Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Or you could just stop lying already

I like how Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald waited between the time Snowden said he could read everybody’s emails from his desk until all the outraged denials and tut-tuttings were out there before releasing the documents proving it.

Where have we seen this before?

When the Soviet Union shot down a U-2 spy plane in 1960, they similarly let the US lie about its spy plane program, even giving Eisenhower one more chance to come clean, then produced the pilot, Francis Gary Powers. It was more of a shock back then to many people that the US government lies so much.

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Today -100: July 31, 1913: Of campaign funds

NY Gov. William Sulzer is being investigated by the state senate, which has uncovered two checks to his 1912 campaign fund, amounting to $3,000, which he did not report as required by law. More will be heard of this.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Law & Order

Israel will free long-term Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal to resume peace talks, but... “The pace of the releases will depend on progress in the talks.” If you’re using prisoners as a bargaining chip to ensure actions on the part of other people, they’re not prisoners, they’re hostages.

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Today -100: July 30, 1913: Of wrong buildings

Headline of the Day -100: “Wrong Building Put Up.” During the planning for a new hq for the Admiralty in London, the wrong blueprints got shown to the royal family, so they just had to go with it.

A conference of the ambassadors of the Great Powers agrees to establish a commission, with each of the six countries naming a member, to rule Albania for six months, at which time they will nominate a king. There will be a gendarmerie with Swedish officers.

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Monday, July 29, 2013


The BBC World Service said that John Kerry was undertaking “intense diplomatic efforts” towards Middle East peace. Because if there’s one word that comes to mind when you think of John Kerry, it’s “intense.”

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Today -100: July 29, 1913: Of shocking bloomers

Headline of the Day -100: “Bloomers Shock Chicago.” There are women who take off their bathing skirts at the public beaches and Mayor Harrison WILL NOT STAND FOR IT.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Today -100: July 28, 1913: I walked, the sooner to be free

Lois Marshall, wife of Vice President Thomas Marshall, says that “the fashions of today ought to convince anyone that a woman is not fit to vote.” Instead, women should work to do away with the slashed skirt and the turkey trot.

British suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst describes being violently arrested by the Metropolitan Police, and her subsequent hunger, thirst and sleep strike. “By Friday to walk about the cell meant to faint many times; but, when I could summon up the strength for it I walked, the sooner to be free.” Released again on license, she leads a crowd from Trafalgar Square toward Downing Street to deliver a petition from the East End to the prime minister, but they are broken up by police. Sylvia, no less militant than her mother and sister, is increasingly turning to the poor women of the East End and towards mass protest rather than the individualistic acts of property damage in which the WSPU now specializes (although she did break a window in the police station).

The bodies from the Binghamton Clothing Company fire that could not be identified, 21 of them, are buried. They had to use a trolley to bring all the caskets to the cemetery, since there were not enough hearses in the city.

The US demands the Mexican government arrest soldiers who shot an American immigration officer in Juarez. He was there investigating an American negro white slaver, who may have bribed the soldiers to kill him. They arrested the immigration cop and when he realized they were not taking him to hq and were probably intent on murdering him, he ran away and was shot in the back, as was the custom.

The NYT editorializes in favor of recognizing the Huerta Junta in Mexico: “The character of Gen. Huerta is none of our business. It need not be considered”.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today -100: July 27, 1913: We have not the serf’s mind

Southern racists are gearing up to fight Pres. Wilson’s nomination of a negro, Adam Patterson, to be Register of the Treasury, one of a handful of federal posts traditionally occupied by negroes. No one has anything against Patterson personally; the objection is the one expressed in a letter to Wilson from Thomas Dixon, author of the novels that would be adapted for the screen as Birth of a Nation: “I am heartsick over the announcement that you have appointed a Negro to boss white girls as Register of the Treasury.” Wilson reassured him that he planned to make the registry division exclusively black to prevent race-mixing. (The LA Times story on this yesterday, headlined “Wilson Names a Negro,” said “The Republicans are laughing up their sleeves. They are chuckling at the latest faux pas of the administration”.)

The NYT claims to know what Henry Lane Wilson, US ambassador to Mexico, is telling his bosses: the US must either recognize Huerta or invade. He prefers the former.

The other Great Powers refuse Russia’s proposal that they jointly coerce Turkey into abandoning its military actions against Bulgaria through a joint naval demonstration and a mobilization of Russian troops.

We have a great rarity in NYT coverage of the British women’s suffrage movement: a story about something the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies did. The NUWSS was by far the largest suffrage organization, but it was non-militant: didn’t break windows, didn’t shout at politicians, didn’t get a lot of ink. Anyway, it just completed a Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage, in which women from all over the country marched to London, holding meetings (and being attacked by hooligans) all along the route. To distinguish themselves from the militants, they were asked not to wear the WSPU’s colors (purple, green & white) and carried banners saying only “Law-Abiding Suffragists.” A deputation of pilgrims meets with Prime Minister Asquith; NUWSS president Millicent Garrett Fawcett tells him, “What has been given to native races we demand should be given to the women of our own race. We are not political serfs. We have not the serf’s mind.”

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Upper Lip Like a Girl.” That lip is the 19-year-old Prince of Wales’ stiff but girlish upper lip, which would have prevented him joining the cavalry but for an order issued by the War Office on his behalf, making it no longer mandatory for officers to have a ‘tash.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

The exception that proves the rule, or something

The US tells Russia that we won’t torture or execute Edward Snowden if they deport him, adding “But everyone else in the world? Yeah, Obama totally has the power to torture and/or kill them.”

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Today -100: July 26, 1913: No one can destroy William Sulzer except William Sulzer himself

Wisconsin passes legislation for eugenic marriages – requiring health certificates – and for the sterilization of criminals, lunatics, epileptics and the feeble-minded. What could go wrong?

Peru’s former president (1908-12) Augusto Leguia and his son are arrested after shots are fired from his house at a mob attacking it.

NY Gov. Sulzer claims that his political enemies in Tammany Hall are literally plotting to kill him, and has hired private detectives to guard him. He says that Boss Murphy told him that he had driven governors McClellan and Dix out of public life and would do the same to him. Replied Sulzer, “No one can destroy William Sulzer except William Sulzer himself.” Ain’t it the truth.

Headline of the Day -100: “Duel Over Turkey Trot.” In Germany, between an Army general and a lt. colonel after the latter rebuked the former for allowing his daughter to dance the turkey trot, which the colonel thought unsuitable. Naturally, the general challenged him to a duel to the death, during which he stabbed him in the head with a sword, as was the custom.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The language of the information fascists at the Bradley Manning trial

Prosecutor Ashden Fein calls Manning an “information anarchist,” because he knows that combines two things the military hates: anarchists and information.

Also says Manning had a “general evil intent,” which I believe is the name of one of the bad guys in the GI Joe cartoon.

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Today -100: July 25, 1913: Of massacres, plural voting, and the Piccadilly Flat

Bulgaria is complaining to every European power which will listen that Turkey violated the Treaty of London, which ended the First Balkan War, by attacking Bulgaria. It also complains of Turkish massacres. The Turks say they only invaded because of Bulgarian massacres.

The British House of Lords votes down the bill abolishing plural voting (one person being able to vote several times, based on owning property in multiple constituencies or having university degrees).

There’s a minor scandal going on in Britain. The police raided a brothel in Piccadilly (the door was answered by a woman in a sexy nurse costume), arrested the madame, Queenie Gerald, and then made very sure that her papers naming her clients, rumored to include numerous members of Parliament, disappeared. For her silence, Gerald got a suspiciously light sentence. Suffragists will make a meal of this case for many months to come (and Labour MP Keir Hardie will publish a pamphlet). In The Suffragette of this date, Christabel Pankhurst explains that prostitution is the fault of “the Anti-Suffrage theory of life.... Anti-Suffragists see in woman, sex and nothing more.” She mentions that the Piccadilly Flat saw all sorts of practices and, um, instruments (whips, she means whips). The magistrate who oversaw this case (and barred the public from his court) will show much less leniency to suffragettes that appear before him.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I apologize in advance

Obama gave a speech on the economy today. This is how Anthony Weiner heard it:

“Blah blah blah.”

“And we love Dick. (Applause.)”

“Blah blah blah.”

“But -- and here’s the big ‘but’”

“Blah blah blah.”

“very essence of America -- that idea that if you work hard you can make it here.”

“Blah blah blah.”

“Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”

“Blah blah blah.”

“We’ve got to stand up for women’s rights. (Applause.)”

“Blah blah blah.”

“But I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way. (Applause.)”

“Blah blah blah.”

“Where I can’t act on my own and Congress isn’t cooperating, I’ll pick up the phone”

“Blah blah blah.”

“I’ll call anybody who can help -- and enlist them in our efforts.”

“Blah blah blah.”

“Lincoln was all about building stuff”

“Blah blah blah.”

Wait, what? Lincoln was all about what?

“Blah blah blah.”

“unrealistic bubbles”

“Blah blah blah.”

“if you’re willing to work hard and discipline yourself and defer gratification, you can make it, too.” (Weiner likes the making it too part, not so much the deferring gratification part).

“Blah blah blah.”

“we’ve got to be open to new ways of doing things.”

“Blah blah blah.”

“I’m laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot.”

“Blah blah blah.”

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Today -100: July 24, 1913: Of dog tax schisms, fires, and toy pistols

Surreal Headline of the Day -100: “DOG TAX CAUSES SCHISM.; 1,400 Hamburgers Secede from State Church to Avoid Paying It.” Hamburgers meaning residents of Hamburg, of course. Evidently there’s a proposal to support the church through a tax on dogs...?

NY Gov. William Sulzer blames yesterday -100’s factory fire in Binghamton on Tammany’s Boss Murphy, who he says is responsible for the Legislature’s failure to act on his nominees for State Labor commissioner.

A one-time Prohibition Party candidate for mayor of Minneapolis pleads guilty to a charge of horse-stealing. He blames the booze.

The Vatican’s Swiss Guards are in a state of mutiny.

Headline of the Day -100: “Toy Pistol Scares M.P.’s.” A male suffragist fires a blank (from a real pistol, not a toy one, Mr. Headline Writer) in the Strangers’ Gallery of the House of Commons.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today -100: July 23, 1913: Of state churches, the interests of negroes, coercing Mexico, banana protests, fires in factories, fires in prisons, barber riots, and perpetual motion

The House of Lords votes down the bill to disestablish the Anglican Church in Wales (i.e., they voted for antidisestablishmentarianism) until the issue is submitted to the judgment of the country in an election, because surely the next general election will turn on precisely this issue.

Pres. Wilson responds to a letter from Gaston Villard, chair of the NAACP, admitting that he plans to segregate government offices, “with the idea,” he writes, “that friction, or rather discontent and uneasiness which had prevailed in many departments would hereby be removed. It is as far as possible from being a movement against Negroes” but “in their interest.” So that’s okay then.

Headline of the Day -100: “Senate Talks of Coercing Mexico.” The US Senate discusses the Mexico situation, with many senators calling for military intervention, as was the custom. Purely to protect American citizens, of course. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico)’s resolution says that American citizens have the right to American protection for their lives AND PROPERTY anywhere in the world. In the House, William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray (D-Oklahoma) (who has to use that Alfalfa Bill thing to distinguish himself from Rep. William F. Murray of Massachusetts) introduces a resolution requiring the president to subdue Mexico militarily.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100: “To Voice Banana Protest.” A delegation from Jamaica arrives to protest a duty being placed on bananas. See, wasn’t that disappointing? I’m sure we can all think of much more interesting banana protests.

50 mostly young female factory workers die in a fire in the Binghamton Clothing Company (later reports say 40, but as the only list of employees also burned up, the true number is not known). Although survivors blame the lack of adequate escape routes, the owners blame it on the state-mandated post-Triangle Shirtwaist Fire fire procedures: the girls were so used to fire drills that they ignored the fire alarms.

Scary Headline of the Day -100: “Men Roar in Cells as Sing Sing Burns.” Started in the prison factories. No one killed, no one escaped.

There is a barber riot in Harlem in connection with a strike called by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Barbers’ Union. I’m not sure I’d feel safe having my hair cut by anyone calling themself a “Wobbly.”

An Italian invents a perpetual motion machine. It runs on the “caloric energy of the air,” which is totally a really thing. A later article describes the machine: “it consists essentially of a system of closed cup-shaped vessels containing a substance which vaporizes with extreme facility, and revolving, partly in air and partly in water, makes the machine work through successive vaporizations and condensations of the substance inside.”

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Today -100: July 22, 1913: Of arrests, roads, and Swiss guards

The Metropolitan Police again arrest Emmeline Pankhurst when she attempts to address a meeting. The crowd try to protect her, attacking the police with hatpins and teeth, but to no avail. Her daughter Sylvia, also out on a Cat & Mouse license, gives a speech in a hall in Bromley and escapes the police – East End women know how to put up a more robust resistance. In Birmingham, windows are broken at the Grand Hotel, where Prime Minister Asquith was addressing the Chamber of Commerce, and the fire brigade is called.

Oh, he was serious. Missouri Gov. Elliot Major issues a proclamation calling for a general suspension of business on August 20 & 21 so that every able-bodied male can engage in free road-maintenance work (women should do the catering and cheerleading).

The pope orders that his own Swiss Guard be disarmed, after repeated revolts.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today -100: July 21, 1913: Of reliable automobiles, bloomer girls, and protectorates

The Auto Club holds its 9th annual Reliability Tour, a 1,300-mile road trip, taking a mere seven days, to see how often they break down. The winners are the Hupmobiles, the Krit, the Metzes, and the Locomobile, which were totally real names of automobiles, which is one way in which 1913 was way cooler than 2013.

Sports News of the Day -100: “Four thousand angry fans surged on the diamond in the old Union League baseball park this afternoon when they learned that the ‘Bloomer Girls,’ who were playing against a team of young men, were not girls.”

When Honduras and El Salvador found out that the US was trying to negotiate a protectorate-type arrangement with Nicaragua, they were livid. Secretary of State Bryan hilariously failed to understand that their objection was to Yankee imperialism and to the wrecking of the possibility of a Central American Federation; he thought they just felt left out, so he tried to assuage them by offering similar arrangements to them. They told him to fuck off.

Turkish troops have retaken Adrianople, lost so humiliatingly during the First Balkan War.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Today -100: July 20, 1913: Of censorship, poisoned hatpins, the draft, protectorates, and fake suffragettes

After a deputy of the Russian Duma attacks the government’s anti-Jewish policies, the Tsar’s Imperial Council bans the Duma discussing any subject not put before it by the government.

Seattle Mayor George Cotterill bans The Seattle Times, which he blames for yesterday’s riot. He says it garbled its report of the speech by Navy Secretary Daniels, causing the sailors to think they had permission to attack Wobblies and Socialists. However a judge issues an injunction and the paper prints as normal (he also reverses the mayor’s order to saloons not to open). Rear Admiral Alfred Reynolds refuses a request by city authorities to restrict shore leave.

Portland, Oregon ordered lesbian IWW activist Dr. Marie Equi to leave the state after she gave a free-speech speech. She didn’t, so they charge her with inciting a riot and assault with a deadly weapon, to wit a hatpin. She had threatened to stab any cop who tried to arrest her with a hatpin dipped in poison. She did scratch a cop, but evidently neglected the poison.

The French Parliament votes to expand mandatory military service from two years to three.

Secretary of State Bryan informs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of his plans to turn Nicaragua into a protectorate, presumably to keep the neighborhood of the Panama Canal “stable.” Bryan is proposing a new draft of the treaty which the Taft administration began negotiating: Nicaragua gets a large loan and the US gets a veto over Nicaragua declaring war on anyone, or signing treaties, “That the United States should have the right to intervene at any time to preserve Nicaraguan independence, or to protect life or property,” 99-year-year leases on naval bases, and dibs on building a canal.

British Chancellor David Lloyd George and Attorney General Rufus Isaacs were enjoying the weekend as guests at a country estate, all very Downton Abbeyish. They were out playing golf when suddenly three women dressed in WSPU colors approached them. They looked around in alarm for the detective bodyguards all cabinet ministers now have to keep disorderly women away from them, but they were nowhere to be seen. One brandished a suffragette flag at Lloyd George, who cowered until he realized that the women were his and Isaacs’ wives and their hostess, playing a little practical joke. LG was not amused.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

That’s how our system works

Obama made a surprise appearance in the White House press room to talk about Trayvon Martin. On a Friday afternoon.

HE WENT TO LAW SCHOOL, YOU KNOW: “And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.” If that sentence seems like part of it is missing, that’s because he couldn’t really say, “And once the jury’s spoken, we have to respect that” or “And once the jury’s spoken, justice has been done,” or any other platitude suggesting that Florida possesses a just and fair and equal legal system. That’s how our system works, he shrugs.

AND IF MITT ROMNEY’S BILLION-DOLLAR TIME-MACHINE PROJECT EVER PAYS OFF.... “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

He said that most African-American men have experienced being followed in stores, people locking their car doors when he approaches, women in elevators being nervous etc. Notably, he doesn’t indicate any race for these people scared of black men.

He explains that black people are “looking at this issue” through the prism of their experiences of racism (a word he uses just once in this speech) and their knowledge of past racial disparities. In other words, he’s explaining to white people how black people think.

UNDERSTANDABLE: “I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests...” “Understandable” is to expressing support what “I’m sorry you were offended” is to apologies. “...and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent.” Sounds like he’s talking about a particularly difficult poo.

He wants “the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.” I’m sorry, but I find the balancing act he’s trying to perform here very amusing. He just can’t bring himself to say that the system has deserved the mistrust that “sometimes currently exists” toward it, but why else would training be required?

Similarly, he talks later about “helping young African American men feel that they’re a full part of this society” without quite saying that at the present time they aren’t, just that they feel that way.

Then he criticized the Stand Your Ground law, and asks hypothetically, “I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.” This is just strange. Obama, a black man, is saying: but what if the scary black guy had a gun, huh? huh? didn’t think about that, did you?

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Happy Captive Nations Festapalooza 2013!

Obama issued a proclamation for Captive Nations Week 2013. So even stupid little symbolic Cold War relics like this one, which dates from 1959 when the “captive nations” were the Eastern European satellites of the Soviet Union, don’t go away. The proclamation fails to name any of the current captive nations. It does say that “too many people still labor in the darkness of tyranny and oppression,” fails to say how many is just the right number. The population of Egypt, the country which he’s still not willing to admit had a coup, is more than 80 million, if that’s any help.

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Today -100: July 19, 1913: Of atrocities and battles in Seattle

The NYT assesses yesterday’s Greek claims of Bulgarian atrocities, and just isn’t sure which racial stereotype it wants to go with. On the one hand, the Greeks “have never been noted for slavish adherence to veracity,” but on the other, “the ethnic origin of the Bulgarians... lend[s] something of credibility to the accusations,” although, the paper adds, the Turks are also to blame for anything that might have happened, since having been subjects of the Ottoman Empire for so long was “a dreadfully effective training in the art of emphasizing victory and lessening future opposition by wholesale massacre, made more impressive by ingenious torture.” In the end, the Times judiciously decides on “a suspension of judgment as to just how much more barbarous the Bulgarians are than their neighbors.”

Seattle Mayor George Cotterill has come under some criticism for not banning IWW street-corner speakers (as long as they don’t block traffic or display a red flag). Anyway, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who is in town, made a speech praising the mayor of Boston for cracking down on lefties, adding that anyone who believes in the red flag should be driven out of the country. Daniels may not even have known that this was a local controversy and was just giving his standard red-baiting speech. The next day, 500 marines and sailors, with several thousand locals, attacked the headquarters of the Socialist Party and the IWW hall, burning furniture and destroying newspapers.

Mexican dictator Huerta sends Felix Díaz, his competitor for the office of president (should there ever be elections), to Japan as special ambassador, because Huerta is subtle like that.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today -100: July 18, 1913: Everywhere the Bulgarian has passed one sees only blood, dishonor, and ruin

King Constantine of Greece telegraphs to the NYT a report of atrocities – “horrors such as human history has never before recorded” – committed by the Bulgarians. For example, “Women and Girls Outraged and Then Burned in a Mosque to the Music of Bagpipes,” which is just adding insult to injury, really.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today -100: July 17, 1913: Of confederacies, slit skirts, and rude awakenings

Several southern Chinese provinces are preparing to declare independence and form a Southern Chinese Confederacy. The Chinese government blames Japan.

In Richmond (state not specified), a Miss Blossom Browning, which sounds like the name of the heroine in a 1920s short story, is fined $25 and ordered to leave town for appearing in a slit skirt.

Headline of the Day -100: “FREIGHT CAR IN HER ROOM.; Girl Rudely Awakened When Train Crashes Into House.”

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Today -100: July 16, 1913: The solution of the whole matter lies within cold water

Headline of the Day -100: “Georgia Votes for Bacon.” That would be Augustus O. Bacon, the first US senator elected by popular vote after the ratification of the 17th Amendment.

Mmm, Bacon.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan defends going on the lecture circuit for “part of my vacation.” The tour is six weeks: how long a vacation did secretaries of state get back then? He says he’s unwilling to eat into the (rather large) nest egg he’s built up “as a protection against old age.” Sen. Bristow (R-Kansas) suggests that if Bryan served pure spring water instead of “this nauseating grape juice,” he could live within his means. “The solution of the whole matter lies within cold water.”

The LAT reports that Speaker of the House Champ Clark also does the circuit for money when Congress is not in session.

Congress hastily passes a law to force arbitration and avert a major railroad strike.

The British House of Lords votes down Irish Home Rule, although since it no longer has veto power that amounts to a short delay only (unless some major international conflagration intervenes). Tory leaders in the Lords suggested that they needed to be convinced of public support for Home Rule by a referendum, only to add the next day that they would still reserve the right to amend the bill out of all recognition (“remove the blemishes and undesirable features by which it is characterized”). Prime Minister Asquith responds to this generous offer by announcing plans for a bill to abolish the House of Lords in the next session.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Today -100: July 15, 1913: Kill me or give me my freedom; I shall force you to make that choice

Theodore Roosevelt, who’s been awfully quiet lately, by his standards, plans to cross the Grand Canyon by mule, then hunt bears and mountain lions. Or possibly hunt mule and cross the Grand Canyon by bear, because he’s Teddy Fucking Roosevelt and that’s how he rolls!

Headline of the Day -100: “Mrs. Pankhurst Appears, Escapes.” British suffragettes are playing their Mice roles to the hilt. When out of prison on license while recuperating from hunger strikes, they’ve been attempting to give speeches, as Emmeline Pankhurst and Annie Kenney just did, and Sylvia Pankhurst did a couple of days ago, without being recaptured by the police and sent back to prison. Mrs. Pankhurst says, “Kill me or give me my freedom; I shall force you to make that choice.” The police raid (and are attacked by the audience), Kenney was caught, Mrs. P was not (Update: Actually, according to the LAT, she was. She got into a cab but was followed by a detective and arrested). The WSPU has been auctioning off Cat & Mouse licenses.

The US has sent two more warships to Vera Cruz, making four total. “This gives umbrage to the better class of Mexicans.”

An article on whether William Jennings Bryan can actually be expected to live on his salary mentions that one cabinet secretary who managed to do so was James Wilson, who I haven’t particularly noticed before but he was secretary of agriculture for 16 straight years under the McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft administrations (but he was a widower and lived in an apartment hotel). Cabinet secretaries evidently spend up to $20,000 a year (on a $12,000 salary) to keep up appearances and entertain. However, Bryan doesn’t serve booze, so he saves about $2,500 a year. As secretary of state, he is entitled to carriages and horses and the services of an official coachman.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Today -100: July 14, 1913: Of moonlighting and creating the millennium with the ballot

William Jennings Bryan is skipping out on his day job to go back on the lecture circuit for six weeks. He’s still secretary of state, but he needs the extra money, he says. He will be paid $12,000 by the Chautauqua bureaus, equal to his annual government salary.

Alice Hill Chittenden, president of the New York State Anti-Suffrage Association (not to be confused with the contemporaneous painter Alice Brown Chittenden), has been investigating conditions in California since the establishment of women’s suffrage there, and she is appalled. The Legislature is now dedicating itself to “creating the millennium with the ballot and regardless of the staggering cost” (I hereby nominate that for the new state motto). School teachers and old people are to be given pensions, children will not be taken away from their parents because of poverty; the state is also wasting money by appointing inspectors for orphans, establishing an Industrial Accident Commission, etc.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Today -100: July 13, 1913: Of pogroms, monsters in human form, Yankee go home, and poets laureate

Police in Kiev are conducting house-to-house searches for Jews and expelling them from the city.

King Constantine of Greece vows to “wreak vengeance” for alleged atrocities by Bulgarian “monsters in human form.”

Turkey will join in the fun, sending troops to attempt to recapture territory it lost to the Bulgarians in the last Balkan War.

The NYT reports on the front page a baseless rumor that King Ferdinand of Bulgaria has been assassinated and that a revolution is beginning. Sofia has only itself to blame for the spread of wild rumors, since it shut down all the newspapers.

The US ambassador to Mexico complains about anti-American demonstrations, so the Huerta Junta helpfully
bans all demonstrations.

The new poet laureate of Great Britain is Robert Bridges, who pretty much no one is familiar with. Some grumble that it should have been Rudyard Kipling, others consider Kipling too gauche.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Today -100: July 12, 1913: Of overstimulated linemen, crazy lepers, the people’s fruit, and wanton and futile demonstrations

Headline of the Day -100: “Supposed Dead Man On Telegraph Pole An Overstimulated Lineman.” Someone spotted him and called the fire department, which spread out a net and climbed the poll before they realized that he was not an electrocuted corpse but was, in fact, snoring. Alcohol may have been involved.

Headline of the Day -100 (yeah, yeah, two headlines of the day, live with it): “Early, The Leper, Goes Crazy.”

The NYT appeals to the Senate not to put a tariff on the banana, the “people’s fruit.”

The governor of Oregon shows up at an IWW meeting outside a fruit-packing plant and, after hearing a strike leader say that the plant would be closed, got up on the soap box and said that the plant would be protected by all the resources of the state.

A male supporter of women’s suffrage, in what the London Times calls “another wanton and futile demonstration,” fires a toy pistol in the gallery of the House of Commons. Hilarity ensues.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Today -100: July 11, 1913: Of Balkan wars and martyrs to x-ray

Romania, which was not a participant in the First Balkan War, joins the war against Bulgaria.

Leo Frank’s lawyers have found a man who confessed to the murder of Mary Phagan (and believed by historians to be the real killer). So that settles that.

Headline of the Day -100: “Dies a Martyr to X-Ray.” Burton Baker of the Baker X-Ray Tube Company.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself for this post

Bill Clinton joined John McCain at the McCain Institute for (Snicker) International Leadership and talked about either Syria or Monica Lewinsky:
“Some people say, ‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’”

“Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit”.

“we shouldn’t over-learn the lessons of the past”.

“What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they’re not telling you not to do these things”.

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Today -100: July 10, 1913: Of public bathing and ritual child-murders

Denver bans Japanese people from bathing in the lake in Washington Park. Negroes were already banned.

The lawyer for the Jew being tried for killing a Christian boy in Kiev asks the court to subpoena Christian theologians, presumably to ask them about ritual child-murder. He also wants the prosecution to produce Hebrew books cited by a prosecution witness, a Catholic priest who testified about Jewish child sacrifice, because, the lawyer says, those books don’t actually exist.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Depth and maturity

11-year-old girl Chilean pregnant after two years of sexual abuse by her mother’s partner (but the mother says it was consensual, so that’s okay then) says (in a tv interview, because evidently Chilean tv is as awful and exploitative as ours) that she doesn’t want an abortion, not that she could legally get one in Chile. And the girl (did I mention she’s 11?) wants to raise it: “It will be like having a doll in my arms.”

Anti-choice Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says her decision in wanting to keep a baby because it will be like having a doll displays “depth and maturity,” because of course he fucking does.

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Today -100: July 9, 1913: Of hurt Slavonic feelings, scolds, roads, and lost independence

Someone finally declares war in the Second Balkan War, and it’s King Peter of Serbia, who issues a proclamation: “The Bulgarians, forgetful of the Servians’ brotherly help and the blood of the heroes who fell on the Thracian battlefields, have given the Slavonic nations and the civilized world an abominable example of ingratitude and greediness. This unbrotherly action has caused me the deepest pain and hurt my sincerest Slavonic feelings”. There’s probably an ointment for that.

More atrocity stories, which are probably about as true as the reports of great victories put out by all participants. Bulgarian troops supposedly imprisoned 700 men in a mosque in Kurkut and set it on fire.

A woman in Philadelphia is arrested as a common scold.

Gov. Elliot Woolfolk Major of Missouri has a plan for addressing the poor condition of the state’s roads: he will ask every able-bodied man to donate two days (in August, yet) to working on them. He plans to be out there with a pick himself.

Independence is gone. Independence, Louisiana, that is, wiped out by fire.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Today -100: July 8, 1913: Of airlines, libellous statements, lethal golf balls, home rule and Havana shootouts

A Col. H. S. Maisy announces plans for a commercial airship service in England. Somehow Col. Maisy is exactly the sort of name someone who owns blimps should have. Maybe in a children’s book.

Yesterday the Daily Mail announced that the Cat and Mouse Act had destroyed militant suffragism in Britain. Which was more or less asking for it: today a pier is set on fire and a bomb exploded in Liverpool. And Christabel Pankhurst telegraphs from Paris protesting “the libellous statements in The Daily Mail.”

How They Died 100 Years Ago: “Killed by Acid in a Golf Ball.”

How They Died 100 Years Ago: a man in Plattekill, NY, hangs himself because it’s hot. He leaves behind a wife and ten children.

Parliament passes Irish Home Rule.

Over the weekend, police in Havana arrested members of a club owned by the governor of Havana Province, Ernesto Asbert, for gambling. A couple of days later the arrest of a porter at the club for possession of a firearm escalates into Gov. Asbert and two members of the Cuban congress shooting the chief of the National Police, Gen. Armando Riva, three times. He is still alive.

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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Vast new powers

From a NYT article about how the Obama Administration became so, so disillusioned with Mohammed Morsi: “Mr. Morsi issued a decree claiming vast new powers, quickly puncturing the optimism in the White House and elsewhere in Washington.”

Because if there’s one thing Barack Obama cannot tolerate, it’s a government claiming vast new powers.

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Today -100: July 7, 1913: Of impersonation, Balkan wars, lynchings, and ice strikes

Sen. Cummins (R-Iowa) proposes legislation to make it illegal to impersonate members of Congress or engage in other fraudulent activities such as pretending to act on behalf of congresscitters.

So far, the Second Balkan War battles have been bloodier than First Balkan War ones, as is the way with sequels.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a negro who killed a sheriff who was trying to arrest some gamblers, is lynched. Hundreds of bullets are fired into him right outside a church where a service was going on, then his ears were cut up for souvenirs.

And in Coger, Oklahoma, site of a recent lynching, a mass meeting of white residents orders negro residents to leave forthwith.

The Great Cincinnati Ice Strike of 1913 is over, after the city seized the ice plants.

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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Today -100: July 6, 1913: Of interracial marriage, charming rats and mice, and brunettes in the city

Headline of the Day -100: “Negro to Wed White Girl.” Yup, that’s news. The magistrate (in New York although the couple met in Virginia) refuses to marry them, though he claims it’s only because he doesn’t think magistrates should perform marriages.

Rodent Headline of the Day -100: “Rats and Mice Charm Queen Mary.” They ran through a maze for her at the Bedford College for Women.

A Dr. J.S. Mackintosh of London says in the NYT Sunday Magazine section that brunettes can stand city life better than blondes, which has something to do with his theory that races degenerate when they migrate from their ancestral homes.

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Friday, July 05, 2013

Today -100: July 5, 1913: Of Fourths abroad, Balkan wars, molested kings, post offices, and eugenic marriages

The US ambassador to Mexico went to Vera Cruz to celebrate the 4th of July with expatriates there, in order to avoid the festivities in Mexico City (actually on a US warship in the harbor) because Gen. Huerta planned to attend, and it would have looked like recognition of the Huerta Junta had they been seen together.

Elsewhere, though, attempts by expatriate Americans to celebrate were met by violence and trampling of the American flag. And by elsewhere, I mean Canada. In both Winnipeg and Moosejaw. Headline: “Serious Riot in Winnipeg.”

It’s oddly comforting to see rumors of atrocities being spread in the Second Balkan War, since you don’t get the anti-Muslim overtones of the First Balkan War propaganda when, for instance, the Greeks claim that Bulgarian troops massacred every resident of Nigrita and forced women to dance naked with bells around their neck.

King Constantine of Greece says that this new war is blessed by the Almighty.

Headline of the Day -100: “Suffragist Molests King.” Mary Richardson of the WSPU (we shall see her in a later post engaging in some art criticism) threw a petition into the king’s carriage, whereupon an equerry hits her with a sword, and then the whole crowd got involved.

South African police shoot striking gold miners (white ones; black and white miners never struck at the same time in South Africa, ever). Strikers burn down a newspaper and a railway station in Johannesburg. 40 miners are killed.

The US Post Office segregates its black and white clerks. There is no mention of this in the NYT that I can find.

The Pennsylvania Legislature has joined the trend of passing “eugenic marriage” laws, requiring couples to swear (or be certified by a physician) that they do not have TB or, ahem, other communicable diseases. The sponsor of this bill plans to introduce a more stringent bill banning from marriage anyone who within five years has been in an insane asylum or a home for indigent persons unless they are cured and can support a family.

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Today -100: July 4, 1913: Of the fate of the egg and hooting the Cabinet

Headline of the Day -100: “Hen Causes a Strike.” A porter at the North Eastern Railway Station in London takes an egg from a chicken in a crate and is arrested by a railway detective; a strike ensues until he is released although “the officials are still considering the fate of the egg”.

Sylvia Pankhurst has been summoned to police court for inciting a thousand or so suffragettes to go to Downing Street. Defending herself, she notes that Downing St. is a public thoroughfare: “What right have the police to stop the public from going there to hoot the Cabinet? ... Hooting was a time-honoured custom, showing public opinion.”

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

An inclusive and transparent coup

Obama issues a statement: “I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process”.

Let’s take that keyword by keyword. “Quickly” is not the same as immediately, so he’s in essence accepting the coup for some unspecified period of time. Responsibly? I don’t know what that means. Responsible to whom? “A democratically elected civilian government” is not the same as THE democratically elected civilian government, you know, the democratically elected civilian government they had yesterday. Transparent, presumably like he considers the FISA court and NSA eavesdropping transparent. And what “process” is he calling for? A new election? Since he doesn’t call for the military to return Morsi to his elected office, or even to release him from custody, that would seem to be the assumption, an assumption which entails, again, an acceptance of the right of the Egyptian military to undo the results of those and any other elections.

Obama continued, “I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.” So he has to look up the relevant statutes on Lexis-Nexus to decide whether he should support a military coup regime with cash and arms, he can’t just have a, you know, foreign policy, or, and I feel silly for even saying it, some fucking principles?

“The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties —secular and religious, civilian and military.” So going in to the Fourth of July, the only thing he can dredge up in support of the principle of democracy is that in the long run it’ll lead to... stability. Thomas Fucking Jefferson, he’s not.

He “urges all sides to avoid violence,” which seems to be just about all the advice he’s got for any Egyptians who aren’t okay with military coups.

(Update: I forgot to mention this, but Morsi is a complete and total twat.)

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Today -100: July 3, 1913: Of frame-ups, commemorating fighting with fighting, and identity theft

NY Gov. William Sulzer says that the breach-of-promise suit (“frame-up” he calls it) against him was contrived by Boss Murphy of Tammany. He says Mignon Hopkins sued him for this once before and that they settled out of court.

50,000 veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg (from both sides) have set up tents at the site of the battle and have been celebrating its 50th anniversary with heatstroke and a brawl in the Gettysburg Hotel which started when someone insulted Abraham Lincoln and ended with seven men being stabbed. Seems appropriate.

The Senate is still investigating lobbying practices. Testifying today -100, Wall Street stock broker and lobbyist David “The Wolf” Lamar admits that in his lobbying endeavours he often impersonated members of Congress, including future attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer, in phone calls with financial leaders (this was not actually illegal) or threatened them with the wrath of important congresscritters.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Democracies don’t work when everybody says it’s the other person’s fault and I want 100 percent of what I want

Obama held a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete in Tanzania.

OUR COMMITMENT HAS BEEN TO A PROCESS: “Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party, our commitment has been to a process.” The signature Obama move: making hedging his bets sound like a principled position. “And when I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition, it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had a democratic government for decades, if ever.”

VOICES YELLING IN PROTEST AND THEN IN PAIN AS THE POLICE BEAT THEM, THAT’S WHAT YOU MEANT, RIGHT? “And what is clear right now is that although Mr. Morsi was elected democratically, there’s more work to be done to create the conditions in which everybody feels that their voices are heard”.

BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ABOUT AMERICANS: “we’ve been watching these big protests. Our number-one priority has been making sure that our embassies and consulates are protected.”

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: “assaulting women does not qualify as peaceful protests.”

WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT EGYPT, RIGHT? “Democracies don’t work when everybody says it’s the other person’s fault and I want 100 percent of what I want.”

COMPOUNDED: Asked about the Congo (the bad Congo, not the good Congo, and we can please go back to calling the bad Congo Zaire?): “Well, the people of Congo need a chance. They need a fair chance to live their lives, raise their families. And they haven’t had that opportunity because of constant conflict and war for way too many years. And of course, the tragedy is compounded by the fact that Congo is so rich in natural resources and potential, but because of this constant conflict and instability, the people of Congo haven’t benefitted from that.” Oh, and the genocidal killings. The genocidal killings, AND their not being able to sell us minerals. Both pretty darned tragic.

Evidently the Congo conflict (Congflict?) isn’t anything the US can (or will) do much about: “We can’t force a solution onto the region. ... If you have one of the biggest countries in terms of geography in all of Africa with all these natural resources...” Funny how those natural resources keep coming up. “...but it’s constantly a problem as opposed to being part of the solution, everybody suffers.” So it’s up to the arbitrarily delineated “region” around Congo, itself composed of nations whose artificial borders were drawn up by European colonialists, to... well, to do what? Evidently to increase inter-African trade, because commerce solves everything. “[I]t’s easier to send flowers or coffee to Europe than it is to send it across the way.” Why does he think that is?

On Snowden’s leaks about US spying on NATO allies: “the problem is that these things come out in dribs and drabs. We don’t know necessarily what programs they’re referring to, we don’t know how they’re sourced. And so, what I’ve said is, to my team, take a look at this article, figure out what they may or may not be talking about, and then what we’ll do is we’ll communicate to our allies appropriately.” In other words, he needs to calibrate his cover-up based on whether Snowden knows about that thing they did, or about those other things they did. If you just, you know, told the truth, you wouldn’t need your “team” to do all that heavy analysis of the Snowden leaks.

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD BETTER: He goes on to say that all intelligence agencies are just “trying to understand the world better and what’s going on in world capitals around the world from sources that aren’t available through the New York Times or NBC News”

WHY, WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? (THE FOURTH AMENDMENT AND TOAST?) “And I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be should I end up meeting with their leaders.” So what’s the point of all the travel, then? The respective spies could just meet on a park bench; a Tanzanian spy could hand a plain envelope with Obama’s talking points hidden in a newspaper to a CIA spy in exchange for a box of donuts with a microdot of Kikwete’s talking points (do they still do microdots? I suppose not) on a sprinkle.

Since one of the issues under discussion during this trip was human trafficking, Pres. Kikwete is asked about his adviser, a diplomat (I can’t find a more specific job title) who was sued by a woman he kept as a domestic slave in Washington for 4 years and fled the US when a court ruled against him for $1m. A fraction of that was paid last week after 5 years of stalling in advance of this trip. Kikwete says it was just a family dispute and has been put to rest, doesn’t answer whether the guy still works for him.

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Today -100: July 2, 1913: Of breach of promise, balkan wars, and regattas

New York Gov. Sulzer is sued for breach of promise of marriage by a Miss Mignon Hopkins, who claims he proposed to her in 1903 (he married someone else in 1908). Sulzer says he’s never heard of her.

A committee of the NY Legislature will go after Gov. Sulzer, investigating charges that he failed to report campaign contributions, that he made promises of favors to William Randolph Hearst and others in exchange for financial support, that he threatened to veto bills to extort legislators into voting for his direct primary bill, etc. Sulzer calls the investigation “rot.” Note that this is Democrats trying to destroy a Democratic governor.

Greece announces that it will fight Bulgaria without issuing a formal declaration of war (it doesn’t want to take responsibility for officially starting a war which it claims Bulgaria actually started). Serbia simultaneously announces that a state of war exists and that it accepts Russian arbitration.

British police are out in force to protect the Henley Regatta against suffragette attack.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Today -100: July 1, 1913: Of Balkan wars, big armies, and suffragette plots

After weeks of minor skirmishing, the Second Balkan War begins in earnest with a major Bulgarian (or, as the increasingly erratic NYT Index puts it, Fulgarian; if there are no such people as the Fulgarians, there should be) attack on Serb forces in Macedonia and Greek forces in, I think, Salonika. Serb Prime Minister Pasitch was addressing his Parliament in support of accepting Russian mediation when the news arrived. Fulgaria did not issue a declaration of war (indeed, it claims that the Serbs and Greeks started the war).

The German Reichstag gives the kaiser the larger army he demanded. Some of the money for this will be raised by revoking the exemption of federal princes (whoever they might be) from taxation. The government said this was a patriotic gesture on the princes’ part and could not constitutionally be written into law, but the Reichstag wrote it into law anyway, because fuck those guys.

In Britain, the Daily Express says there is a suffragette plan to murder cabinet ministers if any suffragette dies in prison.

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