Saturday, December 31, 2011

Exactly like what happened in Germany

Another week, another protest by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem in support of their way of life, by which they mean sexual segregation and subjugation. And are they wearing stripey concentration camp pajamas and yellow Stars of David to make their point about how oppressed – “Zionist oppression,” yet – they are? Why yes they are. Did they bring their children, similarly garbed? Why yes they did. Because, according to one protester, “What’s happening is exactly like what happened in Germany.” And assholes like these would have been complaining to the Gestapo that the women weren’t forced to sit in the back of the cattle cars.

Today -100: December 31, 1911: Beware the Purple Death!

France creates the world’s first aerial military regiment.

President Taft has told several people that he plans to nominate 8th Circuit Court judge William Hook to the vacant Supreme Court seat. I know he didn’t do that, but why? Opposition is emerging because of his ruling against a railroad rate.

A couple of days ago I mentioned the large number of dead homeless people in Berlin – now more than 75 – supposedly due to bad herring. The rumors that this is cholera or the plague or something are running rampant, and not only in Germany – in Paris it’s being called the Purple Death.

In the first elections in proto-state New Mexico, Republicans get more than 2/3 of the seats in both houses of the Legislature.

Headline of the Day -100: “Peace Diners Make Mr. Taft Wait an Hour; Committee Keeps the President Cooling His Heels in a Waldorf Anteroom.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

Today -100: December 30, 1911: Of buffers, how Eskimos get dark, strong arm squads, presidents, and running away to Panama

Russia may not actually take over Mongolia, which has declared independence from the collapsing Chinese state, but does want it to be a buffer state against further Japanese encroachment into Manchuria.

Arctic explorer Christian Leyden of the University of Christiana explains that Eskimos are born white, but with a tiny black spot in the middle of their back which then spreads and diffuses until they become darker.

A letter to the NYT editor complains about Taft’s announced electioneering tour through his home state of Ohio. The president of the United States cannot do such a thing without impropriety.

Everyone is amused that the Citizens’ Peace Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, the one which Roosevelt refused to attend, will be policed by the NYPD’s Strong Arm Squad (actually, it won’t: Mayor Gaynor will withdraw them).

There’s a military coup in Ecuador.

A meeting of delegates (delegates from what isn’t exactly clear) elects Sun Yat Sen provisional president of China. The child emperor is expected to abdicate at some point.

Attorney General George Wickersham and his wife will be taking a trip to Panama shortly, evidently purely so that Mrs. Wickersham can get out of attending the traditional New Year reception at the White House at which she would be forced to receive Assistant Attorney General William Lewis and his wife, who are negro.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today -100: December 29, 1911: Of armies, gambling, hostiles and their wives and families, and herring

Russia bans the Salvation Army (this happened again in 2000: Russia claimed it was a, you know, army, rather than a religious organization).

Frank McCracken has been forced to resign as mayor of Paulina, Iowa after being charged with gambling. He participated in a turkey raffle for Thanksgiving.

Chinese revolutionaries, the NYT says, were actually training in the United States for two years before the Revolution began. In fact, they were trained by former US Army drill sergeants, who were well paid to train Chinese rather than re-enlist. Some of the drilling took place in hired halls in New York City. Somehow the US government never knew a thing. (To be clear, I’m not being sarcastic. If the US was on anyone’s side, it was the side of American businesses, which favored the stability of the existing government.)

The US army has (again) put down a Moro outbreak in the Philippines. “300 hostiles with their wives and families have surrendered.”

Headline of the Day -100: “50 Now Dead From Eating Herring.” At the municipal center for the homeless in Berlin. There are rumors that it’s cholera and the authorities are covering it up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A busy month

The two most recent Presidential Proclamations proclaim January 1) National Mentoring Month, 2) National Stalking Awareness Month. That is all.

Today -100: December 28, 1911: Of bastards getting off scot-free

The owners of the Triangle Waist Company, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, are acquitted of manslaughter for the Triangle fire. Money well spent on the most expensive lawyer in New York, Max Steuer, who charged them at least $10,000 each, and money also well spent on the cheapest perjurous witnesses. Also, the judge’s charge to the jury set a ridiculously high barrier for conviction: they would have to find that the door was locked, that Harris & Blanck knew it was locked, and that the door being locked was responsible for the deaths. The judge, as it happens, had been the NYC Tenement House commissioner in 1905 and wound up taking the fall and being forced to resign following a fire which killed 20 people in a building whose fire escapes had been boarded over (which I know from a book; it is not reported by the NYT).

President Taft modifies an executive order regulating the practice of medicine in the Panama Canal Zone in order to allow Christian Scientists “healing.” The NYT castigates him for it.

Former President Roosevelt sent a furious seven-page refusal to attend a Citizens’ Peace Dinner, which I’m curious to read. He will only tell reporters that he’s not going because “I’m not hungry.”

Mongolian and Turkestan declare independence from China and are expected to be annexed by Russia.

The health officers of Lenoxdale, Massachusetts have banned kissing on New Year’s Eve because of a diphtheria outbreak. And they’re killing any dogs and cats found outside.

Headline of the Day -100 (Memphis Appeal, reprinted in the LAT): “Oyster Drowns a Duck.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today -100: December 27, 1911: Of attitudes of growing hostility

Headline of the Day -100: “Russians Continue to Slay Persians.” According to the article, “The Persian attitude is declared to be one of growing hostility.”

James Wickersham, the (Republican) delegate of the District of Alaska to the Congress, says “President Taft imagines the way to develop Alaska is to turn it over to the money interests. ... He would have a second great East India Company, which would not only control all of our resources, but our Government as well.” He wants Alaska to have its own elected government.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Women are asked not to linger in this area

If there’s one thing this blog enjoys – and this blog is not ashamed to admit it – it’s pictures of ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting in Israel, which they did today in support of segregation of the sexes and forcing women to cross the street so they don’t walk in front of synagogues and pollute them, and to not dress like whores, like an 8-year-old girl interviewed on tv about how she’s been repeatedly screamed at on her way to school for dressing “immodestly.” This is her.

Look at the slut! Look at her!

They also enjoy spitting at women, because of course they do.

Today ultra-Orthodox in Beit Shemesh, 20 miles or so from Jerusalem, rioted, throwing eggs and rocks at police and reporters.

Today -100: December 26, 1911: Of executions, lynchings, massacres, and rebellions – you know, Christmas stories

Gov. Hiram Johnson of California has commuted several death sentences and plans to allow no more executions. He will sponsor legislation to abolish the death penalty.

It’s-Beginning-to-Look-a-Lot-Like-Christmas Headline of the Day -100: “Christmas Lynching in Baltimore Suburb.” A black youth shot a white guy over a game of pool, and later was pulled out of his jail cell (there was no guard at night) and either shot (according the NYT) or hacked to death (LAT).

Russian troops seem to be massacring Persians at Tabriz, even though Persia gave in to all of Russia’s demands.

In Mexico, the rebellion led by Gen. Bernardo Reyes (which I probably should have mentioned at some point) has ended with his surrender, in the form of a telegram which read in part: “I called on the people. I called on the army, and they did not respond, so I must give up.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Today -100: December 25, 1911: Of campaigns, Russian brides, and doggies

Supporters of President Taft are suggesting that there needs to be some sort of organization to support his renomination by the Republican Party.

A meeting of the Russian immigrant colony in Los Angeles protests the testimony of other Russians in a juvenile court case that “they are in the habit of selling their daughters in marriage to the highest bidders” ($500, if you’re wondering what the price of a 17-year-old Russian girl was in 1911, although this was evidently at the high end).

Remember Hunnewell, Kansas, where Mayor Ella Wilson was locked in battle with the all-male city council? The governor brought suit to oust the councilmen. Since they would have bourne the legal costs if they lost, three resigned immediately, leaving a council without enough members to be able to override Wilson’s vetoes.

Chilling Headline of the Day -100: “Dogs Fails to Catch Negro.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry superficial glitter to you too

As is traditional, Pope Grandpa Simpson complained about “the superficial glitter” of Christmas while surrounded by lots of gold trinkets.

As I imputed to Benny after another of his anti-Xmas rants, “Why, when I was a kid we got a new Hitler Youth uniform and we were happy to get it.”

Today -100: December 24, 1911: Of stirred Italians, the king-emperor’s shooting, stern Russians, pickled meat men, ugly dogs, and president-Santas

The treaty allying Italy with Austria and Germany (the “Triple Alliance”) expires in 1914. France is desperately trying to lure Italy into an alliance with it and Russia, and so has been supporting its little imperial adventure in Libya.

Speaking of which, Headline of the Day -100: “Italians Stirred By War.” I’ll bet they are, I’ll bet they are. Anyone who dares express opposition to the wog-killing (Socialists, mostly) has been beaten up. Students are especially pro-war.

A black man who shot the town marshal in Donaldson, Georgia, is killed by a mob.

Oh no! King George has been shot! “The sparsest details come from India about the King-Emperor’s shooting in Nepal.” Oh, all right, he’s actually been shooting tigers. And rhinoceri. He did it sitting on an elephant, as is the custom.

Russian troops are bombarding the governor’s palace in Tabriz, Persia and generally killing lots of the locals, or, as the NYT’s subhead put it, “Russia Stern to Those Who Attacked Troops – 50 Persians Killed.” Sternly.

NY State Senator Franklin D. Roosevelt says that state government is not a real democracy but a machine legislature run by Tammany. Evidently he’s just now figured this out.

Disturbing Headline of the Day -100: “Pickled Meat Men Win.” The story’s pretty disturbing, too. They were charged with pickling the meat of sick horses and cows and sending it to the Netherlands, but were acquitted because while it would be illegal to sell such meat in the US, it’s not in the Netherlands. The Secret Service was the agency prosecuting them.

Dr. Charles Naughty, Jr. is receiving injections after being bitten by Dr. Charles Bell, who he was treating for rabies. Bell subsequently died.

Xmas story: former judge David Pugh, who served with a West Virginia Union regiment during the Civil War, donates Christmas dinner (chickens, fruit and whatnot) to be distributed to needy Confederate veterans, to “pay back some of the chickens we took down South.”

Xmas Headline of the Day -100: “Ugly Dolls in Demand.” In Britain. Aw, who wouldn’t want a gollywog?

Disappointing Xmas Headline of the Day -100: “Taft Plays Santa Claus.” He gave turkeys and gold pieces and whatnot to various White House staff and secret service, but he did not actually dress as Santa.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today -100: December 23, 1911: Of retaliation, Roosevelt booms, piracy, cats and chickens

Members of the Russian Duma are threatening to double tariffs on American goods in retaliation for Taft’s abrogation of the US-Russian Treaty of 1832 (which is not entirely unfair, since American tariffs on Russian goods would also increase).

Persia finally accedes to Russia’s ultimatum and fires its American treasurer-general William Morgan-Shuster.

The last week or two, there have been lots of little stories about various mid-level Republican officials and groups of party members calling for the replacement of Taft by Theodore Roosevelt as the party’s 1912 candidate. It’s not quite a movement, and at this stage TR is standing on the sidelines and repeating if asked that he doesn’t intend to run. But the aim of his supporters is clearly to generate a public demand that will make the party realize that no one really likes Taft while many still adulate Roosevelt and that with the country’s trend towards the Democrats, only Roosevelt has a shot in ‘12. The problem is that only a handful of states selected their delegates to the Republican convention through primaries, and the rest will be chosen by a party machine that doesn’t really care what the public thinks and never liked TR, to the point of preferring to see a Democrat in the White House than him.

An Italian cruiser seizes a British steamer near the Suez Canal carrying $150,000 in gold coin being sent to pay Turkish troops in Yemen.

The Corona Cat Skin Company plans to open a cat farm on Long Island. Fuckers.

Headlines of the Day -100: “Chicken Wins Boy’s Pardon” (NYT) and “PLEADS FOR SON’S PARDON: Old Colored Mammy Calls on Georgia Governor with a Christmas Offering” (LAT). A black woman bribes Gov. Slaton of Georgia with a chicken to get a pardon for her son in time for Xmas. (Actually, he doesn’t accept the chicken.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Headline of the Day

AP: “Secret US Memo Now Key Evidence in Baby Thefts.” Although the headline should have read “US Kept Evidence of Baby-Theft by Argentinian Junta Secret for 30 Years.”

Today -100: December 22, 1911: Let the capitalists count their own dead

“Big Bill” Haywood, in a speech at a Socialist Party meeting at Cooper Union, comes out in favor of direct action and, you know, dynamite as a weapon in the class struggle. Talking about the many deaths because of improperly ventilated mines, he said, “Let the capitalists count their own dead.”

Speaking of counting the dead, the Triangle fire trial continues. Some of the witnesses for the defense have been claiming that the exit was never locked. Today the DA brought out that those witnesses, many of whom previously said the opposite to the authorities, all received substantial wage increases just before the trial started. Funny that.

Russian and Persian troops are fighting.

Mr. and Mrs. John T. Boone get divorced. He complained that she constantly held over his head that she is the great-great-grandniece of Thomas Jefferson, and that her ancestors are, in her opinion, superior to his (he’s a descendant of Daniel Boone).

Headline of the Day -100: “Caruso Hurts His Nose.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Evidently there’s a trailer for the upcoming film version of The Hobbit available on the internet. At least I hope that’s what all the references I’ve seen today to “Hobbit teaser” mean, and that I can soon forget the image that popped into my head when I read that phrase.

Today -100: December 21, 1911: Of roads, Smiths, and excessive bathing

Speaking to the Automobile Club, President Taft insists that it’s not the job of the federal government to build roads, even interstate roads.

The NYT -100 just did not know how to write a proper amusing human interest story. This story about a woman in Middletown, NY who just got married for the third time to a man named Smith – that is, all three of her husbands have been named Smith – fails to tell us what her original last name was.

A Mr. Tilden Pierce of Plymouth, Massachusetts is about to celebrate his 100th birthday. He says people these days are shortening their lives by eating too much pie and taking too many baths. Baths, he says, are “a dangerous practice and bound to sap a fellow’s strength. And if a man allows himself to become so unclean that he has to have a bath twice a week – well, he’d better look out or he’ll soon be dead.” Mr. Pierce has been chewing tobacco since he was 14.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today -100: December 20, 1911: The mere form of republicanism

There’s a peace conference currently going on in China. Foreign nations are pushing for a continuation of the Manchu monarchy, but with limited powers. NYT editorial: “Certainly the Americans cannot be so enamored of the mere form of republicanism as to wish to see it imposed where the conditions are so unfavorable as they appear to be in China.”

Visiting NYC, President Taft is given a police detail consisting of three bicycle cops. Police Commissioner Waldo said that the president didn’t need any greater guard than the mayor gets (that would be the mayor with the bullet still lodged in his throat).

Monday, December 19, 2011

More field guidance fun

Some pics from the North Korean Central News Agency website for your captioning pleasure.

This one is entitled “Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Various Domains of South Hamgyong Province.”

And this is “Kim Jong Il inspects Kaeson youth park funfair.”

You have to be this tall to ride...

And check out the footage of “Korean people overcome with grief,” or in the case of that woman hopping up and down, grief plus a strong need to pee.

Today -100: December 19, 1911: Of bread & water, imperialist cooperation, and treaties

An Illinois jury attempts to add a stipulation onto the life sentence it gave a murderer: that on each anniversary of the murder, he be put on bread and water. The judge says no.

Lord Kitchener seals the border between colonial Egypt and Libya, using the pretense of neutrality to aid the Italian imperialists by cutting off the Turkish-Libyan forces’ supply of ammunition, which is almost entirely depleted. Italy, of course, can resupply its troops by sea.

Taft abrogates the treaty with Russia and asks for Senate approval. He moved quickly – and moving quickly is very much not Taft’s thing – to preempt the Sulzer resolution, which passed the House last week and is pending in the Senate but contains language Russia finds offensive, accusing Russia of violating the 1832 treaty by refusing to honor the passports of American Jews. Taft hopes Russia will stop being assholes and negotiate a new treaty before the abrogation takes effect.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The uninterrupted field guidance tour of death

Kim Jong Il dies, according to the North Korean Central News Agency (which uses JavaScript in a way that makes it impossible to give specific story URLs), of “a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.”

If we look back a bit on the site, we see that on Thursday, “Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Hana Music Information Center.” “He noted with high appreciation that the center has been wonderfully built to show the modern sense of beauty by decorating its exterior with stone through dry construction method and ensuring effective internal building in a versatile way. ... The center should have all materials and data on art such as records of new songs, sheets of music and books on music and dance published in the country, he urged.”

Also on Thursday, “Kim Jong Il Provides Field Guidance to Kwangbok Area Supermarket.” “Saying that the supermarket is fitted with display cases, stands and tools and other facilities and furnishings needed for the storage and sales of goods to cater for the tastes of consumers, he expressed great satisfaction over the successful renovation of the commercial service center to be conducive to improving the standard of people’s living. He went on to say: ‘It is the firm will and determination of the Party to provide the people with things best.’”

His uninterrupted field guidance will be missed.

Today -100: December 18, 1911: Of roast beast

It was evidently traditional in Paris to eat unusual things for Christmas. Last year, it was bear cotolets; the year before, elephant foot. This year, roast camel.

After a “fatiguing ceremony” in which he consecrated a couple of new cardinals, the pope has breakfast with them. This is evidently a major break with tradition, as for several centuries the pope always ate alone. Must have been lonely.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The cost of doing business

In the Haditha Massacre papers the NYT pulled off a garbage dump in Iraq, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Steve Johnson referred to 15 dead civilians (actually 24) as “just a cost of doing business.” So that’s okay then.

I’m not sure which part of that is the most insultingly dismissive, “a cost of doing business” or “just.”

Today -100: December 17, 1911: Of mutinous caps, block-busting, serial killers, and brief and colorless speeches

A French soldier is sentenced to death for throwing a cap at a superior officer.

A couple of days after yet another story about property-owners in Harlem getting themselves in a tizzy because a black person bought a house on a “white block,” a letter to the editor by the president of something called the Cosmopolitan Society of America suggests that those property-owners should stop their “brutal exhibition of race prejudice” and “exert themselves in unison against the undemocratic, unmanly, irrational superstition which fixes the status of a human being by the trivial accident of the color of his skin”. This is the first time I’ve seen such an opinion expressed in the NYT, which also has an editorial today supporting the use of covenants to ban blacks from certain neighborhoods (while adding that, “From their point of view the negroes are hardly to be blamed. They are taking a smart business revenge, and gaining residences removed from the neighborhoods of the shiftless, diseased, and criminal of their kind, because of the white folks’ prejudice against them.”)

It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve seen a reference to the Atlanta Jack the Ripper. I’d actually forgotten about him, and so has the NYT, because he’s only murdering black women, but the LAT, in a brief story, reports that he’s just made his 15th attack, and 14th murder.

The Chinese revolutionaries are planning to give the vote to women.

The King’s speech was read to the Houses of Parliament before they were prorogued until February. It was “brief and colorless.” Or possibly colourless.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Republican debate: Concerned about not appearing to be zany

Again, no transcript, and I only saw bits of it, so this won’t be in chronological order.

WE WILL GET IT ON: Everyone wants to debate Obama. Gingrich says Obama will lose in the “seven three-hour debates” that will take place in Gingrich’s mind. Perry says “I hope Obama and I debate a lot. I’ll get there early.” Get there early, why that’s so crazy, it might just work! “We will get it on”. Cue porn music.

HOW ABOUT APPEARING TO BE A LARGE, MISSHAPEN POTATO? Gingrich: “I’m very concerned about not appearing to be zany.”

UTTERLY IRRATIONAL: Gingrich called Obama “utterly irrational to say I’m now going to veto a middle class tax cut [i.e., the payroll tax cut congressional Republicans tied to the Keystone XL pipeline] to protect left-wing environmental extremists in San Francisco...” San Francisco, always with the San Francisco. “ that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians and do so in a way that makes no sense to any normal, rational American.” As Adlai Stevenson said, that’s not enough, we need a majority.

Bachmann accused Gingrich of making Baby Jesus cry by saying that life begins at the implantation of the embryo, not at conception: “The Republican party can’t get the issue of life wrong”. As speaker, she says, Gingrich failed to defund Planned Parenthood. And then she accused him of supporting infanticide (as Speaker he argued against pulling party support from Republican candidates who didn’t support banning “partial-birth abortion”).

Santorum accused The Ten Thousand Dollar Man of having, as governor of Massachusetts, “personally... issued gay marriage licenses,” just because gay marriage was legal.

BUT ARE THEY FACTS? Bachmann: “It’s outrageous to say over and over again during the debates to say that I don’t have my facts right. I am a serious candidate for president of the United States and my facts are accurate,” adding, probably, “They’re coming to steal your light bulbs!”

HE WAS PLAYING ANGRY BIRDS ON HIS PHONE UNDER THE PODIUM: “Good Hair” Perry says he’s “ready for the next level.”

THEN HE TACKLED RON PAUL: Perry: “I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.”

GOOD MANNERS COST NOTHING, YOUNG MAN: Romney accused Obama of having “a foreign policy based on pretty please”.

Huntsman: “We have been kicked around as a people. We are getting screwed as Americans.”

MAYBE GOOGLE BOY SHOULDN’T BE USING THE PHRASE “BOTTOM UP”: Santorum: “Medical savings accounts are a bottom up, not top down solution.”

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF TATOOINE: The Ten Thousand Dollar Man: “In the real world that the president has not lived in... not every business succeeds. In the real world, some things don’t make it.” You may be reminded of that later, Mittens.

SO THEY ASPIRE TO EMULATE IRAN? Santorum says Iran is run by a “radical theocracy,” and Bachmann says Iran is led by an “avowed [sic] madman” and wants to “set up a worldwide caliphate” (and Romney keeps calling for an “American Century” – what’s your point?).

THAT’S A TRICK QUESTION, RIGHT? Ron Paul, though, asks, “Why do we have to bomb so many countries?” He says “We don’t need another war.” Hey, we don’t need a flat-screen tv, we don’t need another donut, but we’re Americans, dammit.

BUT THOSE ARE THE FUNNEST PARTS OF THE JOB: Ron Paul: “I don't want to police individual activities or lifestyle, and I don't want to run the economy.”

LET’S ALL GO TO THE LOBBY: Gingrich says he did “no lobbying of any kind” for Freddie Mac. Hell, he didn’t need to, because he was rich from giving speeches and writing all these “best-selling books”. Readers: have any of you actually bought one of these “best-selling” books? Has anyone you know ever bought one? Bachmann says “You don’t need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence-peddling”. Wait, did Crazy Eyes just say something that made sense? Gingrich says that “There are a lot of government-sponsored enterprises that are awfully important and do an awfully good job.” I’m assuming his candidacy is now over.

Everyone hates the courts. Gingrich calls the 9th Circuit “anti-American” because of that 2002 Pledge of Allegiance decision and says courts have become “grotesquely dictatorial.” Envy much? He wants to fire judges that disagree with him, and order them to come to Congress to explain any decisions he dislikes. Bachmann denies that the courts are the final arbiters of law (fuck Marbury v. Madison!), praises Iowans for voting down the justices who supported gay marriage.

Today -100: December 16, 1911: Of fight films and diamond dicks

Movies of the 1910 Jeffries-Johnson fight, which caused so much trouble in the US for racial reasons, will finally be allowed to be shown in Berlin after a long court battle overturning a police decision to ban them as a danger to public order.

Obituary of the Day -100: “‘Diamond Dick’ Is Dead. George B. McClelland, Known to Boys as Hero of Many a Dime Novel.” Or possibly the worst James Bond villain ever.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today -100: December 15, 1911: Of ultimata, archdukes, king-emperors, bandits, gallows in opera houses, absinthe and defective children

British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey basically agrees with Russia’s ultimatum to Persia that it fire its American treasurer-general, William Morgan-Shuster, and only appoint foreign advisers acceptable to Russia and Britain.

33-year-old Archduke Henry Ferdinand (or, to give him his full name, Henry Ferdinand Salvator Marie Joseph Leopold Charles Ludwig Pius Albert Rupert Katherine von Richi) quits the Austrian court, the second archduke to do so this year. Like Ferdinand Karl, he met a woman from the lower orders. He doesn’t seem to be marrying her, but he did leverage the threat of doing so to get permission to leave the military (which he did without leave anyway) to study painting in Munich (I wonder if he knew Hitler?).

In Delhi, the King-Emperor reviews 50,000 troops and creates 93 knights and 200 companions of orders.

The House passes a bill for an 8-hour day for laborers and mechanics engaged on contracted-out government work.

The bloody work of American occupation in the Philippines goes on (and on). American troops kill 42 Moro “bandits.”

In a story for which the NYT Index fails to provide a proper link, a negro preacher, William Turner, is hanged in the Jackson, Georgia opera house for inciting a “race riot” in which one white man was shot. This is not a lynching, but a legal hanging. The sheriff decided that he could prevent a lynching by holding it in the opera house, and the victim’s family could watch from the box seats and not have to stand in the rain.

John E. Brown, in jail in Moab, Utah awaiting trial for killing his daughter and her husband, likes his privacy, so he’s been paying the fines of anyone who gets arrested.

The feds ban the import of absinthe, which the head of the Pure Food Board says is “one of the worst enemies of man”.

Headline of the Day -100: “FEW CHILDREN NORMAL.” 65% of the children in Boston schools are below physical par or, as they are sensitively termed, defective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iraq is not a perfect place

Obama went to Fort Bragg today to tell the troops “Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. (Applause.) Welcome home.” Evidently the war in Iraq is over. Who knew?

BE VEWWY, VEWWY QUIET: “We’ve got a lot of folks in the house today. ... We’ve got America’s quiet professionals -- our Special Operations Forces.”

AND THEIR BOOTS FULL OF SAND, PRESUMABLY: “Those last American troops will move south on desert sands, and then they will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high.”

THAT’S ONE WAY OF PUTTING IT: “[O]ur efforts in Iraq have taken many twists and turns.”

IT’S NOT? “Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead.”

YES, THEY CALLED HIM THE STREAK: “We remember the early days -- the American units that streaked across the sands and skies of Iraq”.

WORST PORNO EVER: “We remember the grind of the insurgency”.

He gave a potted history of the Iraq War that in no way deviates from the Bush narrative: Al Qaida fanning the flames of sectarianism, the surge, the “Awakening,” all saved by the bravery and derring-do of American soldiers.

HE’S ALWAYS SO CONCERNED THAT WE’RE GOING TO MAKE A MISTAKE: “And make no mistake -- as we go forward as a nation, we are going to keep America’s armed forces the strongest fighting force the world has ever seen.” And they’ve seen it a lot.

SEXYTIME: “But our commitment doesn’t end when you take off the uniform.”

MORE SEXYTIME: “For all of the challenges that our nation faces, you remind us that there’s nothing we Americans can’t do when we stick together.” AUDIENCE: Hooah!

He calls the assembled soldiery “The 9/11 Generation.” Sigh.

WOW, WE ARE SO FUCKING UNSELFISH IT’S BEYOND BELIEF: “That’s part of what makes us special as Americans. Unlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it’s right. There can be no fuller expression of America’s support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people. That says something about who we are.” It says something alright.

BARRY, IT WOULD BE EASIER TO KEEP DANCING ON HIS GRAVE IF YOU HADN’T HAD HIM DUMPED IN THE OCEAN: “Osama bin Laden will never again walk the face of this Earth.”

WHAT ABOUT THE SOLDIERS WHO KILLED ALL THOSE INDIANS, WEREN’T THEY PART OF THE “UNBROKEN LINE”? “Never forget that you are part of an unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries -- from the colonists who overthrew an empire, to your grandparents and parents who faced down fascism and communism, to you -- men and women who fought for the same principles in Fallujah and Kandahar, and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11.”

Today -100: December 14, 1911: Of treaties, Democrats in Arizona, poles, and holy days

The House passes the resolution in favor of denouncing the 1832 treaty with Russia due to its discrimination against the passports of American Jews by a vote of 300-1, but the Senate is planning to delay taking any action.

The Democrats sweep the Arizona elections, electing D’s as the almost-state’s first delegates to the US House and Senate, governor, and 3/4 of the Legislature. When they actually take office depends on when AZ becomes a state. It’s also not clear whether the next election will be in 1912 or 1914. 1912 seems too soon, but 1914 would entail the new Legislature extending its own term, as well as those of the state officers, which would likely provoke recalls, as allowed under the new constitution.

It’s not in the paper, for obvious reasons, but the Amundsen expedition reached the South Pole today, planting the Norwegian flag. Suck it, Scott.

The pope strikes St. Patrick’s Day from the list of obligatory holy days on which Catholics are required to attend mass and abstain from work. And no fasting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today -100: December 13, 1911: Of women mayors, treaties, setting the nation shaking, pensions, peace, and durbars

Mayor Samuel Shank of Indianapolis told the Restricted Equal Suffrage Association (a women’s suffrage group whose name I strongly suspect the NYT got wrong) that, just for the hell of it, he’d appoint one of them to serve in his place the next time he was out of town. So the Association has chosen Dr. Hannah Graham. Only it seems that Shank didn’t really mean it, and is surprised to be taken seriously, and doesn’t intend to leave town, and if he did he’d probably just appoint his wife.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs supports a resolution to abrogate the 1832 treaty with Russia due to Russia’s exclusion of American Jews, because they hate hate hate racism. Also, they just realized that ethnic Chinese inhabitants of Russia could emigrate to the US and they hate hate hate Chinese immigrants.

A National Protest Committee is formed to send a pilgrimage of 5,000 to 10,000 negroes to Washington to demand the suppression of lynching. The president of the Committee, Rev. Mark Harris, notes that while 12 million negroes have hitherto been unable to stop lynching, a mere handful of Jews have managed to “set the Nation shaking” with their protest about Russia.

The House passes the “Dollar a Day” pension bill, giving veterans of the Mexican-American or Civil Wars pensions of as much as $30 a month. Socialist congresscritter Victor Berger offers an amendment pensions for everyone over 60, saying it was the only way to get the idea before the House.

Headline of the Day -100: “Germans Seize Peace Meeting.” A meeting in Carnegie Hall in support of the arbitration treaties between the US and Britain and France was disrupted and shouted down by a bunch of Germans led by one Alphonse Koelble (with a Germanic turned-up mustache) of the German-American Citizens’ League, who said they were a “lot of dubs” trying to “knife” Germany.

King George V and Queen Mary, crowned emperor and empress of India in Delhi, announce that the capital of the Raj is moving from Calcutta to Delhi. The emperor wore a robe of imperial purple, white satin breaches, and a crown with diamonds studded with emeralds, rubies and sapphires that sounds like it was worth more than the city of Calcutta, so I’m not sure how thankfully the news that the new King-Emperor was graciously donating 50 lakhs of rupees to education was really greeted. Here’s a contemporary newsreel:

And here’s some rather horse-centric footage from the 2002 tv series “The British Empire in Colour.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Iraq’s sovereignty must be respected

Today Obama held a press conference with Iraqi PM Maliki, who Obama called “the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq.” Not an accurate adjective in that phrase.

AND MOE WAS THE SMARTEST STOOGE: “The Prime Minister leads Iraq’s most inclusive government yet.”

WELL, MAYBE NOT TRANSPARENT, BUT THEY DO HAVE BIG BOMB-BLAST HOLES YOU CAN SEE THROUGH: “Iraqis are working to build institutions that are efficient and independent and transparent.”

IF GROWTH IS MEASURED FROM THE POINT AT WHICH WE’D BOMBED THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE INTO RUBBLE, ANYWAY: “And I think it’s worth considering some remarkable statistics. In the coming years, it’s estimated that Iraq’s economy will grow even faster than China’s or India’s.”

DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO: “For just as Iraq has pledged not to interfere in other nations, other nations must not interfere in Iraq. Iraq’s sovereignty must be respected.”

HE’S ALWAYS SO CONCERNED THAT WE’RE GOING TO MAKE A MISTAKE: “So make no mistake, our strong presence in the Middle East endures”.

“And let us never forget those who gave us this chance -- the untold number of Iraqis who’ve given their lives; more than one million Americans, military and civilian, who have served in Iraq; nearly 4,500 fallen Americans who gave their last full measure of devotion; tens of thousands of wounded warriors, and so many inspiring military families. They are the reason that we can stand here today.” On a large pile of corpses.

Obama said Syrian President Assad’s repression has “deeply eroded” “his capacity to regain legitimacy inside Syria”. As with Qaddafi’s famous lost legitimacy, Obama fails to explain when and how Assad ever gained legitimacy in the first place.

You know, when I heard from Al Jazeera that Iran was refusing to return the US’s downed drone, I assumed it was a preemptive refusal and laughed at the notion that we’d actually have the nerve to ask, but Obama says they did and “We’ll see how the Iranians respond.” Yes, yes we will.

SO IT WAS AAALLLLLL WORTH WHILE: “what’s happened over the last several years has linked the United States and Iraq in a way that is potentially powerful and could end up benefitting not only America and Iraq but also the entire region and the entire world.”

A MODEL: “we think a successful, democratic Iraq can be a model for the entire region. We think an Iraq that is inclusive and brings together all people -- Sunni, Shia, Kurd -- together to build a country, to build a nation, can be a model for others that are aspiring to create democracy in the region.” Yes, one feature of the Arab Spring was how protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, etc all said that they want to be just like Iraq.

Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune asked if Obama still thinks the Iraq War is a “dumb war.” For some reason he neglected to answer: “I think history will judge the original decision to go into Iraq. But what’s absolutely clear is, as a consequence of the enormous sacrifices that have been made by American soldiers and civilians -- American troops and civilians -- as well as the courage of the Iraqi people, that what we have now achieved is an Iraq that is self-governing, that is inclusive, and that has enormous potential.”

Obama thanks the people who’ve worked on Iraq, although perhaps “a bang-up job” was not the most sensitive expression to use.

New Eek, indeed

Also, I have nothing to say about Romney right now, but I do have a new nickname for him: The Ten Thousand Dollar Man.

Today -100: December 12, 1911: Of dancing and wars

The Socialist administration in Milwaukee adds dancing to the school curriculum. Not sure why that’s news, much less front-page news, but Emma Goldman should be pleased.

The NYT pooh-poohs Secretary of War Stimson’s report, saying it doesn’t matter that the army is woefully ill-equipped for a war, because there won’t be one. So that’s okay then.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Republican Debate: Ten-thousand-dollar bet?

No transcript available, so this’ll be a bit jumbled.

Romney came out firmly against lunar colonies.

Bachmann talked about “Newt Romney,” which is either a reference to their both having supported a health insurance mandate in the past, or to some slash fic she’s been posting anonymously on the internet.

Tweaked again by Perry about removing from the paperback edition of his book a reference to extending Romneycare nationwide, Twitt responded, “I’ll tell you what: 10,000 bucks? Ten-thousand-dollar bet?” At which point, they might as well have turned off the cameras and gone home, since that’s all anyone will remember. What’s interesting about the rich guy mistakes – this, demolishing the mansion in San Diego to build an even bigger mansion, etc – is that he keeps making them over and over.

MA, MA, WHERE’S MY PA? I don’t know what it says about the state of politics that it won’t have occurred to most viewers that there’s something out of the ordinary about a candidate talking about another candidate’s sex life. I don’t think Blaine went after Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child personally. Rick Perry, though: “If you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important.”

GONE TO THE WHITE HOUSE, HA HA HA: Gingrich responded, “I’ve said in my case, I’ve made mistakes at times -- I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather and I think people have to measure what I do now.” I think he’s saying that he can’t get it up anymore, so the White House interns are probably safe. I wonder how Callista feels about the affair that turned into her marriage being referred to as a “mistake.” And about those grandchildren – their grandmother was the woman with cancer you divorced. Gingrich says “I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness.” So that’s okay then.

In the talk about Israel, Gingrich and Romney both tried to position themselves as close as possible to their good friend “Bibi,” promising to subordinate their Middle East policies not just to Israel but to Likud. Romney literally said that before he’d make a statement like Gingrich’s about the Palestinians being an invented people, he’d call Bibi and ask permission. No one had a sympathetic word for the Palestinians and several strongly implied that they were all terrorists. Gingrich doubled down on the “invented people” thing – “I spoke as a historian” (and he usually gets $1.6 million for that) – why, he says, the term “Palestinian” was never even heard before 1977. Also, speaking the “truth” about Palestinians’ non-existence makes him exactly like Reagan calling the Soviet Union an evil empire. He complained that “we [are] in a situation where every day rockets are fired into Israel” – every day? I think not – “while the United States -- the current administration, tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process.” You know when you need a peace process? When rockets are fired into your country “every day.” Mittens said Gingrich threw “incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot.” If it’s already boiling, then... oh, never mind.

Romney accused Gingrich of being a, gasp, career politician, and G. shot back, “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is that you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.” Romney said, “Losing to Teddy Kennedy was probably the best thing I could have done.” Boy, he’s just lucky that way.

The candidates were asked to prove that they understood what it’s like to be poor even though none of them are poor. Perry said he didn’t have running water growing up; Gingrich said he once lived in an apartment over a gas station. Romney admits he’s never been poor, but his father was, so that’s close enough. Michele Bachmann says she still clips coupons, which brings up the frightening prospect of Michele Bachmann with a pair of scissors.

Bachmann praises Herman Cain for teaching her to “reduce things to a very simple level so people can understand it” and now “you can’t have a debate without saying 9-9-9,” but rather than “9-9-9,” her motto will be “win, win, win.”

(Update: Gingrich on Palestine: “These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’” ABC did not give a reaction shot of Rick Perry, but I’ll bet he was working it out on his fingers.)

Today -100: December 11, 1911: Of armies

Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in his annual report, says that the army is totally unprepared for war, under-equipped and scattered across the country (originally to defend against Indian attack). He wants to reduce the term of enlistment from 3 years to 2 years, so the number of reserves will be higher.

He also urges that Puerto Ricans be given citizenship (the colony was under the War Office).

5,000 Turkish troops have entered Persia (shouldn’t they be fighting the Italians in Libya?) and won’t leave until the Russian troops are withdrawn.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today -100: December 10, 1911: Of radium, lily-white Harlem, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and beating deaf-mutes

Fad of the Day -100: “Radium Cure a Fad of Paris Society.” Just sit in a room whose air is infused with radium for a couple of hours while you play bridge or whatnot, and your rheumatism and heart ailments will be cured.

Some doctor in Paris has determined that if a fetus’s heartbeat is more than 150 beats per minute, it is a girl. Another French professor insists that this means that one can control the sex of one’s offspring. The father could take adrenalin to have a daughter. Yeah, I don’t know how he thinks that would work either.

Property-owners in yet another section of Harlem have joined together to pledge not to rent or sell to black people. It is expected that these organizations will spread and that Harlem will soon be entirely white. The NYT says the black population of NYC is 97,000. According to the 1910 census, the city’s total population was 4.7 million.

New York state Supreme Court Justice Leonard Giegerich approves a child custody agreement in which the ex-wife is allowed custody of the couple’s 3-year-old daughter so long as she doesn’t employ a negro maid.

Some time back, France ordered all religious orders dissolved. Most are now gone and their properties seized by the government, but the Little Sisters of the Poor, who escaped notice because they are little, I guess, are barricading themselves in their convents, because the Little Sisters of the Poor are also totally bad-ass, I guess. Catholic mobs are attacking the homes of people who buy the property formerly held by the orders (and in Lyons they attacked a Jewish synagogue, because why not?).

Headline of the Day -100: “Pennington Beats Deaf Mutes.”

In basketball.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Tulane called, they want their PhD back

Newt Gingrich says Palestinians are “an invented people,” adding, “Oh, wait, or is that Hobbits? I always get those two confused.”

Evidently Palestine can’t be a state because “It was part of the Ottoman Empire.” So was Israel. So was Libya. So was Greece. What’s your point? And just why did West Georgia College deny you tenure, anyway?

Today -100: December 9, 1911: Of apologies and concrete furniture

The Japanese emperor’s train was delayed an hour because a carriage derailed due to of a misplaced switch. The train superintendent, naturally, atoned for his shame in keeping the emperor waiting by committing suicide (throwing himself under a train, naturally).

Some time ago, Thomas Edison announced plans to build concrete houses which would cost just $1,000. Now, he adds that he will also sell concrete furniture, costing $200 to furnish the $1,000 house and, says Edison, “more artistic and more durable than is now to be found in the most palatial residence in Paris or along the Rhine.”

In other technology news, the California National Guard is experimenting with using wireless telephones, automobiles and airplanes for scouting.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Alongside bubble gum or batteries

Obama took a few questions today. Orally.

Asked whether he’s guilty of appeasement in the Middle East: “Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al Qaeda leaders
who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.” And the transformation into George W. Bush is now complete.

He fully supports, “as the father of two daughters,” Kathleen Sibelius’s refusal to let women under 17 get Plan B without a prescription, which he considers to be simply the application of “some common sense.” No good ever came attached to the words “common sense” coming from the mouth of any politician. He said little girls shouldn’t be able, “alongside bubble gum or batteries -- be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect. And I think most parents would probably feel the same way. ... And her judgment was that there was not enough evidence that this potentially could be used improperly in a way that had adverse health effects on those young people.”

We’re talking about a pill (evidently a single pill rather than two, as I said yesterday, at least in the version of the medication affected by this decision), so used improperly how? Does he think they’ll stick it up their nostrils?

Today -100: December 8, 1911: Of the hot-headed student class

Sophisticated NYT analysis of the situation in China: “The hot-headed student class is powerful in China, and is enforcing extreme demands because of the racial timidity of the elders”.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Use only as directed, and not for any sex-based cults

Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sibelius overrules the FDA and refuses to allow Plan B (the morning after pill) to be made available without a prescription to women under 17 years old. She bases this entirely on the stupidity of adolescent girls: “However, the switch from prescription to over the counter for this product requires that we have enough evidence to show that those who use this medicine can understand the label and use the product appropriately.”

So what does the label say that is so hard to comprehend? When the Bush FDA likewise refused to allow the drug to be sold over the counter to minors in 2004, it made the same claim, and since the media didn’t bother telling us what the drug’s instructions were (I bet they won’t today either), I went to my local pharmacy and asked them to print them out. Those instructions: take one pill. 12 hours later, take another pill. That’s it.

In private, by the way, the FDA’s deputy operations commissioner in 2004 privately “stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.” Sibelius probably isn’t saying as nutty as that behind closed doors but the upshot is that she’s still giving us the exact same policy.

Transcription error of the day

Trance gender people.” The mind boggles.

Suggest possible definitions (and examples) of trance gender people in comments.

Today -100: December 7, 1911: Of regents and passports

In China, Prince Chun, father of the child-emperor, resigns as regent. This is announced in an edict which says “He wept and prayed to resign the Regency, at the same time expressing his earnest intention to abstain from politics.” Basically, they sacrificed him in the hopes of saving the emperor, which (spoiler alert) is too little, way too late.

A large meeting at Carnegie Hall demands the abrogation of the 1832 treaty with Russia unless it honors the passports of American Jews. There has been a groundswell of demand for this lately, and the speakers at this meeting include Speaker of the House Champ Clark, William Randolph Hearst, Gov. Woodrow Wilson and assorted members of Congress.