Friday, September 30, 2016

Today -100: September 30, 1916: Of handshakes and outrageous buttons

Former presidents Roosevelt and Taft will both attend a reception for Charles Evans Hughes at the Union League Club, but Roosevelt makes it clear that this will not be a reconciliation with Taft. In fact, he won’t make a move to shake hands with his former war secretary, although he will be in the receiving line so he may have to shake Taft’s hand, but it’ll just be an ordinary hand-shake, it won’t have any special meaning. The event’s organizers have been pushing the reconciliation angle, presumably because it’s more of a draw than boring ol’ Charles Evans Hughes. Roosevelt is also really pissed to hear that there were plans to put out a button with a picture of himself, Taft and Hughes – “outrageous,” he says.

Hughes says he supports the 8-hour day, really he does. No, it’s just the Adamson Bill for railroad workers he opposes, because it will mean an increase in wages, and the public will have to pay for it. I’m not sure who he thinks pays when workers in other industries get fewer hours at the same wages.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today -100: September 29, 1916: Britain has only begun to fight

On Crete, Eleftherios Venizelos forms an alt-government at an “armed meeting of Cretan people.” They’re armed and they dare you to make that joke. Back in Athens, the king’s capitulation on going to war actually seems to be confined to going to war against Bulgaria, whose troops are presently occupying Greek Macedonia.

British War Minister Lloyd George says that any talk of peace by neutral countries, including the US, will be considered as pro-German and unneutral because the Allies are totally winning now and “Britain has only begun to fight; the British Empire has invested thousands of its best lives to purchase future immunity for civilization; this investment is too great to be thrown away.” He then goes on a bit about how “the British soldier is a good sportsman” and fights and dies like a sportsman and fair play and Jesus I can’t believe we’re still using sports metaphors to describe this horror. “Even when beaten like a dog he was a game dog.” OK, you can go back to the stupid sports metaphors now. Asked whether the allies were similarly game, he says that France will stick to the end and Russia will “go through to the death.”

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today -100: September 28, 1916: Of plebiscites, sympathy strikes, and demoralized Germans

The Danish Parliament will hold a plebiscite on the sale of the Danish West Indies to the US. A plebiscite of the Danish people, not the Danish West Indians, obvs.

The attempt in New York at a general strike in sympathy with the street car etc workers fails miserably. So much for solidarity.

King Constantine of Greece gives in to the revolt and will graciously allow Greece to go to war.

In war spin news, the British say German troops on the Somme are totally demoralized, and Germany says British tanks are total failures (their specific criticisms – that the tanks are slow, prone to break-down, miserable environments for their crew – are all true).

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Today -100: September 27, 1916: Of provisional governments and executions

A memorial from the Army chief of staff and 500 officers addressed to Greece’s King Constantine demands that Greece enter the war. Former PM Venizelos says his provisional government isn’t actually superseding the Athens government, which makes no sense.

Supposedly the Carranzistas have executed 600 suspected Pancho Villa supporters in Chihuahua.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Today -100: September 26, 1916: Of men on horseback

Former Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos leaves Athens for Crete to head the revolutionary movement intended to bring Greece into the war on the side of the Entente. He’s accompanied by the chief admiral and is supported financially by Leonidas Embericos, the richest man in the country.

Thomas Dixon, author of the novels that D.W. Griffith adapted into The Birth of a Nation, plans to commission a statue of his uncle, Col. McAfee, on horseback in Ku Klux Klan robes, to be placed in front of the Shelby, North Carolina Court House. There is some controversy about this.

The Mexican-American Commission is absolutely not discussing internal Mexican matters, says Mexico.

New York public schools opened yesterday, belatedly, but an estimated 10% of children were kept home by polio-fearing parents and another 4 or 5% were sent home because they’d been out of the city and didn’t have health certificates. Classrooms have all been sprayed with oil because science.

A bomb goes off in a Chicago movie theatre, evidently from a dispute between two projectionists’ unions. It’s the Chicago way.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Today -100: September 25, 1916: The ancient struggle for dominance between zeppelins and turnips... continues

The “Great Secret Order” is meeting in Cleveland. The anti-Catholic group claims to be able to order 5 million people to vote as a bloc and elect whoever they pick, probably Hughes.

The British have been getting better at defending against zeppelin raids, and on Saturday shot down two over Essex. There were survivors from one of the airships. They were taken into custody by a single village constable. One farmer complains that “The wreck had made a sad mess of one of our trees and there were a good many mashed turnips in the field.” Oh, and eight dead bodies, most of them burned to death, one decapitated, but getting back to those mashed turnips....

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Today -100: September 24, 1916: Of TB, tanks, war whoops, polio, britlings, and gardeners

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: France claims that Germany is deliberately infecting POWs with tuberculosis in secret prison camps and then returning them to their home countries (or to neutral countries).

Germany may complain to the International Red Cross about the British use of tanks, which it says is contrary to the recognized methods of civilized warfare. Because the Germans are all about civilized warfare.

Headline of the Day -100:

The Germans’ll probably complain about this too.

US Secretary of War Newton Baker has supposedly told Secretary of State Robert Lansing that Pancho Villa is definitely, absolutely, positively dead.

New York City polio death toll = 2,233. Schools are reopening tomorrow, but attendance will not be mandatory.

The NYT reviews H.G. Wells’s latest novel, Mr. Britling Sees It Through. They like it. I would say that while showing the limitations of the form of the Edwardian novel in dealing with the subject matter of the war, it is an excellent portrayal of the effects of the war on the psyche of a certain stratum of English society on the home front.

British novelist Marie Corelli asks her local military tribunal not to draft her gardener. The army’s man on the tribunal says rude things about her garden and they refuse the exemption.

The Women’s Republican National Committee is sending a trainload of women to speak on behalf of Charles Evans Hughes in 28 states. Alice Chittenden of the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage complains that the women all seem to be supporters of women’s suffrage.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Today -100: September 23, 1916: Of Greek splitters and sympathetic strikes

Large portions of Greece have declared themselves independent of King Constantine and his government.

A general strike is called for New York City. After all, good union men can hardly be expected to go to work on public transportation manned by scab labor (actually, they can: the general strike will be a miserable failure).

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Today -100: September 22, 1916: Who is ever going to think of Greece, save with shame?

Former Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos refuses to deny plans to set up a revolutionary government in opposition to King Constantine and take Greece into the war on the Entente side. He makes the case that whichever side wins the war, Greece is sure to lose land to either Bulgaria or Serbia if it has not allied itself to someone. “Who is ever going to think of Greece, save with shame, if we have stood idly by while half the world has battled for civilization?” Meanwhile, PM Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos denies that King Constantine is pro-German, saying he is only pro-Greek. Asked by an AP reporter about his own attitude toward the Entente, Kalogeropoulos, whose name makes me so grateful for copy-and-paste, says he’s been smoking French tobacco for 45 years. Crete’s local administration is overthrown, and King Constantine advises new army recruits to display blind devotion to their superior officers and ignore people who “sell patriotism like retailers.”

New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel threatens to bring in the military to crush any sympathetic general strike called in support of striking train workers.

A NYT editorial mentions a lynching in Olathe, Kansas, but doesn’t give many details and there is no news story. A mob took convicted murderer Bert Dudley, who killed farmer Henry Muller and his wife, from the jail the night before he was due to be transferred to the state pen to start his life sentence. In a whimsical touch, the lynch mob chose Dudley Road as the locale for the hanging (the town later changed the street’s name). There’s an 8-minute film about the lynching here.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Today -100: September 21, 1916: Because if there’s anything Germans hate, it’s cruel efficiency

The French claim to have found a confidential order on a captured German soldier, complaining about the British tanks, “whose cruelty is equaled by their efficiency.” It also says soldiers who do not fight to the death to hold their positions will be court-martialed. Anyway, the credibility of the document is rather undermined (for me, that is; the NYT hasn’t noticed this) by the fact that it’s dated September 14th, the day before tanks were first deployed.

NY Gov. Whitman’s special train hits a brewery truck, killing 2.

Headline of the Day -100:

That’s Secretary of War Newton Baker, who says “As a civilian I believed that a standing army was a menace to free institutions, and that the professional soldier desired war”. But then he was put in charge of the army, and found this not to be the case (although he evidently hasn’t learned the definition of “civilian” if he thinks he isn’t one).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today -100: September 20, 1916: Of seals, salvage, parasitism of big business, and islanders

German Food Dictator Adolf Tortilowitz von Batocki-Friebe is now pushing seal meat. Which even Germans think is gross.

The Cunard Steamship Company files suit to limit damages from the sinking of the Lusitania to the value of the ship – well, the salvage of the ship – plus the money they took in for passenger fares and freight on the last voyage, a total of $91,296.

In a speech in Philadelphia, Woodrow Wilson ascribes the calls for military intervention in Mexico to the “parasitism of big business.” “What she needs more than anything else is financial support which will not involve the sale of her liberties and the enslavement of her people.”

There is a letter to the NYT from Harry Houdini. He asks for people to send newspapers and magazines to the only white man on one of the Solomon Islands, a Mr. H.M. Markham, who is getting a little bored. Which would make for a great New Yorker cartoon, if the New Yorker existed yet.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Today -100: September 19, 1916: The enemy has by no means a monopoly on inventive ingenuity

Gen. William Crozier, chief of the US Army’s Ordnance Bureau, denies that Lewis offered the Lewis gun for free to the army. He is lying.

The Holt Caterpillar Company of Stockton, California claims that the British tanks are based on its tractors. Which is true. Lloyd George, Minister of Munitions when the development of tanks was authorized, credits Winston Churchill with persuading him of their utility. “The enemy has by no means a monopoly on inventive ingenuity,” he adds.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Today -100: September 18, 1916: Of chihuahuas, benevolent neutrality, and Lewis guns

Mexican Chief Carranza has been claiming that Pancho Villa probably died some time back, so it’s a bit embarrassing when Villa and his men briefly capture Chihuahua, free all the prisoners, and then leave, taking the army’s artillery and other weaponry with them. Carranza will claim this was actually done by supporters of the late former dictator Huerta, disguised as Villistas. Meanwhile, his men are happily executing captured Villistas.

Yesterday the NYT was saying that new Greek Prime Minister Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos was pro-Entente. Now he’s denying charges of being a Germanophile and saying his government will observe “benevolent neutrality” towards the Entente.

The best machine gun used by the British and French armies is the Lewis Gun, invented by an American, Col. Isaac Newton Lewis, in 1910. Fun fact: he offered it to the US Army for free in 1911, but they didn’t want it and still use inferior machine guns. My sense is that the general in charge of the ordnance department just didn’t like Lewis.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Today -100: September 17, 1916: Of death-dealing war autos, cracker messiahs, and easy amputations

The first reports of the British tanks, which the NYT is calling “death-dealing war autos.” Gen. Haig calls them “superdreadnoughts of the land.” The British papers use the term “tank,” but think British soldiers came up with it themselves, “mysteriously.” In fact, it had been adopted during the development phase as a nice innocuous word that wouldn’t mean anything to people who overheard it.

Woodrow Wilson’s sister Annie Howe dies. This has been keeping him off the campaign trail (although he is pretending not to be campaigning at all and says he’ll only speak to non-partisan organizations).

The new Greek prime minister (but not for long), Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos, is considered pro-Entente.

The NYT has no interest in Florida, no matter how Carl Hiaasenesque it gets, so it looks like the not hugely informative article about gubernatorial candidate Rev. Sidney Catts in today’s Sunday Magazine is the last one about him until “Governor Threatens to Shoot Editor” more than four years from now. Catts, who quit his job as a Baptist minister 10 years ago to sell insurance, narrowly won the Democratic primary in June. Party establishment types will get the courts to order a recount which will hand the nomination back to William Knott. Catts will run as a Prohibition Party candidate and win in November, making him the only Prohibition Party governor ever and also the first non-Democratic governor in the South since 1881. His anti-black, anti-Catholic and anti-German diatribes will only increase in office; he will claim that German monks were planning to arm Florida’s blacks to seize Florida for Kaiser Wilhelm and the pope. After his single term, he will be indicted for taking bribes in exchange for pardons and also for peonage, pardoning black men he then forced to work on his farm; he will be acquitted. In 1929 he’ll be charged with being part of a counterfeiting ring; that will lead to a mistrial. In 1931 he’ll be arrested for breaking into the café of a man who owed him money. There’s a 1977 biography of him called Cracker Messiah, which I haven’t read but I’m definitely considering buying.

Until now there have been no college courses open to women in the state of New Jersey but the Newark Institute of Arts and Sciences will now host courses taught by NYU faculty. (Update: Someone from the College of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station writes to say that there is so a college [Catholic] giving degrees to women).

Headline of the Day -100:

Easier in the sense of quicker than splinting and repairing, according to an article in American Medicine.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Today -100: September 16, 1916: Of race conferences, missionaries, Arab revolts, and prohibition

A negro “race conference” (not sure if that’s their term or the NYT’s) endorses Charles Evans Hughes after voting down a proposal to first send a delegation to Hughes to find out what his views on negroes actually are.

India bars non-British missionaries, teachers and the like from entering the country without a permit.

Carranza orders elections for a convention to amend the Mexican constitution. He insists the changes he wants aren’t that he be made a dictator. Likely story.

Hussein bin Ali, the Grand Sharif and Emir of Mecca proclaimed the Arabs in revolt against Ottoman rule last June, but the British, who got him to do so, are only now getting around to translating the proclamation for propaganda purposes.

Referendum elections in British Columbia support women’s suffrage and prohibition. But did they? Suffrage definitely won by more than 2 to 1, but there will be some question about prohibition. Soldiers voted absentee and when their ballots come in (months from now), they will be anti-prohibition to an unbelievable degree, possibly because they were counted by former BC prime minister Richard McBride, who was both anti-prohibitionist and dying. The count turned out to be full of fraud and irregularities. When more than half the military votes were discarded, prohibition was again the victor. The province soon tired of prohibition and the gangsterism it generated (the Prohibition Commissioner himself was arrested and jailed for bootlegging) and re-legalized booze again in 1921.

The St. Louis Democratic Party expects cops to contribute $10 each ($25 for sergeants).

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today -100: September 15, 1916: Tanks! We got tanks!

It’s a big day on the Somme. The British use tanks for the first time.

Slow (maybe 3 miles per hour) and prone to breaking down and getting stuck, they were still pretty terrifying. Of the 49 tanks, 17 never started, and only 9 made it to the German lines. Still a few kinks to be worked out.

Also on the Somme, the prime minister’s son, Lt. Raymond Asquith, is killed. 37, he was a scholar, lawyer, and former president of the Oxford Union. His father tried to keep him off the front lines by getting him a cozy staff position but he got himself transferred back, with fatal consequences.

And Harold Macmillan, the future prime minister (1957-63), is badly wounded and stranded in a shell-hole in No Man’s Land. While awaiting rescue he read Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound and took morphine, as was the custom. He’ll spend the rest of the war in hospital.

Greek Prime Minister Alexandros Zaimis resigns, evidently pissed off that just as negotiations were beginning with the Entente over Greece possibly entering the war, the Allied fleet showed up to say “Please hello.” King Constantine asks Demetracopulos to form a new cabinet, but he refuses, evidently vetoed by France and Britain.

Cops raid an IWW meeting in Scranton, Pennsylvania and arrest everyone in the hall, 318 persons. There’s a strike at one company’s coal mines.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Today -100: September 14, 1916: Restless and inclined to change

Following that crash caused by scabs yesterday and the subsequent revelations about how untrained many of the strikebreaking street car operators were, the New York Railways Company fires 1,000 of them as well as the “detective agencies” that supplied them. However the company’s assertion that the operators it will be using, many of them currently employed in its offices, are entirely qualified is less than reassuring, as is its inability to say just what the previously dismissed car operators who are now being hired back were dismissed for. “A good many of them simply got restless and inclined to change,” the company president asserts. So that’s okay then.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Today -100: September 13, 1916: Of dorseys and street car scabs

Hugh Dorsey, proud prosecutor of Leo Frank, wins the Democratic nomination for governor of Georgia, and effectively the governorship, defeating incumbent Gov. Nat Harris (a Confederate vet).

The strikebreakers hired to run NYC subways, street cars and elevated trains are not happy, in part because they are being paid less than they were promised when they were recruited from as far away as Chicago. And it turns out many of them don’t have much if any experience running choo choos. A scab motorman and a scab conductor are held after they lose control of a car going down a hill in the Bronx, crashing into an automobile and killing three men and injuring a bunch more. The motorman turns out not to have known how to operate the brakes, which would seem to be kind of essential.

Greek Prime Minister Alexandros Zaimis resigns, but the king persuades him to stay on. The Greek government is fracturing.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Today -100: September 12, 1916: Of polio, shirker raids, Hebrews, bridges, and Lees

New York City polio death toll = 2,123. Public schools will finally be allowed to open on September 25th, and all other restrictions on children (movie theaters, pools, etc) will be ended on the same date, just to rub it in.

A Greek “National Defense Army” is forming, to aid the Entente. It is not authorized by the government.

British police and military raid the Marylebone train station and haul away 180 military-age men they suspect of evading the draft. 179 had exemption papers (which they had to get family members to bring to the police station) and 1 was exempt as a conscientious objector.

Hugh Dorsey, running for governor of Georgia largely on the basis of his zealous prosecution of Leo Frank, accuses Jews (he seems to prefer the term “Hebrew”) of raising a slush fund to defeat him and secretly meeting with former Gov. Slaton, who commuted Frank’s sentence and was then virtually run out of the state (there is no secret slush fund and there was no meeting). His campaign and his supporters have been anti-Catholic as well as anti-Semitic.

A span of the under-construction Quebec Bridge falls into the St Lawrence as it is being raised into place. This is the second time this has happened on this spot in the last decade, though only 13 construction workers were killed this time compared to 75 in 1907.

A rally at the Hotel Astor of the Women’s City Committee of the Hughes Alliance was slightly marred by a Southern woman who stormed out after spotting 3 black women, proclaiming that she couldn’t possibly sit with – yes, she used the n–word – because she’s the great-great-granddaughter of Robert E. Lee.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Today -100: September 11, 1916: Of zaimises, red pepper, and hand grenades

Greek Prime Minister Alexandros Zaimis confers with ambassadors from the Entente countries about Greece maybe possibly joining the war.

4 prisoners in the West Side Prison in NYC escape by throwing red pepper into the eyes of a guard, then beating him. 2 are quickly recaptured.

James O’Hara a British soldier who was invalided out, shouts at neighbors at his Glasgow tenement building to be quiet. When they don’t, he chucks a hand grenade at them, killing 2.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Today -100: September 10, 1916: He made as clean a promise as ever a man made

Suffragists of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association feel “universal satisfaction” over Woodrow Wilson’s remarks to their convention yesterday. “He made as clean a promise as ever a man made,” says Anna Howard Shaw, probably non-sarcastically.

The Fund for Starving Children (of New York) claims that 14 million Poles have died since the start of the war from starvation, disease etc. including every single child under 7. This may be a slight exaggeration.

Headline of the Day -100:

And mushrooms. Germans are trying to gather berries and mushrooms to store for the winter so they don’t, you know, starve, but landowners are not cooperating.

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Friday, September 09, 2016

Today -100: September 9, 1916: I have come here to fight with you

Woodrow Wilson addresses the national convention of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association. “I have come here to fight with you,” he says ambiguously.

Theodore Kaftan, head of the Prussian Protestant Church, hopes hundreds of zeppelins will bomb England. For world peace, you know.

Wilson signs a law giving a $20 per month pension to widows of Civil War vets when they reach 70 (sooner if their husband died during the war).

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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Today -100: September 8, 1916: Supplying the ginger

The US Senate ratifies the purchase of the Danish West Indies and its inhabitants.

The Republican Party has asked Theodore Roosevelt to play a bigger role in the Hughes campaign and make more speeches in marginal states to “take off his coat and supply the ginger which is lacking in Candidate Hughes’s speeches,” as one member of the campaign committee put it.

Headline of the Day -100:

Inexperienced elevated operators employed during the strike in New York, not actual green... elevated... men.

The Allen County, Ohio, Grand Jury indicts 16 members of the Lima, Ohio lynch mob that assaulted the sheriff. 

Henry Ford sues the Chicago Tribune for calling him an anarchist for firing his workers in the National Guard deployed to the Mexican border (which, too, also, he didn’t actually do).

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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Today -100: September 7, 1916: Of strikes, baffled mosquitos, and blasphemies

Street car/subway strike in New York, so the NYT may be distracted for a while.

The president of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad says it will defy the 8-hour act until the Supreme Court – none of your lesser courts, mind you – orders it to do so. It seems Congress failed to put in enforcement provisions because they didn’t imagine the railroads would outright refuse to obey the law.

Headline of the Day -100:

Don’t click on the link; the imagery the headline invokes is far superior to the dull reality.

The National American Woman’s Suffrage Association convention decides to change none of its policies, you know, the ones that haven’t been working the last few years. It won’t drop its non-partisan stance (which in practice would have meant supporting the Republicans, since the Southern-dominated Democrats are opposed to the federal amendment or any federal interference with their sexist voting laws that might lead to federal interference with their racist voting laws). The convention rejects motions to concentrate solely on federal or solely on state suffrage measures.

Lord Alfred Douglas – yes, Oscar Wilde’s Bosie – applies for a blasphemy summons against Irish novelist George Augustus Moore (or, as deems him, a teacher of automotive technology at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado) for his new book The Brook Kerith (about a Jesus who didn’t die on the cross and, um, became a Buddhist). The magistrate refuses to issue a summons, saying that Moore has a perfect right to write based on the assumption that Jesus was merely a man.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Today -100: September 6, 1916: You are the victim of your natural and human weakness

Although denying that signing the railroad 8-hours bill on a Sunday was unconstitutional, Pres. Wilson signs it again on Monday.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: There are rumors that the German commercial, non-military submarine Bremen has been captured by the British. In fact, the Bremen has disappeared mysteriously, its fate forever unknown.

As the polio epidemic wanes, movie theaters in New York will now be allowed to admit children as young as 12.

At a demonstration in Athens last week, an address to the king was adopted. Written by former Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, it suggests Constantine is the victim of his “natural and human weakness” and his love of all things German. “You hoped that after a German victory you would be able to concentrate in your own hands the whole power of government and sweep aside our system of liberty.” Basically, Venizelos would like the king to either stop meddling in politics or abdicate. Constantine will abdicate next year in favor of his son Alexander, but will return to the throne in 1920 when Alexander dies of a monkey bite, as was the custom.

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Monday, September 05, 2016

Today -100: September 5, 1916: Of fair, candid examinations of the facts, romping children, and intolerance

Charles Evans Hughes castigates Wilson for preventing the railroad strike, siding with the owners’ call for arbitration: “I believe there is no grievance with respect to labor that cannot be settled by a fair, candid examination of the facts.” What a very reasonable-sounding way of denying workers the right to organize and bargain collectively.

Greece gives in to the Allied demands. They’ve handed over control of the mail and telegraphs and are busily rounding up German agents.

Headline of the Day -100:

New York City polio death toll = 2,004.

D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance opens.

Sort of an apology for The Birth of a Nation.

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Today -100: September 4, 1916: All saved; all well

Britain and France, while working at bullying Greece into joining the Entente, in the meanwhile demand control of Greece’s mail service, telegraph, and wireless, claiming that Germany has been hearing details of Allied troop movements through them. They also want German agents expelled from the country and punishment for Greeks who aided them.

Following last month’s clash between Chinese and Japanese troops in Eastern Mongolia, Japan makes several demands on China, including the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the district, indemnities, the granting to Japan of police authority in Inner Mongolia and South Manchuria, Japanese military “advisers” to the Chinese Army and military inspectors in Chinese schools, etc.

Ernest Shackleton retrieves the men he left on Elephant Island, Antarctica. “All saved; all well,” he telegraphs.

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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Today -100: September 3, 1916: I had rather be a dog and bay at the moon than to submit to such dictation

The Senate passes the railroad 8-hour bill 43-28. The strike is called off. Railroad companies vow to resist. In fact, they may go to court because it’s totally illegal for a president to sign a bill on a Sunday or national holiday, right? Sen. Jacob Gallinger (R-New Hampshire) says Congress is now no better than the Mexican Congress, simply passing bills the president wants without debate. Sen. Wesley Jones (R-Washington) says “This is the worst thing we could do for the working man.” How so, Sen. Jones? “If Congress can force the employers to pay more wages it can force the employes to take less wages. The principle is exactly the same.” Sen. Lawrence Sherman (R-Illinois) cunningly discovers the real victim in this: “It is the Senate that is being put under involuntary servitude” by the threats of union leaders. “I will either serve as a senator free from dictation or I will not serve at all. I had rather be a dog and bay at the moon than to submit to such dictation”. Well, if those are the options, Sen. Sherman...

Republican presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes, by the way, refuses to say anything at all about the railway situation.

There is a riot in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania when health officers, concerned over polio, try to order children under 16 out of an ox roast.

The British authorities ban Bertrand Russell going to... Sussex. Because they (the officer who signed the order is his cousin, by the way) can’t distinguish pacifists from German spies – or pretend they can’t – and think he might, what? signal to u-boats?

By the way, Russell, who is too old to be drafted for this war, will still be doing the pacifist thing 50 years later, marching against nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War.

In the NYT Sunday Magazine, Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, which is about to hold a convention to examine its goals and methods, explains the current state of the suffrage issue. The cause has won over the churches, the two parties, etc., she says. “Moreover, all the leading names in literature, art, philosophy, science, and business are enrolled on our side. But we have not won the reactionaries. We have not won the illiterate. We have not won the powers of evil”. Reminds me of Adlai Stevenson’s famous line: told that he had the vote of “every thinking person,” he replied, “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority.”

Baltimore recently passed an ordinance regulating how and where the Star-Spangled Banner may be sung. It has to be played verbatim, without musical embellishments (and absolutely not in jig time) and not as part of a medley. Musicians and singers should be standing while performing it. Absolutely no dancing to it (people dance to the Star-Spangled Banner?). The city council is denying that anyone who fails to stand while it is played will be fined $100.

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Friday, September 02, 2016

Today -100: September 2, 1916: Of declarations of war, mrogoros, blessings, and servants

Bulgaria declares war on Romania.

British/South African forces seize Mrogoro (aka Morogoro) in German-But-Not-For-Long East Africa. Gen. Jan Smuts issues a statement announcing the fact and informing anyone who hasn’t heard of Mrogoro that it is “a most important town.”

Pres. Wilson’s railroad bill passes the House, with the 8-hour day supported 239 to 56. It moves on to the Senate.

The Vatican denies reports that Pope Benedict sent a telegram congratulating the Austrian emperor on his 86th birthday. There are also reports that at the start of the war Pope Pius refused to bless the Austrian armies.

Headline of the Day -100:

War is hell.

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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Today -100: September 1, 1916: All the evils of feeble peace combined with all the evils of feeble war

Lima, Ohio’s county prosecutor asks the governor for troops to head off a race riot after yesterday’s attempted lynching and the torture of the sheriff. All negroes are warned to stay off the streets, although oddly it wasn’t the negroes who were in that lynch mob. The sheriff’s daughter, traumatized when the mob broke into their home, dies of “shock.”

In a speech in Lewiston, Maine, in support of Charles Evans Hughes, Theodore Roosevelt says some less-than-flattering things about Woodrow Wilson, who, re Carranza and Mexico, “did not merely kiss the hand that slapped him in the face, he kissed that hand when it was red with the blood of American men, women, and children”; “This Administration has displayed no more feeling of responsibility for the American women who have been raped, and for the American men, women, and children who have been killed in Mexico, than a farmer shows for the rats killed by his dogs when the hay is taken from a barn.” He denies the claim of Wilson supporters that Wilson “has kept us out of war,” since the capture of Vera Cruz and the Pershing Expedition “were wars, and nothing else; ignoble, pointless, unsuccessful little wars; but wars... his policy in Mexico has combined all the evils of feeble peace with all the evils of feeble war.”

As usual, the Colonel attacks hyphenates, although I think it’s new that he now blames them, somehow, on Wilson: “During the last two years we have seen an evil revival in this country of non-American and anti-American division along politico-racial lines, and we owe this primarily to the fact that President Wilson has lacked the courage and the vision to lead this nation in the path of high duty, and by this lack of affirmative leadership has loosened the moral fibre of our people, has weakened our national spirit”.

Moving on to the European War, he seems to think that if Wilson had been firmer, and lead the neutral nations in demanding the war be fought along civilized lines, Germany would not have invaded Belgium, bombarded churches, sunk ships, executed Nurse Edith Cavell etc, and the Turks wouldn’t be massacring Armenians. Wow.

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