Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Today -100: February 24, 1915: A people of poets and thinkers has been transformed into a united people in arms

Sarah Bernhardt is now minus one leg and is resting.

Sen. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico) proposes that the US, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil intervene in Mexico to restore order. It’s not clear what exactly he has in mind but on past form it’s something stupid.

The Prussian Diet sent Kaiser Wilhelm a message of congratulations on the victory in the Battle of the Masurian Lakes. He responds, “A people of poets and thinkers has been transformed into a united people in arms, and we can rely on the strength of its determination to triumph over all the enemies of German Kultur and civilization.”
Today’s shipping losses include: the US steamer Carib, which hits a mine off Germany, the Swedish steamer Specia, sunk by a mine in the North Sea, and the Norwegian ship Regin, hit by either a mine or a torpedo off the coast of Dover.

Carter Harrison, Jr., 5-time mayor of Chicago, though non-sequentially, loses the Democratic primary for a 6th term in some sort of intra-Democratic feud that doesn’t sound like it has a lot to do with actual issues. He was first elected mayor in 1897, 4 years after his father, Carter Harrison, Sr, who was also the mayor of Chicago, was assassinated. Both were elected five mayor times.

At the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, which just opened, a janitor finds a bomb at the Japanese building.

Dirty-Sounding Headline of the Day -100: 

To make it worse, her name was Mae Cockrell. She committed suicide in the elevator shaft of the Washington Monument.

Turkish newspapers, perhaps being fed stories by the German press bureau, have reported that His Islamic Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm has already entered Paris in triumph and had his hand kissed by the French deputies. Also, Wilhelm’s harem and the harems of his staff officers will be visiting Constantinople. So that’ll be nice.

Indian troops on the way to fight in Egypt mutiny in Singapore and go on a rampage.

The German government is asking people to stop stamping the words “God punish England” on mail going to other countries, as it might give the wrong impression.

Congress passes the Army appropriation bill, including a provision banning the use of stopwatches and other “scientific management” methods in government plants.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times, but possibly from the Manchester Guardian):  “Terrors of Bearded Troops.” Russian soldiers are going all shaggy because they think it frightens the Germans.

The US Supreme Court upholds the California law setting a maximum 8-hour work day for women in factories and shops (but not in agricultural labor, canning, boarding-houses, nurses or domestic servants).

The NYT misses this story, and the LA Times gives precisely two sentences to it: the US Supreme Court unanimously rules in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio that motion pictures do not have 1st Amendment protection against local censorship boards. They are not akin to newspapers, as Mutual had argued, the Court says, but more like circuses, theater and “other shows and spectacles” which the state can regulate in the interests of public morality. “Moving pictures is a business pure and simple, originated and conducted for profit,” and “not to be regarded... as part of the press of the country, or as organs of public opinion.”  The Court seems rather scared of movies, for some reason: “Their power of amusement, and, it may be, education, the audiences they assemble, not of women alone nor of men alone, but together, not of adults only, but of children, make them the more insidious in corruption by a pretense of worthy purpose or if they should degenerate from worthy purpose. Indeed, we may go beyond that possibility. They take their attraction from the general interest, eager and wholesome it may be, in their subjects, but a prurient interest may be excited and appealed to.” Just a few days before, Chief Justice Edward Douglass White had seen his very first motion picture - “The Birth of a Nation.”

The Mutual decision was reversed in 1952, when motion pictures were ruled to come under the 1st Amendment after all.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times):  “Bryan Wears a Toy Dove.”

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