Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today -100: February 24, 1910: Of lamas, fingers, trolleys, and great white chiefs

I just read about the current Dalai Lama visiting Universal Studios in Hollywood, then I switched to the 1910 paper, in which the very first story is about his predecessor fleeing Lhasa, which was being occupied by 25,000 “anti-Buddhist” Chinese troops (drilled by Japanese officers). China was trying to reduce the number and influence of lamas in Tibet (for example by killing them and sacking their monasteries) and settle Chinese immigrants there. In Tibet history doesn’t repeat itself, it reincarnates.

A NY Supreme Court jury awarded a 15-year-old who worked for the George Sclecher Piano Company of Ossining who lost four fingers in an industrial accident $4,000 (a grand, er, a thousand dollars, each).

In response to the Philadelphia trolley strike, now in its fifth day, the city government yesterday called in something called the State Fencibles, which was some sort of non-governmental militia. They were completely routed by the strikers, who had a lot of fun with them, pulling their hats over their eyes and so forth. The state police, which is basically a military body created to fight coal strikes, is now being called in. There was somewhat less violence today.

The NYT reports a great relief in the US Senate that the Mississippi Legislature did not elect as the new senator (replacing the Confederate colonel who once discussed with John Wilkes Booth a plan to kidnap Lincoln) James Vardaman, the former governor (1904-8), aka the “Great White Chief,” a white supremacist (“if it is necessary every Negro in the state will be lynched, it will be done to maintain white supremacy”) whose main concern was repealing the 14th and 15th Amendments. Instead, the new senator will be Le Roy Percy, who is much... calmer on racial issues. In 1912, when senators were first chosen by popular election, Vardaman defeated Percy in the primary and was elected to the Senate, but lost in the 1918 election, having voted against World War I.

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