Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Today -100: April 13, 1921: Of world-governing super-powers, charms, lawful sovereigns, secret treaties, and peonage


Harding gives his first State of the Union address. “He wore a dark morning coat that fitted him well.” He’s still talking about forming a non-political association of nations “based upon the application of justice and right, binding us in conference and cooperation for the prevention of war and pointing the way to higher civilization and international fraternity,” which he has to know won’t happen. He says that with “the existing League of Nations, world-governing with its super-powers, this republic will have no part.” He will have Congress declare a “technical peace” with Germany. US occupation troops in the Coblenz region will remain, because they are there under the terms of the armistice of 11/11/18 rather than the Treaty of Versailles.

He says “Congress ought to wipe the stain of barbaric lynching from the banners of a free and orderly, representative democracy.” Spoiler Alert: It won’t. He doesn’t say a thing about racial voter suppression but does suggest... wait for it... a commission “embracing representatives of both races” to discuss the subject of race. Both races. Fortunately there were only two, evidently, which should make it easier. This part of the speech was greeted by “applause and then silence.”

The NYT provides a guide to presidential pronunciation, comparing how Harding pronounces words like either, personnel, maintained etc with how Wilson pronounced them.

Headline of the Day -100:  


The Hungarian government, while asking Switzerland to allow former emperor Charles to live there permanently, says it considers him Hungary’s lawful sovereign.

IRAers shoot military horses and mules, in separate incidents suggesting this is a new tactic. That’s one way to hamper military activity, and this blog does not approve.

Italy has a secret treaty with the Turkish nationalists, signed last month, to support them in their war with Greece, despite Italy being a signatory of the Treaty of Sèvres, which Greece is fighting to enforce. By “secret treaty,” I mean Italy didn’t inform the other Allies of its existence.

A superintendent and 3 foremen of the Southern Construction Company, which is building the Lee Highway in Tennessee, are arrested by federal agents for violating peonage laws by forcing 75 black men to work on the project. One described how he was beaten with a pine board after trying to escape. “The Government has forced the defendants to release every negro in the camp with the exception of the cook.” 

Sen. Ralph Cameron (R-Arizona) is sued by a man for alienation of affection. Cameron responds that Mrs. McFarlin was not married to the plaintiff at the time and that under AZ law the case is past the statute of limitations.

Proposed bills before the 67th Senate include: a Bonus for veterans, a ban on railroad strikes, racial segregation in D.C. street cars, recognition of Irish independence, a federal sales tax, forgiving British war debts in exchange for its West Indian colonies, ditto for the French Antilles, a two-cent Teddy Roosevelt coin, purchasing Baja California from Mexico, and banning foreign-language periodicals without English translations in parallel columns.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Today -100: April 12, 1921: Of distinguished kisses, crackatoos, cows, and smoking in Iowa


The NY State Senate steamrolls through a bill for movie censorship, with only Republican votes in favor. A censorship board can ban films which are “obscene, indecent, immoral, inhuman, sacrilegious or of such character that their exhibition would tend to corrupt morals or incite to crime.” Inhuman? Sen. John Boylan (D) notes that the board would have the job of standardizing the screen kiss. “Should it last a minute or only thirty seconds to pass muster,” he asks. And should it distinguish between kisses between a mother and her son, a wife and a husband returning from war or from a long trip. Jimmy Walker accuses Sen. Clayton Lusk, the originator of the bill, of being only a step beyond the crackatoo who wants a 20th Amendment abolishing religious liberty. I only include that remark because of the word “crackatoo,” which is new to me. Walker also uses the word bunk, which outside the columns of Charles Pierce is too seldom seen these days.

The former kaiserin of Germany, Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Wilhelm’s wife, dies at 62.

Headline of the Day -100:  



Georgia plantation owner John Williams is indicted for the murders of 8 more of his black peonage workers. Also indicted are his 3 sons and the black employee who carried out some of the murders on Williams’ orders. The sons are in the wind.

Cigarettes are legalized in Iowa.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Today -100: April 11, 1921: Of pumping and plebiscites


The British government gets the coal miners to agree to allow pumping to resume during the strike, although not before a bunch of mines are flooded.

There’s a plebiscite scheduled for two weeks from now in the Tyrol region of Austria on annexation to Germany, called by the local Tyrolohoovian authorities, and France is really really opposed to it happening. As is the Austrian federal government, if it comes to that.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Today -100: April 10, 1921: In which is revealed who are the hope of the future


Georgia plantation owner John Williams is found guilty of the murder of one of the 11 (or possibly 14) blacks he kept in peonage and then, you know, murdered. The jury recommends mercy. Since he left corpses strewn over two counties, the grand jury in the other one, Jasper County, is likely to recommend prosecution.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Limerick fight > opera fire > rap battle.

Amidst violent clashes in various Italian cities between Socialists and Fascists, the latter issue a manifesto: “We offer our enthusiasm and faith and the spirit of sacrifice, which beautifies life and renders death sacred. Rally around us. We are the hope of the future. Who is not with us is against us.”

Headline of the Day -100:  


Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Today -100: April 9, 1921: Of course all that cheese has an atmosphere, that’s just science


Russia absorbs White Russia (Belarus).

Former Astronomer Royal Sir William Christie says the moon has an atmosphere.

Albert Einstein (and Chaim Weizmann) are finally given the freedom of New York City, despite continuing objections from Alderman Bruce Falconer, who calls Einstein an enemy alien (he thinks he’s a German citizen).

Jackie Coogan, the 6-year-old co-star of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, is to sign a new contract increasing his salary from $62,400 a year to $300,000.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Today -100: April 8, 1921: Of peonage murder, gentleman thieves, and Bens-Hur


John Williams, the Georgia plantation owner on trial for the murder of one of 11 black workers, takes the stand as the sole witness for the defense. He is not sworn in, so he can’t be cross-examined. Let me repeat that: he is now sworn in, so he cannot be cross-examined. He blames his black employee Clyde Manning, who has testified against him. Williams says he might have been “technically” guilty of peonage, but so are most Georgia farmers.

E.W. Hornung, the creator of Raffles, the gentleman thief and cricket player, dies at 54. He was married to Arthur Conan Doyle’s sister Constance. Hornung, not Raffles.

German anti-Semitic leader Rudolph Leibus is fined $16 in a Berlin court for offering a reward for the murders of, among others, Albert Einstein.

The film rights to the 1880 novel Ben-Hur are purchased for a record $1 million by Abraham Erlanger, the producer of the stage version, Charles Dillingham,s and Flo Ziegfeld. They plan to shoot in Jerusalem and Syria. However next year they’ll resell the rights to Goldwyn, which will bring out a film version, after a couple of years filming, in 1925.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Today -100: April 7, 1921: Of peons, yapping, and involuntary deputies


Testifying in the trial of the Georgia plantation owner John Williams for the murder of Lindsey Peterson, Clyde Manning, the “coal black” negro who killed some of the 11 black workers on Williams’ orders, says he was afraid Williams would kill him if he disobeyed. Williams killed (or had killed) the men he was afraid would talk to federal investigators looking into peonage on the farm. 6 of the men were chained to rocks and thrown into rivers while still alive, the rest were shot or hit in the head. Of the several articles on this case, this is the first to confirm that Williams acquired the services of the men by paying their court fines.

Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes writes to Britain, France, Italy and Japan refusing to accept the League of Nations decision to grant Japan a mandate over the island of Yap and indeed rejecting its power to grant any mandate without US permission, citing the “right accruing to the United States through the victory in which it has participated.”

The king of Italy dissolves the parliament and sets elections for May 15.

The sheriff of Polk County, Florida thwarts a lynching of a black prisoner by... swearing every member of the mob in as a deputy sheriff.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Today -100: April 6, 1921: We are strong, and because we are strong we will be paid


French Prime Minister Aristide Briand tells the French Senate that if Germany doesn’t pay up by May 1, “it is a firm hand which will grip her by the collar. It will be our right, and it will be our duty to collect our debts by force.” He doesn’t add that it will also be their pleasure, but that’s pretty much understood. He shouts, “But we are strong, and because we are strong we will be paid!”

Albert Einstein and Chaim Weizmann are visiting New York City. They were going to be given the freedom of the city but one alderman, Bruce Falconer, objects, because the honor is given out too freely and anyway he’s never heard of them (“He asked to be enlightened, but nobody offered to explain the theory of relativity”) and it’s certainly not because they’re Jews. (They will be given the freedom of the state instead).

Former emperor Charles finally leaves Hungary. To make sure, his train is accompanied by Entente soldiers and also Austrian cops, leading to the protest resignations of Austria’s interior and war ministers. Charles issues a statement that he is leaving because “the moment has not yet come for him to take over his right of governing. ... He leaves the land as the crowned King of Hungary.” Yes, he’s referring to himself in the third person, like a common Trump.

In Bologna, “Professor” Benito Mussolini tells 20,000 Fascisti that they should participate in the upcoming general elections to prevent “worn-out men” returning to power. I’m pretty sure this is the first mention of Mussolini in the NYT.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Today -100: April 5, 1921: Monarchy is best for us


Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda, Fake News, and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark is reported killed in the Greco-Turkish war. He isn’t. (Update: ah, that report came from the Turks).

Admiral Miklós Horthy, “Regent” of Hungary, explains to NYT correspondent Charles Grasty that “a republican Hungary is not possible” because “the Hungarian mind has become habituated to monarchy” and elections would just lead to “agitation and excitement.” He denies having ambitions to claim the throne for himself. Former emperor Charles is still refusing to leave the country without a list of demands being met, even as the Little Entente threatens to invade Hungary if he isn’t out by 6 p.m. Thursday and Austria threatens to cancel his safe conduct unless he uses it sharpish. One new demand from Charles is that Horthy resign as regent and then be renominated as regent by Charles.

American citizens’ pre-war ability to enter or leave the country without a passport (and permission from the government) is restored.

A black man is lynched near Brandon, Mississippi. 

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.