Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today -100: June 30, 1912: Of colossal impudence

The Democratic convention today was long, hot and (according to the LA Times) smelly. Also inconclusive. 14 more ballots were held today, for a total of 26. Champ Clark lost votes on each ballot after the 15th, 90 votes over the course of the day, dropping to 463½. Wilson gained 50, to 407½. 725½ are required. Gov. Harmon of Ohio (29) drops out. Clark’s people suggest that Wilson would make a good veep for Clark; Wilson’s people think not. Clark’s people also suggest another solution to the deadlock: every candidate except for Clark should withdraw.

Drama was provided by William Jennings Bryan, because that’s what he’s there for, when he asked to explain to the convention his shift from Clark to Wilson and more or less said that he will bolt the Democratic Party if its presidential candidate wins the nomination with the support of the 90 votes of the New York delegation, which he says is controlled by Wall Street and Boss Murphy, which it is, and therefore “does not represent the intelligence, the virtue, the democracy or the patriotism of the ninety men who are here”.

Part of the problem in getting a nominee is that under party rules each delegation must vote as a bloc. So the many Wilson supporters among those 90 NY delegates have to vote for Clark.

Headline of the Day -100: “William J. Bryan a Man of Colossal Impudence.”

The editor of the German Anti-Semitic Party’s newspaper has been convicted for slandering the Jewish religion and sentenced to one week in prison.

Texas Gov. Oscar Branch Colquitt is facing a primary challenger who is bringing up the large number of pardons Colquitt has issued. Colquitt responds by noting that most of those pardons were of young men who had left farms for the city and been led astray. Let’s see if you can spot what else he wants to highlight about the pardonees: “Out of the men I have pardoned some 225 of them were young white men who were serving their first terms in prison for their first offenses against the law, young white men who were without means for defense, young white men etc”.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Today -100: June 29, 1912: Of nominations and shaking prime ministers

On the Democratic Convention’s 10th ballot, there is finally some movement, with Champ Clark increasing his lead, with 556 votes to Wilson’s 350½, with Underwood & Harmon hanging in somewhere in the 100s. It would all have been over by now, with Clark the winner, but nomination requires 2/3 of the votes.

Headline of the Day -100: “Woman Shakes Asquith.” The prime minister meets a suffragette. Who shakes him. She is thrown downstairs, as is the custom.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What the Framers knew

Verily John Roberts says, “The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing.”

Today -100: June 28, 1912: There is nothing more timid than a politician, except two politicians

An attempt by Champ Clark supporters to pack the Democratic convention (they printed their own admission tickets) and rush his nomination through fails. They are now trying to bribe Boss Murphy of Tammany into throwing his minions behind Clark. But Murphy and the right wing of the party in general are scared shitless that if they knock Woodrow Wilson out of the race, his backers will join in a push for William Jennings Bryan, their worst nightmare. Bryan wasn’t even running in the primaries, but suddenly, here he is. Again.

Bryan makes a fiery speech introducing a resolution that “we hereby declare ourselves opposed to the nomination of any candidate for president who is the representative of or under any obligation to J. Pierpont Morgan, Thomas F. Ryan, August Belmont, or any other member of the privilege-hunting and favor-seeking class.” He accuses those millionaires of trying to buy the Democratic nomination. The resolution further demands the withdrawal of any delegates representing those interests. This provoked outrage, with Virginia (Ryan’s a VA delegate) invoking state’s rights. Bryan withdrew that part of the resolution.

Bryan reports on his speech in his syndicated newspaper coverage: “But when I called the country’s attention to the fact that we had in the convention two men who are politically sexless, who have no god but money, and who do not hesitate to use political power for their own enrichment, I at once became ‘a disturber of peace’ and an ‘enemy of the Democratic party.’” “There is nothing more timid than a politician, except two politicians.”

The resolution passes 889 (899?) to 196, because it’s just easier to give Bryan this one than have him storming out like Roosevelt. Bryan claims that the resolution’s passage makes clear that the convention is entirely a Progressive one.

Portugal says it will allow Jews to settle in Portuguese Angola and establish a self-governing Zionist colony.

A German Zeppelin flies nine hours from Hamburg to the North Sea and back, purportedly to demonstrate that it’s possible to use airships to bomb London if the need should ever, you know, arise.

16 have died from bubonic plague in Puerto Rico.

Yesterday, the NYT complained that British suffragette hunger-striking is making it impossible to keep them in prison. A letter today helpfully suggests deporting them to Borneo (similar letters can be found in the London Times).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today -100: June 27, 1912: Of platforms, lynchings, bandanas, and hens

The Democratic convention decides to reverse the usual order of things and nominate the presidential and vice-presidential candidates before adopting a platform.

Taft says he deplores lynching and thinks those who do it should be punished. This in response to the woman being lynched in Georgia, where authorities have already said they aren’t going to punish anyone.

The new Progressive Party has purchased 28,000 red bandanas to be distributed to supporters. I guess the Rough Riders wore them at San Juan Hill.

Headline of the Day -100: “TAFT’S CADDY A SUICIDE; Guy Hurdle Had Been Scolded for Trading a Hen for a Watch.” The 13-year-old Guy Hurdle, for such was his name, hanged himself. No word on what became of the hen. I fear the worst.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Just got an email from Barack Obama, because we’re close like that, and he’s worried about a dangerous trend in American politics: “I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.” Oh, please, Mr. President, tell us what we can do to reverse this awful situation, why Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave if an incumbent president had a campaign chest of anything less than a billion dollars.

If you contribute, you are entered into a drawing for a “grassroots dinner” with the Obamas. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Today -100: June 26, 1912: Of conventions, marines, club women, lynchings, and bathing suits

Former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Ira Jones tries to punch Gov. Blease after Blease says that his vote on the Court against a Jim Crow law was a vote for white women to be forced to ride in the same railroad carriage as “big negro bucks and wenches.” “That’s a lie,” yelled Jones, and went for him.

The Democratic Convention votes for Alton Parker over William Jennings Bryan for temporary chairman, 579 to 510. Parker gives the conservative keynote speech Bryan didn’t want to happen. Bryan reviews it in his syndicated reporting thusly: “People will not remain in a large hall unless they know what is being said, and Judge Parker’s speech was written in the language of Wall street. Only 200 or 300 of the delegates could understand it, and the committee was so busy oiling the machine that it had neglected to provide an interpreter to translate the speech into the every day language of Democrats.”

More by Bryan: “The smoke of battle has cleared away, and the country is now able to look upon the amazing spectacle of a national convention controlled by a national committee, that committee controlled by a subcommittee of 16, the sub-committee controlled by a group of eight men, these men controlled by Boss Murphy and Boss Murphy controlled by Thomas Fortune Ryan. Probably never before in the history of the country have we seen two men attending a national convention and pulling the strings in the open view of the public.”

The US Marines Taft sent to Cuba have been exchanging gunfire with the negro rebels.

The 11th biennial convention of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs is meeting, or, as the NYT headline puts it, “CLUB WOMEN MEET.; Thousands Make San Francisco Pavilion Attractive by Their Gowns.”

A rare lynching of a black woman, Annie Beshdale, a maid who supposedly stabbed her mistress to death (which is the sort of thing that white Southerners found especially worrying) in Pinehurst, Georgia. Authorities will make no effort to find the culprits, although they used automobiles, which were identified. She was hanged, and her body shot up.

Venice, California is considering a new bathing suit ordinance. Women would be required to wear bathing suits of “suitable heavy material which will not cling to the person,” with a skirt at least 14 inches below the waist and a neckline at most 2 inches below the shoulder. Men’s bathing suits must have skirts reaching the knee.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The pissant dissents

Earlier in the day, I read and wrote up most of Scalia’s dissent in Arizona v. United States (pdf, Scalia begins on p.30), but before finishing I had to go out to feed some ducks and perform other important tasks like that, while the Interwebs tore it to pieces, so by now probably none of this is new to you. But what the hell.

He puts a lot of emphasis on states being “sovereign,” which my dictionary defines as “possessing supreme or ultimate power.” I’m pretty sure Arizona isn’t that. Anyway, being sovereign, it has “the power to exclude.” He quotes “Emer de Vattel’s seminal 1758 treatise on the Law of Nations” to support that. Again, though, Arizona is not actually a nation (it is a mental state brought on by too much time in the sun without a hat). Then he quotes I R. Phillimore, Commentaries upon International Law (1854), except, again, international law doesn’t grant Arizona the right to ban people or any other rights because Arizona isn’t actually a nation. I don’t know how this has escaped Scalia’s notice.

Actually, there’s a linguistic clue that he hasn’t: at several points he talks about Arizona “protecting its borders.” Plural. Thing is, it has borders, plural, with other states of These Here United States but only one, singular, international border. It can’t “protect” the former (although, as the resident of one of the states bordering Arizona, I gotta say to Jerry Brown: Build the danged fence!).

He notes that states in the 19th century passed laws restricting entry of convicted criminals, indigents, people with contagious diseases and freed slaves. Those are the precedents he cites, because he’s Tony Fucking Scalia. And presumably, since he’s citing these as positive precedents for his position on Arizona’s law, he believes that it’s okay for states to pass such laws again. If we now see a spate of Southern states passing laws banning entry by free negroes from other states, we’ll know who to blame.

Actually, he says that the federal government has not pre-empted the power of the states to exclude, that is, to decide on their own what foreigners to allow into their states.

He criticizes Obama’s recent decision not to deport certain illegal immigrants who came as children and says that the states are free to arrest and imprison those people themselves, because of their awesome sovereignty.

There’s some racist immigrant-fear-mongering that could not be more out of place in a Supreme Court opinion, including an accusation that Obama “leaves the States’ borders unprotected against immigrants” and puts the states “at the mercy of the Federal Executive’s refusal to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws”. Obama has tied Arizona to the railroad tracks and is twirling his mustache while waiting for the Messkin hordes to have their way with her. Scalia says that Arizona’s “citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants”. They may or may not feel themselves “under siege,” but they’re not.

He concludes, “If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.” Okay, let’s.

Today -100: June 25, 1912: Of assassins, temporary speakers, and wotherspoons

Headline of the Day -100: “Blease Fears Assassins.” South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease says that followers of Ira Jones, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, who is running against Blease for governor, have threatened to kill him. At a meeting last week, police had to break up a near-fight between the governor and the judge, and Blease has threatened that if Jones again “insults me personally, I shall hold him strictly to account off the platform when no others will be in danger,” which I take to be a promise to challenge him to a duel.

The Democratic convention has two women delegates, Mrs. Hutton of Washington and Mrs. Pilzer of Colorado (the latter is Champ Clark’s sister-in-law).

The fight over the temporary speakership of the Democratic Convention continues. Alton Parker is confirmed in the role by the DNC and there will be a floor fight over it. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except Bryan made it one. Bryan says if he can’t find a progressive candidate to run against Parker, he’ll do it himself. Parker, by the way, is attorney for AFL President Samuel Gompers, but wasn’t in court today when Gompers was sentenced to one year for contempt of the (highly contemptible) DC district court, which had issued an injunction against an AFL boycott.

Name of the Day -100: newly promoted Major General William Wallace Wotherspoon.

British suffragist leaders Emmeline Pankhurst and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence are released from prison one month into their 9-month sentences as a result of their hunger strike (other prisoners are being forcibly fed, Pankhurst was not).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin misses Murrow & Cronkite. But you know who his new show made me miss?





Mrs. Pynchon


That said, Edward R. Murrow’s attempted interview of Harpo Marx was fucking hilarious.

Today -100: June 24, 1912: Of chairmen, prison riots, and Bedelia the Bear

Leading Democratic presidential candidates Gov. Woodrow Wilson & Speaker of the House Champ Clark are failing to take William Jennings Bryan’s bait in his crusade against Alton Parker being named the Democratic Convention’s temporary chairman. Bryan sees it as part of a sinister plot to give the “reactionaries” control of the convention and of the nomination (given the role Root performed as chair at the R. convention, he might have a point).

The Washington state Socialist Party nominates Anna Malley for governor, with more than 5,000 ballots returned.

The warden of San Quentin blames a recent revolt there, in which one convict was shot, on... wait for it... women voters, who have been advocating reform of the prison.

A bear escapes on Coney Island and goes to the beach. Bedelia the bear goes to the beach. Sounds like a not very good children’s book.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today -100: June 23, 1912: Your steam roller had exceeded the speed limit

Right before the Republican convention was scheduled to vote on the presidential nomination, Henry Allen of Kansas read out a statement from Theodore Roosevelt which said that since the RNC had, “by the so-called steam-roller methods, and with scandalous disregard of every principle of elementary honesty and decency,” stolen delegates and “substitute[d] a dishonest for an honest majority,” making “the convention in no proper sense any longer a Republican convention representing the real Republican party. Therefore I hope the men elected as Roosevelt delegates will now decline to vote on any matter before the convention. I do not release any delegate from his honorable obligation to vote for me if he votes at all, but under the actual conditions I hope that he will not vote at all. ... Any man nominated by the convention as now constituted would be merely the beneficiary of this successful fraud; it would be deeply discreditable to any man to accept the convention’s nomination under these circumstances; and any man thus accepting it would have no claim to the support of any Republican on party grounds, and would have forfeited the right to ask the support of any honest man of any party on moral grounds.” Allen continued (I’m not sure if this is still TR’s statement), “we decided that your steam roller had exceeded the speed limit.” “You accuse us of being radical. Gentlemen, let me tell you that no radical in the ranks of radicalism ever did so radical a thing as to come to a national convention of the great Republican party and secure through fraud the nomination of a man that they know could not be elected.”

Taft was officially and alliteratively nominated by Ohio’s ex-Lt. Gov. Warren G. Harding: “I have heard men arrogate to themselves the title of ‘Progressive Republicans,’ seemingly forgetting that progression is the first essential to Republican fellowship... Progression is not proclamation nor palaver. It is not pretense nor play on prejudice. It is not of personal pronouns, nor perennial pronouncement. It is not the perturbation of a people passion-wrought, nor a promise proposed.” Taft is in fact “the greatest Progressive of his time,” said Harding, to the accompaniment of “hisses, hoots, groans, and boos”. Later in the speech Harding accused TR of “pap rather than patriotism” and elevated Taft to the “party pantheon.”

Almost 1/3 of the delegates abstained from voting (including 20 of the 22 from California). Taft won the nomination by a narrow majority (561). 107 of the Roosevelt delegates felt honor-bound to honor their instructions or primary voters and vote for TR, but most (344) sat on their hands. The convention then re-nominated James Schoolcraft Sherman as VP, the first time a sitting VP had been re-nominated in 80 years, even though Sherman was dying of Bright’s disease and everyone knew it (Spoiler alert: he will die just before the election).

A platform is adopted.

Taft gives the NYT a statement that his, um, victory means the constitution has been saved. Evidently he sees this as purely a defeat of the idea of judicial recall. “All over this country patriotic people to-night are breathing more freely, that a most serious menace to our republican institutions has been averted.”

Roosevelt delegates hold a rump convention and nominate Roosevelt for president. He accepts, but says he’d step aside if the new party, once it is organized and holds a proper convention, decides to choose someone else, like that could happen. A lot of speeches use the phrase “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and the most popular word is “fraudulent.” The convention will meet again tomorrow. Says Gov. Hiram Johnson, “I know it is Sunday, but our work is holy work.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Hamburg Has a Talking Cat.”

Allegedly, an anarchist tries to poison King Victor Emmanuel of Italy’s trout. The cook tasted the dish and dropped dead.

The US Secret Service plans to adopt guns that fire gas that blinds and chokes people.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today -100: June 22, 1912: Toot toot

The NYT says all the fight has gone out of the Republican convention. (William Jennings Bryan, in his syndicated coverage, concurs: “The machine has worked beautifully all day; it has not slipped a cog. When it was running at full speed ‘Toot,’ Toot,’ would occasionally come from the audience. Sometimes sounds arose that resembled escaping steam, but I am satisfied that no steam escaped; it was all being used, and at high pressure, too.”) The convention is voting on disputed delegates state by state, ignoring a motion by the Theodores to seat all the Roosevelt delegates as a bloc (that would have required all 78 disputed Tafties to sit out the vote; instead, piecemeal voting let the Texas Tafties vote on the credentials of the Alabama ones and vice versa).

Favorite line of the coverage: “The Governor [Hiram Johnson of California] stood there shrieking and gesticulating with his embattled forefinger”.

I’ve been meaning to mention that two of the California delegates were women, the first women at a national convention.

William Jennings Bryan is starting a fight with the Democratic National Committee over its plans to make Alton Parker, the party’s conservative 1904 presidential candidate, temporary chairman of the convention, asking the leading presidential candidates to support some Progressive for the position.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today -100: June 21, 1912: Of women’s suffrage, and credentials

Both Taft & TR supporters will support a women’s suffrage plank (though probably not a federal constitutional amendment). On hearing this, the secretary of the New York Man’s League for Woman Suffrage immediately goes to Roosevelt’s office to drop off a membership form for him. Sadly, TR’s secretary says he does not wish to join at the present time.

New Hampshire’s constitutional convention rejects women’s suffrage, 208-149.

The Theodores on the convention’s credentials committee end their boycott. The convention will be considering the credentials of its members for the entire time it sits. Nothing much happened in the convention itself yesterday.

Roosevelt himself seems to be vacillating on exactly what his next step should be and is ordering his delegates to continue attending the convention but not participate, in other words a holding action. He’s saying he’ll run as a non-Republican “if there was found to be a demand for me,” but isn’t saying precisely in what form such a demand would be expressed. William Jennings Bryan notes that Roosevelt has no way of knowing how many delegates would bolt if he ordered it and, indeed, many will only make up their minds when the time comes.

A Civil War veteran from Chicago, I presume a delegate, accuses a negro delegate of selling his vote. The negro delegate knocks him down.

Cuba thinks that the proclamation by the leader of the negro rebellion threatening to kill all whites who didn’t leave the El Cobre district was actually written by the French consul.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today -100: June 20, 1912: Of the real and lawful majority of the convention, executions, and Lloyd George’s hat

NYT: “The convention today cheered for Roosevelt and voted for Taft.” There was a 45-minute pro-Theodore demonstration (to be fair, there was also a 15-second Taft demonstration later in the proceedings). Later, Roosevelt supporters withdrew from the convention’s credentials committee on the pretext of its refusal to give a full hearing to all the contested seats (and the convention voted to let 72 contested delegates, enough to swing the convention to either Taft or TR, vote on their own cases). TR had told a meeting of his delegates in the morning that if the “fraudulently seated delegates” were seated, they, “the real and lawful majority of the convention,” should organize their own convention. Incidentally, before the bolt, the Theodores were spreading a rumor that if the convention nominated Roosevelt, Taft was planning to run as an independent.

A convicted murderer will soon be executed in Nevada. Under a new law, he gets to choose the method of execution and has opted for being shot. The NYT thinks this is inappropriate for a non-military regime and that hanging is “a relic of the mediaeval punishments by public exposure.” It also thinks taking poison (an option the Nevada Legislature considered but rejected) is “revolting to modern sensibilities” and much prefers New York’s electric chair, which is “certain, scientific, and prosaic”.

British Suffragettes knock Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George’s hat off. Detectives seize the women while he jumps into a cab and escapes. No word on the fate of the hat.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


ABC interviewed Newt Gingrich at the National Zoo, so the headline reads “Newt Gingrich’s Advice for Mitt Romney: Sharpen Your Animal Instincts,” although he didn’t actually say that. But it raises a question:

If Mitt Romney were an animal, what animal would he be?


Today -100: June 19, 1912: Of hissing and leper republics

At the “sullen, ugly, ill-tempered” Republican convention, “hissing the order of the day.” Also, according to the NYT, savage talk, personal insults, hoots, grim silence, booing, cat calls, imitations of a steam whistle, derisive laughter, angry snarls... It took six hours to elect a temporary chairman, Sen. Elihu Root (the Tafties’ choice), by a handful of votes over Wisconsin Gov. Francis McGovern, a La Follette supporter backed by the Theodores in a tactical move. And, er, that’s it for day one. William Jennings Bryan, sitting in the press section, said “If you didn’t know where you were you might think you were in a Democratic Convention.”

Michael Walen of the United States is elected president of the Philippine Leper Republic.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today -100: June 18, 1912: If they ask for the sword, they shall have it!

Metaphor of the Day -100: Some of the Taft delegates traveling to the Republican National Convention are injured in a train wreck.

Metaphor of the Day -100, runner-up: Theodore Roosevelt, at a meeting: “If they ask for the sword, they shall have it!” He asks Taft delegates to vote for his candidate for the temporary chairmanship of the convention to rebuke the “burglary and piracy” of the RNC and says that any action by the convention which was voted upon by fraudulently seated delegates would not be binding on the party (he wants organizational votes to be cast only by unchallenged delegates). William Jennings Bryan reports: “The Arabs are said to have seven hundred words which mean ‘camel’; Mr. Roosevelt has nearly as many synonyms for theft, and he used them all tonight. ... He compared political crimes, such as he charged against his opponents, with the crimes for which men are imprisoned, to the advantage of the latter, and declared that some of the governors among the reactionaries have refused pardons to criminals whose deeds were infinitely less wicked than the political misdemeanors of the governors themselves.”

Some of the negro delegates from Georgia defected to Roosevelt yesterday and defected back to Taft today, claiming they’d been bunkoed. The Georgia delegates almost came to blows, a white delegate who announced himself a Theodore raising a chair to ward off negro Tafties (Tafty is my own term, since there seems to be no one-word term for Taft supporters, but Roosevelt supporters are occasionally called Theodores). The Roosevelt strategy of winning over negro delegates (or bribing them, according to the Tafties) is not going well.

Taft vetoes the $92 million Army appropriation bill because of its provisions reducing the size of the General Staff, setting the qualifications for the office of Army chief of staff that would remove Taft’s appointee, and removing decisions on the distributions of forts and disposition of the army from the War Dept to a committee of retired officers.

The LAT, always so good in its understanding of the Celestial mind: “CHINESE RESIST REFORMS.: Abolition of Gambling and Girl Slavery Weakens Hold of the New Government on the Ignorant Masses.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Today -100: June 17, 1912: Of meat riots, white planks, socialists, and negro rebellions

Meat riots in Chicago. Which sounds like a funny way of describing the Republican convention, but no, it’s actually rioting over the high price of meat.

Sen. Francis Newlands (D-Nev.) proposes a “white plank” for the Democratic platform: a constitutional amendment to disenfranchise all black people and ban all non-white immigration.

Republican delegates are arriving in Chicago, marching from the railway station to hq behind bands which only seem to know “Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here” or “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”

William Jennings Bryan, covering the convention for many newspapers, notes that “The Taft men, excepting the Southern delegates, are as a rule of the conservative type. They speak more deliberately and show less animation. Many of them are politicians of long experience who have been accustomed to the methods of the inner circle. They speak cautiously, act deliberately, and are more inclined to ‘view with alarm’ than to enthuse. They feel that things have been going along fairly well, and are anxious that such changes as are necessary may be made ‘slowly and only after careful investigation.’ The Roosevelt men, on the contrary, are largely of the aggressive type. They have already decided matters and have no doubts to settle. They are not waiting for investigation and are not weighing reforms in apothecary scales.”

For the first time, the Socialist Party will be on the ballot in every state.

The Canadian Supreme Court rules that Quebec can’t make mixed marriages between Catholics and Protestants illegal if performed by a Protestant (but not a Catholic) priest.

The head of the negro rebellion in Cuba orders all foreigners in areas under his control to leave or be hanged.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Today -100: June 16, 1912: It is a fight against theft, and the thieves will not win!

Taft campaign director McKinley says Roosevelt’s followers are trying to “sweep delegates off their feet by bluff, bulldoze, and bluster.”

The LA Times describes the California delegation, arriving in Chicago for the convention, as “screaming protests” at the unseating of their delegates from the 4th Congressional district (in violation of California election law).

The RNC has finished adjudicating contested convention seats, deciding 19 seats for Roosevelt and 235 for Taft, including those named by all-white conventions in Virginia. The NYT says that the Taft delegates from the South who were approved by the RNC are “decidedly of a better type” than the rejected Roosevelt delegates, but complains that the Southern states are represented at all, since those states are “hopelessly Democratic, where the actual Republican vote is very small, and where it is made up almost altogether of the weaker of the two races”; this is “bad for the negroes, for the Republican Party, and for the whole country. At home the negroes suffer from the bitterness of political feeling.”

Arriving in Chicago, Roosevelt tells the crowd greeting him, “It is a fight against theft, and the thieves will not win!”

The Perth Amboy strike may be near an end, following numerous shootings and other violence (Gov. Woodrow Wilson refused to send in the militia, and claims he can’t find any strike leaders to deal with personally). One of the demands of the strikers is an end to the system by which men who worked more than 24 days in a row at the foundries got a bonus. Sentences of 6 months or a year have been handed out to strikers for throwing stones or “inciting to riot,” but the guards and/or deputies who shot down two strikers yesterday remain at large, although the prosecutor admits the shooting was illegal without the Riot Act having been read.

The Texas attorney general’s office rules that married women aren’t eligible for public offices that require bonds because married women can’t execute valid bonds unless they go through a lengthy legal procedure to remove coverture.

The NYT condemns a recent bit of naughtiness by British suffragettes, saying “The right to vote will never be secured through disorderly conduct.” When has it been secured through anything else?

Headline of the Day -100: “Only The Kaiser Can Blow This Horn.” Evidently no one is allowed to copy the sound of Kaiser Bill’s car horn, which “differs from any other signaling instrument in the world in that it consists of four or five distinct tones, blended into a harmonious whole, which produces more the effect of an operatic recitative than a prosaic blast”.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Today -100: June 15, 1912: Of bribery, biddles, and rifles

The RNC today awards 14 more disputed delegates to Taft, none to Roosevelt.

More accusations of bribery between the Roosevelt & Taft camps, related to negro delegates from the South. No need to get into the details, but it arises because it is “traditional” to pay the traveling expenses of these (usually poor) negroes.

In Virginia, Taft is trying to build up a whites-only Republican party to counter-balance Roosevelt-supporting black Republicans. Both sides are trying to scrounge up delegates from the South, where they don’t have to worry so much about the feelings of the rank and file Republican party members, because there basically aren’t any. Roosevelt is actively courting negro Taft delegates to switch their votes.

Taft issues a denial that he is considering stepping aside in favor of a compromise candidate, a fairly remarkable statement for a sitting president to have to make.

Rumors (reported as fact) that VP Sherman, who is not at all well, will not run again this year.

Name of the Day -100: A NY judge is marrying a Miss Beatrice Biddle.

San Diego police buy 20 rifles but deny it has anything to with the IWW.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We can’t afford to jeopardize our future by repeating the mistakes of the past

Romney a speech on the economy in which he criticized Obama for giving a speech on the economy: “He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy.” “Talk is cheap,” Romney says. While talking. Cheaply.

He said he’d build the Keystone pipeline “if I have to build it myself”. It’s good to have a hobby.

Then Obama gave his economic speech. It was very much a campaign speech, explicitly defining itself against the Romneybot and the Republicans. It didn’t, for example, ask Congress to do anything before November.

COMPLETE AGREEMENT ACHIEVED! “there’s one place where I stand in complete agreement with my opponent: This election is about our economic future.”

WHAT THIS ISN’T: “Now, this isn’t some abstract debate.” Really? Because Romney’s economic plans are based entirely on abstract ideology. Also, Barack, what’s so wrong about have having “some abstract debate”? Ideas are good. Ideas are your friend.

It’s not only not some abstract debate, it’s also “not another trivial Washington argument.” It’s “a make-or-break moment for America’s middle class”.

WHAT NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN: “And while there are many things to discuss in this campaign, nothing is more important than an honest debate about where these two paths would lead us.” Oh good, nothing is more important than an honest debate, because I’m sure an honest debate is just what we’re going to get. Honest debate, woo hoo.

THE RETURN OF IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, this was not your normal recession.”

THE CRISIS OF 2008: “So recovering from the crisis of 2008 has always been the first and most urgent order of business”. “The crisis of 2008” is probably a good phrase for him.

MAN, WE CAN’T AFFORD ANYTHING ANY MORE: “We can’t afford to jeopardize our future by repeating the mistakes of the past”.

BUT YOU’LL TELL US WHEN IT IS TIME TO GO BACK TO A GREATER RELIANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES, RIGHT? “Now is not the time to go back to a greater reliance on fossil fuels from foreign countries.”

BUT YOU’LL TELL US WHEN IT IS TIME TO SADDLE AMERICAN BUSINESSES WITH CRUMBLING ROADS AND BRIDGES, RIGHT? “now is not the time to saddle American businesses with crumbling roads and bridges”.

BUT YOU’LL TELL US WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO TAKING ON OUR FISCAL PROBLEMS IN A DISHONEST, UNBALANCED AND IRRESPONSIBLE WAY, RIGHT? “And finally, I think it’s time we took on our fiscal problems in an honest, balanced, responsible way.”

WHO’S SAYING THAT? ARE ANY CANDIDATES FOR ANY PUBLIC OFFICE SAYING THAT? “And let me leave you with one last thought. As you consider your choice in November -- (applause) -- don’t let anybody tell you that the challenges we face right now are beyond our ability to solve.”

Graveled down

In its story about the Michigan legislator not allowed to speak after using the word “vagina” during the debate on abortion restrictions, ThinkProgress says “Republicans sought to gravel down the women.”

ThinkProgress of course meant to say gaveled down.

But I like it.

I therefore propose the immediate introduction of the phrase “graveled down” into our political discourse.

That is all.

Today -100: June 14, 1912: Of Hatfields & McCoys

RNC hearings continue, give Roosevelt a few delegates, for once. Lots of debate about whether party conventions at the congressional district level were held without notice and whether negroes and Roosevelt supporters were ejected from Mississippi conventions.

The Republican candidate for governor of West Virginia is a Dr. Henry Hatfield, as in Hatfields & McCoys (evidently the feud is over and the McCoys will work for his election).

Window-smashing by suffragettes in Dublin.

The Socialist mayor of Schenectady appoints Helen Keller to the Board of Public Welfare.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today -100: June 13, 1912: Of saturnalias of fraud and larceny

The RNC gives another 40 contested seats to Taft and none to Roosevelt, including 2 in California, simply disregarding the California primary law, because RNC rules are “supreme.” (This was the first ever presidential primary in California. When the Progressives came to power, they decided to go with principle over party machinery and enacted a primary law that awarded delegates based on the proportion of votes in the state as a whole. The Taft side accepted this, because it would give them some power, and Taft himself gave written approval to his list of delegates, as required by the law. But when he lost badly, his side claimed that party rules required that delegates be awarded by district, then claimed to have won two districts by a small margin, which is literally impossible to determine, since some precincts crossed district lines. Got it?) Gov. Hiram Johnson refuses to go before the committee to argue against the decision, saying it would be “an insult to the people of California were I to appear in a trial of the title to stolen property, with the thief who stole it sitting as Judge.” Sen. Dixon of Montana says the RNC is presiding over a “Saturnalia of fraud and larceny”. The Arizona primaries were also basically ignored in awarding that state’s delegates.

In a statement denouncing the RNC, Roosevelt says that the opponents of the Republican bosses are not the “irregulars” and would not be “bolting” the party, as the common usage would have it, but vice versa. He points out that the Taft majority on the RNC comes from territories (Alaska, the Philippines, etc) which don’t have a vote, states with very few actual Republicans, and states where Taft was rejected in the primaries.

Roosevelt finally comes out unequivocally in favor of a women’s suffrage plank in the party platform.

175 Mexican federales and rebels are killed in a battle in the Mormon colony – the battle that caused the Romneys to flee back to the US.

Striking Hungarian and Slav workers take over Perth Amboy, NJ after the companies bring in strikebreakers and guards, who shoot at the strikers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The kind of healthcare they deserve

Romney gave a speech on health care today: “I believe that states have responsibility to care for people in the way they feel best.” Doesn’t the phrase “in the way they feel best” strip that “responsibility” of all content whatsoever?

Of course the real solution is to “get health care to act more like a consumer market”. Isn’t it adorable how a profit-based, capitalist approach is called a “consumer market”?

Worried about pre-existing conditions after he repeals Obamacare? “We’re gonna have to make sure the law we replace Obamacare with assures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who’ve been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of healthcare they deserve.” Don’t you feel “assured” by that? I mean, wouldn’t you feel assured if you could figure out what the hell it meant? Also, when health care acts more like a consumer market, people won’t get “the kind of healthcare they deserve,” they’ll get the kind of healthcare they can afford. I guess for Romney, having money and deserving the things money can buy are the same thing.

Today -100: June 12, 1912: Of adjournments and discredited bosses

Rep. Robert Wickliffe (D-LA) is run over by a train. A resolution to adjourn the House out of respect was being read out when suddenly someone realized that the congresscritter’s wife was in the gallery, and hadn’t been informed yet that she was a widow. Someone took her to one side and explained it.

Today for the first time, the RNC decided a disputed national convention delegate in Roosevelt’s favor. And awarded 17 more to Taft. Of the disputed seats decided so far, that’s 101-1.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Daily Telegraphy

News you can abuse, from the world’s foremost “news”paper:

London Mayor Boris Johnson (ah, this will be on tonight’s Daily Show) offers New Yorkers freaked by Bloomberg’s “soda tyranny” refuge in London.

Incidentally, if Johnson is interviewed by Jon Stewart instead of by John Oliver, a great opportunity for comedy will have been lost.

Woollen coffins?

One Ray Dolin, hitchhiking the US while writing a book called “The Kindness of America,” is shot in a drive-by in Montana, because of course he is.

Embarrassing Death of the Day: A South African man wearing his dead dog’s leash around his neck – as a tribute and certainly not for any kinky reasons, whatever makes you think that – got into his car without noticing that its end was sticking out the door. It got caught in his front wheel and snapped his neck as he reversed out of a restaurant. “Police captain Stanley Jarvis confirmed that police are not treating the incident as hilarious suspicious.”

And, of course, the story that David Cameron accidentally left his 8-year-old daughter in a pub (right after his government launched a “troubled families” initiative)(the Telegraph doesn’t mention that, but does interview social workers who say, yeah, you’d normally make a couple of calls after something like that to see if everything was all right in the home).

Today -100: June 11, 1912: Of reassuring warships, conspiracies, and turkey trots

Unconvincing Headline of the Day -100: “Havana Reassured as Warships Arrive.”

As the RNC decides yet more disputed delegations to the party national convention in favor of Taft supporters, Roosevelt writes in The Outlook that Taft’s people are “conspiring to steal the victory from the people.”

The Senate votes for an Army appropriations bill that includes a provision ousting the current chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood. Not sure what they have against him.

Headline of the Day -100: “Dies After a Turkey Trot.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Today -100: June 10, 1912: Of warships, wretched palterers in chicane and corruption, and the mighty Mississippi

The US is now sending two warships to Cuba, without having informed Cuba in advance.

The NYT says that the RNC’s rejection of all of Roosevelt’s contested delegates demonstrates a plot to buy the presidency for Roosevelt, a plot which has failed “because of the utter incapacity of his miserable agents. Had their skill been equal to their, and his, unprincipled audacity, if instead of being wretched palterers in chicane and corruption they had been competent in crime, men thoroughly schooled in the higher branches of political villainy, the picture now presented to the eyes of the Nation in Chicago might have been very different.” (In another editorial a couple of days ago I didn’t link to, the NYT dismissed the primaries, in which TR beat Taft’s ass like a flabby drum, as a failed experiment, because turnouts were so low that clearly most people would rather just leave the selection of their presidential candidate to the party bosses.)

Pro-Roosevelt Gov. Walter Stubbs of Kansas says “It is just as reprehensible to steal delegates as it is to steal sheep or horses.” And that’s pretty darn reprensible.

The Mississippi has been flooding. Roosevelt says if he’s elected president, he’ll put a stop to that.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Today -100: June 9, 1912: Of sinister plots and kaiser hands

Anti-negro riots in Cuba.

Sen. Knute Nelson (R-Minn.) claims that the insurrections in Cuba and Mexico are financed by American owners of businesses in those countries, trying to provoke annexation. Which is one way to get around the sugar duty.

The Republican National Committee is in the process of deciding every single contested national convention delegate seat in favor of Taft supporters.

Cruel Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Kaiser’s Hands Strengthened.”

Friday, June 08, 2012

Doing fine

Obama held a press conference today.

NOW IN MISLEADING COMPARISONS THEATRE: “The fact is job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago.”

He complained that Congress (i.e., Republicans in Congress, but he didn’t say that) “left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. ... They’re not just my ideas; they’re not just Democratic ideas -- they’re ideas that independent, nonpartisan economists believe would make a real difference in our economy.” After 3½ years in office, he still believes that the opinions of “independent, nonpartisan economists” hold some sort of sway. Isn’t that adorable?

No, no it isn’t.

TO THE MERKEL-PHONE, CHIEF O’HARA! “We have been in constant contact with Europe over the last -- European leaders over the last two years”.

DOIN’ FINE: “we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine.”

Later in the day, at an event with whichever member of the Aquino dynasty is currently ruling the Philippines, he was forced to address the issue of whether the private sector was, in fact, actually doing fine: “Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That’s the reason I had the press conference.” Obama 2012: Fixing The Economy One Press Conference At A Time.

SO STOP SPECULATING, OR HE WILL TOTALLY DRONE YOUR ASS: On the NYT killer flying robot story, he claimed that “my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation. ... The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It’s wrong.” So that settles that.

Today -100: June 8, 1912: Of treaty obligations

Secretary of State Philander Knox informed Cuban President José Gomez that if he continued to fail to protect American nationals and their property from the negro rebellion, the US would be compelled, yes, compelled under its treaty obligations to intervene. 5,000 more troops are ordered into readiness to be transported to Cuba to act in accordance with American treaty obligations with extreme prejudice.

Jullus Kovacs, a member of the Hungarian Diet (rather unnecessarily described as a member of the opposition), shoots at Count Tisza, the president of the Chamber, who has been making a practice of having the police throw obstructive opposition MPs out of the chamber. Kovas misses Tisza with his three shots, then shoots himself in the head.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Today -100: June 7, 1912: Of lynch mobs & railroads, last interventions, colonial problems, and opium panics

The Supreme Court is reviewing a lawsuit brought by one Annie May Rogers against the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific Railroad Company. Her husband was accused of killing a Mr. Brown but was going to be released, due to double jeopardy, so Brown’s brother got together a lynch mob and hired a special train to take it from Monroe to Tallulah, Louisiana, where they lynched Rogers. Jumping ahead to 1914, we see that Mrs. Rogers got $7,000 from the railroad.

Cuban President José Gomez takes to the field personally against the negro rebels, afraid that if the army takes too long to defeat them, the US will invade and annex Cuba. Evidently one cause of Cubans’ refusal to believe that the US doesn’t intend to do this is an old comment by Roosevelt when he was president that “the next intervention will be the last.” Another is the Platt Amendment, in which Cuba was only granted “independence” if it “agreed” that the US could intervene whenever it felt like it.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “FRANCE’S COLONIAL PROBLEMS.: The Wild Tribesmen of Morocco Are Difficult to Handle, War Being a Diversion to Them.” #1stWorldInvading3rdWorldProblems

Other Headline of the Day -100: “Panic in Opium Market.” Hey, you know what would take the edge off that panic....?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Today -100: June 6, 1912: Of primaries and torture

Roosevelt wins the South Dakota primary, which is the last primary of 1912. Only 12 states held primaries. Roosevelt won 9 of them, with landslides in 8.

The Presbyterians accuse Japan of torturing Korean Christians.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Today -100: June 5, 1912: Of pure political brigandage

Headline of the Day -100: “Brigands, Roosevelt Cries.” Taft is given Ohio’s delegates-at-large to the national Republican convention by the state convention, despite his humiliating electoral defeat. This, says Roosevelt, “is, of course, pure political brigandage.... fresh and conclusive proof that Mr Taft and his advisors care nothing for the will of the people”.

At the convention, Former Lt. Gov. Warren G. Harding speaks for Taft and is hissed. He complains that he was never hissed before. “Harding attempted to quote the words of the Saviour on the Cross, but was hooted down. ‘You will all repent of your sins,’ were the speaker’s closing words.”

The NYT does a better job today of explaining the spreading unrest in Belgium, which is a response to the defeat of a Liberal-Socialist alliance in the recent elections by the Clericals, who want more public money for Catholic schools. The Liberals were persuaded to add universal male suffrage and abolition of plural voting (extra votes for education qualifications and fatherhood) to their platform. Also, there’s a Flemish/Walloon element to the conflict.

LAT Headline: “COLORED MAN LIVES CENTURY.: Pomona Darkey Rounds Out One Hundred Years With Celebration and Expresses High Hope.” High hope that he won’t be called a pejorative name by a newspaper on his 100th birthday? That he’ll live to 106 so he can live as a free man for as long as he lived as a slave?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Today -100: June 4, 1912: Of angry Belgians, race wars, and clean senators

Republicans in the newest state, Arizona, hold competing Taft/Roosevelt state conventions.

Helpful Foreign News Headline of the Day -100: “Belgian Workmen Angry.” Liège gendarmes shoot up a meeting in front of the Socialist Club, killing 3. The anger has something to do with a strike and an election.

President Gomez asks the Cuban Congress for the power to suspend the constitution in order to take severe measures to strike terror into the colored race (I’m not sure if that’s a paraphrase or what). See, and we worried when we liberated Cuba from the Spanish that they wouldn’t be able to learn from us, but clearly they have. So the US will be selling the Cuban government 5,000 rifles and 1 million rounds of ammunition.

The French kill 600 Moroccan tribesmen, because why not. Hey, France, define “protectorate.”

Headline of the Day -100: “$6 to Bathe a Senator.” Evidently the Senate Office Building baths are really quite posh and expensive to maintain.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Today -100: June 3, 1912: Of Rodins

Auguste Rodin is being denounced for supporting L’après-midi d’un faune. There is also some debate over whether it’s worth it for the state to accept Rodin’s offer that if he is allowed to live rent-free at the Hôtel Biron (the current location of the Rodin Museum) for the remainder of his life, he will bequeath the state his sculptures.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Today -100: June 2, 1912: Of constitutions and lecherous fauns

The Ohio Constitutional Convention votes to put 42 constitutional amendments before the voters, including women’s suffrage, popular election of US senators, the initiative and referendum, and limiting saloons to one per 500 people.

Nijinsky’s ballet L’après-midi d’un faune (Afternoon of a Faun), based on Debussy, opens in Paris to great scandal, because of, you know, the leotards and the sexy. Le Figaro denounces it on the front page as “neither a pretty pastoral nor a work of profound meaning. We are shown a lecherous faun, whose movements are filthy and bestial in their eroticism, and whose gestures are as crude as they are indecent.”

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today -100: June 1, 1912: Of suing for peace, daiquiris, and wild men of Borneo

Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti says he’d be perfectly happy if Turkey “sues for peace,” as long as it agreed to Italian sovereignty over Libya. “Italy in her might has hitherto been merciful, but her patience is nearly exhausted.”

Some at the University of Michigan are worried that discriminatory treatment of its Hindu students, who have been refused service at restaurants and hotels in Detroit and Ann Arbor, will drive them to Harvard and Yale, where Indians are treated as Aryans rather than as negroes.

Cuban President Gomez “consents” to US Marines and a gunboat guarding mining companies at Daiquiri, like he had a choice in the matter. In fact, the US seems to have informed him of this by a telegram from the American ambassador (ending “My Government adds explicitly that this should not be considered as an intervention,” which I think means, We don’t care who wins your stoopid civil war, we just want the iron).

“Plutano,” one of the “Wild Men of Borneo,” from P.T. Barnum’s freak show (actually mentally disabled dwarf strong men from Ohio), dies at 92 (or 85-ish, according to Wikipedia).