Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Today -100: December 6, 1916: Of asquiths, states of the union, babbling blackguards, dieting Chicagoites, and old princesses

Herbert Asquith, who has been prime minister of Britain since 1908, resigns in an ill-designed power play. He suggests that the king ask Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law to form a government, but refuses Bonar Law’s request to serve as Lord High Chancellor under him. Bonar Law concludes that without Asquith and the Asquithians (yes, that’s a thing) he would not have sufficient support in Parliament and so declines to be prime minister (he may also have assumed that Lloyd George would fail). Asquith thinks this means no one else but him can be prime minister. He is wrong.

Sir Edward Carson, the Ulster Unionist who is likely to come out of all this with a greater role, is said to be suggesting a deal for a Home Rule Parliament for Ireland, including Northern Ireland (although only for 3 years) in exchange for conscription in Ireland. Carson will deny this.

The British Board of Trade bans restaurants from serving dinners with more than three courses. War is hell. Slimming, but hell.

Woodrow Wilson’s State of the Union address is quite staid, ignoring any interesting subjects like anything relating to foreign affairs. He proposes increasing the size of the Interstate Commerce commission, compulsory investigations of industrial disputes before strikes (Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, says unions “will not tamely submit” to this), and authority for the president to control railroads and conscript, essentially, their workers for military purposes.

Suffragists of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage hang a banner from the public gallery asking “Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage?” It was visible briefly, right in Wilson’s eye-line (he is said to have smiled at it), before an assistant doorkeeper/banner-wrangler tore it down.

The president of the Russian Duma, Mikhail Rodzianko, resigns after Right-wing anti-Semite Nikolai Markov calls him a “babbling blackguard.” The Duma votes to exclude Markov for 15 sessions and then re-elects Rodzianko.

The “diet squad” of 12 Chicago Health Department employees complete the two-week experiment in living on 40¢ worth of food a day (everything was going so well that it was reduced to 30¢). They have collectively gained 45 pounds. With nutrition science in its infancy, that seems to be their only metric. Or maybe it’s just a Chicago thing.

Headline of the Day -100:

Worst. Disney. Movie. Ever.

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