Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Today -100: October 16, 1919: Build build build pay pay pay


The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a satisfactory day.” The US delegation to the Peace Conference asked, last week I guess, who is currently responsible for giving it instructions, and has been told that Wilson will be incapacitated “for some weeks.” Which doesn’t answer the question.

The commander of the British naval forces in the Baltic tells the German troops to evacuate the suburbs of Riga or be shelled out.

Latest RussiaRumors™: Petrograd’s fall imminent! Entente invites Germany to join the blockade of Soviet Russia!

The American Legion is campaigning against German opera.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says that if the US doesn’t join the League of Nations, it should be prepared to build a huge navy – “build, build, build, while the rest of our country must pay, pay, pay.”


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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Today -100: October 15, 1919: Of restless and uncomfortable days, Red plots, passports, insignificant annexations, and divorces


The latest White House bulletin: “The President had a restless and uncomfortable day, but is better tonight.”

The feds claim to have uncovered a “Red” scheme for a general uprising, beginning with those bombings in May and June, which they’re linking with Gary, Indiana “Reds” in an unsubtle attempt to discredit the steel strikers. They name several alleged bombers, only one of whom is in custody, and say one of them made his bombs in the Indiana Steel Company factory. There is/was also a plot to blow up Gary Mayor William Hodges who, to be fair, is something of a dick.

Secretary of State Lansing recommends that wartime passport restrictions be continued another year, so the government can exclude foreign “undesirables.”

Italian Foreign Minister Tommaso Tittoni thinks he has the solution to the Fiume mess: make Fiume a buffer state, with Italy doing an “insignificant annexation” of the land between Fiume and Trieste.

Hungary’s White Terror government annuls all the divorces granted by the Soviet government, except where one of the parties has since re-married.


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Monday, October 14, 2019

Today -100: October 14, 1919: Only one thing left


The latest White House bulletin: “The President’s condition is about the same.” Dr. Grayson says for the first time something I hadn’t realized he hasn’t said until now, that Wilson’s mind is “clear as a bell.” He says that while Wilson still needs absolute rest, he could sign bills if need be. Some Republican senators are not so sure about this, and are whipping out their magnifying classes and examining Wilson’s “signatures” on several recent communications.

Germany accedes to Allied demands and stops sending supplies to the Baltic for General Rüdiger von der Goltz’s troops, who will return home. Hey I guess Germany did have control over him after all. There are accusations by the Germans and the Letts over which of them is siding with the Bolsheviks.

A steel worker striking in Gary, Indiana is searched and four copies found of a leaflet, allegedly from the Communist Party, calling for the overthrow of the military in Gary. Col. Mapes responds, “Before we leave we intend to clean Gary of Red agitators.” He sends soldiers to printing shops to try to track down the authors.

And a circular from the “American Anarchist Federated Commune Soviet of New York City” (!) is discovered, threatening reprisals for every worker killed. “Since the Government has Czaristically Russianized its methods in clubbing and murdering you whenever you raise your voices in protest against injustice or dare to go out on strike, there remains for you, the workers, only one thing left, and that is to arm yourselves.” It also asks soldiers to stop clubbing workers. The police are now protecting cops and judges and DAs involved in the prosecution of anarchists.

The Kalihi Territorial Hospital in Hawaii claims to have found a cure for leprosy. It hasn’t.


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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Today -100: October 13, 1919: A restful day


The latest White House bulletin: “The President is in good spirits and has had a restful day.” Dr. Grayson refuses to respond to Sen. Moses’s claim that Wilson suffered a cerebral lesion, although he does scoff at “long-distance diagnosis.” While wrong about the cerebral lesion, Moses is still closer to the truth than the official bulletins, which have yet to specify Wilson’s malady beyond “nervous exhaustion.” After two weeks, that’s beginning to wear a little thin.

The Allies order Germany to recall its ships from the Baltic, responding to German participation in a White Russian attack on Riga, Latvia. They also send  a note accusing Germany of duplicity for claiming to have no control over Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz but not taking any action against him for this alleged insubordination, such as, f’r instance, firing him.  The NYT thinks this is “the beginning of a new war for German supremacy”. France is worried that Germany is doing a better job of cozying up to the anti-Bolshevik Russian forces (who are surely going to win, everyone knows that) than France is.

France declares the state of war over. Censorship is lifted, early closing-hour rules are ended, and the people of Paris may even have to pay rent again.

Headline of the Day -100:



Headline of the Day -100:


Aren’t they always?


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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Today -100: October 12, 1919: A comfortable day


The latest White House bulletin: “The president has had a comfortable day.”
Nevertheless, his doctors are saying that he will need bed-rest for an extended period. For the first time, we’re hearing of discussions of whether Wilson is suffering a “disability” such that his powers should be transferred to Vice President Whatshisname. One problem is that many of his powers are new ones granted by wartime legislation and cannot be transferred. The Constitution, people are discovering, fails to specify who decides whether a president is disabled. Sen. George Moses (R-NH) writes a letter to a friend that mysteriously leaks to the press, in which he gossips that Wilson had a cerebral lesion and that while he “may live,” he “will not be any material force or factor in anything.”

An Italian steamer sets off from Genoa, bound for Vladivostok with a shipment for the Whites fighting in Russia. However, the crew mutinies and diverts the ship to Fiume.

The German government bans the film “Wilhelm’s Good Fortune and Bad Finish,” which conservative groups have been complaining about, unseen. Anti-Semitic groups have been giving out free rubber clubs in anticipation of protesting the premiere. I have no idea what the content of this film is, and neither imdb.com nor Wikipedia have heard of it.

A letter to the NYT asks for donations to the Home for Ex-Slaves in Nacogdoches, Texas, which it deems necessary to mention is “operated by a white advisory board.”


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Friday, October 11, 2019

Today -100: October 11, 1919: A good day, again


The latest White House bulletin: “The president has again had a good day.”

The Industrial Conference continues. The employers’ group demands the right to open shops and not have to negotiate with union officials who are not their employees (in other words, they want only plant-level unions, easily divided & conquered).


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Today -100: October 10, 1919: Another good day


The latest White House bulletin: “The president has had another good day.”

Former kaiser Wilhelm offers a large bribe to a paparazzo not to publish candid pictures of him doing... nothing in particular. And the German Officers’ League protests against a film, “Wilhelm’s Good Fortune and Bad Finish,” which it says will lower Germany’s reputation.

The Industrial Conference called by Pres. Wilson meets, obviously in his absence. There are proposals from various members for a national board of conciliation and arbitration, for a 3-month industrial truce, for a suspension of the steel strike pending arbitration (that from Samuel Gompers), and for each individual plant or corporation to come to deals with its employers (John D. Rockefeller Jr). Secretary of Labor William Wilson wants joint boards of employers and employees in each industry. I think it’s already pretty clear how effective this conference is gonna be.

German forces under Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz, who Germany claims is a renegade acting on his own in association with something called the West Russian Government, are attacking Riga, Latvia.

The Cincinnati Reds “win” the World Series.


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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Today -100: October 9, 1919: Of stronger wilsons, treaties, Latin seas, and air races


Headline of the Day -100: 


Kinky!

They’re still going with the “nervous breakdown” story.

NYPD break up a demonstration “in the guise of a protest against the Russian blockade,” beating protesters, as was the custom.

The ratification of the peace treaties by Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel is, indeed, not sufficient. The parliament will have to ratify them when it reconvenes in December, but evidently the king’s decree does allow the League of Nations to be booted up.

Gabriele D’Annunzio appeals to Yugoslavia (well, Croatia) to join with Italy to keep the Adriatic a “Latin sea” by preventing the League of Nations internationalizing Fiume. “Recognize the rights of Italy so that Italy can recognize yours,” he suggests. The League, he says, is not a league of nations but of international Jewish bankers. LOIJB for short.

63 airplanes begin a military/civilian trans-continental aerial race, the longest such race. And at the end of the first day, 58 of them haven’t crashed! The race is drawing a lot of interest, and will encourage people to take up flying and replace the flyers killed in this race (3 so far!).

The White Sox win the seventh game of the World Series, 4-1. The Reds seem to be having difficulty winning even a fixed ball game.


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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Today -100: October 8, 1919: You are a poor man with whom to talk business


The White House again claims that Wilson’s health is improving – slightly – but he is still forbidden from doing any work. “You are a poor man with whom to talk business,” Wilson allegedly told Dr. Grayson, who replied, Doctor-McCoy-like, “I am not a business man, but a doctor.” I’m enjoying these phony dialogues, in which the ailing president displays such perfect grammar.

Italian King Victor Emmanuel ratifies the peace treaties with Germany and Austria by decree. Or maybe he doesn’t, since the king doesn’t really have that power.

Over 1,000 federal troops are patrolling Gary, Indiana to “prevent disorder” in the steel strike, i.e. protect the scabs. The troops have machine guns, cannons, hand grenades, etc. The “Intelligence Department” (department of what is not clear, maybe the federal Justice Department) has been seizing anarchist and communist literature.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Not the explosive, but the eponymous town in West Virginia, built during the war around factories producing nitro. Various corporations are trying to buy the town from the War Department. 

The Allies are considering sending Germany another note telling it to pull its troops out of the Baltic or else. Germany has just informed them it will stop the pay of those soldiers, which has pissed off the Allies, who hadn’t known Germany was still paying troops it’s been portraying as mutineers acting against orders.

A mob near Macon, Georgia lynches a black man who had been sentenced to 10 years for attacking a white farmer.

The White Sox win the sixth game of the World Series, 5-4.


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Monday, October 07, 2019

Today -100: October 7, 1919: A race of children


Dr. Rear Admiral Grayson’s official bulletin of bullshit for the 6th: “The President had a fairly comfortable day, with a slight improvement.” But his doctors are insisting on absolute abstention from mental work – just to prevent a relapse, you understand, not because he’s had a stroke or anything – so William Gibbs McAdoo, presidential son-in-law and former secretary of the Treasury, now a private lawyer, is in DC to be the president’s “alter ego” and supervise the executive branch, although he doesn’t seem to be doing any of that yet.

The Arkansas governor’s special committee’s investigation into the recent racial violence finds that it was “not a race riot. It is a deliberately planned insurrection of the negroes against the whites” fostered by a black man, Robert Hill, “who saw in it an opportunity of making easy money.” “He simply played upon the ignorance and superstition of a race of children – most of whom neither could read nor write.” Hill remains at large.

A large Lincoln County, Georgia mob burns two black men at the stake. Here is an actual sentence from the article: “The lynching is said to be in no wise an evidence of ill feeling toward the negro race in Lincoln County as the anger of white citizens was directed solely at the negro Gordon and his accomplices.” So that’s okay then.

In Britain, the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors will decide which of eleven claimants actually invented the tank and is entitled to the bounty.

The Cincinnati Reds win the fifth game of the World Series 5-0.

What to See on Broadway: Hitchy-Koo 1919, which the NYT thinks the best of the three Hitchy-Koo reviews so far. Music by Cole Porter.



Some of the songs are embedded in this post, though not “When Black Sallie Sings Pagliacci.” I’m also curious about the song “That Black and White Baby of Mine,” which was cut before the opening.


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Sunday, October 06, 2019

Today -100: October 6, 1919: We’ve just begun


Pres. Wilson’s doctor lies that he is somewhat better and “had a restful and fairly comfortable day.” A hotel two blocks from the White House has been asked to refrain from playing jazz in its roof garden, as it’s annoying the president. Dr Grayson has been consulting with Doctors Stitt and Ruffin, which sounds like a vaudeville act. Everyone’s trying to keep Wilson from doing president stuff, we are told; he asked for a stenographer but was persuaded against, being told it was Sunday.

Headline of the Day -100: 


A lynch mob runs wild through the swamps of Lincoln County, Georgia, looking for a particular black man but perfectly willing to shoot or whip any others they happen to come across, as was the custom. The mob is currently holding five black man it intends to lynch in a group once it captures the one it’s looking for.

Arrested black men in Phillips County, Arkansas “confess” that there was a conspiracy to kill all the white people today. The password for the uprising: “We’ve just begun.”

Fiume has been sending out girls to Italy to seduce soldiers into deserting to Fiume. Evidently they’ve recruited entire battalions.

Headline of the Day -100:  


The actress, Fernanda was filming... something. It doesn’t appear in IMDB, but maybe I have the wrong single-name-only Fernanda, there are a surprising number of them.


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Saturday, October 05, 2019

Today -100: October 5, 1919: A more encouraging day


The official bulletin from Woodrow Wilson’s doctor: “The President has passed a more encouraging day. The improvement is slight but not decisive.” Supposedly when Dr. Grayson told him Wilson temperature was normal, he replied “My temperature may be normal, but my temper will not continue so if you keep me in bed much longer.” I’m just not feeling this dialogue.

There are riots related to the steel strike in Gary, Indiana.

Italy lifts its blockade of Fiume. Food and mail are now allowed in (people are still banned from entering the city, not that that’s stopped anyone).

The Army Air Service announces that the US had 66 “aces” during the war (defined as shooting down 5 aircraft, and balloons count).

France and Britain are pressuring Italy and Japan not to sign the peace treaty, because they want the US to be the third ratifier, putting the treaty into effect and creating the League of Nations. It would be easier to do all that with the US participating from the start, is their thinking.

Gen. Leonard Wood, commander of the Central Department of the Army and current military ruler of Omaha, Nebraska, says the IWW was “undoubtedly” behind the disturbances in Omaha, because if there’s one thing the Wobblies are known for, it’s racist lynch mobs, I guess. He thinks officials should stop “the spread of un-American influence” and that foreign languages should not to be taught in grade school. Or to put it another way, Gen. Wood is planning to run for president.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Out of golden pots, because they’re the king and queen of Belgium and that’s how they eat beans.

The feds execute a warrant at the Union Terminal Cold Storage Company in Jersey City, seizing 2,792 tubs of butter they consider to have been hoarded.

The Reds win the 4th game of the World Series, 2-0. The odds are now 7:2 for the Reds.


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Friday, October 04, 2019

Today -100: October 4, 1919: Of slight improvements, treaties, avowed enemies, and tantalizing flies


Woodrow Wilson’s doctor reports a “slight improvement” and that the president is now “sleeping naturally.” In other words, Woodrow Wilson’s doctor is now openly lying. Rumors are flying, including one that Wilson will be operated on for a growth on his nose.

With the Italian parliament dissolved, the king may ratify the peace treaty by decree. Otherwise, they’d have to wait until December. The treaty has been ratified by Britain and France and will go into force when a 3rd Ally ratifies, either Italy or (cough) the US.

The residents of Fiume who want annexation by Italy are upset that PM Franceso Nitti won that vote of confidence. Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio calls Nitti “the avowed enemy of Italy.”

The Alabama grand jury investigating the lynching of 3 black men this week did its darnedest but simply can’t identify even a single member of the lynch mob.

The White Sox win the 3rd game of the World Series, 3-0. The odds are now 3:2 for the Reds.

Now Playing: Max Fleischer’s The Tantalizing Fly:




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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Today -100: October 3, 1919: Of very sick men, race riots, and eggs


Headline of the Day -100: 


Five doctors including a “nerve specialist from Philadelphia” (there’s a joke in there somewhere) examine Pres. Wilson. They prescribe complete bed rest and no seeing anyone except doctors & family members and no thinking about presidenting. The word that doesn’t appear in the article is “stroke,” the thing he had that morning.

The Yugoslavs supposedly shoot at an Italian ship carrying troops. Elsewhere in the paper, a story claims that if Yugoslavia attacks D’Annunzio’s forces, the Italian army will go to his aid.

The Senate defeats all 35 of Sen. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico)’s amendments to the peace treaty, which would have stopped US participation in the various international commissions (mostly setting European borders).

The French Chamber of Deputies ratifies the peace treaty.

The Arkansas race riots go into a second day, with 16 known dead in total. Locals are blaming a white former postmaster for stirring up the blacks into an uprising against the whites. Or at any rate talking to them about social equality, which is obviously pretty much the same thing.

Oklahoma Gov. James Robertson, whose name the NYT gets wrong, says Sen. James Reed (D-Missouri) “got what was coming to him” when an Ardmore crowd threw eggs at him because he had come to Oklahoma to, as the governor terms it, “grossly insult” the president over the peace treaty. Reed says the incident suggests that we need to learn to better govern ourselves before trying to run the rest of the world.

The Reds miraculously win the second day of the World Series, 4-2.


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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Today -100: October 2, 1919: Of jaded presidents, race riots, and sox


Headline of the Day -100:


“Jaded” is from the official bulletin.

Race riot in Elaine, Arkansas. 9 dead (actually a lot more) after blacks fight with sheriff’s posses responding to organizing by black cotton workers demanding higher wages for the next crop. Naturally, local whites see this as forerunner to a general massacre of whites by blacks and respond with mass murder, as was the custom.

Another white woman is (allegedly) assaulted, possibly by a black man (the victim’s account is curiously unclear on little details like that) in Omaha, Nebraska, but this time the authorities keep the news quiet for a while lest it cause more race riots in the city. I guess they held off reporting it until after federal troops march through the streets in a show of force and then position machine guns at major intersections. Thomas Reynolds, president of the State Federation of Labor, ascribes the earlier riots to the importation of “many worthless negroes” as strikebreakers, though he says the white mob consisted of unorganized laborers, not union members.

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago White Sox in the first day of the World Series in a, let’s say, surprisingly one-sided 9-1 win.


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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Today -100: October 1, 1919: You see the enthusiasm of the people of Fiume to be annexed


Gen. Leonard Wood, commander of the Central Department of the Army, orders
the arrest of the Omaha, Nebraska lynch mob. The army has taken control of the citiy police. “Those who attempt to interfere with the military authorities will find themselves fighting the United States Army,” Wood says. Governor Samuel McKelvie (R) deplores the participation of so many young boys in the riots.

The Allies demand that Germany remove its troops from the Baltic. Under the armistice agreement, Germany wouldn’t have to do that until told to. That finally happened in August, but Germany replied that it was no longer in control of those troops (who are now enlisted in White Russian corps commanded by German General Rüdiger von der Goltz). The Allies respond that they don’t believe it.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Or poet-AVIATOR, to give him his proper title. D’Annunzio tells an AP reporter who smuggled himself into the city under some coal on a train (which is suspiciously dramatic when no one else seems to be having much difficulty reaching Fiume), “You see the enthusiasm of the people of Fiume to be annexed.”

The steel strike seems to be petering out.

The Utah Legislature ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment.

World Series Headline of the Day -100:  


Well maybe not the most important.


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Monday, September 30, 2019

Today -100: September 30, 1919: Slightly better


Headline of the Day -100: 


That’s a quote from his doctor.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Federal troops have Omaha locked down. And they have the crowd-control tool of choice of 1919: machine guns. Also a strong storm helped, because no one enjoys ethnic cleansing in the rain.

Three black men are lynched in Alabama, accused of assaulting white women. One of them is shot to death in a hospital.

The Italian Parliament is dissolved, and new elections will be held in November. While anything could happen between now -100 and then, it seems likely the elections will be fought largely on the Fiume issue. Prime Minister Franceso Nitti says the choice is between annexing Fiume and continuing to try to safeguard Italy’s rights. If the former, “the country will have to endure in terrible sacrifices. If, despite this, they still desire annexation, nobody more than I will enthusiastically approve it.”


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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Today -100: September 29, 1919: Of worn & shaken presidents, confidence, and lynchings


Headline of the Day -100: 


His doctor, Admiral Cary Grayson, forbids anyone talking to Wilson about the peace treaty or other governmental business and has banned the president playing golf.

Italian Prime Minister Franceso Nitti wins a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies, 208-148. His failure to acquire Fiume has left him very weak, but defying Britain and France, his foreign minister explains, would leave Italy alone in the world.

A mob demonstrates in Vienna, calling for the expulsion of Jews (I think this is aimed at Romanian and Polish Jews). They also target a newspaper and coffee shops, and stop cars to see if there are any Jews in them.

Both sides in the steel strike took the weekend to persuade workers to continue/abandon the strike. In Pittsburgh, the sheriff forbade any language but English at strike meetings.

A large mob in Omaha, Nebraska attacks the brand-new court house with fire bombs in order to capture and lynch a black man who had allegedly raped a white woman. While the attack is going on, there’s a race riot in which several people are killed (though fewer than the article suggests), shops and pawnshops are looted of their firearms, random black people are beaten up, police are shot at, and the crowd attempt to lynch Mayor Edward Parsons Smith – twice – after he appeals for calm. Cops drive a car into the crowd and rescue Smith as he’s hanging from a traffic signal. Smith (now in the hospital) will not run for re-election next year. There is some evidence, believe it or not, that racial tensions in Omaha were stirred up by henchmen of the local crime boss attacking women while in blackface. No one (and I know you’ll believe this) will ever go to jail for any of this.


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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Today -100: September 28, 1919: Of good sleeps, scabs, and strike bans


Headline of the Day -100: 


The Allegheny Steel Company puts up placards advertising for American citizens to replace striking foreign-born steel workers, presumably permanently.

The Alabama Legislature bans strikes.


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Friday, September 27, 2019

Today -100: September 27, 1919: America is big enough


Woodrow Wilson cuts short his barnstorming tour of the country at Wichita, suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” no doubt brought on by the excitement of being in Wichita. His doctor insists his condition is not alarming, but he will have to rest for some time. Which means he can’t meet the king of the Belgians, who’s coming to the US. On this grueling tour, he traveled 8,200 miles and made 40 speeches, some of them no doubt in considerable discomfort. His train is returning to Washington (and not to a spa resort, which reassures the NYT that his condition is not especially serious).

Incidentally, the reports on the president’s health are pretty specific and seemingly honest and transparent, which will not be the case next week when he has his (Spoiler Alert) stroke.

The Senate discusses Hiram Johnson (R-Cal.)’s amendment to the peace treaty giving the US 6 seats in the League of Nations Assembly to match Britain & its colonies because, sez Johnson, “America is big enough, powerful enough, America is good enough to have just as many votes as the British Empire.” And doggonit, people like us. Johnson seems pissed off at some of Wilson’s recent accusations against League critics: “The time has gone by when you can frighten the American people by epithets or abuse, by calling them pro-Germans, or any other names.” And with that, Johnson resumes his interrupted anti-League tour of the West, which has raised his profile so high that it is assumed he will run away with the Republican nomination for president next year.

Headline of the Day -100:



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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Today -100: September 26, 1919: Hyphens are the knives that are being stuck in this document


Woodrow Wilson says (for the first time) that if the Senate adds reservations to Article X (mutual self-defense) of the League of Nations covenant, he will consider the Peace Treaty to have been rejected. I’m not sure how that works constitutionally. (Update: possibly by withdrawing the treaty after it’s amended but before it’s ratified). Speaking in Denver, he repeats his new taunt that opponents of the League are the “hyphenated Americans” who “tried to defeat the purposes of this Government in the war.” “Hyphens are the knives that are being stuck in this document”.He also says the weapons used in the Great War “were toys as compared with what would be used in the next war.”

For some reason, the Italians have decided that Wilson is their biggest obstacle in Fiume. There are rumors that he threatened Italy with an economic blockade if it annexes Fiume, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s especially interested in the issue.

Meanwhile, D’Annunzio has ramped up his goals, demanding that not just Fiume and its hinterland, but all of Dalmatia be annexed to Italy. Thus, the Headline of the Day -100:


To be clear, Dalmatia is part of Yugoslavia.

The latest rumors from Russia: 
1) Lenin has been assassinated.
2) Lenin is alive but being held prisoner in the Kremlin by Felix Dzerzhinsky.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Today -100: September 25, 1919: Of toguires, Kolchak’s rear, strikes, and angry Mexicans


Renegade Italian soldiers seize the port of Toguire on the Dalmatian coast, defeating a small number of Yugoslav soldiers. Toguire is 150 miles from Fiume, so this may indicate a copy-cat action. And that the Italian government has no control over the Italian army. To the extent that there is a functional Italian government, since ministers are at daggers drawn over Fiume policy; yesterday Foreign Minister Tommaso Tittoni was (falsely) reported to have resigned.

D’Annunzio claims to have a “Fiuman navy” consisting of 4 warships and the battleship Dante Alighieri.

Dirty-Sounding Headline of the Day -100:


They capture Tomsk, which the NYT explains is 500 miles from Omsk.

Steel companies claim more workers are returning to work, while unions claim more workers are coming out on strike. Most plants are running, but well below capacity. Pennsylvania Gov. William Sproul responds to strike leader William Foster’s letter complaining about the police. Sproul insists that police actions in clashes resulting in deaths were entirely reasonable and banning public gatherings was entirely reasonable. He says that agitators, “hostile alike to our institutions of Government and to the organization which you represent, have taken advantage of the disturbed conditions to come into Pennsylvania to spread wicked propaganda and to endeavor to incite the ignorant and the vicious to riot and pillage. These persons are enemies of the State”. He also says that “dangerous and evil disposed persons” in other states are trying to recruit armed mobs to come into Pennsylvania. These mobs will be treated as “armed invaders”.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Gov. Hobby called for military intervention in Mexico. So Mexico pulls out of the Texas State Fair.

The White Sox win the American League pennant and will play the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Today -100: September 24, 1919: Of medals, cyclonic furies, the impulses of courage and cowardice, and medicinal whisky


Gabriele D’Annunzio issues bronze medals to the invaders of Fiume, “by national decree”. What nation? Does he think he runs Italy now?

Er, evidently yes. Evidently last week (I assume it’s Italian censorship that’s making some of the news from Fiume arrive days late) the poet-aviator called for the overthrow of the Italian government.

Steel strike: more fighting between cops and strikers at various locations, mostly in Pennsylvania, more dead. From his prison cell, Eugene Debs says the strike could expand to miners and railway workers. He says workers, pissed off at the killings by company guards, may “be swept into a revolution with cyclonic fury.”

Hearing that some Democratic senators are now supporting reservations to the peace treaty, such as Hiram Johnson (R-Cal.)’s amendment giving the US equal votes in the League of Nations Assembly with Britain and its dependencies’ six, Woodrow Wilson, in Salt Lake City,  says such reservations would force the treaty back to the Peace Conference for renegotiation. He says his tour has shown him that “the people are against changes.” He figures 80% are in favor of the League, but “All the elements that tended [during the war] toward disloyalty are against the League,” thereby serving Germany’s goal of disuniting the Allies. He escalates his criticism of his senatorial critics:
I am not afraid to go before the jury of mankind at any time on the record of the United States with regard to the fulfillment of its international obligations; and when these gentlemen who are criticizing it once feel, if they ever should feel, the impulse of courage, instead of the impulse of cowardice, they will realize how much better it feels.
If that doesn’t win them over, I don’t know what will.

The majority of Mormons are in favor of the League, the NYT thinks.

In Haiti, which the US still occupies, two marines shoot and kill two other marines they thought were bandits.

Headline of the Day -100:  


A federal judge in Pennsylvania tells a jury that it’s legal to sell whisky for medicinal purposes, so they acquit a bartender who sold whisky to someone who said it was for... a sick friend.


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Monday, September 23, 2019

Today -100: September 23, 1919: Of strikes, planetary strikes, leaky blockades, and Wagner


Steel strike, day 1: guards and cops and strikers at the Carnegie Steel plant in Newcastle, Pennsylvania shoot at each other after guards try to protect scabs who are being pelted with stones and bricks. Smaller-scale incidents occur throughout the Pennsylvania steel region. The steel companies claim that only foreign and unskilled workers are striking.

NYT Index Typo of the Day -100:


Wow, that’s an impressive strike (ok, it’s plants, not planets).

Italy has (supposedly) asked the Allies to please send in soldiers to remove poet-aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio and his merry men from Fiume, because Italian troops can’t (won’t) do it. The Italian blockade of Fiume, which is already regularly breached by boats, I believe from Venice, and a continued influx of soldiers and other volunteers, is now broken by a train carrying supplies. How hard is it to stop a train?

The NYT editorializes on the poet-aviator’s place in the Italo-Greek rhetorical tradition: “His case is bad. His rhetoric is carefully calculated. This is what interests him. He keeps the secular tradition of Italy. He belongs to a race and a land where the airy phantasms of speech and song are facts listened to by a people still enthralled by the orators of the Rostrum, still swayed by remembrances of Roman, African, and Asiatic eloquence.”

The Royal Irish Constabulary are being supplied with grenades. Swell.

The Paris Police order a planned concert at the Tuileries Gardens canceled because people objected to the inclusion of music by Wagner. Everyone’s a critic.


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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Today -100: September 22, 1919: Of debating societies, strikes, and foreigners


Woodrow Wilson explains that it doesn’t matter that Britain has 6 seats in the League of Nations Assembly (including Canada, Australia, South Africa & India) to the US’s 1, because the Assembly is just a powerless “debating society,” while real decisions are made in the Council. Also, the Assembly includes places like Cuba and Panama, which are as much under US “influence” as Canada is under Britain’s. That’s Wilson saying that.

The steel strike begins.

Poet-aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio expels foreigners from Fiume, except Yugoslavs, who he’s locking up.


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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Today -100: September 21, 1919: Of lusks, protectorates, colonists, and infamous words


The anti-Red Lusk Committee of the New York Legislature takes credit for shutting down 10 radical publications, one of them in Finnish.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Lord Curzon says the treaty signed this week between Britain and Persia does not amount to a protectorate and Britain toooootally respects Persia’s independence. No, Britain is just giving Persia “financial aid” (i.e., a loan, with customs revenues as collateral) and providing “expert assistance” (including military experts, paid for by Persia and given what the treaty calls “adequate powers”). For some reason he doesn’t mention the bit about gaining access to Persian oil. Probably slipped his mind.

Germany is allegedly “colonizing” Germans into Upper Silesia before the big plebiscite. Employers are being gently encouraged to continue paying the salaries of workers born in Silesia who take a little voting vacation there.

The Italian government sends Rear Admiral Cassanova (there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere) to Fiume to put a stop to the D’Annunzio occupation. Instead, the rear admiral has been “detained.” The Italian head of staff in the armistice zone informs D’Annunzio that officers who remain in Fiume will be considered deserters. D’A responds that “this infamous word” “does not touch me or my companions.” A bunch of planes (one carrying Prince Aimone) also fly in to help out the poet-aviator (there may come a time when I grow tired of that phrase, but that time has not yet arrived), just in case Fiume needs an air force, I guess. The poet-aviator’s men “marched up and down through the streets of Fiume, shouting their cause and demanding who had aught to say against them. It seems that if any one had they didn’t say it.” 


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Friday, September 20, 2019

Today -100: September 20, 1919: Of delights, agitators, cataclysms, German efficiency, and field guns


The Seattle longshoremen’s union members will stop loading arms for the Russian Whites, which were to sail for Siberia aboard the steamer Delight.

New York Mayor John Hylan responds to attempts to create a unified union for all city workers by writing to the heads of all city departments, telling them to identify employees who “spend more time agitating and making trouble” than working and zero out their positions in the next budget.

The Peace Conference hands Bulgaria its peace terms. The Bulgarian delegates blame any wrongdoings committed by their country on the deposed monarchy and say the alliance with Germany was forced on the Bulgarian people and “came to them as a cataclysm.” Those words from Gen. Georgi Todorov, who seems to have suppressed his misgivings quite well while commander-in-chief of the army.

Allied warships are pointing their guns at Fiume, pointedly. D’Annunzio says he will fight, the Italian army I guess, if attacked, and if necessary will blow up Fiume in order to save it, as is the custom. A day after the censorship on Fiume was lifted, it’s reimposed. The Italian government can’t commit to any course of action on anything related to Fiume.

In more fallout from the suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, six members of the Soviet are found guilty of having murdered hostages, sentenced to death, and executed, in the same day.

The British government is, presumably, offering German military items as displays for parks and such. The municipal council of Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, accepts the offer of two field guns – as long as they are in working order and come with shells.


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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Today -100: September 19, 1919: Of one pure thing


A belated report on the first day of the invasion of Fiume includes some quotes from poet-aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio: “In the present mad, cowardly world, there is one pure thing – our love for Fiume.” “I, a war volunteer and a mutilated fighter, appeal to Victor Hugo’s France, to Milton’s England, and Lincoln’s America, and, speaking as an interpreter of the valorous sentiments of the whole Italian people, proclaim the annexation of Fiume to Italy.” To be fair, the poet-aviator had a high fever at the time. He says he has “assumed military command of freed Fiume.”

The German government concedes to Allied threats and nullifies Article 61 of the new Constitution, which provided for possible future annexation of Austria.

Headline of the Day -100: 


I guess this is what the Allies wanted when they forced Béla Kun out, right?

Charles Comiskey sets prices for World Series tickets, ranging from $1.10 in the bleachers to $5.50 in the boxes. You have to buy tickets for at least 3 games. 4 tickets a customer max. On sale now even though the White Sox haven’t won their league yet.


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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Today -100: September 18, 1919: I go because I must


On its front page, the NYT reports “persistent rumors” that Peruvian President Augusto Leguía has been assassinated. He has not.

There’s some heckling at Woodrow Wilson’s pro-League of Nations speech in San Francisco, mostly on the Irish question. He had answered a written set of questions, denying that League membership would require the US to aid British against an Irish uprising or stop it recognizing Irish independence. De Valera finds those answers inadequate: the US might not be obligated to aid Britain, but the League would force it to help prevent other nations assisting rebels.

Italy blockades Fiume, hoping to starve D’Annunzio out. Or, to put it another way, Italy is afraid to order its troops to expel the poet-aviator, because they might well mutiny. Yugoslavia is also blockading the city. D’Annunzio telegrams a newspaper, the Idea Nazionale, “I go because I must.”

Italy is still censoring news of events in Fiume, but Germany is not, and Germans are following with great interest to see if they might be able to get away with the same shit in Danzig.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Ralph Madsen wanders around Broadway, attracting crowds. He is 7’6”. The article says he’s a movie actor, although imdb only lists 4 credits starting in 1928 (3 circus movies and a Little Rascals short).

Last week I reported on the oldest man in the world, 131-year-old “Uncle John” Schell. Well evidently the oldest man in the world is in fact a Turkish laborer, aged 144, named, um, Zorro. I stand corrected.


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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Today -100: September 17, 1919: Fiume or death!


The Italian government, embarrassed by its inability/unwillingness to get its soldiers to follow orders, censors all news about Fiume.


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Monday, September 16, 2019

Today -100: September 16, 1919: Of mutineers, cops, and lynchings


Headline of the Day -100: 


“Mutineers” means that many of the poet-aviator’s filibusters are regular Italian army soldiers (including a “cyclist corps”) who are not supposed to be invading anywhere. The Allied Supreme Council will leave all this up to Italy, calling it an internal matter. D’Aunnunzio declares Fiume annexed to Italy, which is a power all poet-aviators have.

Boston starts recruiting a whole new police force. With higher pay.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Everyone needs a hobby. (The Mexican ambassador and consul are heading to Pueblo, Colorado to investigate that lynching of two Mexican citizens, which is more than the police seem to be doing).

Lots of people die in a storm in Corpus Christi.

In a letter to Adolf Gemlich of Ulm, Adolf Hitler writes about Jews for the first time. It won’t be the last. He says Jews are a race, not a religion, that antisemitism should be based on reason rather than emotion, which should be manifested not in pogroms but “Its final aim must unshakably be the removal of the Jews altogether.”


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Today -100: September 15, 1919: Of lunatics betraying the cause of the fatherland, strikes deferred, and sympathetic bartenders


Italy sends troops to disarm Gabriele D’Annunzio and his merry men and get them the hell out of Fiume, but the troops refuse. Prime Minister Francesco Nitti calls supporters of the poet-aviator’s actions “lunatics, betraying the cause of the fatherland.”

Steel workers at US Steel will defer strike action until after the national labor conference, on Woodrow Wilson’s request.

Other Boston unions are backing away from the idea of a general strike in support of the striking police, although the Bartenders’ Union no. 77 votes for a sympathy strike.


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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Today -100: September 14, 1919: Of cops, lynchings, poet-aviators (poets-aviator?), and positions


Boston Police Commissioner Edwin Curtis (a former mayor) says all the striking cops will be fired, including those now offering to return to work. Gov. Calvin Coolidge says he will support that decision. Samuel Gompers complains of the “autocratic” attitude of Boston officials. Only a few people are shot today by trigger-happy guardsmen and volunteer cops, including one while the fake cops broke up a craps game, and why are craps games such a priority, anyway? The state guards threaten crowds with machine guns.

Two Mexicans are lynched in Pueblo, Colorado, hanged from a bridge.

Austria refuses to extradite Béla Kun to Hungary.

“Poet-aviator” Gabriele D’Annunzio and several thousand of his friends (soldiers, students, Futurists, etc) invade Fiume, which is supposed to be a neutral city under the League of Nations. The general who was supposed to block him didn’t after D’Annunzio dared him to shoot him.


Foreshadowy Headline of the Day -100:  




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Friday, September 13, 2019

Today -100: September 13, 1919: Of going and solvent national concerns, the most drastic measures, and police strikes


Giving an anti-League of Nations speech in St. Louis, Sen. Hiram Johnson (R-Cal.) says the League would make the US “subject to the will of Great Britain and Japan,” who want to use the League to protect the spoils given them by the Peace Treaty. He says the US is “the only going and solvent national concern” and joining the League would be to “enter into a partnership with four bankrupts.”

The British “suppress” the Irish Parliament and raid the Dublin Sinn Féin headquarters and many other locations. Papers and pamphlets and explosives are seized. Viscount French, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, threatens “the most drastic measures.” Detective Hoey is shot dead in Dublin. A related story is headlined “‘Dail Eireann’ Shortlived,” suggesting a belief that the Irish Parliament no longer exists because the British say it no longer exists, which is just adorable. President De Valera, in Rhode Island, says the proclamations are “a cover for military ruthlessness in Ireland.” He says law & order could be restored in 24 hours if the “alien government” withdraws its army of occupation.

Samuel Gompers of the AFL meets Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge and offers to suspend the Boston police strike if the rule against police union membership is also suspended until Pres. Wilson’s labor conference next month. Coolidge has said that the cops are not strikers but deserters, and should not be reinstated.


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Today -100: September 12, 1919: Of crimes against civilizatin and coups


There may be a general strike in support of the police strike in Boston. Then again, there may not. Woodrow Wilson calls the strike “a crime against civilization,” leaving Boston “at the mercy of an army of thugs.”

The US lands troops in Honduras to do something or other during its revolution/coup. Pres. Francisco Bertrand flees the country.


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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Today -100: September 11, 1919: Austria cannot hate


Massachusetts State Guard troops are patrolling Boston during the police strike, shooting at mobs with rifles and machine guns. There are also cavalry charges. With sabres. Bottles and bricks are thrown back. Guardsmen break up dice games with bayonets. Gov. Calvin Coolidge sends in more troops, blaming Mayor Andrew Peters for taking two days to ask for assistance. Peters blames Police Commissioner Edwin Curtis, who is appointed by the governor.

Austria signs the peace treaty with 27 of its former enemies. Romania and Yugoslavia do not sign. China, which did not sign the treaty with Germany, signs this one because it does not give away any part of China to Japan. The Chinese and Japanese delegates are seated far away from each other. Chancellor Karl Renner, signing on behalf of Austria, says “Austria cannot hate. It always respects the man with whom it has to fight.”

A mob near Athens, Georgia lynches black man Obe Cox, shooting him and burning him at the stake.

Ex-kaiser Wilhelm is finally moving into his own place, in Doorn, Netherlands. 51 moving wagons.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today -100: September 10, 1919: We are the predestined mediators of mankind


The Boston police, at least 3/4 of them, go on strike after 19 cops are fired for union activity (joining an AFL-affiliated union). Boston youth break some windows, loot a few stores. Harvard’s President A. Lawrence Lowell calls on students to be prepared to assist the authorities.

The NYT opposes the striking cops, condescendingly saying they are “inspired unconsciously by anti-social ideas” and that they have “no more right to belong to a union than a soldier or a sailor. He must be ready to obey orders, the orders of his superiors, not those of any outside body.” After all, they may be called on to put down strikes and so receive contradictory orders. And if they don’t like their pay and conditions (which by the way are pretty crappy), they can just quit.

Police shoot dead three striking workers of the Standard Steel Car Company in Hammond, Indiana. The article repeatedly tells us that the troublesome workers are foreign-born (mostly Poles).

Woodrow Wilson tells the Minnesota Legislature and a St. Paul public meeting that the cost of living will continue to rise and labor relations will continue to suck until the peace treaty is ratified. Also, the US is the only country the world trusts to stabilize peace: “We are the predestined mediators of mankind.”

The former aide of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, brother of Tsar Nicholas, says Michael Alexandrovich is actually still alive, having escaped “with his secretary and a sailor” on a motor boat and is now living somewhere incognito. Yah, no, he isn’t.

“Uncle John” Schell, the oldest man in the world at, um, 131, goes on a ride in an airplane at the Kentucky State Fair. It feels a lot like being drunk, he says, “but it’s all right at that.” He’s just sorry he didn’t bring his 5-year-old son to the fair.


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Monday, September 09, 2019

Today -100: September 9, 1919: Of pro-German elements, reservations, pershings, and home runs


In Sioux Falls, Woodrow Wilson warns that “the pro-German element in the United States has again lifted its head,” in the form of attempts to keep the US out of the League of Nations, which would somehow result in better peace terms for Germany. He says the US is the only real idealist among the nations of the world.

Romania wants to sign the Austrian peace treaty with reservations (like many US Republican senators), and is being told no. The provisions it objects to would require it to treat its Jews nicely, which it says would interfere with its sovereignty in its newly acquired territories. The Yugoslavs have similar objections to being made to be nice to their minorities.

Gen. Pershing is in town for parades and shit.

Babe Ruth hits his 26th home run of the season, which is a record.


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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Today -100: September 8, 1919: Of corks, peaces founded on brute force, and lynchings


In County Cork, Sinn Féiners attack soldiers parading to church, evidently in an attempt to grab their weapons, but in the ensuing firefight they kill 1 soldier and wound 3 more and then escape scot free, despite 18 planes being deployed.

The Austrian National Assembly ratifies the Peace Treaty, 97-23, while protesting “a peace founded on brute force” and the “violation of Austria’s right of free disposal of herself,” saying Austria must join Germany.

A mob in Jacksonville, Florida breaks into the jail looking for a black man accused of assaulting a white girl/woman, but finding that he’d been removed, lynch two other black prisoners instead, shooting them and then dragging their bodies through the streets, as was the custom.


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Saturday, September 07, 2019

Today -100: September 7, 1919: Do you not know that the world is all now one single whispering gallery?


In another of his League of Nations speeches, Woodrow Wilson in Des Moines says the world is waiting for our leadership. He also blames the internet wireless and telegraph – “Do you not know that the world is all now one single whispering gallery?” – for the spread of “the poison of disorder, the poison of revolt, the poison of chaos” beyond Russia to Eastern Europe and maybe even the US, “and so long as the disorder continues, so long as the world is kept waiting for the answer to the question of the kind of peace we are going to have and what kind of guarantees there are to be behind that peace, that poison will steadily spread, more and more rapidly until it may be that even this beloved land of ours will be distracted and distorted by it.”

The actors’ strike is over. Chorus girls also get a wage increase. Stage productions that have now opened or will shortly open include “Chu Chin Chow,” “The Scandals of 1919,” “She Would and She Did,” and “Monte Cristo, Junior.”


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