Monday, December 31, 2012

Obama and the Fiscal Cliff of Doom

Obama made a little speech today about the fiscal cliff. I’m not going to analyze that speech, because I have better things to do on New Year’s Eve (for example: pretending that I have better things to do on New Year’s Eve), I just want to note that he brought out a bunch of “middle-class Americans” as props, just in case you didn’t know what middle-class Americans look like. Did you know that “wealthy individuals, the biggest corporations... take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most of the folks standing up here”? Look at them! LOOK AT THEM!

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Today -100: December 31, 1912: Guns don’t kill people, future Democratic presidential candidates kill people

12-year-old Adlai E. Stevenson II – grandson of Grover Cleveland’s Vice President, Democratic candidate for president in 1952 and 1956 – accidentally shoots and kills 16-year-old Ruth Merwin. He was demonstrating rifle drill to friends with what he thought was an unloaded rifle when it went off.

Editorial Headline of the Day -100: “Preachers Are Aroused.” They want the saloons in Chicago closed by the regular statutory hour of 1 a.m. on New Year’s.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Today -100: December 30, 1912: Of promised lands

Dr. Max Nordau, president of the 10th Zionist Congress, suggests that if the Ottoman Empire is being divided up, maybe the Jews could get Palestine now? OKTHX.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do they have weapons?

Hateblogger Pamela Gellar sued the NY subway system to be allowed to put up this ad.

Am I the only one who can’t help thinking of this?

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Caption contest

Auditioning replacements for Lieberman in the “Three Amigos.”

“I’m having another ‘Nam flashback, right? RIGHT?”

“I eat the cookie and throw away the filling because I’m a FUCKING MAVERICK!”

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Today -100: December 29, 1912: Of depopulation and dynamite

The French government is forming a commission to investigate France’s stagnating birth rate. The president of the French League for Women’s Rights pointed out that of the 250 doctors, professors, government officials, writers etc appointed to the commission, none are actually, you know, women.

38 members of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers are convicted of transporting dynamite (on trains, which is illegal) which was used in various labor disputes to... make a point. The Indiana jury was composed almost entirely of farmers. (No one got prison terms greater than four years and 6 received suspended sentences.)

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Today -100: December 28, 1912: How... festive

Famous children’s singer Kitty Cheatham gives a holiday performance, delighting her audience with songs and Negro stories.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today -100: December 27, 1912: A likely story

Panama denies that the explosion yesterday was an attempt to kill Taft. Rather, it was the result of a trade dispute between some Spaniards.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today -100: December 26, 1912: Of assassination attempts, disputed mountains, night riders, and cannibals

In a possible assassination attempt, dynamite explodes in a news stand in Panama City fifteen minutes after President Taft passed by it.

At the Balkan War peace talks, everyone’s a little concerned by the fact that Austria hasn’t demobilized its army, presumably as a way of putting pressure on Serbia and Montenegro not to demand too much new territory. But the Montenegrin negotiator says that Montenegro would rather be exterminated than yield Mount Lowehen or Scutari. I’m sure it’s a very nice mountain.

As I mentioned on the 17th, there is a movement in northern Georgia to ethnically cleanse all negroes from the region, supposedly because of “numerous attacks on white women” (numerous seems to mean three; one of the alleged perpetrators was lynched, the rest executed). The anti-negro campaign began two months ago in Forsyth County and spread to a dozen other counties. The threats made by “night riders” against negroes have expanded: white planters who still employ negroes are being threatened with having their barns and homes burned.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cannibals Fed Him Well.” South American tribesmen who were so nice to a journalist/adventurer that he panicked, decided they must be fattening him up for the pot, and “escaped.”

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Today -100: December 25, 1912: Of negro invasions and trousers

Headline of the Day -100: “Negro Invasion Planned.” Some wealthy negroes, including boxer Jack Johnson, have bought an estate at Lake Geneva, which the NYT says is only the first step in a fiendish scheme to invade “fashionable resorts of the white race, both North and South, in the guise of athletic and social clubs”.

Today -100, -100: “The lively discussion of the advisability of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the institution of trousers is worthy of a serious note of comment.” No, no it isn’t.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Today -100: December 24, 1912: Of assassins and elephants

A bomb is thrown at the Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, while he was making his state entry into Delhi, the new capital of British India, riding an elephant because of course he was. He was injured, not seriously, and his wife’s okay, but the mahout (elephant driver, wrangler, whatever) was killed. And the elephant? Not a damn word on its condition.

The head of the US Navy’s aviation corps says that the leading nation in military aviation is... France.

Bavaria’s prince regent Ludwig says he doesn’t want to be named mad king.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012


Fed up with the proliferating spam comments, I’ve instituted word verification, and if I can’t make out what those words are supposed to be, then neither can the spammers. Wait, what?

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Today -100: December 23, 1912: Of assassins

An anarchist chosen by lot to assassinate Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel instead tries to commit suicide. Since he didn’t manage to kill himself even by shooting himself in the head, I have to think the danger he posed to the king was never all that great.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Today -100: December 22, 1912: Who makes war?

The London Times wonders why it is that Europe might head to a general war over the question of whether Serbia should get a port on the Adriatic. The people of Europe sure don’t want war, so “Who, then, makes war? The answer is to be found in the Chancelleries of Europe, among the men who have too long played with human lives as pawns in a game of chess, who have become so enmeshed in formulas and the jargon of diplomacy that they have ceased to be conscious of the poignant realities with which they trifle.”

Ah, the Sunday New York Times. I always enjoy reading the headlines of fashion articles without clicking through to the articles. Today: “Italian and Chinese Wars Have Affected Women’s Hats – May Not Be Able to Wear Milan and Straw.”

The Idaho Supreme Court asked the publisher of the Boise Capital News to tell it why he should not be jailed for contempt of court for printing Theodore Roosevelt’s comments on its decision keeping him off the November ballot (which was, legally speaking, a fairly ridiculous decision). The publisher said, “Um, the First Amendment?” The Court rejects that.

Headline of the Day -100: “Lynched for Unusual Crime.” In Norway, South Carolina, a man is lynched for obtaining money under false pretenses. An unusual crime to be lynched for, but the usual race.

Scientists quoted (but not named) in the LAT blame the Latin American propensity for rebellion and revolution on fleas, which disrupt slumber and make everyone cranky. “The scientists assert that no nation can be great whose sleep is broken into fitful snoozes.”

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Wayne LaPierre asks the hard questions

“Since when did the word ‘gun’ automatically become a bad word?”

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Today -100: December 21, 1912: Of mad kings

Bavaria has been part of a unified Germany for 40 years but still retains its own mad king. Now it plans to rewrite its constitution to dethrone Mad King Otto (to give him his full legal title) and replace him with a presumably less mad king, his cousin Ludwig, who recently took over as prince-regent after the death of the previous prince-regent, his father. Mad King Otto has been the mad king since the death of Mad King Ludwig II in 1886, although they haven’t let him out of the part of the palace with the bars on the windows in all that time and he may or may not actually know that he’s the mad king.

Does the fact that I really enjoyed typing “mad king” so many times make me a bad person?

Gov. Hunt of Arizona wants to abolish the state senate. He says it over-complicates things and anyway with the introduction of the referendum and initiative, the people themselves act in essence as the second house of the Legislature.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holy Joe is being sent to live on a farm upstate

John McCain made a statement on the floor of the Senate today about the retirement of Joe Lieberman. This was the first sentence: “Mr. President, one of the most overused quotes about Washington is Harry Truman’s observation that if you want a friend here, get a dog.” He then proceeded to talk about “a departing colleague whose friendship has been and will always be one of the great treasures of my life.” Who’s a good boy, Joe, who’s a good boy?

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Today -100: December 20, 1912: Of pardons, immigrants, women’s suffrage, and alphabets

President Taft pardons Capt. William Van Schaik, the captain of the paddle steamer General Slocum, which caught fire in the East River in 1904, killing over 1,000 people. He has already served his 3½ years for criminal negligence, but the pardon restores his citizenship rights.

The House passes a bill excluding illiterate immigrants over 16; it now goes to the Senate. The NYT notes that in 1910, this would have excluded 188,439 males and 65,130 females, mostly from southern Italy, and wonders how New York City would get its houses and subways built cheaply without them.

Michigan finally finishes counting its ballots, and women’s suffrage lost by 760 votes.

Suffragettes in Britain are now vandalizing phone boxes and possibly TARDISes.

The Chinese government will introduce a new alphabet, with 42 characters instead of 8,000.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I’m willing to bet that they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas

Obama held a press conference today.

I GUESS WORDS DIDN’T NEED TO LEAD TO ACTION AFTER THE OTHER 8,000 MASSACRES: On gun control, “But this time, the words need to lead to action.”

DUDE, NOTHING IN THIS COUNTRY IS AS EASY AS GETTING ACCESS TO A GUN: “We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun.”

INSTEAD OF GLORIFYING GUNS AND VIOLENCE JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT: “We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.” I warned him about that “too.”

HE THINKS THAT WHAT A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS, ISN’T THAT ADORABLE? “A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE: “Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.”

IF YOU HAVE A GUN, YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE COMMON SENSE; THAT’S KIND OF THE POINT: “I’m willing to bet that they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas”.

Speaking of common sense, he says of Boehner and his merry men, “The fact that they haven’t taken [the deal] yet is puzzling”. Republicans still perplex Obama. “[T]he country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good, and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don’t make much sense.” Unfortunately, I suspect he thinks that “not cutting Social Security” is also an ideological position that doesn’t make much sense. Certainly, that’s how he’s treating it in the negotiations.

OH GOOD, HE STILL THINKS REPUBLICAN CONGRESSCRITTERS MIGHT BE REASONABLE: “It may be that members of their caucus haven’t looked at exactly what we’ve proposed.” Well, they are very slow readers.

PERSPECTIVE: “But, goodness, if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important.” This is kind of unpleasant: there are many reasons Republicans should stop being assholes about the deficit, but Newtown isn’t one of them.

SOMETIMES I THINK HE’D ACCOMPLISH MORE IF HE DIDN’T HAVE SO MUCH MISPLACED “CONFIDENCE” IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: “And the idea that we would say this is terrible, this is a tragedy, never again, and we don’t have the sustained attention span to be able to get this done over the next several months doesn’t make sense. I have more confidence in the American people than that.”

DUDE, SELF-REFLECTION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE ASSAULT RIFLES.“Well, the NRA is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers. ... And hopefully they’ll do some self-reflection.”

Ah, he uses the phrase “gun safety,” and I realize that he didn’t use the term “gun control” even once. Safety, as in, “What we’re looking for here is a thoughtful approach that says we can preserve our Second Amendment, we can make sure that responsible gun owners are able to carry out their activities...” He makes it sound so dirty “...but that we’re going to actually be serious about the safety side of this”.

Jake Tapper asks where the hell he’s been the last four years (we could add his years in the Senate to that), and Obama says “Well, here’s where I’ve been, Jake. I’ve been president of the United States dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. I don’t think I’ve been on vacation.” What the hell is that snotty answer supposed to mean? I’m president but I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time? I had bigger priorities than preventing kindergarteners being massacred? I was unable to foresee, for example by observing the many similar events in the past, that this could happen? Okay, there’s no good answer for his inactivity but this answer’s haughtiness is misplaced. He may not be responsible for the Newtown massacre, but he sure as hell didn’t work to put any measures in place that might have prevented it.

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Things that Robert Bork thought are not unconstitutional

Restaurants, hotels etc excluding blacks (he called it a “departure from the freedom of the individual to decide with whom he will deal”).

Racially restrictive covenants in property deeds.

Banning gay sex: “We would find it impossible to conclude that a right to homosexual conduct is ‘fundamental’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’ unless any and all private sexual behavior falls within those categories, a conclusion we are unwilling to draw.” Indeed, the right of the majority to legislate morality is “the very predicate of democratic government”.

Banning married people buying contraceptives.

Regulating artistic speech (he thought the 1st Amendment mostly just applied to political speech).

Prosecuting people (Martin Luther King Jr comes to mind) advocating violating the law.

Prosecuting flag-burners.

Involuntary sterilization of inmates.

A chemical company ordering its female employees to get sterilized.

The president ordering wiretaps without a warrant.

The president excluding foreigners from the country.

Applying the 14th Amendment to anything other than race: “The bare concept of equality provides no guide for courts. All law discriminates and therefore creates inequality.”

For example, the establishment of different drinking ages for men and women.

Poll taxes.

Oh, and banning abortion, of course.

And he only got worse after his nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected in 1987. I wrote in 2005, “Bork is living proof that one can also be driven mad by lack of power.”

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Today -100: December 19, 1912: Of tuberculosis incubators and wirelesses

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease says that if the state penitentiary’s hosiery mill, which he calls a “tuberculosis incubator,” isn’t shut down, he’ll resort to mass pardons.

A Marconi wireless operator on a ship overhears a conversation which is part of a test of “wireless telephones” between Catalina Island and the mainland. He even heard a record playing in the background. Say, do you think there’s some sort of use for this ability to transmit voices and music over radio waves?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today -100: December 18, 1912: Of pilgrimages

Three (I think) women’s suffragists are engaged in a march, or pilgrimage, from New York City to Albany. If that doesn’t convince the Legislature, nothing will.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Today -100: December 17, 1912: Of glaring, ethnic cleansing, and pardons

At the Balkan War peace negotiations under way in London, the allies demand that Turkey surrender Adrianople and other places by the end of the week or the war will resume. (LAT headline: “Peace Delegates Meet, Glare At One Another.”)

Whites in northern Georgia are driving blacks out of the region through terror, as was the custom. “So many negroes have fled that the wives and daughters of prominent planters are forced to cook, wash clothes and do other manual labor.”

Arkansas’s outgoing Gov. George Donaghey will pardon 360 prisoners, because of his opposition to the practice of convicts being leased out as laborers to contractors. He couldn’t get the legislature to abolish the practice, so he’s going to empty out the convict camps this way. (The Legislature will abolish the practice in February).

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Today -100: December 16, 1912: Of whooping emperors and dashed airmen

Headline of the Day -100: “Emperor Has Whooping Cough.” China’s (former) emperor.

Dashing Headline of the Day -100: “Two British Airmen Dashed to Death.” You just never hear of anyone being dashed to death anymore.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

The more realistic discussion

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) comes out against gun control following the Newtown shootings: “That’s certainly the lowest common denominator. What is the more realistic discussion is, how do we target people with mental illness who use firearms?”

Rep. Rogers has bravely come out in favor of doing something about people who massacre children AFTER they massacre children.

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Today -100: December 15, 1912: Of elephant paté and other stuff

The Terra Nova sails to the South Pole to pick up Capt. Scott’s expedition or, you know, not.

Parisian restaurants do love their novelties, but this year’s speciality, elephant paté, is the result of the showman who owned an elephant named Agra having him killed after he got out of his cage and ran amok in Paris on several occasions. The NYT says “The paté is said to have a delicious flavor, but its digestive qualities are not insisted on, and this suggested that Agra’s devastating influence may not have ceased with death.”

A public hearing will discuss whether NYC and New Jersey should be connected by a tunnel or by a bridge.

Titanic Butt Headline of the Day -100: “Painting for Butt Fund.” Oh how we’ve missed you, Titanic Butt headlines.

A federal judge has ordered the release of Mexican Gen. David de la Fuente and Col. Pasqual Orozco, Sr. The latter is, I assume, the father of the leader of the short-lived Orozco Rebellion of earlier this year, who is himself currently hiding out somewhere in the US. The Taft administration had claimed power to order them detained without trial to prevent violations of the Neutrality Acts, but the judge disagreed.

The Mexican military has been leaving dead rebels hanging from trees. Someone counted 60 on the road between Los Cruces and Tomasoaltepect yesterday.

Name of the Day -100: Cornelius Amory Pugsley, a banker who NY bankers think should be Wilson’s treasury secretary, presumably because he has the bankerest name ever.

Kaiser Wilhelm has a movie theater installed in the Potsdam Palace. What movies does he like to see? Newsreels of himself.

Headline of the Day -100: “Four Devoured By Wolves.” Four hapless villagers are killed by wolves in Portugal, as was the custom.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Regardless of the politics

Obama reacts to the old story repeated in Newtown: “each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would -- as a parent.” Well, it’s certainly true that he has yet to actually react as a president, which I believe is his fucking job.

(Okay, I have to interrupt here to suggest that Obama badly needs to purge his vocabulary of the word “too.” Just in this statement are these insanely inappropriate too’s: “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies”; “their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early”; “As a country, we have been through this too many times.”)

“And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” The only meaningful action he specifically says he will be taking is hugging his children. Regardless of the politics.

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What we really need in this country

is better mental health care. Start with the Supreme Court justices who said there’s an individual right to guns.

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The purging of the Lieberdouches

Holy Joe Lieberman: gone.

Unholy Avigdor Lieberman: gone.

Let us never speak of them again.

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Today -100: December 14, 1912: Of flying white slavers

Headline of the Day -100: “White Slavers Fly London.” In fear of the just-passed White Slave Traffic Act, which includes a provision for flogging on a second conviction.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Today -100: December 13, 1912: Also, shame-eating. Lots of shame-eating.

President Taft lays out his post-presidential plans: he’ll take up a professorship of law at Yale next fall, and then go on a year-long around-the-world tour.

Rep. Charles Calvin Bowman (R-PA) is declared unseated by the House due to corrupt practices in his election in 1910 (anyway, he was defeated in the 1912 election). But the House refuses a motion to give the seat for the remainder of the 62nd Congress to his Democratic opponent in the 1910 election, who evidently did the same things.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The House of Lords voted to decriminalize the use of “insulting” language.

My two favorite bits in the Guardian story:

1) For delightful British absurdity:
Kyle Little, a 16-year-old from Newcastle, was fined £50 with £150 costs for saying “woof” to a labrador dog in front of police officers.

The conviction was quashed.

2) Because I am a child:
“Section five is a useful and important tool to respond to and prevent deeply offensive homophobic language frequently targeted at one in eight gay people a year” said Sam Dick, head of policy [for gay-rights group Stonewall].

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Today -100: December 12, 1912: Of miscegenation and juries

On the House floor, Rep. Seaborn Roddenbery (D-Georgia) denounces the marriage of black boxer Jack Johnson to a white woman, and proposes a Constitutional amendment banning interracial marriages. He opposes the legal ability of “a brown-hued, black-skinned, thick-lipped, brutal-hearted African” to “walk into an office of the law and demand an edict guaranteeing him legal wedlock to a white woman.” He says a Southern girl would sooner commit suicide than marry a negro.

Here’s the kind of funny part: his lengthy diatribe prevented a bill coming to a vote requiring a literacy test for some immigrants.

Oregon’s attorney general decides that last month’s victory for women’s suffrage does not entitle women to sit on juries.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Today -100: December 11, 1912: Of premature presidential picks

The National Progressive Party conference in Chicago nominates Theodore Roosevelt for president for 1916.

President Taft will be going down to tour the Panama Canal zone, but what was the object spotted being moved from Taft’s personal yacht to the battleship Arkansas, the ship that will take him to Panama? If you guessed “jumbo bathtub,” you guessed correctly.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Today -100: December 10, 1912: Of armistices, blind congresscritters, and no peace

Theodore Roosevelt gives his first speech since the election, promising that the Bull Moosers will continue fighting the Republican Party, an “organization of such a character that no honest man can be in it.” He refuses to say if he’ll run for president in 1916.

The armistice didn’t last long: Montenegrin and Turkish forces are fighting again.

In addition to blind Sen. Gore, the 63rd Congress will have blind Rep. Sanford Kirkpatrick (D-Iowa), a Civil War vet whose eyes were, in his words, “almost literally shot out by moonshiners” in 1890 when he was a Revenooer in North Carolina.

The Nobel committee says no one deserves a Peace Prize this year.

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Today -100: December 9, 1912: Of junket, dead aviators, socialist peers, and Smocks

President Taft offers Woodrow Wilson the use of a warship if he wants to visit the Panama Canal before being sworn in. Wilson doesn’t want.

An aviator, Dr. Jules Constantin, died while dropping bombs on Turks for the Bulgarian army, shot by a rifle.

Britain gets its first socialist member of the House of Lords, the 2nd Earl Russell (the philosopher Bertrand Russell’s brother). In 1901 Russell was tried (by the House of Lords, as lords were tried in those days, jury of your peers you know) for bigamy, since English law didn’t recognize his Reno divorce.

Name of the Day -100: a committee member of the Bull Moose Party in Idaho: P. Monroe Smock. A newspaper in Idaho is being prosecuted for printing remarks made by Roosevelt in a campaign speech criticizing an Idaho Supreme Court decision keeping Bull Moose Party electors off the state ballot.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Today -100: December 8, 1912: A higher law than the Constitution

Interviewed by the NYT, South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease says he was misrepresented (but not misquoted) regarding his “To hell with the Constitution” line. “[W]here black men commit crimes against white women, and are lynched for it, I declare Constitutions do not apply. For that, there is a higher law than the Constitution.”

The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria and Italy is renewed.

Finally, an explanation of Greece’s failure to join the armistice that makes sense to me: it was pre-arranged with the other 3 Balkan League states that Greece would stay out so it could continue to enforce a naval blockade of Turkey (as well as snarf up some islands it wants).

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Today -100: December 7, 1912: Hisses are the applause of geese

At the conference of governors, Gov. Emmet O’Neal of Alabama proposes resolutions calling for law ‘n’ order rather than lynching and repudiating the remarks of, ahem, any governor advocating mob violence. SC Gov. Coleman Blease responds that he was quoted yesterday as saying “To hell with the Constitution,” and what he actually meant to say was “To hell with the Constitution.” And that when the other governors had gone into political oblivion, he would be representing SC in the US Senate (spoiler alert: sigh). “So I am hissed, am I? Hisses are the applause of geese.”

The Scandinavian Anti-Vivisection Society is protesting the awarding of the Nobel Prize in medicine to Dr. Alexis Carrel because of his vivisection practices. Carrel developed vascular suturing techniques which were later used in transplant operations. He also believed in miraculous healing at Lourdes and eugenics, and his death in 1944 probably saved him from a trial for collaboration.

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Today -100: December 6, 1912: To hell with the Constitution

At the governors’ conference, South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease brags that SC is the only state in which divorce is not legal (indeed, SC does not recognize divorces granted by other states, or allow the “illegitimate” children of subsequent marriages to inherit).

Blease says that if negroes could vote in South Carolina, 75-90% of them would definitely vote for him, even though he’s against educating them and for lynching them. But “we cannot apply the same rules to this inferior race that we do to the superior race.” He goes on to defend lynching black people in “defense of the virtue” of white women. Gov. Carey of Wyoming interrupts to ask Blease if he hadn’t taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of SC and if those didn’t also apply to negroes. Blease replies, naturally, “To hell with the Constitution!” Many women leave the hall on hearing that naughty word (hell, not Constitution). Other governors defend the rule of law, including the governor of North Carolina, who says there hasn’t been a lynching in his state in six whole years.

The conference also discussed whether Woodrow Wilson can run for a second term in 1916, since the Democratic Party platform on which he was elected says he can’t. Some say yes, some that the platform only called for a Constitutional amendment to that effect.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Today -100: December 5, 1912: Of presidential pensions, diplomats’ wives, and mobile lynch mobs

The House Appropriations Committee rejects proposals to provide former presidents with pensions and non-voting seats in the House of Representatives.

The German government bans members of its diplomatic corps marrying foreigners.

Black boxing champ Jack Johnson has married the white woman he is accused of having abducted, and boy are lots of white people pissed. In Shreveport, a fund is being collected to send a lynch mob anywhere in the country he turns up.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Invigorating our soul, if you know what I mean

Screengrab from the Fox News website. George W. Bush in a speech says “Not only do immigrants help build our economy, they invigorate our soul.”

And, yes, that is a picture of Salma Hayek in a low-cut dress.

Click on image to enbiggen – if you dare.

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Today -100: December 4, 1912: Of middle-aged nations, the rule of law in South Carolina, free lunches, and colon passengers

Turkey signs the armistice with Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, but Greece refuses to go along.

President Taft sends a message to Congress on foreign affairs. He says the US is on the threshold of its “middle age as a nation” and should use its diplomacy primarily to increase foreign trade. In fact, he blames the recent civil war in Nicaragua on the US Senate’s failure to ratify the loan treaty between the two countries.

At the conference of governors, Gov. Shafroth of Colorado explains for the panel on “modern penology” his state’s new parole system, and Gov. Blease of South Carolina says that those who lynch “black brutes” who assault white women “will neither need nor receive a trial” (adding, as long as they lynch “the right man”). I notice that he uses the terms “virtuous womanhood” and “white women” interchangeably; presumably black women are by definition not virtuous.

There’s a letter to the NYT defending the awesomeness of Serbia’s Prince Lazarovich-Hrebelianovich (Larry to his friends, probably) by Nikola Tesla.

Elections in Los Angeles: the “anti-free-lunch” ordinance, banning saloons from serving free lunches, is easily defeated.

Headline of the Day -100: “Colon Passengers Angry.” I would think.

It’s the name of a steamship.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Today -100: December 3, 1912: Of the revictualing of Yanina

The DC Court of Appeals rules that Thomas Edison didn’t invent motion pictures and he can’t keep slapping lawsuits on anything that moves (see what I did there?). This ruling will open up the motion picture industry considerably.

Newly independent Albania is working out who its king might be, because you gotta have a king.

Greece refuses to sign the armistice in the Balkan Wars, because of “dissatisfaction with the provision permitting the revictualing of Yanina,” which is my new favorite phrase of this war: the revictualing of Yanina. Say it out loud with me: the revictualing of Yanina. Balkan poetry, that is.

Meanwhile, more threats are issued between the larger powers, with Germany threatening that if Russia supports Serbia militarily against Austria, Germany will fight alongside Austria and Italy.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Today -100: December 2, 1912: Good luck with that

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Russia Tells Servia To Be Reasonable.” The Russian ambassador to Serbia denies that Russia advised Serbia to oppose the creation of Albania.

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Totally legitimate

So the US is probably declaring the Syrian rebels as the True Czar of All the Syrias or something, because it is “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people’s aspirations,” which is unarguably true. It is also unarguably false, because it is hard to argue with a word-salad-with-bullshit-dressing like “legitimate representative of the Syrian people’s aspirations.”

But the UN shouldn’t recognize the Palestinian state, which has actually had elections, because um, why again?

How do you become a legitimate representative of an aspiration? The legitimate representatives of the American people’s aspirations would include Man in Rocket Pack and Boy Eating His Entire Body Weight in Twinkies.

(Update: The Internet is an infinite number of monkeys that has already come up with every post you or I will ever write, no matter how clever and original we think we’re being. In other words, there are 28 Google hits for “word salad with bullshit dressing,” which I thought I just made up.)

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Today -100: December 1, 1912: We are going to make life hardly worth living

Armistice in the Balkan War. Turkey has lost most of the battles, but the four anti-Ottoman allies have been squabbling among themselves and with Austria, Italy and to a lesser extent the other Great Powers, so it’s time. Also, the allies pretty much run through all their resources and money. The NYT says that “One of the most satisfactory features of the situation... has been the demonstration that Great Britain and Germany have been working together for the common end of peace.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Chicagoans Eat Horses.” Unintentionally, I think. In sausages, because this is Chicago we’re talking about. The city health dept is going after the manufacturer.

Automobile lynching in Georgia: Actually I’m going to give you the first sentence in the NYT article. See if you can spot which piece of information was so important that it had to be given twice: “A mob in automobiles that had pursued a Sheriff and his negro prisoner all night took the negro from a vault in the Court House at McRae early to-day and shot him to death.” The alleged negro had allegedly shot a farmer’s wife and allegedly “attacked” her daughter.

British suffragettes are now setting mailboxes on fire. Says “General” Flora Drummond of the Women’s Social and Political Union, “We are going to make life hardly worth living.” And a suffragette who refuses to identify herself to the police (but is in fact Emily Wilding Davison of whom more will be heard next year), attacks a man with a dog whip at the Aberdeen railway station, accusing him of being Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George in disguise. He is in fact the Rev. Forbes Jackson.

The latest fad in Paris: “coco” (cocaine).

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Today -100: November 30, 1912: Of diplomacy, hatpins, Albania, and men going mad and tearing themselves to pieces

Headline of the Day -100: “Death for Peace Envoys.” Emiliano Zapata executes an envoy sent by the Madero government. A simple “No” would have sufficed.

Oh, I spoke way too soon. New Headline of the Day -100: “Hatpin Saves Woman from Giant Robber; Elevated Ticket Agent Matches It Against Longshoreman’s Hook and Saves Her Cash.”

I missed this at the time, but in October, Taft shifted 51,000 presumably Republican postmasters he had appointed under the spoils system to the civil service, so that Wilson can’t replace them.

The NYT seems to have neglected to run an actual story on this, although it’s mentioned in passing in a couple of places, but Albania has declared independence.

Winston Churchill says that a general European war with Russia and Austria fighting over the Balkans would plunge Europe into the desolation of the Middle Ages. “The only epitaph history could write upon such a catastrophe would be this, that a whole generation of men went mad and tore themselves to pieces.”

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today -100: November 29, 1912: Of lynchings and dead letters

Three negroes who wounded a deputy are lynched in Vanceville, Louisiana.

British suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union have escalated their militant tactics: they are now destroying people’s mail by pouring acid and other liquids into mailboxes. The WSPU (which I should point out isn’t the largest suffrage organization, though it does get the most press) has moved from trying to convince the British public and politicians to trying to coerce them. Christabel Pankhurst explains that if a poor charwoman loses a postal order, she may be thankful if at such a price she takes a step nearer to enfranchisement.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today -100: November 28, 1912: Of pardons, mobilization, aerial warfare, and mince pies

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease pardons 16 convicted murderers and 17 other prisoners. One of the pardons, that of murderer William Mills, was a campaign promise. Here’s how it happened: in a stump speech, Blease promised to pardon anyone the people wanted liberated (a “welease Bwian” sort of thing); there were calls from the crowd for Mills (who had killed his wife’s lover) to be freed. Blease said fine, he’d do it if they voted out the current D.A. Which they did.

French army reservists are called up in nine towns on the German frontier in the dead of night pursuant to a general mobilization order that, it turned out, didn’t actually exist. Starting at midnight, troops took up positions protecting the post office, bridges, railway lines, etc. Church bells were rung, town criers went round town with drums (because this was evidently the 17th century). The officer who misread the order is now under arrest.

A Bulgarian aeroplane drops incendiary bombs on Adrianople.

In another sign of the ongoing non-viability of Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, none of the Republican members of Congress changed their designation to Progressive in the new Congressional directory.

Headline of the Day -100: “Taft Awaits His Mince Pie.”

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The last Daily Telegraphy?

I can get around the Telegraph’s new paywall, but a paywalled newspaper is one that has withdrawn from the public discourse and does not wish its articles discussed, so we won’t be doing any more of these Daily Telegraphy roundups.

British nudists, pardon... naturists... are complaining about a BBC documentary series, History of the World, depicting people in ancient times who would have been naked, pardon... naturist... as wearing animal skins and the like, which they didn’t. British Naturism says the Beeb is “sacrificing its reputation for commercial reasons.” Yes, it’s not showing nudity for commercial reasons. The nakedists are entirely right about the distortion of history, of course, but they’re still silly.

Police Constable Kevin Hughes of the Met says that when he remarked to another PC about three black men, “Look at them, they look like fucking monkeys,” he was merely engaging in a discussion of the theory of evolution and was referring to the gait of the man, not his skin color. He denies having said that black people are closely related to chimpanzees and Neanderthals, because he does not even know what Neanderthal means, which I really really believe. Hughes and another plod are in court on a charge of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour to cause another person harassment, alarm, or distress.

Finally, there’s a story about two ice cream van drivers, Zeheer Ramzan and Mohammed Mulla... no wait, that’s not funny. Mr. Yummy attacked Mr. Whippy’s van with a tire iron (or “tyre iron” – aren’t the English adorable?), to the tune of Greensleeves.

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Today -100: November 27, 1912: Of $25,000,000

Possibly Sarcastic Headline of the Day -100: “Carnegie Gives Up All But $25,000,000.”

Theodore Roosevelt says no one’s interested in Carnegie’s proposal to give pensions to ex-presidents (which is really intended to embarrass the nation into doing so) but are interested in pensions for the “small man” and widows (of any size, one assumes). Or to put it another way, Carnegie is only offering it to presidents from Taft onwards.

Eleven sailors of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are executed for inciting mutiny.

A lab assistant at Stanford University, Frederick Migge, claimed to be a professor to sell his baldness cure in advertisements. Stanford has now fired him.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Today -100: November 26, 1912: Of Balkan wars

The Great Powers are trying not to let the Balkan War turn into a, to coin a phrase, world war as a result of the smaller powers fighting the war making territorial claims that impinge on what the larger powers consider to be their interests. Austria in particular has been getting quite bellicose towards Serbia, but Germany seems to be trying to restrain it. Messages and meetings are going back and forth between German, Austrian and Russian kaisers and tsars. Russia, which is more or less allied with its fellow Eastern Orthodox Slavs in Serbia, denies reports that it is mobilizing its troops against Austria. Austria and Italy want a new autonomous state of Albania, but Serbia’s insistence on access to the Adriatic would carve that state in two.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today -100: November 25, 1912: Of suffrage and anti-war meetings

At the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association convention, W. E. B. Dubois says that he’s not asking the suffragists not to fight for negro suffrage per se, but to fight for all women, including black ones.

Socialist anti-war meetings in Budapest result in 14 dead. Killed by police.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Today -100: November 24, 1912: Of triangular smiles, race suicide, misuse of the mails, and Piltdown men

Fashionable women in London are cultivating something called the “triangular smile,” which only sounds incredibly filthy. Something about lifting the center part of the top lip to show the teeth. It’s supposed to suggest innocence and simplicity, although it actually sounds rather alarming. Some women have taken to wearing a band under their nostrils, fastened to the top of the head, while they sleep to pull up the nose and upper lip.

Headline of the Day -100: “Race Suicide Alarms France.” For a couple of years in the last decade, deaths exceeded births.

Eugene Debs is indicted, along with other Socialists, for obstruction of justice, for allegedly paying a witness to disappear rather than testify in a case of “misuse of the mails in posting obscene matter concerning the Federal prison in Leavenworth.”

This is funny: two stories appearing one above the other in the NYT index today: 1) Darwin’s assistant W. B. Tegetmeier has died at 96, 2) “Pleistocene Skull Found in England.” A major find in evolutionary... oh okay, it’s actually Piltdown Man, a hoax.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Today -100: November 23, 1912: A definite just-before-World-War-I vibe developing

Russia is backing Serbia’s territorial claims, so Austria has been mobilizing its troops in response, and now the German military is holding back railway cars in case they’re needed to transport troops.

Meanwhile, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria (formerly known as Prince Long Nose) has ordered a top mosaic-maker in Venice to make a mosaic portraying him and his wife as the Emperor and Empress of the Balkans, along the lines of a famous mosaic portraying the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora.

Taft won’t take the Carnegie Foundation pension for ex-presidents.

The coal strike in the Kanawha region of West Virginia ends with a massive victory for the miners – 21% pay increase, 9-hour day, union recognition – even though the governor declared martial law and sent in the national guard to protect strikebreakers.

Wait, there’s a town in West Virginia named “High Coal”?

Britain, like France a few months ago, but unlike the US, refuses to confront Russia on its discrimination against Jewish holders of British passports. Foreign Sec. Sir Edward Grey says that doing so might lead to the commerce treaty between the two countries being abrogated, and we can’t have that.

John Schrank, the guy who shot Theodore Roosevelt last month, is pronounced insane.

Woodrow Wilson threatens to “thrash” a photographer who took pictures of his daughters.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today -100: November 22, 1912: Of armistices and ex-presidents

Turkey rejects the armistice conditions and fails to make counter-proposals. It’s like they don’t understand diplomacy or something, everyone says. War resumes, I guess.

Andrew Carnegie says that since the US doesn’t give pensions to its former presidents and their widows, he will. $25,000 a year, 1/3 of the presidential salary. But not for Roosevelt.

Presidents didn’t get pensions until 1958.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today -100: November 21, 1912: Of airships and insane musicians

Count von Zeppelin denies that it was one of his airships seen over England last month.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Musician Becomes Insane. Santa Ana Man Loses Mind While Playing Organ at a Masonic Temple Dedication.”

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today -100: November 20, 1912: But the men must be bored

Woodrow Wilson, on vacation in Bermuda, says he’s actually beginning to forget politics. Don’t worry, Tom, politics hasn’t forgotten you.

Peace talks begin in the First Balkan War. However, the allies’ terms call for Turkey to surrender places the allies didn’t succeed in capturing, including Adrianople and Scutari, so we’ll see. Cholera has everyone worried, though the NYT claims that “Mussulman fatalism makes a cholera epidemic a less important factor” to the Ottomans than to the Bulgarians.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Peace News Hurts Wheat.”

The annual luncheon of the NY anti-women’s suffrage society came to grips with the problem of how to assert themselves politically to argue against asserting themselves politically. Said the president, Mrs. William Putnam, “It is high time there should be no silent women, though that sounds bad for an anti-suffragist.” “Let every man you meet know that you are an anti-suffragist. Never sit at dinner beside a man without letting him know that you are an anti-suffragist. ... I have been afraid of boring people, but the men must be bored. Tell every carpenter and every man who works for you.” Mrs. Martha McCullouch Williams said, “It is a woman’s duty to be delightful, ornamental, and useful, and she could not be more so with the vote. If she had it she would not know what to do with it. Where the ballot is placed in the hands of those unfit to use it there follows ruin, rapine, and terror. ... Woman is no more fit for the ballot than to be a trapeze performer or bareback rider.”

Noted in the LAT: they referred to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day even back then.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Name that penis! Another competition I may very well regret

For once – and only this once – Charles Pierce has let us down, referring to Col. Combover’s wang with less than his usual creativity as “little Petraeus.” Surely we can do better than that. So when he combs over his pubic hair and affixes the tiny row of medals beneath his cock in preparation for a night on the town, what does he call it?

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Today -100: November 19, 1912: Of Albanias, bathtub trusts, and baronesses

While the Great Powers want a new Albania established out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire, the Balkan League nations want to partition it amongst themselves.

Turkish troops finally do something right, stopping a Bulgarian attack at Tchatalja. This will save Adrianople and Constantinople from occupation.

The Supreme Court affirms that the Bathtub Trust was an illegal combination and should be dissolved. The ruling goes beyond bathtubs, saying that holders of patents can’t set a fixed price for retailers of that product.

Retired opera singer Minnie Hauk dies. She was the first to sing the title role of Carmen in the US, but retired when she married a German baron. This just goes to show that in this world you can be born a Minnie Hauk and die a Baroness von Hesse-Wartegg.

Correction: Her Wikipedia entry says she actually died in 1929.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

That’s preferable

Obama is in Thailand. He and PM Yingluck Shinawatra held a press conference.

A reporter asked if Thai “democracy” was “satisfying,” given the human rights abuses and people being imprisoned for very long prison terms for criticizing the king, etc. Obama answered that “democracy is not something that is static; it’s something that we constantly have to work on” and cited America’s shaky history. This is something he’s said before. Someone needs to follow up and ask some questions about American history, such as: when blacks weren’t allowed to vote in Mississippi, was Mississippi a democracy? If he’s going to keep using the word democracy for countries that aren’t very democratic, (later, on whether his trip to Burma is premature: “if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we’d be waiting an awful long time”) I’d like to know what his definition of it is.

He was asked about Gaza. He insisted that the “precipitating event” was “an ever-escalating number of missiles,” because we all know that that’s how history started. Adam and Eve and the ever-escalating number of missiles.

He said that “there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Wow. Just.... wow.

“So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.” He did not say how Israel’s shooting missiles at journalists (for example) or “send[ing] Gaza back to the Middle Ages” constitutes defending itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.

He said that if the missiles can be stopped without a full-scale invasion of Gaza, “that’s preferable; that’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis -- because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.” A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Explains Shit To You.

“But what I’ve said to President Morsi and Prime Minister Erdogan is that those who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future.” Um, a follow-up, Mr President: what was the “likelihood” of that before this?

He’s stopped even tacking on a suggestion that Israel avoid slaughtering civilians while exercising its “right to defend itself.”

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Today -100: November 18, 1912: Of attempted coups, UFOs, and what a great majority of men object to

An alleged plot by the Young Turks for a quick revolution to establish a republic has been thwarted.

For a month now, rumors have been going around about a mysterious object seen in the sky over England. Now it seems to be confirmed that it was a German airship, flown by Count Zeppelin himself, possibly blown off course, possibly testing out its capabilities in the laughably unlikely event of a war between Germany and Great Britain.

It’s a light news day -100, so let’s give some excerpts from a letter to the NYT by Everett Pepperrell Wheeler, a prominent lawyer, author, and failed candidate for NY governor in 1894, on the subject of last week’s women’s suffrage parade. I quote at length not because it’s exceptional but because it isn’t. It’s a rather typical anti-suffrage screed, nicely illustrative of the assumptions and arguments of many men and quite a few women:
And so 20,000 women paraded down Fifth Avenue to the sound of the trumpet and in the glare of the electric lights. Did their leaders really think that any sensible man likes to have his wife, or his mother, or his daughter thus parade the streets? It seems to me that this parade is one of the strongest arguments against universal suffrage for women that has yet been presented. It shows such a failure to adopt means reasonable to a desired end that it destroys the confidence any of us may have had in the good sense and sound judgment of the leaders of this movement.
Some of the women who have thus exhibited themselves to a curious public seem to believe that their rights are denied under our present laws. ... If it is better legislation that these zealous women desire, we can tell them that any woman who studies any subject and masters it can always have a respectful hearing from legislative bodies. ... What a great majority of men object to is the extension of the suffrage to nearly 2,000,000 women, citizens of voting age in the State of New York, whose time and strength are fully occupied by their present duties. These duties are most important. No man can perform them. These wives and mothers bear children, bring them up, train them.
He goes on to explain that good laws are useless without such training. I mean, look at the Ten Commandments: they’ve had a lot of publicity over the years, but they’re broken all the time.
It is to the mothers and sisters that we look primarily for that teaching and training in sound principles which will keep the man from committing these crimes, and to do this requires the undivided attention and thought and interest of the great majority of women.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Today -100: November 17, 1912: Of troop movements, insured tsarevitches, and incensed frogs

Another Balkan state is heard from: Romania moves troops to its border with Bulgaria. Trying to ensure Bulgaria doesn’t grab too much territory.

And West Virginia Gov. William Glasscock moves troops into the coal fields of Kanawha to impose martial law and protect scabs.

The LAT reports that Tsarevitch Alexei of Russia has relapsed. And says his life is insured for $5,000,000. Which seems rather unlikely.

Diplomatic Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “France Incensed at Russia.” For not supporting all of Serbia’s claims to new territory. Although the French actually seem more pissed at Germany, as was the custom. In Paris thousands march shouting “On to Berlin!” as they did in 1870 (as you’ll no doubt recall from the last words of Zola’s novel Nana), and that didn’t end particularly well (the Franco-Prussian War and the novel). “The French army is said to be in a perfect state of preparedness.” Preparedness for what, the LAT does not say.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Risk causing civilian casualties

The Congressional resolutions (passed unanimously today) supporting Israel’s “inherent right of self-defense” in dropping bombs on Gaza didn’t suggest any limits on that right of self-defense: even Obama suggested that Israel might try to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties, Congress did not.

Indeed, the sole mention of the fact that Palestinians are dying is this: “the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza”. Israel not only doesn’t get blame for the death of children and others, it doesn’t even get agency: Hamas is “causing civilian casualties” with Israeli bombs.

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Today -100: November 16, 1912: Of nobels, tariffs, and cholera

Gerhart Hauptmann wins the Nobel Prize for literature. Can’t say I’ve heard of him.

Wilson announces that he will call a special session of Congress in the spring to revise tariffs, although he denies supporting free trade, which he says is not advocated by any thinking Democrat.

More bad news for Turkey: a cholera outbreak among their troops. But some rare good news for Turkey: the cholera outbreak will make the Bulgarians afraid to occupy Constantinople.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama & Netanyahu shoot the shit, Palestinian children

The White House puts out a statement on today’s call by Obama to Netanyahu.

Evidently he “reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.” I’m not sure what “self-defense” has to do with what Israel is actually doing.

“The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.” Well, every effort except not firing missiles into crowded cities.

“The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate.” Because people totally have conversations that sound like this.

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Today -100: November 15, 1912: Of armistices, parliamentary decorum, and lynchings

Or maybe there isn’t an armistice in the Balkan War.

A couple of days ago, there was a huge disturbance in the House of Commons over the Home Rule Bill, forcing the House to be adjourned. Someone threw a book at Winston Churchill’s head (hit it, too). In a Tory rally in Albert Hall, Tory party leader Andrew Bonar Law says he didn’t regret the disturbance and did nothing to stop it.

(Usage note: I’m using the informal “Tory” to avoid confusion. During this period, the Irish issue was so central that the Conservative Party called itself the Unionist Party, or sometimes the Conservative and Unionist Party).

A black man is lynched near Ocala, Florida. He was seized from the jail, taken two miles out of town and told to run, whereupon the mob shot him a few hundred times.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama press conference: I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem

8 months since the last presser, and he really didn’t have much to say.

On Petraeus: “By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with with his family and with his wife. And it’s on that basis that he tendered his resignation, and it’s on that basis that I accepted it.” Obama is here avoiding saying whether he would have asked for Col. Combover’s resignation. As for those “standards,” and other discussion of Col. C “failing to live up to his own Code,” since the affair took place some time ago and he only resigned when it came out, the Petraeus Code is clearly Don’t Get Caught.

He calls the latest Syrian umbrella group “a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people.” Nice that someone found the legitimacy that Assad lost – it’s always in the last place you look.

But we won’t be recognizing them as government-in-exile or arming them (at least not openly): “And you know, one of the things that we have to be on guard about, particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures, is that we’re not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do Americans harm or do Israelis harm”. Did you notice what group he conspicuously omitted from that list? Syrians. If intra-Syrian ethnic/sectarian/factional violence is a factor in his decisionmaking process, it seems to have slipped his mind here.

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