Sunday, January 31, 2016

Today -100: January 31, 1916: Of air duels, trapped Jews, micawbers, canals, and lepers and canaries

Headline of the Day -100:

An article in the Philadelphia Public Ledger written by William Bullitt (who would be FDR’s ambassador to the Soviet Union and France) blames the collapse of Henry Ford’s peace mission on Rosika Schwimmer’s autocratic attempts to dictate to the disparate group.

The NYT suggests that Brandeis was nominated so he could be the deciding vote in several anti-trust cases scheduled to reach the Supreme Court.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Headline of the Day -100:  

You don’t get many literary insults in politics these days. “A policy of milk and water in one nation,” TR says, “encourages a policy of blood and iron in another nation.”

A Woman’s Congress in Yucatan demands the vote for women in Mexico. Which they will get. In 1953.

There has been some discussion in the NYT letters page about the “canals” of Mars, following a report from Lowell Observatory claiming to have spotted vegetation sprouting alongside the canals. But, ask the letters, are the canals mere optical illusions? How could they, simply as an engineering feat, have been expanded as rapidly as astronomer Percival Lowell observed? Today, 
Waldemar Kaempffert of Scientific American, a supporter of the existence of canals on Mars, points out that in Mars’ lower gravity, a Martian canal-digger could haul as much dirt as an elephant on Earth. 

Magdalena McLean, a 17-year-old Jersey City girl, is ordered confined in a hospital because of leprosy. Which she actually prefers to being locked up in one room by her parents, as she has been since her symptoms appeared 5 years ago. The mayor visited her and sent her some canaries.

Ad of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Today -100: January 30, 1916: The world is on fire and there is tinder everywhere

Belgium protests the doubling of Germany’s punitive taxes on it.

Woodrow Wilson, giving a Preparedness speech in Cleveland, says that everyone who comes to the White House say they are counting on him to keep the US out of war and in the next breath say that they’re counting on him to maintain the honor of the United States. But, he asks, “Have you reflected that a time might come when I could not do both?” “The world is on fire and there is tinder everywhere. ... The whole influence of passion is abroad in the world, and it is not strange that men are red in such circumstances.” Thus the need to be prepared militarily. “Congress cannot know what to do unless the nation knows what to do. That is the reason I have come to you. Doo bee doo bee doo.” He may not have actually said the last bit.

Senators are moving away from the initial hostility many of them expressed for Supreme Court nominee Louis Brandeis. But questions remain. One progressive Republican wants to know Brandeis’s attitude toward the federal control of water power sites. The Senate Judiciary Committee asks the White House for the usual list of people who recommended Brandeis, only to be told that there is no such list.

Rube Goldberg, the most popular cartoonist in the US, now earns 50,000 a year from his cartoons alone, the most popular being “Boob McNutt,” which is also his porn name. He also makes movies. Not porn movies. Although a Rube Goldberg porno might be... interesting.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Today -100: January 29, 1916: A radical upon the bench of the Supreme Court is not easily imaginable

Woodrow Wilson nominates Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, much to everyone’s surprise and some people’s horror. Brandeis is known as something of an economic radical, believing in the regulation of corporations. He had several discussions with Wilson on the subject in 1912. His most recent book is Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It. He also supports a “living law,” responsive to changes in society. And of course he’s a Jew and there’s never been one of those on the Court before.

The NYT is hostile to Brandeis because he believes in social justice and shit, and the Court is no place for people who believe in things: “A radical upon the bench of the Supreme Court is not easily imaginable.”

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today -100: January 28, 1916: We can no longer be a provincial nation

The NYT has a gossipy piece on the supposed new heads of German intelligence in the US, replacing the departed von Papen and Boy-Ed. It doesn’t name the new guys, but gives lots of little clues: one is an officer of the same rank as von Papen but in a different branch, one is “almost as well known” as the former spies, and the two “often gather at a certain restaurant not far from Times Square. The restaurant was recently opened and is run by a foreigner, who came to this country from France – although he is not a Frenchman – several months ago.”

Woodrow Wilson gives the first speech on his tour for his preparedness plans. “We can no longer be a provincial nation,” he says.

Headline of the Day -100:

They (the Congressional Union) “force” him to do so by showing up without an appointment at the Waldorf and refusing to go away until they see him. He tells them, “It may be, ladies, that my mind works slowly.” Yes it may, it really may. “I have always felt that those things were most solidly built that were built piece by piece,” i.e., state by state. One of the suffragists points out that he isn’t pushing preparedness on a state-by-state basis.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today -100: January 27, 1916: I would totally see a movie called Monks vs. Pirates

Montenegro seems to have surrendered again. They’ll keep doing it until they get it right.

The British Parliament votes not to expand the blockade of Germany after Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey suggests that they might not want to piss off neutral nations like the US.

Headline of the Day -100:

“All the monasteries on the holy mountain were fortified in the Middle Ages in order to resist pirates.”

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Today -100: January 26, 1916: Of German reactions, German princes, the German language, and champs

The US and Germany are still negotiating over the Lusitania. The US is insisting that Germany admit that the attack was illegal, which would entail legal liability for the Americans killed. Germany wants to pretend it is settling with the US out of the goodness of its Teutonic heart, as an act of grace, rather than as a matter of legal right.

Headline of the Day -100:

Wow! How do they?


Germany is trying to negotiate a separate peace with Serbia, promising it more territory and the thing it must surely have wanted all along, a German prince on its throne (Wilhelm’s second son, Eitel Friedrich).

Germany asks its new ally Bulgaria to make German classes compulsory for all schoolchildren.

A Champ Clark Presidential Campaign Committee appears in New York City although Clark, the Democratic Speaker of the House, is not running against Wilson. Almost the entire committee seem to be German-Americans...

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Today -100: January 25, 1916: Outfokkering the Fokkers

In seeming response to the US’s demands on Carranza regarding the train attack, Mexican Gen. Gabriel Gavira, commandant of the garrison at Juarez, presents the US military with a demand for the punishment of a US soldier who wounded a Mexican civilian. Mexico also wants American cattle thieves arrested.

Headline of the Day -100:

Austria says it has captured Scutari, Albania.

A meeting at Carnegie Hall endorses the creation of a Jewish Congress (the American Jewish Congress, est. 1918) to demand equal rights for Jews, especially in Europe after the war, and to represent Jews at the peace conference. Says chairman Louis Brandeis, “The Jewish problem can be solved only as the problem of the whole Jewish people.” Note that this is what Brandeis is doing publicly in the period between the death of Justice Lamar and the nomination of his successor.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, performing Sheherazade and Afternoon of a Faun at the Met. After the staging of the latter is altered slightly to meet Chief Magistrate McAdoo’s demands, Diaghilev proclaims, “America is saved!”

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Today -100: January 24, 1916: There is no good in being up in the air alone

Dublin police raid the house of Countess Constance Markievicz, the suffragette and Irish nationalist (she married into the Polish title) who in 1918 will be the first woman elected to Parliament, although she will not take her seat. Um, spoiler alert. The police seize a printing press they claim was used to print pro-German literature.

There’s a colorful parliamentary by-election campaign in the Mile End district of London. With the general election postponed, this is about all there is for gauging British public opinion. The contest is between Warwick Brookes and Pemberton Billing, two men with four very English last names between them. Billing is running as an independent on a platform of stopping the zeppelin bombings of London. He makes his speeches from an airplane towed around behind an automobile. Another campaigning innovation: showing movies of himself flying planes. Billing’s been involved in various aviation-related business ventures for years and just resigned from the Royal Naval Air Service to run for Parliament, saying “There is no good in being up in the air alone. I must get into Parliament and impress upon it the necessity of more equipment.” He won’t get in this time but will soon. He will also be responsible for the first appearance of the word “clitoris” in the London Times; check back in two years for more on that.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Today -100: January 23, 1916: Of terse houses

Thomas Edison evidently never told the Navy about the danger of his battery causing a hydrogen explosion on a submarine. Still, Edison’s people (represented at the hearing by Chief Engineer Miller Hutchison, inventor of both the hearing aid and the car horn) blame the commander of the E-2 sub, which did, in fact, explode, for failing to keep the blowers on at full speed while the batteries were being discharged.

Wilson’s emissary, Col. House (who is not a real colonel) (or a real house), is in Europe. He holds a very informative press conference in Paris. Will he see any French statesmen? “Probably.” Will he see any German ones when he visits Berlin? “I hope so.” Has he noticed any change in public sentiment in Britain or France since his last visit? “I cannot say.”

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Today -100: January 22, 1916: There seems to have been a studied attempt to do everything in an unpleasant manner

Headline of the Day -100: 

So effective power in Montenegro has shifted to Gen. Martinovitch.

Headline of the Day -100: 

“There seems to have been a studied attempt to do everything in an unpleasant manner.”

Carranza announces plans to move the capital from Mexico City to Dolores Hidalgo, which they’ll bulldoze and rebuild in grand style, as befits... nah, it’ll never happen.

Pancho Villa supposedly has taken time out from his busy schedule of fleeing government troops to get married again, bigamously.

5 negroes are seized from jail in Sylvester, Georgia by 40 or 50 men and lynched. The lynchers tricked their way into the jail by bringing a tied-up negro (a random black guy they grabbed off the street? unclear) and saying they wanted to put their prisoner in jail. Also unclear is whether the lynched men had anything other than skin color in common with the man the mob had intended to kill, a suspect in the murder of a sheriff. He was not actually in the jail, the sheriff having moved him as a precaution against just such an event. But he didn’t take the precaution of not opening the door of the jail to random groups of strangers with tied-up negroes.

A newly built Mormon church in Buck Valley, Pennsylvania is dynamited.

Yuan Shikai postpones his coronation as emperor of China because of the uprisings against him.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today -100: January 21, 1916: And I, a queen, could do nothing to help you

The Montenegro-Austria war is back on. In fact, Montenegro is now denying that it was ever formally negotiating for peace. The Montenegrin government is now in Albania.

Headline of the Day -100: 

“And I, a queen, could do nothing to help you!” she reportedly exclaimed before the swoon. Such a drama, um, queen.

The House Military Affairs Committee is discussing whether New York and San Francisco are vulnerable to bombardment from enemy ships. Gen. Weaver, Chief of Coast Artillery, says those cities need artillery, but he would, wouldn’t he?

At an anti-war meeting in Washington DC, Oswald Villard (William Lloyd Garrison’s grandson) says that Woodrow Wilson’s newfound support of military preparedness is based on nothing more than boosting his popularity for re-election. The meeting is sponsored by the, swear to God, Anti-Preparedness Committee.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Today -100: January 20, 1916: They have deliberately thrown away every advantage they ever had of Greek sympathy

Montenegro pulls out of surrender talks with Austria over the latter’s unacceptable terms. King Nikola is going into exile in Italy. It’ll be a few days before the Austrian terms are made public. They include complete disarmament of everyone in Montenegro, conscription of all men 16 to 50 into the Austrian army, and surrender of the Serbian soldiers who escaped into Montenegro.

King Constantine of Greece again sends for an Associated Press reporter, to complain about Allied treatment of his country in occupying territory, blowing up the Demir-Hissar Bridge, etc. He says the only rationale for occupying Corfu was to house Serbian troops Italy was unwilling to take because of fear of cholera. “They have deliberately thrown away every advantage they ever had of Greek sympathy.” He says he thinks the war will end in a draw.

Fresh off removing the ban on mixed-race boxing, the NY State Athletic Commission is asked to ban non-Irish boxers adopting Irish names.

Woodrow Wilson will soon tour the country making speeches in support of his (military) preparedness plans. William Jennings Bryan announces he will stump against the plans, possibly trailing Wilson on his itinerary.

Carranza declares Pancho Villa (and others) outlaws; any citizen is empowered to kill them “without any formality of the law.” In Mexico, I think this means the firing squad don’t have to wear tuxedos.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Today -100: January 19, 1916: The Charlie nickel

King Nikola of Montenegro hands his sword to German Gen. Herlees. Not all of the army is following the king’s surrender, though, and a couple of Montenegrin generals have joined the Serbs. Nikola doesn’t know it yet, but he’s done as king.

British papers are peddling the story that Nikola always had a secret deal with Austria, and that if Italy had sent troops to rescue Montenegro, they’d have been marching into a trap. Italian papers are likewise pointing out that shipments of food and munitions Italy had sent Montenegro were left on the dock, as if the Montenegrens knew they weren’t really going to be fighting Austria.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the NYT publishes a report from Berlin, and a denial of that report from London, that Britain and France have issued an ultimatum to Greece to expel Central Power ambassadors within 48 hours.

Headline of the Day -100:

A couple of Pancho Villa’s lieutenants (or generals, as the case may be) are publicly executed in Juarez and their corpses displayed at the train station, as was the custom. They will also go on a posthumous roadtrip and be publicly displayed in Chihuahua. This is necessary, Carranza’s people say, to convince the US that they’d really caught and killed Gen. José Rodriguez, the man they claim was responsible for the train massacre.

A young woman believed to be an escaped novice from St. Joseph’s Convent in Philadelphia is arrested in Baltimore, on the convent’s request. Not sure what grounds there are to arrest a 23-year-old adult woman for leaving a convent.

Vending machine and telephone and nickelodeon and subway interests are trying to stop the sale of nickel-shaped coins, sold for a penny each, that can be used in their machines. The fake coins were supposedly intended as novelty items – they have an elastic cord, so you give it to someone, then it whips back to you, ZOINK!, hours of hilarity – and were only subsequently discovered to have more nefarious purposes.

Oh, the face on the coins? Charlie Chaplin.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Today -100: January 18, 1916: Of surrenders, conscription, and rubber

OK, this time Montenegro definitely surrenders.

Or does it?

The British Parliament, working on the conscription bill, rejects moves to include Ireland. Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond says using force would endanger Ireland’s loyalty, as demonstrated by the success of recruiting in Ireland (he doesn’t mention that that’s true only in Northern Ireland). This argument applies throughout the United Kingdom, surely?

Also rejected: an attempt to include married men. However, the only marriages which will count are those performed before November 2, the day Asquith promised not to conscript married men.

A plot to smuggle raw rubber from the United States to Germany on board passenger ships using women as rubber mules ends with 3 Germans and an American pleading guilty and paying fines.

There was recently a bit of fuss (which I didn’t mention here) over an Italian merchant ship, the Verdi, which arrived in New York harbor armed with cannon, and was permitted to leave port in the same condition. Now Austria says that any armed ships will be sunk by its submarines without warning.

The US wants Carranza’s army to hunt down the train massacrers, but not enough to let them cross through US territory to Chihuahua.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Today -100: January 17, 1916: Of boxing and profiteering

The New York State Athletic Commission had the NY deputy attorney general investigate whether its rule banning mixed boxing matches between white and black boxers was constitutional. He says it isn’t, so they’ll have to rescind the rule.

Germany plans to impose a special tax on war profits – after the war.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Today -100: January 16, 1916: Of surrenders, batteries, outlaws, and peaceniks

Montenegro denies having surrendered.

A US Navy submarine explodes at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, killing 4. The Navy thinks it’s the fault of Thomas Edison, or at least of his battery, which emits hydrogen but supposedly not in enough quantity to do this sort of damage when it ignites and explodes. The Edison battery was supposed to be safer than those using chlorine, which have killed quite a few sailors over the years.

Carranza says the men responsible for the slaughter of 17 Americans during a train robbery will be declared outlaws, which means anyone can shoot them on sight and collect a bounty.

Speaking of outlaws, Emmeline Pankhurst arrives in the US and, just like on her last visit in 1913, is stopped at Ellis Island because of her criminal record. In 1913, Pres. Wilson intervened. Immigration officials say that’s not a precedent. They’ll let her in anyway after a bit more harrumphing. She’s here to appeal for relief funds for Serbia and is accompanied by the former Serbian foreign minister. Asked about women’s suffrage, she says British women are now so busy making munitions and bandages and whatnot that there’s no time to think of political problems.

Most of Henry Ford’s peace party is now coming home. They didn’t bring about peace.

A Mormon colony in Chihuahua, where the train massacre occurred, refuses to leave Mexico, “where they still have property.” And multiple wives, but the NYT doesn’t mention that part for some reason.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Today -100: January 15, 1916: Of check books, memorable instances of sacrifice, usury, and the church very militant indeed

As I mentioned, when military attaché (and future German chancellor) Franz von Papen returned from the US to Germany via the UK under safe passage, the British took the opportunity to seize all his papers. Including, if the British are to be believed, his check book, showing his payments to secret agents for blowing up bridges and the like, because he totally paid them with checks and kept the stubs, even knowing he’d be traveling through an enemy port. The German ambassador, Victor Meldrew Count von Bernstorff, responds: “I don’t believe it.”

“Further than that the Ambassador declined to be quoted for publication.”

Russian Czar Nicholas issues an imperial order to the military. Evidently he wants them to win the war. “The year 1915 has passed, and it was filled with memorable instances of sacrifice by my glorious forces.” If there were any instances of them actually winning any battles in 1915, they’re evidently not so memorable.

Rep. William Howard (D-Georgia) wants Congress to investigate bank interest rates, which he says illegally reach as much as 50% per year, especially in the South and on loans to farmers.

The letters columns of British newspapers have been full of discussions of whether Church of England priests should be allowed to join the military. The Archbishop of Canterbury says no because they’re in God’s service, but of course the British public has been told over and over, including by priests from the pulpit, that this is a holy, righteous war. A thousand London curates have petitioned to be allowed to join up (although not necessarily in a lethal capacity).

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Today -100: January 14, 1916: The evil day will surely come unless our government abandons its attitude of criminal fatuity

Montenegro surrenders to Austria. The country had been hoping for assistance from Italy, which never came.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Nothing says workplace safety like your bosses having to “deny reign of terror.”

The Carranza military has captured the Villa generals supposedly responsible for the train massacre.

Pres. Wilson tells congresscritters that he’s against military intervention in Mexico, and anyway the massacred American mining party had been warned against entering that part of Mexico. They plan to introduce resolutions authorizing him to send the army into Mexico anyway.

Theodore Roosevelt, of course, wants to invade. He adds that thanks to Wilson’s wimpy policies on Mexico and Germany, if the US does not “do our duty in Mexico,” the US’s rep is now so low that one of the European countries will seize Mexico after the European war ends: “Thanks to this administration, our people may have ahead of them a most evil day of reckoning, when the warring powers are again free to turn their attention to us. I believe that the evil day will surely come unless our government abandons its attitude of criminal fatuity as regards both preparedness and international duty.”

Rep. James Slayden of Texas says the border states will only be satisfied when the murderers are put to death. (Indeed, there is some worry that Texas vigilantes will cross into Mexico lookin’ for a little payback, as is the custom).

Ousted Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta dies in El Paso from “intestinal trouble” (i.e., he drank himself to death).

German Social Democratic Party MPs expel Karl Liebknecht.

A Canadian court convicts a man of sedition for giving a speech in which he called King George a puppet and said that the recruiting slogan “your king and country need you” should be “your king and country bleed you.” Anyway, the man’s name, very pleasingly, is Wilfrid Gribble.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today -100: January 13, 1916: Of bandits, conscription, blockades, corfus, Goethe censorship, and explosions

Following that attack on the train in Mexico, many in the US Congress demand military intervention. And Secretary of State Robert Lansing has written a jolly stiff letter to Carranza’s consul. The letter refers to the bandits as “operating under the direction of General Villa,” although I don’t know that that’s been established yet. (Update: the train’s conductor claims to recognize a couple of them). The note also says that they were “murdered because they were Americans, and were killed in accordance with the general policy publicly announced recently by Villa.” Americans on the train were indeed specifically singled out for murder. Lansing demands that those responsible be captured and punished and that (American-owned) mines in Chihuahua be protected by Mexican troops.

Conscription passes the Second Reading in Parliament 431-39.  Many of the Labour MPs who voted against it in the First Reading changed their minds after being given assurances that it won’t be a stepping-stone to general conscription (it will) or industrial conscription (miners are especially worried about being turned into slaves). Conscription is generally popular with the British public.

Britain is about to step up its naval blockade of Germany. Lord Northcliffe’s papers have been complaining that many Germans aren’t even starving. To the extent that the blockade has been less than total until now, it’s because Britain has been careful not to tread too heavily on the toes of neutrals like the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, not to mention the US. An especial target: Sweden. And the US, really, since a lot of cotton and other American goods transit to Germany through Sweden.

The French occupy Corfu. Yeah, France isn’t at war with Greece, but 1) it’ll be a good place for the evacuated Serbian army, 2) Kaiser Wilhelm has a vacation home (ok, “summer palace”) there, so fuck you Willy. (The palace, Achilleion Castle, also looks like a good place to put the evacuated Serbian army). Greece plans a “vigorous protest” but won’t otherwise do anything about it.

One Don Collins of Garden City, New York is arrested as the head of a gang who posed as United States marshals and extorted bribes from wealthy men not to “arrest” them for violations of the Mann White Slave Act (traveling with their mistresses, some of whom were working for the gang, across state lines). The ring was uncovered because the cops busted them for their sideline: stealing nickels from public phones.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Not Goethe!

Explosions at the Du Pont gunpowder plants in Delaware and New Jersey, making five explosions this week in the company’s factories. The company says they are “unavoidable accidents” caused by the rapid expansion of the company since the start of the European war. “It is also true that some of the operatives have not been at the business long enough to acquire the experience of many of the older men.” One good way to become an older man: not work in an explosives factory.

An Italian newspaper says that Austria and Germany have named a new king of conquered Serbia: the illegitimate son of King Milan. Probably nonsense.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Today -100: January 12, 1916: Of train massacres, champagne massacres, conscription, and continental armies

Mexican bandits (associated with Pancho Villa, but that isn’t yet known) stop and rob a train in Chihuahua and kill 17 American employees of mining companies operating in Mexico (on properties owned by the estate of the late, alliterative Potter Palmer of Chicago). They were going to reopen mines since the Carranza regime assured the companies that everything is safe now.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Not as slapstick as it sounds.

The Progressive National Committee decides to hold the Bull Moose convention at the same time and in the same city as the Republican convention, to facilitate a possible deal on a joint candidate, even if it’s not Theodore Roosevelt.

In the British Parliament, Irish MPs drop their opposition to the conscription bill, which does not apply to Ireland but they’re still voting on it: “Send the fooking English off to die? Yes, please.” Edward Carson of the Ulster Unionist Party pleads for Ireland to be included in the bill and for the Nationalists to support that. Curiously, he doesn’t make a case for conscription in just the Ulster provinces. Funny, that. Irish Secretary Augustine Birrell says the reason the government didn’t include Ireland was the impossibility of setting up local appeals tribunals there.

One group of people you’d expect to have immunity from conscription but who won’t: members of Parliament.

Rep. James Hay (D-Virginia), chairman of the House Military Committee, says he opposes Wilson’s idea of a Continental Army.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Today -100: January 11, 1916: Business is booming

Rep. Dorsey Shackleford (D-Missouri), attacks American munitions manufacturer “Tories” who support “preparedness” in order to pad their pockets, noting that Du Pont’s stock is 8 times as high as it was in 1914. Du Pont, by the way, experiences two explosions at its Wilmington plant, following the one in New Jersey yesterday.

Thomas Flynn, an American Federation of Labor organizer, says the East Youngstown strike+riot+arson+looting was actually a scheme by the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, which he says brought in “paid sluggers” and gunmen to kick things off in order to depress its own stock value to facilitate a merger they were pushing.

Woodrow Wilson tells the president of the National Negro Democratic League that he won’t appoint a negro to the post of recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia, a position traditionally held by negroes. “The President said he would like to appoint a negro...” Suuuuure he would. “...but he understood that it would precipitate a discussion of the race question in the Senate.” And we can’t have that.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Today -100: January 10, 1916: Run away!

The Allies evacuate their last footholds on the Gallipoli Peninsula without the loss of a single life.

Yet another DuPont gunpowder plant explodes, in Carney’s Point, New Jersey, resulting in 5 dead (or 3, tomorrow they’ll report 3) and much hysteria about German saboteurs.

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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Today -100: January 9, 1916: Of dishonorable quietude

In November (but just being made public now), Germany promised the US not to sink civilian ships until after their passengers and crew are safely on lifeboats.

The German government invites Herbert Hoover to feed the (remaining) people of Serbia, like he did the Belgians, so they don’t have to. Germany has systematically stripped the parts of Serbia it occupies of hogs and cattle.

Headline of the Day -100: 

That’s Henry B. Joy of the Navy League (and Packard Motors), not the emotion joy. Henry Joy asks if the American people really know “that the honor of Americans is being sold for dishonorable quietude?”

There’s an interesting article on the hiring of actors and extras for the film Her God (aka The Red Woman), for which the requirements are:

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Friday, January 08, 2016

Today -100: January 8, 1916: Of fusiliers, liquor-crazed men, and servants

Major Winston Churchill is given command of a battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in France.

A strike at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company and other nearby steel factories leaves much of East Youngstown’s downtown on fire and 3 dead, shot by a posse of citizens organized by the city solicitor, with more expected to die. The arson and looting began after YS&T guards fired on strikers, who shot back. Houses have been dynamited and the bridge to Struthers, Ohio burned, I guess by Strutherites trying to keep the East Youngstownies from crossing it. “According to telephone reports, liquor-crazed men were drinking stolen whiskey from buckets in the fire-lighted streets of East Youngstown.” Gov. Willis sends in the troops.  East Youngstown changed its name in 1922 to Campbell, after James Anson Campbell, YS&T’s head.

War is hell:

In New York. And their wages are increasing accordingly. Housewives used to be able to hire themselves a nice immigrant girl fresh off the boat for $12 a month and now it’s $20. $20! The shortage is worst in the Bronx, because even immigrants don’t want to go to the Bronx.

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Thursday, January 07, 2016

Today -100: January 7, 1916: Abandon your abstract theories

In Britain what the NYT calls the “Labor Congress,” which I think is actually the Trades Union Congress (TUC), votes heavily to oppose Asquith’s conscription bill, and to recommend that Labour MPs vote against it, overturning the official proposed resolution allowing them to vote their consciences. 3 Labour MPs including Arthur Henderson respond by withdrawing from the coalition government, obeying their constituents even though they personally are among the 10 out of 35 Labour MPs who support compulsion. Former prime minister and current First Lord of the Admiralty Arthur Balfour calls on Parliament to “show that we are a united people. ... Abandon your abstract theories and remember we are dealing with stern realities which call for great sacrifices.”

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Today -100: January 6, 1916: Of compliments

The British government introduces its compulsion bill, making all single men aged 18 to 41, except in Ireland, eligible for conscription. There is a conscientious objection provision. After Asquith speaks in Parliament, Sir John Simon, who resigned as home secretary over the bill, calls for its rejection: “Voluntarism is a birthright of the nation. ... Do not let us pay Prussian militarism the compliment of imitating the worst of its institutions.”

Although the British gave Franz von Papen safe passage when Germany recalled him from the US, that evidently didn’t extend to his papers, which they’ve seized at Falmouth.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Today -100: January 5, 1916: Of silver palates, goats, and new czars

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: French newspapers are still pushing that story about Kaiser Wilhelm having throat cancer. There was something about him ordering a silver false palate a couple of days ago, and now Le Matin claims that he can no longer speak.

The Prussian authorities will distribute goat milk to poor children in Berlin.

Theodore Roosevelt instructs those working to put his name on the primary ballot for president (Republican and Progressive parties) to knock it off.

Headline of the Day -100: 

King Ferdinand of Bulgaria intends to proclaim himself Czar of Macedonia.

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Today -100: January 4, 1916: Of persias, peace missions, and justices

Woodrow Wilson is coming back from his honeymoon a day early to deal with the sinking of the Persia.

Although the US State Dept tried to keep Henry Ford’s peace mission out of belligerent countries by putting conditions on the pilgrims’ passports, Germany will allow them to travel through it on the way to The Hague – in a sealed and locked train. And they’re not allowed to bring paper, printed materials, postcards, cameras, opera glasses, or gold coins.

The NYT suggests that Woodrow Wilson replace the late Justice Lamar with... William Howard Taft. After all, Taft, a Republican president, appointed Lamar, a Democrat. Oh sure, there are only 2 Democrats on the Court, and one of them is the egregious James Clark McReynolds, but it’s not like there’s much difference between the parties anyway, the NYT says.

Wilson’s actual choice will be a lot more fun.

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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Today -100: January 3, 1916: The people most to blame are the ones who are getting slaughtered

Headline of the Day -100 That Would Be Weird If You Didn’t Know Nancy Is a City in France: 

British Home Secretary Sir John Simon resigns over the proposed introduction of conscription.

Henry Ford gives his first interviews since arriving back in the US after abandoning his peace mission (which he denies is what he did; it’s totally what he did). He says his five minutes in Europe taught him that it is not the bankers, militarists and munitions manufacturers who are responsible for keeping this war going; rather, “I come back with the firm belief that the people most to blame are the ones who are getting slaughtered. They have neglected to select the proper heads for their Governments” and then “they don’t write enough letters to them and let them know their views.”

It seems the liner Persia, torpedoed by an Austrian sub, was armed with a 4.7-inch gun, which if true would complicate the issue of whether it was legitimate to sink it without warning.

Supreme Court Justice J.R. Lamar dies. Although a Democrat, he was appointed by William Howard Taft.

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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Today -100: January 2, 1916: Of murdering the prestige of the white race

Headline of the Day -100: 

According to French President Raymond Poincaré, in his New Year message to the troops.

The P&O passenger liner Persia is torpedoed without warning in the Mediterranean, off Crete, with 343 lost. If this sounds just like what happened to the Ancona, which led to all that fuss between the US and Austria, it might be because the Persia was sunk by the same Austrian u-boat under the command of the same German, Max Valentiner, although of course that’s not yet known in the US, or even whether this sub was German or Austrian. Robert McNeely, on his way to take up his post as US consul at Aden, is among the dead, along with 2 other Americans.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: French newspapers are insisting that Kaiser Wilhelm has throat cancer, based on nothing more than the kaiser being the same age (56) his father was when he died of cancer.

The fifth largest industry in the US, after steel, is motion pictures, with 500 million tickets sold each year.

Bernhard Dernburg, the former German colonial minister who spent the first part of the war doing propaganda work on Germany’s behalf in the US, has an article in the NYT Sunday magazine section accusing Britain of being a traitor to the white race. He says that using colonial troops in Europe undermines colonial rule for every European power, that rule being based as it is “on the native’s belief that the will of the white man is good, unshakable, unconquerable.” The result of Britain (and France’s) actions: “England... murdered the prestige of the white race to which she belongs”.

Al Ringling, the oldest of the Ringling Brothers of circus fame, dies at 63. He was a juggler, among other things.

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Friday, January 01, 2016

Today -100: January 1, 1916: Happy 1916!

The British armored cruiser Natal blows up in harbor in Scotland (Cromarty Firth). The NYT says “The loss is generally attributed to foul play” but in fact it was just an accident with the munitions. Around 400 dead.

There’s a race war in Early County, Georgia. It’s a bit one-sided, as was the custom, with 1 dead white guy and 9 dead black people. Whites are coming in from Alabama because everyone enjoys a good race war.

Henry Ford’s peace pilgrims arrive in Denmark, only to find that any public meetings discussing the war are banned there.

Prohibition goes into effect in Iowa, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arkansas and South Carolina. There are now 19 dry states.

William Waldorf Astor, the expatriate American social-climbing hotel guy, is made a baron. He is only the second American to enter the British House of Lords, ever. The other is the 12th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, who inherited his title as opposing to buying it (as everyone snarks that Astor did). The NYT notes that Astor, despite having twice served in the New York state legislature and as US ambassador to Italy, has become more and more Anglophilic since moving to the UK, going so far as to write a sonnet on the London fog, that “enveloping goddess in opaque raiment.” His son’s wife Nancy Astor (another Yank) will become the first woman MP.

Another new peer: D.A. Thomas, the coal dude who survived the Lusitania sinking, is now Baron Rhondda. This will become more interesting when his daughter inherits his title and tries to enter the House of Lords.

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