Friday, June 21, 2024

Today -100: June 21, 1924: Fascismo will come out of this storm stronger and more respected than ever

The third British Everest expedition ends when George Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappear somewhere on the mountain.

William Gibbs McAdoo’s campaign manager refuses to pass on to McAdoo a reporter’s question about the proposal for a plank condemning the Ku Klux Klan by name. 

Italy’s ambassador to the US Gelasio Caetani says “merciless justice will be meted out to the dastardly murderers” of Giacomo Matteotti. Dastardly murderers are the worst kind of murderers. Merciless justice is the... best?... worst? kind of justice. “Fascismo will come out of this storm stronger and more respected than ever,” he says, after the purging of “extremist elements” from the Fascist Party. “It will come out purer and stronger.”

High Sheriff Andrews, who was ordered to arrest the Republican Rhode Island state senators boycotting the Senate, let them all go after they produced doctor’s notes that they were too ill from the gas attack in the chamber yesterday. If they all then fled the state that’s certainly not his fault, says Andrews. Democratic senators seem to be mysteriously immune to gas. R’s claim they are in fear of their lives from thugs roaming the corridors of the Senate.

The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture will send 30,000 guns to Smyrna to fight off hailstorms.

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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Today -100: June 20, 1924: I will not even acknowledge the existence of a second choice

Commendatore Giovanni Marinelli, treasurer of the Italian Fascist Party, is arrested for ordering the kidnapping murder of Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti. Fascist editor Filippo Filippelli is also under arrest (he supplied the car Matteotti was forced into) and is singing like a canary. Also, his name is Filippo Filippelli, which is the most Italian name possible.

Democrats in the Rhode Island State Senate have been filibustering since January, demanding, among other things, a referendum on a constitutional convention, a 48-hour week, and the abolition of the property qualification to vote in city council elections (RI tended to be massively behind the times constitutionally – look up the Dorr Rebellion when you’ve got some free time). Person or persons unknown decide to end the filibuster with bromine gas, placed behind the rostrum. 4 senators go to hospital (the 3 R’s may be faking it). Some Republican senators say they will boycott tomorrow’s session, so Democratic Lt. Gov. Felix Toupin, who has been leading the filibuster, reading Shakespeare and the Encyclopedia out loud for 42 hours but who escapes ill effects from the bomb because he was being shaved at the rostrum and had a towel over his face, orders the high sheriff (that’s the best kind of sheriff) to arrest them and drag them back to the Senate.

Former ambassador to Britain John Davis says he’s not a candidate for president, but if the Dem. convention drafted him...

Al Smith says he would refuse the vice presidency. “I will not be a second choice,” he says, “I will not even acknowledge the existence of a second choice.” Dude, NO ONE acknowledges the existence of a vice president.

The feds claim that the Wobblies are deliberately spreading foot and mouth disease in California.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Today -100: June 19, 1924: Of assassins, truces, smuts, and ma’s

Mussolini claims that almost everyone involved in the kidnapping and presumed murder of Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti has been arrested. One was caught by a submarine chaser, one was apprehended in the Alps trying to reach Switzerland, and 3 were caught on a steamer about to leave for Albania.

The Royal Ascot horsie race bans women smoking in the royal enclosure in response to the scandal of one woman breaking that unwritten rule of etiquette.

Democrats have reportedly negotiated a “truce” whereby William Randolph Hearst and his newspapers won’t attack Al Smith anymore.

South African PM Gen. Jan Smuts’s South African Party badly loses parliamentary elections. Smuts loses his own Pretoria seat. But at least the country will still have a Boer War general as PM. J.B.M. Hertzog of the National Party will become the new PM on a platform of disfranchising the black voters in the Cape Province.

Miriam Ferguson, wife of former Texas Gov. James Ferguson (1915-7), is herself running for governor. He can’t do it because he was impeached and barred forever from holding state office for acts of embezzlement, corrupt banking practices, trying to bribe the speaker of the house to prevent the impeachment, and threatening the University of Texas. “Ma” Ferguson is running on “Pa”’s old platform and says she’s running to clear the family name so that her grandson might one day be able to run for office with the stigma of grandpappy’s impeachment wiped out by the “rebuke” to it of her being elected. She is the first woman to run for governor in the US.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Today -100: June 18, 1924: We can beat ‘em anyway

William Gibbs McAdoo says he doesn’t care about the 2/3 presidential nomination rule: “We can beat ‘em anyway.”

Al Smith records a 6-minute “talking movie,” the first use of that technology in a presidential campaign.

Sen. Pat Harrison of Mississippi will give the keynote speech to the Dem. convention. Former Miss. senator LeRoy Percy accuses him of leading “a Ku Klux Klan delegation.” Percy was on one of the anti-Klan delegations that wasn’t seated at the state convention. He doesn’t accuse Harrison of being a kluxer, but says most of the state’s delegates are.

Lawyers boycott courts in Naples & Palermo to protest the probable murder of Giacomo Matteotti. Police disperse various anti-Fascist protests. Supposedly Pope Pius met Matteotti’s widow, for half an hour no less.

The NYT suggests that the Matteotti kidnapping threatens Mussolini’s grip on power and has damaged “the prestige of Fascismo”: “The Government of Mussolini may go down in history with the Government of the Tarquins and of Appius Claudius to testify that a people which will endure loss of liberty may rise on an issue of personal outrage.” The murder “is of a kind that may kill a movement by depriving it at a stroke of its moral content.” You know, that celebrated Fascist moral content.

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Monday, June 17, 2024

Today -100: June 17, 1924: Out of the mouths of babes

Babe Ruth comes out in favor of Al Smith for president, after campaign manager Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote him asking for his endorsement.

Some delegates to the Democratic Convention want to do away with the rule requiring a 2/3 vote to nominate a presidential candidate. Reducing that to a simple majority would most likely benefit William Gibbs McAdoo, but his followers are worried that they’d alienate delegates by pushing it. Ah, should be okay.

Oh, this can’t be true: the ancestors of Coolidge & Dawes ran a grocery store called Dawes & Coolidge in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 18th century. William Dawes was part of the Ride of Paul Revere.

The analysts working for Leopold & Loeb’s lawyers determined that they are abnormal and should not be held responsible for their actions. Now the State’s analyst says no, they are in fact “smart alecks.”

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Today -100: June 16, 1924: Of finzis, acting governors, and abnormals

Ah, now I understand why Italian Under-Secretary of the Interior Aldo Finzi had to resign over the Matteotti disappearance: Matteotti had been about to give a speech attacking Finzi for various forms of corruption, including taking bribes from Harry Sinclair’s oil and bribery biz.

New Mexico Gov. James Hinkle will be a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. While he is out of the state, Secretary of State Soledad Chacón, a woman-type person and a Hispanic-type person, will be acting governor (the lt. governor died). The NYT gets her name and age wrong, because of course it does. She’s not the first US woman temporary governor (we’ll get some real ones soon, for better or worse), that would be Carolyn Shelton in Oregon in 1909. While Chacón is acting governor, the acting secretary of state will be the assistant director, who is her husband.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Today -100: June 15, 1924: Of radicals, boycotts, assassintions, and lillies

France has another prime minister. Seems like only a week ago... This is Édouard Herriot (Radical) (that is, from the not-actually-radical Radical Party).

The US Embassy in Japan complains about the boycott of American movies in protest at the racist Immigration Act.

Aldo Finzi, under-secretary at the Italian Interior Ministry (and vice commissioner for aeronautics), resigns over the disappearance of Giacomo Matteotti so that he can fight these “libelous attacks” full time.

The first of 31 trials for the Lilly, Pennsylvania battle between Klansmen and townies (18 of the former and 13 of the latter are facing charges) ends with an acquittal for a kluxer tried for murder.

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Friday, June 14, 2024

Today -100: June 14, 1924: Of Tammany hospitality, horrified & exasperated, and court exhibits

Orville Poland of the Anti-Saloon League claims, in a letter to every delegate to the  Democratic Convention in New York, that there are plans to open a convention barroom to dispense “Tammany hospitality” in support of Alfred Smith. Franklin Delano Roosevelt says the letter is “an insult to the whole city.”

Mussolini is making a very good show of being shocked at the disappearance of Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, which there is now ample evidence was a kidnapping. It’s assumed he’s dead, but it’ll take a couple of months for the body to be discovered. The name of the man who led the kidnappers, Amerigo Dumini, is now known, because he rented the kidnap car (the classic Leopold & Loeb mistake). Dumini is an Italian-American who renounced his US citizenship in 1913. The Duck says, “If there is anyone in this hall who has the right to be horrified and exasperated it is I myself.” In fact, only Fascists are in the hall as opposition MPs are boycotting.

The Bloc des gauches in the French National Assembly ousted President Alexandre Millerand a few days ago, but fail to profit from it, proving unable to put their candidate Paul Painlevé in his place. I believe the French word for such an occurrence is a whoopsé. Instead, the right-wing parties in the Assembly manage to elect Gaston Doumergue, former prime minister, education minister, foreign minister, colonies minister, and magistrate in Algeria and Vietnam. Not necessarily in that order. He is a Protestant.

A Tijuana judge demonstrating to a jury in a shooting case how a gun could have been used shoots himself in the head. He thought his staff had unloaded the exhibit.

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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Today -100: June 13, 1924: Of final & irrevocable refusals, battleships, and (spoiler alert) assassinations

Headline of the Day -100:  


Calvin Coolidge is nominated for president on the first ballot. He’s been listening to every word of the convention on the White House radio, presumably silently.

Former Illinois governor Frank Lowden is selected as his running mate, by acclamation no less. At this point a friend reads a letter from Lowden, written just in case the Convention ignored his repeated statements that he didn’t want the job, saying his refusal is “final and irrevocable.” So a late-night session names Charles G. Dawes, who was a general during the Great War but is mostly known for the Dawes Plan for German reparations, which seems like an odd qualification for vice president, but then Coolidge was known only for breaking a police strike. Dawes was also comptroller of the currency under McKinley, a post currently held by his brother Henry. Dawes evidently had no idea this was coming – a lot of other candidates, some of them even willing, were considered before they worked their way down the list to him. It’s also a surprise to Coolidge, who presumably found out from the radio.

A lot of the drama behind the veepship struggle is caused by resentment of RNC chair William Butler’s heavy-handed attempts to force first Borah and then Judge William Kenyon and then Herbert Hoover on the Convention.

The USS Mississippi blows up in San Pedro Harbor, killing 48.

Italian Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti is missing. “Mussolini is taking the greatest personal interest in the case”. I’ll bet he is.

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