Saturday, November 26, 2022

Today -100: November 26, 1922: Or CharPola, to give them their Hollywood name


Charlie Chaplin refuses to confirm or deny that he is engaged to Pola Negri. He isn’t, but he has been seeing her (it won’t last long). The engagement rumor was probably ginned up by the Paramount publicity department to boost Negri’s visibility.

George Barton Cutten, president of Colgate University, says democracy is a bad idea and universal suffrage the worst, because people are stupid.

Billy Sunday sends Pres. Harding a turkey. This was the only way to call a president a “jive-ass turkey” in the days before social media.

Howard Carter enters the tomb of King Tutankhamun (pictured below)


with his backer Lord Carnarvon and Carnarvon’s daughter Evelyn Herbert. Lord C. will die in April because of The Mummy’s Curse. Or blood poisoning from a mosquito bite, which is much the same thing, medically speaking. Lady Evelyn married one Brograve Beauchamp, which is quite a name.

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Today -100: November 25, 1922: Of executions, German, and piqueurs


Erskine Childers, author of The Riddle of the Sands, is executed by an Irish Free State firing squad for unlawful possession of a firearm.

The Paterson, New Jersey Ku Klux Klan threatens city officials if German-language instruction is restored in the high school. Which they don’t plan to do and vote it down every time it comes up.

The latest Paris trend: piqueurs, who stab women in department stores with needles coated with some unknown poison. None have been caught. This was also a thing in Paris in 1819.

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Today -100: November 24, 1922: Of justices, dupes, executioners, and groups of racial and religious haters


Pres. Harding names Pierce Butler, a Catholic and a Democrat, but quite a right-wing one, to the Supreme Court.

E.C. Stokes, former governor of New Jersey (R, 1905-8) and current president of the Mechanics National Bank of Trenton, was tricked into lending $1,500 for a bootleg liquor deal (he was told it was grapes). This comes out in court because the guy he gave the loan was sued for money due on the deal; the judge tells the plaintiff you can’t sue for relief for an illegal transaction, you nimrod.

A William Gilbert of Trenton, NJ, has been writing to sheriffs and judges all over the country offering his services as an executioner, at rates ranging upwards of $175, depending on how close the condemned is to Trenton. Mr Gilbert (and yes, his name makes it virtually impossible not to refer to him as Lord High Executioner) is not home when a reporter drops by, but his wife admits he’s never executed someone, “so far as I know,” but he has made a study of electrical switchboards and has built a portable scaffold. He “has a living to make” and would rather earn it this way than working for 35¢ an hour for capitalists.

The Ku Klux Klan opens a recruiting drive in New York City, led by Rev. Oscar Haywood of Calvary Baptist Church. Mayor John Hylan orders the police commissioner to treat “this group of racial and religious haters as you would the reds and the bomb throwers,” “drive them out of our city,” and have detectives find the names of members and give them to the press.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Today -100: November 23, 1922: Even lords and princes gotta queue


The Supreme Council of Russian Monarchists, meeting secretly in Paris, elect Grand Duke Nicholas the new Czar of All the Russias. They’re holding this meeting earlier than planned because Grand Duke Cyril has been going around claiming the (non)-throne and they correctly believe that “Czar Cyril” just sounds silly. The organization will also be removing its hq to Paris because there are too many Commies in Berlin.

At the Lausanne Conference, Turkey demands a plebiscite in Western Thrace on its future status. Everyone else says no. The Powers will also give Bulgaria access to the Aegean via a railroad through Greek territory.

Rebecca Latimer Felton gives a brief speech in the Senate to close out her one-day career. She says future women congresscritters will be good.

The entire Louisiana congressional delegation, you know, the guys denying the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in their state, oppose Harding’s nomination of Walter Cohen, who is black, as controller of customs at New Orleans. It is claimed that Harding had promised not to appoint any negroes to government offices in the South.

There’s a full-page ad on p.19 of the NYT from the NAACP in support of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill (ex-Sen. Felton is an enthusiastic supporter of lynching):




Vienna deals with its housing shortage by ordering all bachelors with apartments to marry or move.

One of the members of the House of Lords taking his oath in the new Parliament is the Prince of Wales, who throws all precedence to the side by waiting in line like a common duke.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Today -100: November 22, 1922: There is not a bit of altruism in our foreign policy


Pres. Harding addresses a joint session of Congress to ask them for a ship subsidy bill for the merchant navy. He tells the congresscritters it is “loftier statesmanship to support and commend a policy designed to effect the larger good of the nation than merely to record the too-hasty expressions of a constituency.” Congresscritters are not taking well to being scolded for listening to the views of their constituents.

There’s another movement in Germany modeled on the Italian Fascists and the “Bavarian Hittlerites,” the Pan German Workers’ Party in Berlin. The Bavarian Parliament discusses the “Hittlerite” fascists for the first time; the interior minister admits that the movement is in a few points unacceptable but the rest can be accepted and Bavaria is strong enough “to cope alone with excesses of radicalism from either Left or Right.” So that’s okay then.

The French Senate rejects women’s suffrage, 156-134.

Exiled former sultan of Turkey Mohammed VI sends a message to Constantinople asking about all the wives he left behind when he fled. “All are well and happy,” he is informed.

In that referendum in Bulgaria, 75% vote to convict 22 former ministers of treason for getting the country into the Great War.

The Legislature of British Columbia votes unanimously to ask the federal government to ban immigration by Asiatics.

At the Lausanne Conference, Mussolini, “short and radiant,” tells a reporter that “There is not a bit of altruism in our foreign policy,” which is “nothing for nothing.”

Rebecca Latimer Felton is sworn in as US senator. First woman in the Senate, last slave-owner, 87 years old.

British PM Bonar Law refuses to meet a deputation of the unemployed, who have marched to London.

Ramsay MacDonald (or Macdonald, as the NYT misspells it) is elected leader of the Labour Party by Labour MPs, replacing J.R. Clynes, who led the party to electoral victory last week.

Kansas Attorney General Richard Hopkins files suit against 7 KKK state officials, since the Klan don’t have a charter to do business in Kansas. He wants it banned from holding meetings where the participants are concealed, fomenting racial/religious hostilities, and assembling to do unlawful things.

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Monday, November 21, 2022

Today -100: November 21, 1922: Of popular idols, peonage, and false and infamous accusations


Headline of the Day -100:  



“This reactionary Nationalistic anti-Semitic movement has now reached a point where it is considered potentially dangerous, though not for the immediate future.” “He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish.” “But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused”. Except for that bit, this article gives a surprisingly accurate depiction of exactly what Nazism is and how it operates.

Sidney Catts, former governor of Florida (1917-21) is acquitted of peonage. He kept two black men as debt peons on his plantation. You know, slavery. He is acquitted by an all-white jury, as was the custom.

Louisiana Gov. John Parker meets with Harding, Attorney Gen. Daugherty, and William Burns of the Bureau of Investigation to talk Klan stuff. He isn’t asking, as some reports claimed, for the feds to take over the state, but for help stopping support coming to the KKK from outside Louisiana.

Members of the Louisiana congressional delegation vehemently deny the “false and infamous” accusations in the WaPo about Ku Klux Klan power in the state. One of them, James Aswell, writes to all the sheriffs in the state; they all say that everything is hunkkky dory. Aswell says he’s never knowingly met a klansman. Gov. Parker says Aswell’s district is full of them. He does, however, write to the Post saying its article was 90% inaccurate. 

Capt. George Ingle Finch of the Mt. Everest expedition says cigarette-smoking is helpful at high altitudes as a physical stimulus. Finch’s expedition, the first to use bottled oxygen, did not reach the top of Everest but on the other hand neither did it die in a fiery explosion.

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Today -100: November 20, 1922: Italy is no longer the slave of the Allies


Louisiana Gov. John Parker is coming to D.C. to confer with Pres. Harding about Ku Klux Klan operations in his state. There have been several kidnappings and disappearances recently and several kluxers have been elected sheriffs. Rumor, which Parker denies, says he is calling in the feds to take over the state because Klan murders and mayhem are being allowed by local authorities such as the aforementioned klan sheriffs, or kleriffs as they doubtless call themselves. The Washington Post had a story yesterday about the Klan superseding Louisiana officials and the atmosphere of terror etc, which might well be true but the story contains no actual supporting evidence.

Sen. Truman Handy Newberry (R-Michigan) resigns, ahead of another attempt to have him expelled from the Senate. Newberry was convicted for election spending irregularities, but the Supreme Court overturned the conviction on the grounds that a primary isn’t a real election. That primary was against Henry Ford, so it’s – ironic? – that the man who Gov. Groesbeck will pick to replace Newberry and who will serve until 1936, James Couzens, is a former Ford Motor Company vice president.

Oklahoma Gov. James Robertson (D) denies releasing a convicted murderer to kill the county attorney of Okmulgee County, who has indicted the governor for taking a bribe to keep a defunct bank operating. It’s that county attorney who is making the claim.

Mussolini makes his presence felt at the Lausanne Conference (to settle the Near East) in a childish, one might say Trumpian, way. He fails to show up at the meeting with the French prime minister and British foreign minister. A banquet had been laid on, with orchestra and everything. But Mussolini doesn’t like Lausanne, which once expelled him as an anarchist, and goes to Territet instead. So Poincaré and Curzon are forced to go to Territet. Mussolini tells reporters that Italy is a country “which is equal to any other. I did not come merely to enable the Allies to reach an accord. Italy is no longer the slave of the Allies.”

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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Today -100: November 19, 1922: Of anti-gasses, caliphs, senators, and of course he’s fucking right


A French chemist claims to have invented a product that counteracts poison gases. All of them.

The Turkish nationalists say deposed sultan Mohammed VI’s fleeing the country for a Christian one means he has surrendered his religious role as caliph, so they replace him with his cousin. Incidentally, the ex-sultan left behind his most recent wife, who is more than 40 years younger than him, who he married earlier this year.

Rebecca Latimer Felton really has no legal right to become a US senator, given that she was only supposed to have the vacant seat until a replacement was elected and one was, but the Senate will probably ignore the rules and let her be senator-for-a-day, if no one objects. She couldn’t get the senatorial salary for that day or traveling expenses though.

Headline of the Day -100:  



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Friday, November 18, 2022

Today -100: November 18, 1922: We do not believe in your genius


The Italian Chamber of Deputies gives Mussolini his dictatorial powers by a vote of 306-116, the 116 consisting of Socialists, Communists, and Republicans, the 306 including former prime ministers Vittorio Orlando and Giovanni Giolitti. Unitary Socialist Party deputy Filippo Turati complains about Mussolini riding roughshod over the Chamber; the duck replies “I treated the Chamber the way it deserves to be treated.” Turati says “we cannot vote confidence with revolvers pointed at our throats.” Republican Giovanni Conti, whose 40th birthday this is, tells M., “They hail you now as a messiah. Soon you will become a jest... We do not believe in your genius; we do not believe in the possibility of an enlightened despot.”

After the Turkish National Assembly orders the deposed Ottoman sultan Mohammed VI put on trial, he flees Turkey on a British warship, heading into exile on Malta with his retinue, including his First Chamberlain, doctor, valet, barber, bandmaster, confidential secretaries, and two eunuchs. Mohammed insists he is not abdicating.

After a secret trial in Irish Free State military courts, four men are executed for possessing illegal revolvers. Irish Minister of Defence Richard Mulcahy signed off on the executions: “People have to be shot. It was necessary to shock the country into a realization of the grave thing it is to take human life.”

Rebecca Latimer Felton, appointed to the Senate to fill Georgia’s vacant seat temporarily, is traveling to D.C. On the same train is the man elected to fill the same seat, Walter George. He’s willing to hold back on presenting his credentials in order to let her take the seat for a day, but it’s not clear if the Senate will allow that.

Scientific American offers prizes for proof of psychic phenomena, including $2,500 for a psychic photograph produced under test conditions.

During her last visit to Boston, Isadora Duncan said that “all puritanical vulgarity centers in Boston.” So the mayor bans her from returning to the city.

The ethnic cleansing of Breckenridge, Texas seems to have ended with the dispatch of Texas Rangers following the complaint by Mexico and Secretary of State Hughes’ telegram to Gov. Pat Neff asking him to do something.

Marcel Proust dies. There won’t be a NYT obit until December 10th. Temps (Paris) says “Poor Marcel Proust has proved by dying that he really was sick. One had begun to doubt it.” 2 of the 7 volumes of À la recherche du temps perdu remain to be published in French and the English translation of the 1st volume appeared/will appear some time this year.

A large hog is sent to the White House, from Arkansas but with its sender unidentified, so it’s not clear whether the Hardings are supposed to keep it as a pet or eat it for Thanksgiving.

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