Thursday, July 16, 2020

Today -100: July 16, 1920: Of booze cruises, liars and grifters, mail, and life-jackets


The Americas Cup is going on. It has what I imagine is an unusually high number of spectators this year, a combination of prohibition and international waters.

The Rev. Purley Baker, president of the Anti-Saloon League (whose name the NYT spells wrong), calls its executive to meet to decide how to fuck over Gov. James Cox, who once called Baker “a liar and a grafter.”

50 Sinn Féiners raid the Dublin General Post Office, as was the custom, and grab all the governments mail.

A life-jacket from the Lusitania, “bearing a strand of faded blonde hair,” surfaces in the Delaware River.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Today -100: July 15, 1920: Of readjusting the affairs of civilization


Headline of the Day -100: 


Harding asks Republicans in the Tennessee and North Carolina legislatures to vote for ratification of the federal Amendment and “don’t worry who gets the credit for putting it over.” He thinks the Republican party is getting insufficient credit for its role in suffrage, noting that of the 35 states which have ratified the Amendment so far, 29 are Republican, while 6 Democratic and 1 Republican state legislature have rejected it (he’s ignoring the Republican governors who refused to call their legislatures into session, most recently Percival Clement of Vermont).

Gov. James Cox says his campaign will be dedicated to bringing “peace with honor” and “readjusting the affairs of civilization.” He accuses Harding of wanting to live 30 years in the past, which no kidding.

The new Farmer-Labor Party nominates Parley Christensen, a Utah lawyer who defended the first Wobbly prosecuted in Utah. He beat out Dudley Field Malone for the nomination after Robert La Follette’s son informed the convention he would not run under the party’s radical platform. 

The British government has taken to firing Irish railway workers who refuse to work on trains carrying munitions or soldiers, causing increasing labor shortages and delays. Also, when 5 workers do agree to work on those trains, they’re abducted by Sinn Féin.

Germany agrees to deliver 2 million tons of coal per month (about 20% of Germany’s total output), following Allied threats to occupy the Ruhr (French PM Millerand also wanted to occupy Hamburg).


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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Today -100: July 14, 1920: Of strikes, coups, twenty-odd wars, and dominant races


Britain’s Trades Union Congress votes in favor of strikes against the manufacture of munitions intended for use against Russia or Ireland (the actual strike decisions will be made by the individual unions).

There’s a coup in Bolivia, as was the custom. The Times thinks it’s about the question of where a seaport should be.

Warren G. Harding says FDR’s acceptance of the League of Nations as the paramount issue of the campaign shows that Wilson is forcing the League on his party. If the Democrats win, he says, the US would join the League and become “at once a party to the twenty-odd wars now going on in the world.” In other words, Harding is happy to accept that this election be a referendum on joining the League, and he would also prefer to ignore Cox and run against Wilson.

The Soviets capture Minsk.

An article about complaints made by the Japanese government about discrimination against Japanese people in California explains that it’s not really about race but economics: “The physical attributes of the Japanese settlers, together with radical differences in their customs, and manner of living, preclude competition with them in the economic field by the white races in California, enabling the Japanese to accomplish more work at lower living cost than the native inhabitants of the State. This economic advantage, coupled with the high rate of reproduction, which prevails among the Japanese people, it is now realized, must render it a matter of decades before the Japanese, at their present rate of progress, will supplant the white race as the dominant element in the population of California.” Gov. William Stephens sent a letter to Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby pointing out the rise in the Japanese population and asking the federal government to do something about immigration.


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Monday, July 13, 2020

Today -100: July 13, 1920: Of campaigns, special sessions, coal, states of fatigue, machinations, and discrimination


Cox and Roosevelt plan to campaign in every state, with FDR focusing on the West. FDR says he sees the League of Nations as the dominant issue of the campaign. One problem: he’s stuck in his day job as assistant secretary of the Navy until Secretary Daniels returns next month from a cruise in Alaska.

Vermont Gov. Percival Clement (R) refuses to call the Legislature into special session to ratify the federal women’s suffrage Amendment. He’s not so much against suffrage as he is against any federal amendment being passed without a referendum, which the Supreme Court ruled out earlier this year. Alice Paul and other suffragists blame Harding for not pushing Clement on this. Harding claims to be disappointed.

Another day, another ultimatum at the Spa Conference, where Germany is given until 3 pm tomorrow to agree to deliver 2 million tons of coal a month.

French President Paul Deschanel has “suffered a new relapse into a state of fatigue,” which is French for barking mad. They’re thinking it might be time to create an office of vice president. Deschanel will be unable to officiate at the Bastille Day parade, which is pretty much the only thing the president of France had to do during the Third Republic.

Sir Edward Carson warns that if the government doesn’t “protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin,” they will organize to protect themselves. The British poured soldiers into Northern Ireland to guard the July 12th Orange parades precisely in order not to give the Ulsterites an excuse to organize paramilitary forces.

With complaints from Japan about a November California referendum to restrict Japanese leasing of land (ownership is already banned), the NYT editorializes that there are two sides to the issue: on the one hand, such restrictions are discriminatory and humiliating; on the other hand, “the people of California are opposed to any increase in the Japanese population”. So hard to balance those two perfectly legitimate sentiments.

The Japanese Diet rejects women’s suffrage.


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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Today -100: July 12, 1920: I fail to see where that contrivance can in any way be associated with art


A German newspaper reports that Prince Heinrich of Prussia, Wilhelm’s brother, was killed by a gang of field laborers. No.

Actual deaths: some guy who went over Niagra Falls in a barrel, as was the custom. A specially designed barrel, too. Tomorrow it will be reported that while his body is not recovered, there is a “severed arm thought to be his.”

And Empress (50 years ago) Eugénie of France, widow of Emperor Napoleon III, dead at 94.

The Canadian province of New Brunswick votes to retain wartime prohibition.

The warden at Sing Sing refuses an artist’s request to be allowed to paint the electric chair. “I fail to see where that contrivance can in any way be associated with art.”


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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Today -100: July 11, 1920: Cox above Harding is also a common PornHub search term


Headline of the Day -100: 


They point out that while Harding currently supports women’s suffrage, he has an uninterested and uneven history on the subject.

The NYT mentions an editorial by Henry Ford in his Dearborn Independent, which it thinks was published today but will actually be delayed until next week, denouncing both parties. The Republican Convention, Ford says, “was openly and shamelessly dominated” by big business, the Democratic Convention by the whisky business. He calls for a “citizens’ party,” presumably with himself as the candidate. I’m not sure why this article was bumped from this issue of the weekly; perhaps to make room to ask this vital question



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Friday, July 10, 2020

Today -100: July 10, 1920: Of disarmament, parallel courts, and surrenders


The German delegates at the Spa Conference accept the disarmament ultimatum, subject to a vote in the Reichstag, which the Germans insist is required under the Weimar Constitution because the Allied threat to occupy the Ruhr in event of non-compliance is an alteration of the Versailles Treaty (Lloyd George disagrees that it is). Then the two sides bitch at each other about war crimes trials, which Germany would be happy to hold, they say, but their judges have failed to find sufficient evidence in even a single case. Also the lists provided by the Allies misspelled a lot of names. And some of them have moved.

Even Unionists are using the Sinn Féin courts, since the official Crown courts no longer have any authority.  Sinn Féin has also been setting pub closing hours and keeping order at race tracks.

The Mexican government rejects Pancho Villa’s peace offer, but if he wants to surrender unconditionally, that’d be swell.


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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Today -100: July 9, 1920: Of disarmament, taxes, suffrage, and, I don’t know, irony or something


The Allies give Germany a 6-month delay in fulfilling the disarmament provisions of the Versailles Treaty, but Germany must disarm the security police, ask the public to surrender all weapons, immediately abolish conscription, and surrender guns and cannon above the treaty limit.

The Dublin County Council orders its officials to provide no information to the British income tax people, but give it only to the Republican Parliament.

The Louisiana Legislature adjourns without passing women’s suffrage, either by ratifying the federal Amendment as Cox asked for, or by passing a (whites-only, naturally) state measure.

A meeting protesting discriminatory anti-Japanese laws in California is held in Hiroshima.


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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Today -100: July 8, 1920: Of lost rifles, duties to the Democratic Party, lynchings, and bowling


Germany asks the Spa Conference for a 15-month delay in reducing its army below 100,000, citing the threat of Bolshevism. The Allies say no. Also, Germany says it doesn’t know where all those rifles the Allies want handed over actually are. Lloyd George says it’s inconceivable that Germany just allows those rifles to be in the hands of general members of the public against the will of the government. German Foreign Minister Walter Simons reminds him that that’s also the case in a part of the British Empire (i.e., Ireland). Also, he says, we need a larger army to disarm the civilians.

One of the first things Gov. James Cox does as nominee is to ask Louisiana to ratify the women’s suffrage Amendment “as a duty to the Democratic Party”.

And vice presidential nominee Franklin Roosevelt... goes back to his job in the Navy Department.

The US lifts its restrictions on exports to Russia (other than munitions), the State Dept making it very clear that this does not entail recognition of the Soviet government. Passports for travel to Russia won’t be issued, nor mail to Russia accepted.

A black man is lynched in Roxboro, North Carolina, in a churchyard.

Pancho Villa agrees surrender terms with the Mexican government.

Headline of the Day -100: 


What to Watch, If You Have a Time Machine: the premiere of F.W. Murnau’s The Hunchback and the Dancer (Der Bucklige und die Tänzerin), a lost film.


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