Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Today -100: February 7, 1912: Of cunnels, mad monks, darts, and spies

Minstrely Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Georgia Whites for Taft. Negroes are for ‘Cunnel.’” It seems there were competing Taft & Roosevelt primaries for the state Republican convention, which will in turn elect delegates to the national convention. And while whites support Taft, blacks support what it took me a minute to realize was dialect for The Colonel (as TR liked to be called).

Florida Republicans will send competing Taft/Roosevelt delegations to the national convention, which will have to sort it out. The majority of delegates, pro-Cunnel, stormed out after the temporary chairman (a pro-Taft negro, as it happens, although the NYT notes that the black delegates were pro-TR) issued a series of rulings against them. They then organized separately to name their own delegation (Florida, like a lot of states, doesn’t have presidential primaries).

A couple of Russian newspapers are seized for saying bad things about Rasputin.

The French have invented a “terrible air weapon,” a 6-inch long “dynamite dart,” not actually dynamite, just a heavy dart that can be dropped on enemy soldiers from airplanes.

There is finally an armistice in the Chinese Revolution, but negotiations continue. The Empress Dowager is demanding the continued use of imperial titles, with commoners to continue showing the proper regal homage, the imperial family to retain its palaces and the Imperial Guard, paid for by the public, etc.

More in the spy wars: Brits are angered that one of their spies, Bertrand Stewart (actually a lawyer who thought he’d like to play at spies, but he did so with MI6’s bemused knowledge; a German agent lured him into the country by promising to sell him secret documents, then arrested him), is sentenced to 3½ years. The British press is suggesting that the evidence in the secret trial was too weak (it wasn’t) and the sentence is too severe. His father, however, expresses nothing but respect for the “judgment of the Supreme Court of an enlightened and friendly country,” while saying that his son’s actions “are no proof at all of anti-German feeling among the people of England. They merely show that ‘young men will be young men’” (Bertie is 39). Germany released him early, in 1913, in plenty of time to get killed in action in France one month into the Great War.

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