Sunday, May 09, 2010

Today -100: May 9, 1910: Of sad dogs, Sunday baseball, cruel and unusual punishment, and savages

In the latest King-Edward-is-still-dead news, the NYT reports (via special cable) that his dog misses him.

The Pittsburg D.A. bans baseball games – not just professional, but kids on back lots – on Sundays.

The Supreme Court orders the release of a prisoner on the grounds that he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, the first time the Court has ever done this. Oddly enough, the cruel & unusual provision it is upholding is in the constitution of the Philippines, which was legally considered a colony. Paul Weems, an official in the lighthouse service in the Philippines, was convicted for defrauding the government and sentenced to 15 years in prison at “hard and painful labor” and to be chained wrist to ankle. The dissenting justices argued that they should be restricted to the 18th-century definition of cruel and unusual punishment, the Spanish-Inquisition-Dick-Cheney stuff, “cruel bodily punishments.” But the majority said that civilization had moved on, and so must the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Dr. Max Baff (amusing name), professor of psychology at Clark College in Massachusetts, says that women are no better than savages from the psychological standpoint, as shown by “her love of bird feathers, hanging ornaments to her ears, wearing bracelets, rings and necklaces, affecting gaudy colors. ... Like savages, she is color blind, prone to religious hysteria, and impressionable.” Dr. Baff considers the women’s suffrage movement a form of emotional insanity and, you will be surprised to hear, is a bachelor.

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