Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today -100: January 21, 1912: Of apologies, bores, recalls, nefarious conspiracies and disgusted kaisers

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease vetoes a Libel Bill which would have allowed newspapers to issue an apology to mitigate damages in libel cases. Blease’s veto message attacked the press in such strong terms that the Lege is considering expunging it from the record. (Update: they do expunge it.)

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100: “Bores His Way Out of Sing Sing Roof.” For just a second I thought he told the guards dull stories to put them to sleep or something.

Speaking at the NY Bar Association dinner, President Taft condemns the idea of recall of judges, the inclusion of which in the proposed constitution of Arizona caused him to veto the statehood bill. He explains: “Popular government we all believe in.” Do you feel a “however” coming up? “There are those of us, however, who believe that not all people are fitted for popular self-government.” And I’d like to ask them for their votes for my re-election in just a few months. “The fact is that they are not. Some of us don’t dare say so. But I do.” I do, Billy One-Term. “The question of whether a people is fitted for popular self-government is determined by the ability of that people to place on itself the restraints by which the minority shall receive justice despite the majority.” Actually, his argument is the perfectly reasonable one that courts and the Constitution protect minorities and that judicial recall endangers that, but the tone of arrogant contempt for the majority of the electorate does seem like the sort of thing a politician might sensibly avoid.

I believe former president Roosevelt will be expressing his opinion on this issue shortly...

In addition to the Bar Association dinner, Taft also attended the Society of the Genesee dinner and the Jewelers’ 24-Karat Club dinner. They gave him a new watch because his old one had stopped working, possibly, he said, “because the mere association of a thing with me makes running difficult” – Taft made a fat joke! At his third dinner of the evening! And then he went back to the first dinner. It was a busy day: he also “helped put out a fire” at Yale University. Well, that’s what the headline says; he actually seems to have just stood in the crowd, unnoticed, watching the firemen put it out.

20,000 attend a Unionist meeting in Omagh. Sir Edward Carson calls Irish Home Rule “the most nefarious conspiracy that had ever been hatched against free citizens.” Ulsterites are practicing military drills and preparing to organize their own government the minute
Home Rule is put into effect to “hold Ulster in trust for the British Empire.” On the other side, Irish Nationalists are forming their own Boy Scouts.

Headline of the Day -100: “German Elections Disgust the Kaiser.” One-third of the electorate voted Socialist.

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