Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Today -100: April 22, 1915: A day at the circus


The California Legislature rejects a bill to abolish the death penalty (retaining it only for prisoners who assault guards or other prisoners and who are already serving life terms), 38-30.

It also rejects a bill making women eligible for jury duty.

Lloyd George says there are 750,000 British soldiers currently in France. He also says that more ammunition was expended in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle than in the whole of the Boer War.

Leo Frank wants his lawyers to ask for a pardon, given that he’s not actually guilty of anything, but they will ask only for a commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment. Can they do that?

Dickhead of the Day -100:


The Hungarian parliament refuses to vote for war credits.

Glasgow is hiring women as street car conductors to replace men who left for the war.

The British government has decided to cancel the elections that were supposed to be held by the end of the year. Life is so much easier without a real constitution: one law says you have to hold an election, so you pass another law that says you don’t have to hold an election. It will be nearly 8 years between the 1910 election and the 1918 one (the Parliament elected in 1935 sat for 10 years).

The US responds to the German ambassador’s note complaining about US arms sales to the Allies. The US note worries that Amb. Bernstorff’s language “is susceptible of being construed as impugning the good faith of the United States in the performance of its duties as a neutral,” which obviously can’t be what he intended (it’s totally what he intended). The US insists again that it would be a violation of neutrality if it stopped arms sales to one side in the war. The argument goes that since the government currently lacks the legal power to stop such sales, changing the law to give it that power would be un-neutral.

The NYPD conducts simultaneous raids on 24 “free medical museums” and arrest 43 quack “doctors.” The museums feature wax figures showing the effects of cancer, TB, etc. The visitor is then asked if they’d like to see a Viennese doctor (they’re mostly pretending to be Viennese) who will tell them that they in fact have cancer, TB, etc, and sell them cures, such as a $300 bottle of “magic water” supposedly containing radium sold to a widow to cure her baby’s stiff shoulder.

Barnum & Bailey’s Circus performs at Madison Square Garden before 5,000 spectators, who all get to see horseman Otto Kline, whose thing is jumping between racing horses, miss. “The crash as his head struck the boards was heard all over the Garden.” The show went on as doctors worked on Kline backstage, to no avail.


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