th term. He says the native Hawaiians should vote for a Hawaiian: “If the Haoles [pale-skinned devilswhites] had a majority here they certainly would elect a white delegate.”

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Today -100: July 24, 1914: My dignity forbade me to live any longer with you

Headline of the Day -100: “Austria Ready to Invade Servia, Sends Ultimatum.” That said, the NYT doesn’t seem hugely alarmed:

The 48-hour take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum is for the arrest of everyone involved in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the suppression of all organizations fomenting rebellion in Bosnia (formally annexed by Austria in 1908, but which Serbia would rather like for itself)(one of the organizations, which it names, has several Serb cabinet ministers among its members), the suppression of cross-border arms trafficking, an official disavowal by the Serbian government(in words specified by the Austrians) of “this criminal perverse” anti-Austrian propaganda, the firing of army officers and government officials guilty of anti-Austrian propaganda (Austria has a little list, some of whom were definitely involved in the assassination, although Austria didn’t have proof), and for Serbia to accept Austrian “assistance” in suppressing these groups. You might very well think that Austria doesn’t really expect its demands to be met.

But on to the important news: the Madame Caillaux trial, of course. Joseph Caillaux’s first wife, Berthe Gueydan, who supplied Calmette with letters from Caillaux to her and to his future second wife, testifies. She claims she has no idea how Calmette got her photographs of the letters, no idea at all. But mostly she recited the history of the failure of her marriage. At length. Nor does she care for the defendant: “All the pity has gone to the intruder who defiled my home to take my place,” she complains.

After three hours of that, Joseph Caillaux responds that his only mistake was in marrying her (and seducing her away from her first husband, he doesn’t add). It’s all very Jerry Springer, but it’s also part of a strategy to present Madame Caillaux as the sort of woman worthy of receiving a “crime of passion” free pass. He addresses Berthe directly, telling her that unlike the meek, mild murderess he’s currently married to, she was simply too strong-willed: “Between a man to whom everyone grants authority, vigor, and power, and you in whom those qualities are overdeveloped as well, it was impossible that things would last. ...My dignity forbade me to live any longer with you.” He says any wrongs he did her are more than compensated by the generous alimony he paid, and reminds everyone that she came into the marriage penniless.

After all the histrionics, the spectacle later in the day of two former prime ministers accusing each other of lying was something of an anti-climax. Caillaux had testified that Jean Louis Barthou told him that Berthe had shown him the letters. Barthou denies it.

A woman who watched some of the trial, Jeanne Beclard, the divorced wife of the under-secretary of state for fine arts, goes insane and has to be hospitalized. It seems that she showed up at Caillaux’s headquarters the previous evening intending to shoot him, but hadn’t gotten in.

William Barnes, the chairman of the NY state Republican Party, sues Theodore Roosevelt for libel for accusing him of being a “corruptionist” and comparing him to his counterpart in the D. party, Tammany Boss Murphy (“These machine masters secure the appointment to office of the evil men whose activities so deeply taint and discredit our whole governmental system”). TR says, “Let Mr. Barnes go ahead. I never say anything I can’t make good.” TR is promoting the alliterative Harvey Hinman as a fusion candidate for governor of New York, that is, he will try to have him nominated in both the Progressive and Republican party primaries.

Russian police and Cossacks are shooting strikers on the streets of St Petersburg, as was the custom. Evidently they held back until France’s President Poincaré’s visit was over.

(Oh, and Austria timed its ultimatum to coincide with President Poincaré and PM Viviani both being out of France – and it’s a loooong boat ride back from Russia.)

Carranza accuses Huerta of having sold 100,000 acres of Baja to the Rothschilds, keeping most of the money himself, and with a stipulation that they import at least 50,000 Chinese workers to raise cotton on the land.

Woodrow Wilson loses another nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, Thomas Jones, whose connections to the Harvester Trust aroused opposition.

Dr. Goldwater, NYC health commissioner, wants dogs kept leashed or muzzled all year round instead of just during the summer months as current law requires, based on the theory, long disproved by 1914, that rabies is caused by heat. There is no pound in the city, so stray dogs are chloroformed. Dr. Goldwater doesn’t really see the point of people keeping dogs in the city.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today -100: July 23, 1914: Cheap at half the price

An armistice is signed between the two sides in Mexico.

Pancho Villa goes on vacation.

Dorothy Evans of the Women’s Social and Political Union is arrested with explosives inside the home of the lord mayor of Belfast.

George Fred Williams, the US ambassador to Greece who resigned over Albanian policy, “went to Santa Quaranta [Albania[ with the intention of assuming the direction of Albanian affairs, but was politely requested to leave.” In November, when Williams (who was a one-term member of Congress from Massachusetts in the 1890s) returns to the US, surprisingly not in a strait-jacket, he will say he could have been king of Albania if he’d only had $25,000. He would have set up a cantonal form of government, like Switzerland. The Albanian people totally begged him to be their head, he says.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today -100: July 22, 1914: Today the cry of civil war is on the lips of the most responsible and sober-minded of my people

There’s some sort of large-scale revolutionary strike movement going on in Russia. The NYT is a little short of details.

Persia’s shah comes of age (16) and takes his oath. The crown is a little too big for his head. Literally.

Joseph Caillaux testifies at his wife’s trial in what the NYT accurately calls “a theatrical defense of himself.” He says the whole thing was his fault because he didn’t act first (shoot Calmette himself, I guess). He pointedly tells the court that he only knew true happiness with his second wife, the defendant, and not with the former wife who gave his private letters to Calmette. He says Calmette was part of a campaign against him by “the interests behind Le Figaro” motivated by opposition to the income tax Caillaux was trying to bring in as minister of finance (elsewhere he implies that Calmette took German bribes). Calmette’s actions in printing his personal letters were designed to “get at me politically through my honor, my honorableness, and at the same time to get at my wife through her honor, because it was our household itself that he was after.”

Caillaux goes on to defend his politics, his career, and his negotiations with Germany over Morocco in 1911. He then called up a Figaro staffer and demanded he produce government documents Calmette had in his possession (which were, though the public didn’t know this, three 1911 telegrams from the German foreign ministry to the German ambassador to France, intercepted and decoded by the French government, about secret conversations between the two governments on the Moroccan crisis. The government will falsely describe these documents as “nothing more than faked copies of documents that do not exist and that have never existed”). In the somewhat unstructured court proceedings of the period, if your name was mentioned, you had the right of reply and could just interrupt the trial to make a speech, like Caillaux is doing, or question witnesses. The victim’s family’s lawyer had the same privilege.

This is all the French newspapers are talking about, and will occupy the majority of real estate on their front pages until just before the war breaks out.

The Berlin police says there is no such thing as a white slave trade.

The conference on Ulster and Home Rule opens. King George begins, saying that the trend of events in Ireland “has been surely and steadily toward an appeal to force, and today the cry of civil war is on the lips of the most responsible and sober-minded of my people.” Liberals object to this language as echoing the Tory line, and, on constitutional grounds, to the king intervening at all.

Pres. Wilson orders that the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company be sued as a monopoly.

Pres. Wilson meets Fernando Calderon, who will be the foreign minister of Mexico when the Constitutionalists take power.

On Friday there’ll be another World War I fest on TCM. We’ve got, among others, Chaplin’s Shoulder Arms, a World War I short actually made during World War I, with a surprisingly grim (although comical) view of life in the trenches; King of Hearts (I’ve been avoiding re-watching this movie for years, for fear that something I quite liked when I was young will turn out to be the sort of thing that only the young like); and the really-shouldn’t-work-but-it-really-does Oh! What a Lovely War.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

A normal summer for our kids

(Written before the invasion of Gaza, but not posted because AT&T sucks):

Israeli Foreign Minister Unholy Avidor Lieberman explains why mass slaughter and occupation of Gaza is absolutely necessary: “It is not possible to ensure summer vacation, a normal summer for our kids, without a ground operation in Gaza.”

You don’t even want to know what he’s willing to invade to preserve Spring Break.

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Today -100: July 21, 1914: Never do we discern the voice of a woman

Headline of the Day -100: “Huerta Sails Away, Escaping Assassins.”

Carranza says he will accept an armistice pending negotiations for the handover of the government to him, but he still demands a surrender without conditions. He will grant a general amnesty, except for the murderers of Pres. Madero.

Headline of the Day -100: “Naps Stumbling Block for Senators.” As is always the case.

(That’s a baseball story.)

IWWer Becky Edelson, whose sentence of three months in the workhouse for refusing to give bond to keep the peace after making a street-corner speech was confirmed on appeal yesterday, plans to hunger strike. The IWW is sending out some rather premature funeral notices. Commissioner of Corrections Katherine Davis says “there won’t be any starving to death on Blackwell’s Island by Miss Edelson,” threatening forcible feeding.

Henriette Caillaux’s trial begins. She says she didn’t intend to kill Le Figaro editor Gaston Calmette: “It is terrible how these revolvers go off when they begin shooting – one can’t stop them!” She also insists that she is a bourgeoise. She says she was worried for months about the prospect of her husband’s letters being published to throw contempt upon him, the government of which he was minister of finance, the Radical Party of which he was president, “and strike through him the Republic.” Le Figaro describes her as having “physiognomy that hinted vaguely at a kind of Parisian elegance, but without distinctiveness and without charm” and “the banality of a shopgirl”. But “in her testimony she was harsh, dry, and without any emotion whatever... What we hear in [her speech] is the tones of parliament, never do we discern the voice of a woman.”

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today -100: July 20, 1914: Of $2.50, Hindus, wrong impressions of conditions in Austria, and Salome costumes

25 Wobblies are arrested in Aberdeen, South Dakota, holding street meetings after the Commercial Club ran an ad asking farmers not to pay harvest hands more than $2.50 a day.

King George intervenes in the Northern Ireland issue, calling a conference of all parties.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the ship that’s been sitting in Vancouver harbor for three months with 350 would-be immigrants to Canada who are not being allowed off the ship because they are “Hindus,” barred by Canada’s racist immigration laws despite being fellow British subjects. There have been court fights, questionable hunger strikes, repeated attempts to land, and actual fights. Now the authorities attempt to put food on board the ship, preparatory to forcing it to return from whence it came. The “infuriated Hindus” repel the supplies, pelting the police who attempt to board from a tug with coal.

A Bishop Alexander and a Prof. Getseff have been touring the US raising funds on behalf of oppressed Russians in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But in Passaic, New Jersey, the professor is prevented from giving a speech by a large mob using the argument of the hurled egg to make the point that the two are “trying to give a wrong impression of conditions in Austria.”

Long Beach, NY police crack down on bathing suits they consider unsuitable, arresting men and warning women. “Salome costumes won’t go here,” says one cop.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today -100: July 19, 1914: Of French pants, unamiable moods, kicks, best ruffians, and unclean and offensive ditties

The French Army is dropping its pants. Specifically, the traditional red trousers, which it will change for gray-blue ones.

A bank president tries to attack South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease, who had just called him a coward in a campaign speech.

Huerta, who is said to have indigestion and to be in an “unamiable mood,” still hasn’t left the country, but is said to be waiting for more of his cronies to arrive in Puerto Mexico.

The US says it won’t recognize as valid any concessions for natural resource extraction granted by Huerta, or foreign loans contracted by him after he dissolved Congress last October.

Mexican Fake President Francisco Carbajal orders troops to fall back and avoid fighting the rebel forces. And orders the practice of shooting prisoners of war and political prisoners ended. And orders the replacement of the statue of George Washington which was pulled down in April.

And generals Orozco and Cardenas, who played key roles in the overthrow of Madero’s government and his murder, respectively, are starting a new revolutionary movement. Mexico has too many fucking generals for its own good.

Headline of the Day -100: “DYING, HE TOOK REVENGE.; Frank Sharp Stabbed Man Whose Kick Caused Tuberculosis.”

Headline That Can and Indeed Should Be Read In A Different Way Than the Los Angeles Times Intended of the Day -100: “Police Best Ruffians, Who Attack in Force.”

Madame Caillaux’s trial is due to start, and seats are being sold for up to $200 (but no women will be allowed to spectate, except as journalists).

Letter to the Times of the Day -100: A Mrs. W. Williams writes to denounce the singing of “unclean and offensive ditties” and to praise the director of the Palace Theatre for banning “Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?” (which you can find on YouTube, but you really shouldn’t bother).

Edward, Prince of Wales (age 20) really wants to meet American women. Queen Mary really wants him not to meet American women. He recently cancelled a visit to one country house after his mother struck the names of two American women from the guest list. This is the future Edward VIII we’re talking about, so, well, yeah.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Today -100: July 18, 1914: I have paid – it has cost me the presidency

Members of the old Mexican Congress elected under Madero, which was forcibly dissolved by Huerta, are objecting to the claim in his resignation statement that he took power because the country needed him to do so, and that the Congress had agreed with him.

Huerta tells reporters, “When I assumed the presidency I said publicly that I would restore peace, cost what it might. I have paid – it has cost me the presidency.” He says he’ll be going to Europe “and there I will stay until my country needs my sword sufficiently to call upon me.” (Spoiler alert: it won’t).

British Home Secretary Reginald McKenna offers a deal to Sylvia Pankhurst: he’ll remit the rest of her prison sentence if she stops committing or inciting criminal acts.

At the National Portrait Gallery in London, a suffragette slashes Millais’s portrait of Thomas Carlyle with a butcher’s cleaver.

Rep. Samuel Andrew Witherspoon (D-Georgia) returns four days’ salary, because he was out of town on business and not congressing. This never ever happens. (Update: this actually happened in 1911. We’re just finding out now because he did it on the down low to avoid embarrassing his colleagues.)

Headline of the Day -100: “Roosevelt Cuts Grass.”

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today -100: July 17, 1914: Of unconditional surrenders, mobs, witches, lynchings, and Röntgen rays

Mexico’s Acting Pretend President Carbajal orders all political prisoners released. And orders all gambling houses in Mexico City closed. So how will all the political prisoners play blackjack?

Carranza says he won’t negotiate with Carbajal about anything; the only end to the fighting is unconditional surrender.

More praise for Woodrow Wilson, from the London Times, for his “sincere and unselfish efforts to save the Mexicans from themselves”.

Aaaand, Gen. Félix Díaz plans to start a new revolution, as was the custom.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan endorses women’s suffrage.

A London mob attacks the hall in which Emmeline Pankhurst was scheduled to deliver a speech (she had already been arrested after the police hijacked the ambulance that was taking her there from her nursing home). Police refuse to arrest anyone in the mob, on the grounds that the hall is private property.

The printer of the Women’s Social and Political Union’s newspaper The Suffragette – the printer, mind – is sentenced to two months for inciting.

Headline of the Day -100: “Set Fire to Burn Witch.” Four teenagers set fire to a house in Paterson, actually the house next door to the witch’s (a Mrs Amelia Corbett), belonging to some schmuck who had been carted off to the Almshouse, as if the witch thing wasn’t archaic enough, because they figured the fire would spread to the witch’s house, but neighbors put it out.

A man is lynched in Baker County, Oregon, for attacking an 8-year-old girl. I’m assuming he was not black, or the LA Times would have said.

Evidently the medical profession’s romance with radium is over. The Germans, at least, have stopped treating cancer with it. The new big thing is Röntgen ray therapy.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today -100: July 16, 1914: I hate the man, but he is no coward

Huerta resigns. Francisco Carbajal, foreign minister for five days, succeeds him as provisional president, basically acting as caretaker until the rebels show up.

resignation (which I think was read to the Mexican Congress only after he’d already skipped town) blames the success of the rebellion on US interference, in particular that of “the Puritan,” as he calls Woodrow Wilson. Congress votes 121 to 17 to accept the resignation.

The NYT is also eager to claim credit for Wilson: “the Mexican revolution has been won – not in the riven republic, but at Niagara Falls, at Washington. Woodrow Wilson is the restorer of peace in Mexico, not by invoking the horrors of war, but by virtue of reason among nations.” They actually think the Niagara conference accomplished something.

Pancho Villa, who really does not understand Huerta at all, believes the resignation can only mean that Huerta intends to lead his military forces in person. “I hate the man, but he is no coward”. You know, Villa has definitely called Huerta a coward more than once in the past.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cruisers Ready for Huerta.” Evidently he’s moving to San Francisco to explore his sexuality. No, wait, the cruisers in question are the German ship Dresden and the British ship Bristol, both heading for Puerto Mexico to compete for the dubious honor of taking the dictator into a booze-soaked exile. Also going into exile are Gen. Blanquet, some other former officials, and Gen. Joaquin Maas, who says that Huerta was so displeased that Maas was sending his wife and mother out of the country that he ordered him to leave too.

The Mississippi Pearl Button Company is suing the river steamboats to prevent them playing calliope tango music during working hours, because the “girls” employed in their button factory always stop and dance.

Germany’s Crown Prince Wilhelm writes to Frobenius, a former colonel, praising his pamphlet “The German Empire’s Fateful Hour,” which predicts that France and Russia will attack Germany in 1915. A minor scandal ensues.

The French Socialist Congress meets. Leaders of the center and right wing of the party, including Guesde and Herve, believe that the plan of stopping a European war (a purely hypothetical war, no one actually sees World War I coming) through a general strike is impracticable. It would be better to work to improve Franco-German relations, they say, especially by Germany easing tensions by granting autonomy to Alsace-Lorraine.

The House of Lords defeats the Plural Voting Bill, which would end people owning property in multiple parliamentary constituencies being able to vote in each of them.

Two suffragettes horsewhip Thomas McKinnon Wood, Secretary of State for Scotland, until his “stalwart butler” saves him. Then he went to luncheon at the Drones Club, I’m assuming.

Another World War I day on TCM this Friday, an entire 24 hours. Includes Abel Gance’s J’Accuse, evidently the silent version; Myrna Loy as a German spy in what sounds like a terrible movie (Stamboul Quest); Lawrence of Arabia; Gallipoli, which I remember as good but which the presence of Mel Gibson may now taint irredeemably; and the big kahuna of WW1 films, Grand Illusion.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Today -100: July 15, 1914: Of ghosts, nagging Villas, delirious monks, and altitude

London sees its first public performance of Ibsen’s 1881 play “Ghosts,” which somehow evaded the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship despite the play being about venereal disease, a subject, the London Times wrote in 1891 when it was given a private performance, “not usually discussed outside the walls of a hospital”. Earlier this year a private fund-raising performance (those are not subject to censorship) was held with the same cast for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage.

After any number of rumors, it seems that Gen. Huerta’s family is finally really fleeing Mexico City and, presumably, the country. With them were the families of the minister of war and other officials.

Headline of the Day -100: “Villa Nagging Carranza.” Doesn
t want him becoming provisional president (there’s some disagreement over the terms of the agreement, the Plan of Guadalupe, signed by the rebels before they began rebelling).

There’s a debate in the French Senate on the subject of military preparedness, with Sen. Charles Humbert saying that French forts are in terrible shape, with ill-repaired artillery and wireless. He says that whenever the German Army
s wireless set at Metz transmits, the French one in Verdun across the border stops working. He also says that the army is short of boots, you know, those things armies march on. The Minister of War admits most of this, but says the artillery should be in good shape by 1917.

Rasputin has had two operations. “He was delirious almost all last night”. Insert your own joke here. Peasants try to storm the building where his would-be assassin is being held.

Aviation continues to set records. Four years ago I reported a new altitude record of one mile. Since then the record has been broken with monotonous regularity, but since this may be the last time before the war, I’ll just note that we’re now up to 4 3/4 miles, set by Heinrich Olerich (who the NYT helpfully informs us is German).

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Today -100: July 14, 1914: Of bread and water, false, infamous prophets, awe, and scary imaginary Arabs

At the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island, anarchist prisoner Frank Tannenbaum gives up his leadership of the rebellion, which is what 130 hours in solitary with 8 slices of bread to eat will do. The warden is still putting pressure on prisoners to name ringleaders, saying “Isn’t it funny that you have to starve a prisoner to get anything out of him. In the business world you give a man a good meal to get anything out of him. The stomach is the indicator in either case.”

The Mexican government hires 400 people to repair the railroad between Mexico City and Vera Cruz, presumably in order to secure Huerta’s escape route.

Headline of the Day -100: “Favorite of Czar Stabbed by Woman.” Yup, this is one of the assassination attempts on Rasputin. The woman, Khioniya Gusyeva, who will be locked up in an asylum, tells the police, “I wish to remove from this world that false, infamous prophet who has led so many people astray, and who has falsely instructed the Czar on countless questions.” Sounds pretty sane to me. She stabbed Raspy in the abdomen and it is thought he will not survive but, as we know, Rasputin was a bugger to kill.

Other Headline of the Day -100: “Marines Will Awe Island Republics.” With disturbances in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Woodrow Wilson sends 700 marines to Guantanamo to be on hand in case he wants to invade either or both countries. (If that “awe” thing isn’t sufficiently clear in its racism, an editorial tomorrow will say “we must do something for our little brothers” – and that something is to establish a “modified protectorate” over them.

A captain in the French Foreign Legion stationed in Algeria, “hallucinating” that Arabs were torturing his wife and three children, killed them (his family, not the Arabs, there were no Arabs), and then himself.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Are you gay?

So a few days ago this exchange took place at a bbq joint in Austin:
Cashier: “Equal rights for gay people!”
Obama: “Are you gay?”
Cashier: “Only when I’m having sex!”
Obama: “Not in front of the kids!”
Why on earth would Obama ask that?  If I had the energy, I could work up an essay about how that exchange contains everything that’s wrong with Obama’s approach to civil rights, including his willingness to let non-profits dictate the reproductive health care of their female employees.

I very much like the guy’s response: being gay is not relevant to his rights or to his support of gay rights.  Obama, like every other fucking politician, seems to consider gay rights, women’s rights, etc as special interests, the province of the people in those groups, rather than matters of principle, part of building a just society, and therefore in everyone’s interests.

Also, dude, when you ask someone about their sexual preference, don’t be so shocked when they mention, you know, sex.

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Today -100: July 13, 1914: Of supremes, boynes, fires, no vote no rent, rubber balls, and lynchings

Supreme Court Justice Horace Harmon Lurton dies. There’s some talk of Wilson picking Taft to replace him, which isn’t entirely ridiculous, although (spoiler alert) it won’t happen: Lurton himself was a Democrat nominated by a Republican president, Taft.

July 12 comes off in Northern Ireland without the usual brawling, presumably because everyone’s armed this year.

British suffragette militants have set fire to a railway station near Leicester and attempted to blow up the Church of St John the Evangelist (there’s more than one way to evangelize, I guess).

Sylvia Pankhurst, working in the East End of London, advocates “no vote, no rent.”

Olive Walker, a Dundee suffragette, throws a small rubber ball into the royal carriage in Edinburgh, with a message about forcible feeding attached to it. It lands in Queen Mary’s lap.

Women in Kansas are failing to register to vote, and no one knows why.

A black woman is lynched in Elloree, South Carolina. She had killed a 12-year-old girl.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Today -100: July 12, 1914: If it be not peace with honour, well then it must be war with honour

Sir Edward Carson tells a meeting of the Central Antrim Volunteers, “If it be not peace with honour, well then it must be war with honour, because there is no alternative.” In fact, despite the typically fiery rhetoric, Carson is relatively calm compared to some of his Unionist compatriots, who want to force the issue by starting a riot, which the army would then decline to suppress, forcing the government to resign and call new elections. Yup, that’s a plan.

A stream of Huerta loyalists are leaving Mexico, not fleeing the imminent collapse of his regime, oh no, they’ve been assigned very important jobs. Esteva Ruiz, for example, the acting foreign minister until yesterday, will be going to Europe to try to raise money for the junta and then on a tour of the ABC countries to thank them for their mediation services. And I’m sure Gen. Maass and the others also have vital work of an unspecified nature out of the country.

Rumor (?) of the Day -100: Huerta has 230 people, mostly government officials, executed.

Austria ends its ban on the Canadian Pacific Railway recruiting emigrants, evidently feeling it won’t need so big an army after all (incidentally, of the European powers, Austria’s military is the second smallest on a per capita basis, after Italy).

Pastor Korber of Zenen, Switzerland is fined for using abusive language, specifically calling his congregation a “miserable band of pigs.”

The memorial meeting for the anarchists who died in that bomb explosion is held in Union Square. The police had banned any parade and ordered that the urns not be displayed. Some fiery speeches are given, with some flat-out saying that dynamite is the answer to society’s problems, while others claim the anarchists were actually murdered by agents of John D. Rockefeller.

In addition to taking the fingerprints of suspects, Berlin police are now x-raying their hands, because they think they can be used for identification purposes.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Today -100: July 11, 1914: Of aerial espionage, the law of flight, heckled bankers, and eyres

The US begins its first ever prosecution for aerial espionage, of the men responsible for an article in The Sunset Magazine entitled “Can the Panama Canal Be Destroyed from the Air?” featuring pictures of Canal fortifications. The article notes that from the position where their plane took the photos, an enemy plane could drop bombs which would take out the massive gun that protects the Canal. The authors say they had permission to take the photos.

The German government is politely asking banks to keep 10% of their deposits on hand in cash, in case of war. Not that they’re expecting a war. Just, you know, in case.

Huerta fills some of the vacancies in his government, most notably, because he will now become president if Huerta resigns, Chief Justice Francisco Carbajal, a sympathizer with the rebels, is named foreign minister. Rumors say this appointment was approved by Carranza and the United States.

Carranza rejects the invitation of the ABC mediators to send delegates to negotiate a provisional president with Huerta’s delegates.

US Secretary of War Garrison orders a war correspondent, Fred Boalt, deported from Mexico for sending out sensational and untrue dispatches. Boalt accused a US ensign (not named but with enough details to be identifiable) of shooting prisoners “while escaping,” following the familiar Mexican custom of “the law of flight.” The Navy says it didn’t happen.

British Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey rumbles at China for refusing to agree on a border between Tibet and British India.

Grey also says that Britain’s ever-increasing military spending is not his fault. He did his darnedest to get foreign countries (he means Germany) to agree to limitations, but they just resented the suggestion.

Boy, this story seems like there almost has to be more to it given, you know, subsequent events: “The Russian minister to Servia, N. Hartwig, died suddenly today while conversing with the Austrian Minister at the Austrian Legation.” (Indeed theories of poisoning will spread, and his daughter inspected the scene and took away the cigarettes he’d been smoking for analysis, but the dude was known to have a heart condition; he just happened to drop dead literally in the middle of explaining to the Austrian ambassador how Serbia wasn’t behind the assassinations in Sarajevo.)

The Boston Post, in an editorial entitled “The Heckled Bankers,” says that the Senate Banking Committee daring to call in Wilson’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board and even “cross-questioning him as if he were suspected of a crime”, is “taking the very course that will result in making men of the highest grade unwilling to accept appointments to the board.” Remember that Wilson’s entire cabinet was approved in a day without any questioning.

Berlin police release those Serbian students, who evidently weren’t conspiring to assassinate the kaiser after all.

The self-proclaimed Ulster Provisional Government holds its first meeting. “Nothing sensational developed,” says the NYT, which is not easily impressed by treason.

NYT Index Typo of the Day: “DANISH REFORM WINS.; Erections to Upper House Assure Amendment of Constitution.” Is that what they’re calling it now.

Germany is expelling Danes from Schleswig-Holstein. Mostly domestic servants and farm workers employed by ethnic Danes. They’re being told they can either go to work for German families or leave the country within 8 days.

Headline of the Day -100 or chapter title from a 19th-century English novel?: “Severn Eyre Dies at Eyre Hall.”

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today -100: July 10, 1914: Of trusts, Guadalajara, parasitical titled idlers, prison riots, and dwarfs and lamb thyroids

German authorities announce that they received an anonymous warning last April that a Serbian-Slavonic secret committee planned to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm. Which they ignored. But now they’re been conducting raids on Serbian students in Berlin.

Sir Edward Carson goes to Belfast to inaugurate the self-styled Ulster Provisional Government. They have a Constitution and everything. It begins “Our claim is simply to hold the Province of Ulster in trust for the United Kingdom.” The (Liberal) Daily Chronicle notes that reporters from the Tory papers are wandering the Ulster countryside “on the lookout for a civil war” and being spoon-fed alarmist stories by the Orange organizations. “It may be mentioned as an indication of Lord Northcliffe’s keen business ability that The Daily Mail is running a campaign designed to attract English visitors to North of Ireland Summer resorts and golf courses concurrently with its exploitation of political news from Ulster.”

Carranza is still collecting the views of his generals on whether to parlay with Huerta’s representatives. Villa votes no.

The rebels capture Guadalajara after defeating a larger Federal force. 5,000 soldiers and a lot of artillery are captured with minimal losses on the rebel side.

Rep. Stanley Bowdle (D-Ohio) introduces a bill to impose a 25% tax on the incomes of Americans who marry titled foreigners. His gender-specific concern is for females from rich families who marry “parasitical titled idlers.” For these women, he says, “American ideals, American simplicity, and American patriotism are but mere words.” If he was so concerned with American patriotism, he might have introduced a bill allowing American women who marry foreign men to keep their American citizenship, but no.

The Senate Banking and Currency Committee rejects one of Wilson’s choices for Federal Reserve Board, Thomas Jones, a banker involved with the Zinc Trust and also a director of the Harvester Trust, which was sued/is being sued (?) by the federal government. Another nominee, Paul Warburg, has withdrawn his name in the face of hostility, despite Wilson begging him to reconsider.

A riot breaks out in the penitentiary at Blackwell’s Island (today called Roosevelt Island, under the Queensboro Bridge), and a little fire in its brush factory. “The catcalls and curses could be heard in Manhattan.” Ringleaders (including IWW activist Frank Tannenbaum, who organized a sympathy strike for prisoners who were punished for excessive celebration of the 4th of July) will be put on bread and water – meaning a single slice of bread a day and a similarly limited amount of water. Tomorrow the NYT will blame the unrest on the appointment in January of a woman, Katherine Davis, as Commissioner of the Department of Correction: “surely no decent man can believe that it is right for a woman, however ‘advanced’ in ideas she may be, to be placed in contact with that horrible mob of besotted, degenerate, utterly vicious outcasts.” They could be reacting to her refusal to allow reporters to go to the island and her accusation that newspaper investigations of prisons inflamed the prisoners: “The prisoners got the idea that they were just as good as their keepers”.

Headline of the Day -100: “Dwarf Grows By Science.” They’re using lamb thyroid glands. How they’re using them, it doesn’t say and I don’t really want to know.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Today -100: July 9, 1914: Of conspiracies, Rabbie Burns, pacifications, and sailors

Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested again, and several WSPU leaders are put on trial for conspiracy “maliciously to commit damage and injury and to spoil certain real and personal property of the liege subjects of our lord the King.” They refuse to plead and keep yelling until they’re removed from the court.

Two suffragettes attempt to blow up the cottage where Robert Burns was born, but are foiled by a night watchman. One of the suffragettes is arrested. In court she is “very violent and loquacious.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Ruiz reports in person to the Mexican Congress on the Niagara negotiations, announcing for the first time that Huerta is willing to resign in the interests of peace. He presents it as a surrender to the United States rather than to the Constitutionalists, but will require a deal with the latter, at which point he will announce that “pacification” is complete, declare victory and go home (or, more likely, into exile. He knows what happens to political losers in Mexico). The other victory he is declaring is that the composition of the next government will be decided by negotiations between Mexicans instead of being imposed by the US(he’s pretending the rebels will give him that sort of recognition, which they won’t).

The juiciest of today’s false rumors from Mexico: Pancho Villa has been assassinated by a woman.

Zapata is offering his support to Carranza – in exchange for his men being allowed to keep every landed estate they’ve captured.

The Democratic, Republican and Progressive parties of Idaho all support prohibition. There will be a referendum in 1916.

The House of Lords votes to exclude Northern Ireland from the Home Rule Bill.

A story some American sailors arrested whilst on shore-leave in Havana and released on the request of the US ambassador ends with this sentence: “The sailors have been the best behaved lot who ever visited Havana.”

Didn’t the US just invade Mexico for doing the same thing?

Friday is World War I day on Turner Classic Movies, starting at 3 a.m. PST. I’d recommend everything after 5 p.m.: Paths of Glory, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Big Parade, Westfront 1918. Oo, and the next movie is Kameradschaft, which isn’t WW1, but still good.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Double your flavor, double your fun

Perusing the Guardian website, I see that Tian Tian, the giant panda at the Edinburgh Zoo, may be pregnant, and that Abdullah Abdullah is considering forming a parallel Afghan government. Which leads to one inescapable conclusion:

The double name thing is cuter on a panda than on a politician.

Also, if there had been a mix-up at the Edinburgh Zoo and Abdullah Abdullah had been artificially inseminated and Tian Tian formed a parallel Afghan government, the world would be a better place.

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Today -100: July 8, 1914: No citizen has a right to rebuke another citizen by subjecting him to ridicule or insult

The Manchester Guardian editorializes that forcible feeding is a form of torture and that Home Secretary McKenna’s defenses of it make that clear. In other words, it’s being used as a deterrent and not as a means of preserving the life of hunger-strikers.

NYC’s Board of Aldermen bans parades on 5th Avenue or Broadway, except on Sundays and holidays, but grandfathers in groups that have been parading more than 10 years (in other words, this is intended to allow the police to ban parades by women suffragists or Wobblies, and will be used against the latter tomorrow).

Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, expelled from the Women’s Social and Political Union last year, have formed their own suffrage group, the United Suffragists, which will be “politically militant,” whatever that means (I don’t think they know, and intervening events will prevent us finding out).

The Pethick-Lawrences, by the way, are one of those feminist couples that joined their last names together. My personal favorite example of that from this period is Francis and Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington.

In other intra-mural-squabble news, commissions representing Generals Villa and Carranza have met and supposedly sorted out their differences. Also, Federal forces are fighting mutinying soldiers near Vera Cruz.

Rumors again have Huerta’s family fleeing the country.

Pres. Wilson finally accepts the resignation of ambassador to Greece and Montenegro George Fred Williams, who claimed to have resigned a couple of weeks ago in order to be able to denounce Prince William of Albania and by extension the European powers who back him. He sent his resignation by mail, but it never arrived, so he was asked to do it again by telegraph. Now Wilson has to apologize to everyone in Europe because Williams was still ambassador while he was making insulting speeches. The Balkans are so troublesome.

The NY Health Commissioner refuses a permit to delay the burial of the bodies of the three anarchists blown up by their own bomb at 1626 Lexington Avenue so they can headline a parade Saturday.

Judge Crain of General Sessions upholds Upton Sinclair’s conviction for disorderly conduct for participating in the “Free Silence” picket line in front of Rockefeller Jr’s offices. One would have thought that silent picketing is the very opposite of disorderly conduct, but Judge Crain says “No citizen has a right to rebuke another citizen by subjecting him to ridicule or insult.” Evidently bringing Rockefeller’s connection to the Ludlow Massacre to public attention hurts his fee-fees and is therefore illegal. The NYT agrees with the decision, saying that the direct consequence of the picketing was the 1626 Lexington Avenue bomb.

Speaking of the Rockefellers, it’s John D.’s 75th birthday, but thanks to those kill-joy Wobblies and their bombs, he’ll be foregoing any major celebration. Also, his organist is on vacation, because John D. Rockefeller totally has an organist.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Today -100: July 7, 1914: Of smuggling, sillimen, and kissing weddings

200,000 rounds of ammunition are smuggled into County Down for the Ulster Volunteers. Funny how that keeps happening.

There’s a strike at the British government’s Woolwich Arsenal, the chief provider of guns for the military.

The Mexican Constitutionalists court-martial the British vice consul at Zacatecas, George St. Clair Douglas, on charges of assisting the Federales. He is released. Still don’t know what that’s all about.

Name of the Day -100: John Silliman, the envoy of the United States to the Mexican rebels, who says he will ask them not to kill Huerta after they capture him. Silly man.

Suffragettes throw leaflets at King George and Queen Mary at the Edinburgh train station, from the balcony of the house opposite.

Headline of the Day -100: “BURNS NEGRO TO DEATH.; Just a Joke, Says White Man, Who Set Goslee Afire.” Alcohol was involved.

Wedding Headlines of the Day -100: 1) “WEDDING BY KISSING UPHELD; ‘Diamond Gus’ Hall’s Wife Gets Separation and Alimony.” Diamond Gus being some sort of Wall Street type who likes to wear diamonds on his suspenders, garters, lapels, etc and even carries around handfuls of loose diamonds in his pockets, but is cheap enough to try to get out of paying alimony. The court awards her $7,200 a year.
2) “TO WED IF SHE HAS NO FITS.; Fiance’s Family Will Watch Bride-Elect Constantly for a Month.”

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Today -100: July 6, 1914: Of devil’s work, conspicuous silence, the vortex of anarchy, and mock elections

In St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bishop of London calls suffragette militancy “devil’s work.”

Rear Admiral William Southerland has reached the mandatory retirement age of 62; he is the last remaining member of the active service to have served during the Civil War, presumably before his voice broke.

A Dr. Daniel Martin notes that Theodore Roosevelt has expressed opinions on pretty much everything but “is conspicuously silent on the subject of prohibition”.

The NYT says that the IWW bomb explosion at 1626 Lexington proves that “Whatever may first draw weak men and women into the vortex of anarchy, there is no doubt that, once in, murder becomes a part of their creed.” (Related: Headline of the Day -100: “Find Berg’s Body in Bomb Wreckage. Head and Feet Blown Off and the Trunk Pinned to the Wall by a Pile of Debris.” Front page, above the fold. Wow.)

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand left his children only $400,000, so some of his castles may have to be sold off.

The NAACP will challenge Louisville, Kentucky’s new law establishing racial segregation in housing.

Mexican elections. The NYT correspondent checks out the polling booths in Mexico City and finds that almost no one has shown up. The largest parties (Catholics, Liberals) boycotted, or at least failed to put up any candidates.

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Today -100: July 5, 1914: Of state funerals, distrust, bombs, ice, girl-men, and plaster

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie’s funeral is a small affair, presumably because of some combination of security concerns and the emperor being too old and feeble to deal with a larger one. 120 or so pissed-off non-invited nobles decide to march in the funeral procession, whether they were invited or not. Those among them holding court offices threaten to resign if they’re stopped, so it was thought best not to arrest them. Some of them were angry at the way the Habsburgs always treated Sophie on account of her only being Czech nobility. Beyond the whole morganatic marriage thing, she wasn’t allowed to eat at the same table with her husband at state dinners, and other minor slights. Emperor Franz Josef writes to the prime ministers of Austria and Hungary: “the fanaticism of a small band of misguided men cannot shake the sacred ties that bind me to my people. ... For 65 years I have shared with my people joy and sorrow, mindful, even in the gloomiest hours, of my high duties and my responsibility for the destinies of the millions for whom I am answerable to the Almighty.” That comes darn close to the Divine Right of Kings.

The late archduke, in his military role, was behind an ongoing attempt to railroad (so to speak) an American employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who is being charged with promoting desertion from the Austro-Hungarian army (that is, emigration by ordinary Austrian men to Canada).

Headline of the Day -100: “Germany Distrusts Russia.”

Futurist Headline of the Day -100: “Futurist Leader Angry. British Public Stupid and Hostile, Marinetti Declares.”

Mexico is holding presidential elections, which everybody knows can’t be held in enough districts to meet the requirements of the constitution. It is thought that Huerta is using it as an excuse to name someone else (Pedro Lascurain) as president, allowing him to step down with some pretense of honor and then leave very quickly for Europe.

Yale Latin-American history professor Hiram Bingham (and was there ever a more Yale-professor-y name than Hiram Bingham? I think not), the guy who recently discovered Machu Picchu, says in his new book, “The Monroe Doctrine, an Obsolete Shibboleth,” that the Doctrine should be dropped in favor of an alliance between the US and the ABC countries, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, to protect (i.e., invade) the weaker countries in the Western Hemisphere, and stop them from being “Orientalized.” He’s horrified that Brazil and Argentina, rather than developing the enlightened racism of California, have been welcoming Japanese farmers. In 1924, Prof. Bingham will be elected governor of Connecticut in November and US senator in December.

A bomb being prepared by some IWW members to kill John D. Rockefeller Jr. explodes prematurely in a NYC tenement building, killing 4 (3 Wobblies and the girlfriend of one of them) and injuring 20.

Striking ice-wagon drivers in St. Louis fight scabs.

The Cherokee nation is legally dissolved.

 Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Milwaukee’s Girl-Man.” Following a recent Supreme Court decision defining common law marriage, the creditors of Mamie White are suing Ralph Kerwinelo, saying that by posing as her husband, Ralph assumed the legal liabilities of a husband, even though Ralph is actually a woman whose real name is Cora Anderson. Cora/Ralph is also being sued by the creditors of Dorothy Kleinowski, who she recently married (real, not common law) under Wisconsin’s new eugenic marriage law, which failed to specify gender.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan turns down the offer of a famous sculptor to make a life mask of him or, as the LA Times puts it, “Refuses to Allow Mouth to Be Closed By Plaster.”

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