Thursday, October 31, 2013

Today -100: October 31, 1913: Of ritual murder, slimy pulitzers, and possums

The Kiev ritual murder trial continues, with a debate between doctors over “whether there were 13 or 14 wounds in the boy Yushinsky’s left temple, the number 13 having apparently a Cabalistic significance.” The court decides not to show the dead boy’s actual scalp to the jury. Further medical testimony “described the difference in the Russian and Jewish methods of slaughtering animals.”

Tammany candidate for NY mayor Edward McCall has been making a big deal about Fusionist candidate John Purroy Mitchell’s supposed connections to Ralph Pulitzer and his New York World, talking about Pulitzer much more than about his actual opponent. He says that if he ever meets “this slimy Pulitzer,” “if I ever get my hands on him, I’ll make him wish he never had been born.” That’s a former justice of the state Supreme Court speaking.

Headline of the Day -100: “President Gets a ’Possum.” A live one, one assumes. “‘I am an old slave time darkey,’ wrote ‘Joe’ Farrow of McFarlan, N.C., the sender. ‘I heard that some one sent you a sweet potato the other day. Here is an opossum to go with it.’” I wonder if anyone sends Obama opossums.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today -100: October 30, 1913: Of coal wars, ritual murder, and forcible resistance

Striking Colorado coal miners burn a mine office of the Southwestern Fuel Company (and the post office which shared the building, after looting the mail) in Aguilar. The Colo. National Guard gives mine guards and strikers 24 hours to surrender their arms, like that’s gonna happen.

Two doctors testify for Mendel Beilis in the Kiev ritual murder trial. One of them is a Dr. Pavlov, I think possibly the salivating-dogs Dr. Pavlov. It would help if the New York Times USED FUCKING FIRST NAMES, EVER.

Andrew Bonar Law, leader of the Tory Party, addresses a meeting alongside self-proclaimed One True Tsar of All the Ulsters Sir Edward Carson. Bonar Law says the Tories will support Ulster, even to the extent of forcible resistance to Home Rule.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Today -100: October 29, 1913: Of defunct skyscrapers, coal wars, new navies, segregation, and mad kings

Standard Oil plans to tear down the Tower Building on Broadway, which when it was built in 1889 was the tallest building in lower New York (11 stories) and the first true skyscraper, built on a steel-skeleton frame. It’s not falling down or anything, it’s just too expensive to operate and its tax bill is too high. I’m not sure what replaced it, but there’s a rather ugly 37-story building which was finished in 1927 there now.

The governor of Colorado declares a state of insurrection and imposes martial law on the Ludlow-Berwind area, ordering the whole state militia into the area to disarm both sides in the coal war. They proceed to not disarm mine guards, who I might add have a machine gun. The strike is over a month old and the NYT says there have been 28 killed, and lots of property damage, dynamite being so readily at hand in the area. Today a mine guard is shot dead after he shot a striker in the leg. Some of the strikers are Greeks who fought in the Balkan Wars.

New Zealand decides to have a navy, just like Australia, and to stop subsidizing the British Navy, after Britain broke the deal to station two cruisers of a certain size in NZ waters, sending two smaller ones, amusingly named the Psyche and the Pyramus.

The LA Times has an article on segregation in federal government offices under Wilson, which it says is increasing but uneven. Black employees in the dead letter office of the Post Office Dept now sit “in one corner of a room screened off from the general public by lockers. It is explained that the lockers were so placed to improve the ventilation, but no explanation is made of the fact that only colored employees are working behind the screen.” Black employees in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing now have a “lunchroom, lavatory and toilet room all in one” but the Post Office Dept provides no lunchroom for black employees, “the argument being that as there are no separate negro restaurants in Washington, the government is not bound to provide one.”

Bavaria is finally going to dethrone Mad King Otto.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Observation of the Day

Darrell Issa looks like he talks into his shoe. I don’t mean he looks like Maxwell Smart; I just mean he looks like he talks into his shoe.

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A lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view

British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement about The Guardian’s ongoing Edward Snowden leaks.

He called on The Guardian to “demonstrate some social responsibility,” by which he meant obey orders and shut the fuck up.

He warned against a “lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view” of the dangers of leaks, by which he meant failing to obey orders and shut the fuck up.

He said that up until now, “The approach we have taken is to try to talk to the press and explain how damaging some of these things can be,” by which he meant telling them to obey orders and shut the fuck up.

But, he says, they have “gone on and printed further material which is damaging,” by which he meant failed to obey orders and shut the fuck up, so he may have to resort to injunctions and D notices to get them to obey orders and shut the fuck up.

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State interest

The federal judge who blocked some of the Texas anti-abortion law doesn’t seem to have addressed the state’s claim that there is a state interest in “protecting fetal life” in cases where the mother wants to terminate it.

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Today -100: October 28, 1913: Of holidays, ritual murder, amnesty, home rule within home rule, Wackes, hairpins and krazy kats

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan endorses Winston Churchill’s proposal of a “naval holiday,” as long as, you know, everyone else is also doing it.

The trial of Mendel Beilis continues in Kiev. Another day of “testimony,” mostly hearsay from Catholic and Orthodox priests about the Jewish practice of ritual murder. Days can go by without Beilis’s name even being mentioned, as the prosecutors put the entire Jewish race on trial.

Tammany candidate for NYC mayor (I’d say Democratic candidate, but Tammany is more realistic) Edward McCall demanded that John Hennessy (who worked for Sulzer as a graft investigator) put the charges he’s making against McCall (buying his seat on the state Supreme Court with money he got from a police inspector, acting as Boss Murphy’s messenger boy to former Gov. Sulzer, etc) in writing so he could sue him (the former justice has heard of libel laws but not slander laws, I guess). Hennessy does, and now McCall says he, er, won’t sue, and he doesn’t want anyone to mention “that creature”’s name in front of him again.

Woodrow Wilson gives a speech: “the United States will never again seek one additional foot of territory by conquest.” This is being taken to mean that the US will invade Mexico to “restore order,” but won’t stay there or, you know, annex anything.

First Mexican dictator Huerta tried to keep presidential rival Felix Díaz out of the country during the election, then he ordered him to leave Vera Cruz for Mexico City. Díaz rather sensibly resigned from the army rather than comply and has now asked for protection from the Americans and is safely lodged on a battleship.

Britain’s Liberal government has been suggesting flexibility on Ulster, but not exclusion from Home Rule. More like home rule within home rule, with Northern Ireland having control over its own education, police, etc.

In Saverne, Alsace (or Zabern, Elsaß if you prefer), one of two German-speaking provinces of France acquired by Germany in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, a Lt. Gunther Freiherr von Forstner tells one of his unruly soldiers to stop fighting other soldiers in the barracks but if he got into a scuffle with the locals – who Forstner refers to as “Wackes,” a derisive term for Alsatians – he could shoot them, in which case Forstner would pay 10 marks each. When this story gets out, it will not go over especially well.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Hatpin is Fatal.” Mrs. Josephine Karmuenisk, wife of a saloon-keeper in South Chicago, stabs a hold-up man behind the ear.

The cartoon Krazy Kat premiers in Hearst’s New York Evening Journal.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today -100: October 27, 1913: What if they gave an election and no one voted?

Headline of the Day -100: “MEXICO VOTES; NOBODY ELECTED.” The constitution requires 1/3 of the voters to vote for the results to be valid and nowhere near that many participated in the farce. So Huerta will stay in power while he arranges another farce-election (farcection?). Huerta announces an increase in the size of the military from 90,000 to 150,000.

A 12-hour gun battle is waged between striking coal miners, deputy sheriffs and mine guards in Ludlow, Colorado. Gov. Elias Ammons calls in the National Guard. More will be heard from Ludlow.

After a suspiciously long delay, Tammany candidate for mayor of New York City Edward McCall and “Boss” Charles Murphy both deny that McCall paid Murphy for his seat on the state Supreme Court. McCall threatens to sue every newspaper that publishes the charges.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Today -100: October 26, 1913: Of baby prohibitionists, nations stained by blood, and zeppelin trust

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union is holding a world congress (its first) in Brooklyn. Someone brought their 10-month-old baby and dedicated him to a life of total abstinence. I didn’t know you could do that. The congress passed a resolution asking the general convention of the Episcopal Church to replace its communion wine with grape juice.

Woodrow Wilson gives a speech in Mobile saying that every nation in the Western Hemisphere should not be “stained by blood or supported by anything but the consent of the governed,” adding, “Hey, did you get that I was subtly referring to Mexico there?”

Headline of the Day -100: “German Trust in Zeppelins Shaken.”

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Today -100: October 25, 1913: Of Catholic voting and miners

The Vatican’s lifting of the ban on Italians voting that’s been in place since the unification of Italy isn’t unconditional; they can only vote if the “right” sort of candidate is running in their district. The Vatican also bans Clerical candidates from forming a Catholic bloc in parliament for whose actions it might be held responsible.

As work continues to remove bodies from the Dawson, New Mexico mine explosion, the town’s mayor, acting on the request of Phelps, Dodge, deports United Mine Worker officials.

189 striking copper miners are arrested in Calumet, Mich. for violating an injunction against picketing.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today -100: October 24, 1913: Of vetoes, coal mines, withering militancy, and plague rats

Anthony Comstock, head of the NY Society for the Suppression of Vice and puritan wannabe, applies for warrants to arrest sellers of the British newspaper The Suffragette (one of the issues which discusses venereal disease and its relationship to women’s rights). Local suffragists head off possible prosecution by saying they’ll sell the remaining issues out west.

Woodrow Wilson issues his first veto, of a Congressional joint resolution to reinstate a West Point cadet who flunked out, and issues his first proclamation, designating Nov. 27 as Thanksgiving Day.

Tammany candidate for mayor of New York Edward McCall refuses to answer accusations that he paid Boss Murphy $35,000 for his nomination to the state Supreme Court.

Speakers of Esperanto protest the ritual murder trial in Kiev, because why not.

Another coal mine explosion, this one in Dawson, New Mexico. 261 dead, of whom 238 not yet recovered.

Huerta still claims not to be seeking election to the presidency, although he’s been trying to expel candidate Felix Díaz from the country (candidates for the presidency have to be on Mexican soil at the time of the election).

The Wilson administration blames Britain for Mexican dictator Huerta’s supposed new lease on life (the new British ambassador presented his credentials the day after the coup). Coincidentally, Britain is seeking a concession to build an oil pipeline in Mexico.

The Bishop of Winchester appeals to militant suffragists and the government for a “Truce of God” entailing the end of militancy, an amnesty and a suffrage bill or referendum. Even the non-militant leader Millicent Garrett Fawcett tells him where to stuff his Truce of God. Annie Kenney of the Women’s Social and Political Union replies in a letter the London Times didn’t print, saying that while the bishop claimed that if the vote was won by militant methods its benefits would be impaired, suffragettes “believe that if women get the vote by militancy, which means both fighting and self-sacrifice, it will bring with it a special blessing and a special power.”

In other pompous-British-male-lectures-suffragists news, Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George tells a deputation from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies that militancy has “ruined” this Parliament as far as women’s suffrage is concerned, although he thinks the spirit of militancy is “withering.” In other words, he met with the non-militant suffragists and the only thing he talked about was militancy. Meanwhile, the withering militants set fire to the Bristol University Sports Pavilion. Bristol students will return the favor tomorrow against the furniture of the Bristol WSPU office.

Headline of the Day -100: “War on Plague Rats.” Seattle would like to point out that although it has many rats with bubonic plague, there has been no case among humans in six years.

Blind Senator Thomas Gore is being sued for (sexual) assault and slander.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Today -100: October 23, 1913: Of land, Maderos, and lynchings

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George says that the Liberal government plans to establish a Ministry of Lands with the power to seize uncultivated land, regulate conditions and pay for farm laborers, and promote emigration from the towns to the land. Nothing will come of this, and it’s hard to believe Lloyd George thought anything would.

Two of the late Mexican President Madero’s brothers have been captured by the regime. We’ll see if they live longer than the last Madero brothers arrested by Huerta.

A negro is lynched in Monroe, Louisiana, for making an insulting remark to a white woman.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Today -100: October 22, 1913: We know now the joy of battle, a joy men long kept from us

Headline of the Day -100: “Chihuahua in Danger.” The state, not the yappy dog, of course. By Pancho Villa. Villa is also ordering the cotton crop harvested for sale in the United States.

An indictment against Tom Watson, the Populist Party candidate for president in 1904, for sending improper material through the mails, is dismissed because the government was relying on extracts from an article in Watson’s magazine rather than the entire article. The judge says that under that tactic, the Bible could be prosecuted. The article “purport[ed] to embody questions asked by Catholic clergymen in the confessional,” in other words typical sensationalistic anti-Catholic propaganda of the period (since his Populist days, Watson had veered towards espousing many and various bigotries).

Emmeline Pankhurst speaks at Madison Square Garden. She defended using the US as a piggy bank for her wing of the British suffrage movement: “Why should I not come here. What helps women in England helps women all over the world. It is not necessary for women in the United States to be militant. Perhaps one reason is that we are doing the work for them. We are proud to do that work. We know now the joy of battle, a joy men long kept from us.”

Death of the Day -100: Gen. Samuel J. Crawford, Indian Fighter. The third governor of Kansas, he resigned in 1869 to go kill some Indians.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Today -100: October 21, 1913: It will be Gaffney or war

Emmeline Pankhurst is allowed to enter the US after Pres. Wilson’s personal intervention.

Britain’s new Lord Chief Justice is Sir Rufus Isaacs, a Jew. The NYT declares anti-Semitism over in Britain. That’s nice.

The Progressive Party nominates ousted Gov. William Sulzer for next month’s election to the NY Assembly for the 6th district (which is in New York City). He has evidently been asked to run, in writing, by more than half the registered voters in the district. The Republican candidate will drop out and support him. Sulzer will also, immediately after election day, begin a lecture tour at $1,000 per lecture.

And Sulzer does, finally, have lots to say. He says that “Boss” Charles Murphy offered him money early in his term, and later threatened him when he wouldn’t appoint Murphy’s nominee as commissioner of highways (“It will be Gaffney or war,” Murphy allegedly told him). Every day, Murphy sent some emissary (Sulzer pointedly names Edward McCall, Tammany’s candidate for NY mayor) to make demands and threaten consequences.

Women from colored women’s clubs in Los Angeles complain to the Police Commission about the city’s color line. They say black people are charged 25¢ to 50¢ at some movie theaters where the regular price is 5¢ or 10¢ and are similarly over-charged at bars. The Police Commission said their only recourse was to file civil suits.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Today -100: October 20, 1913: Of moral turpitude

Mexican rebels blow up a troop train, killing 46.

Woodrow Wilson is personally looking into whether Emmeline Pankhurst should be deported. In the meantime, hearings will examine the extent of the militant suffrage movement in Britain and whether Mrs P’s crimes were political, in which case she cannot be excluded unless moral turpitude is involved (suffragists have been pointing out that for decades Irish former political prisoners have been allowed into the US unimpeded). Mrs P supposedly says that if deported she’ll start hunger-striking and be dead within 24 hours. I say supposedly because the next day she denied having said any such thing but the NYT story had her alleged words in quotation marks. It is a puzzlement.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today -100: October 19, 1913: Of misdirections of human energies, moral turpitude, bloody foundation stones, new languages, and angry Frenchmen

British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill proposes a one-year “naval holiday” with Germany, in which both countries would stop building battleships (Germany plans two in that period, Britain four). Churchill figures every other country on earth would follow suit. He says the arms race is a “serious misdirection of human energies.”

Austria presents Serbia with an ultimatum to remove its troops from Albania within 8 days.

British suffragist leader Emmeline Pankhurst arrives in New York, but is held by immigration authorities and ordered deported on grounds of “moral turpitude.” She will appeal.

Former US ambassador to Mexico Henry Lane Wilson, proving once again why Pres. Wilson was right to fire his ass, says that Huerta’s government is just as legal as Roosevelt’s was when he became president after McKinley’s assassination. Which would be true if Roosevelt had ordered McKinley’s assassination.

There have been protests in Russia against the ongoing ritual murder trial of Mendel Beilis in Kiev, with strikes, protests signed by students, etc. Prosecution witnesses have fallen apart on the stand, some accusing the police of pressuring them to lie. Beilis has plenty of witnesses that he was at work at the time of the murder, but still the trial drags on. Today, for example, “Another rumor, that some of Yushinsky’s blood was used in connection with the laying of the foundation stone of the Old Age Home, was shown to be groundless by the testimony of Mark Zaiteff, one of the proprietors of the brick works, who produced proof that the ceremony took place several days before the murder.”

Linguistic Headline of the Day -100: “Norway to Adopt an Entirely New Language.” Landsmål. You don’t want to know.

Dog-Bites-Man Headline of the Day -100: “Germans Anger French.” By celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.

Motoring Headline of the Day -100: “Cyclist Falls on Coffin.” Unfortunate motorcycle rider crashes a funeral procession.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Today -100: October 18, 1913: I have lost my office, but I have kept my self-respect

The High Court of Impeachment acquits NY Gov. Sulzer of the remaining charges, then votes 43-12 to remove him from office, but votes unanimously not to ban him from holding government positions (elected or appointive) in the future, and indeed Progressives are already talking about nominating him for Congress or the state Assembly.

Sulzer issues a statement calling the impeachment trial “a farce, political lynching, the consummation of a deep-laid political conspiracy to oust me from office. ... The well-settled rules of evidence were thrown to the winds. A horse-thief, in frontier days, would have received a squarer deal.” He goes on to say that Boss Murphy of Tammany ordered the impeachment and controlled the court: “he was the judge and the jury, the prosecutor and the bailiff.”

Acting Gov. Martin Glynn, sworn in as the new governor, says he will not be a factionist. Phew. The NYT effusively describes him as “not devoid of independence” from Tammany.

The zeppelin L II, undergoing trials to determine if it should be the flagship of the German aerial navy, explodes over the city of Johannisthal near Berlin, killing 28 in the biggest aviation disaster to date. Not a good year for German airships: The Navy’s L I was destroyed by a storm last month, breaking in half and killing 15. And the day after that an army zeppelin dragged two of the soldiers holding its lines into the air; they died when they let go.

The last officer who took part in the charge of the Light Brigade (1854) dies at 81. His name was Sir George Orby Wombwell, because of course it was.

The Mexican cabinet “won’t let” Huerta resign, which is of course all he ever really wanted to do.

In the US Congress, Rep. Isaac Ruth Sherwood (D-Ohio) says a consortium of nations should establish a military protectorate over Mexico.

The Austrian Army is complaining about the shortage of recruits from the Polish regions of the Empire, which they attribute to emigration of young men to work on the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

Headline of the Day -100: “WHAT DOES MARS WANT?” A Swiss astronomer thinks Mars is signaling the Earth with blue lights. The NYT thinks that “with regard to governing ourselves intelligently, regulating our lives in accordance with well-established facts, obeying natural laws, settling trivial disputes without bloodshed, we can tell them nothing that a people so old and wise as the Martians must be do not know already.”

Actually, Mars only wanted a little sexting.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today -100: October 17, 1913: Of impeachments and the tango

NY Gov. William Sulzer is convicted by the High Court of Impeachment of falsifying campaign finance reports and threatening witnesses before the Legislature’s investigative committee, but acquitted of bribing witnesses and posting pictures of his junk on Twitter. Votes on other charges will follow.

Headline of the Day -100: “Chicago to Investigate the Tango.”

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today -100: October 16, 1913: Of royal benevolence and Zulu football

The news is all about princes today.

Royal wedding: Prince Arthur of Connaught marries Alexandra, Duchess of Fife. Artie, the first royal to attend Eton, was Waldorf Astor’s fag. The couple will help the families of those colliers killed in Wales by exhibiting their wedding presents to the public to raise funds. It is literally the least they could do.

Prince Madikane Quandiyane Cele of the Zulus says American football is too brutal.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today -100: October 15, 1913: Of coal mines, coups, the rule of the sea, and bones of persons tortured to death by Jews

439 coal miners die in a mine explosion and fire in Senhenydd, Wales, as is the custom. Most of the bodies won’t be recovered. One woman is waiting for word about her husband, four sons and three brothers.

Huerta still plans to hold elections on the 26th in whatever parts of Mexico he controls and with whatever parts of the government he controls. Sure he does. Anyhoo, the US informs him that it won’t recognize the results of those elections. Huerta says the deputies he arrested will be tried for treason. And that he will be taking charge of the interior, finance and war ministries.

Gandhi begins his first act of large-scale civil disobedience. He gathers Indian supporters in Natal province, South Africa, to march to the border with Transvaal province and cross it in violation of the race-based pass laws.

Headline of the Day -100: “Women Not First.” On the fiery Volturno, the “women and children first” rule was not observed.

In the Kiev ritual murder trial, a former Jew, now a monk, testifies that sure, Jews torture Christian children all the time. “If the bowels of the earth opened up one would discover many bones of persons tortured to death by Jews.”

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Today -100: October 14, 1913: Of raids, warships, and prohibition

Police raid a suffrage meeting to arrest Sylvia Pankhurst, who is rescued by her East End followers. East Enders don’t fuck around, yo.

Secretary of State Bryan asks Huerta not to kill those arrested deputies, please.

Germany thinks about the Mexican coup and decides that what the situation really requires is the presence of a German warship.

The Arkansas Supreme Court allows a prohibition bill to take effect in January. Liquor licenses may only be granted in any community if there is a petition signed by the majority of all white adults.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Today -100: October 13, 1913: Ireland must remain a nation

Last week -100, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill suggested excluding Northern Ireland from Home Rule. Leader of the Irish Nationalists John Redmond says no, Ireland must remain a nation.

I see the NYT is still referring to Huerta as the “provisional president” of Mexico, even though he’s no longer pretending that he intends to hold elections and happily step aside.

The Kiev ritual murder trial is going badly for the prosecution, with witness after witness (including police witnesses) showing astonishingly faulty memories, and some admitting to having been told what to say by the police. Even the anti-Semitic newspapers are making fun of the case.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Today -100: October 12, 1913: Of Volturnos, dictators, new kings, new archipelagos, and tangos

The steamship Volturno, sailing from Rotterdam to Canada, bringing emigrants from Russia, Poland, etc, catches fire in the mid-Atlantic. 125 die but wireless distress calls brings ships which rescue 521 after several hours of being prevented from doing so by a storm, which also smashed some of the lifeboats against the ship (although lack of training of the crew was also responsible). The captain was the last off the ship, along with his dog Jack. The Volturno was regulated by the British, who didn’t require hand fire extinguishers, so there weren’t any.

Huerta dissolves the Mexican Congress. He says this will restore peace and prevent anarchy, so yay.

Suffragists mob King George and Queen Mary as they arrive at a music hall, shouting “Women are being tortured in prison!”

Prince William Frederick of Wied accepts the job of king of Albania.

Russian Arctic explorers have discovered a body of land as large as Greenland (it really isn’t). They name it Emperor Nicholas II Land (the Soviets will imaginatively rename it Severnaya Zemlya, or Northern Land.)

Headline of the Day -100: “Boston Bans the Tango.” A cop and a matron will be stationed in every public dance hall to prevent the dance, by order of Mayor John Fitzgerald (JFK’s grandfather). The turkey trot is also banned, and youths under 17.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Today -100: October 11, 1913: Of coups within coups, deformed and mutilated manhoods, and dynamite

In Mexico, Sen. Belisaro Dominguez disappears or, to phrase it more accurately, is disappeared, after making a speech critical of Huerta. Members of the Chamber of Deputies sign a resolution warning Huerta about that and threatening to move out of Mexico City. So he sends soldiers into the Chamber to arrest 110 of them.

Federal troops in Mexico lose Torreon to the rebels (Pancho Villa’s forces).

Alton Parker concludes his speech against NY Gov. William Sulzer in his impeachment trial. Parker says there is no limitation on what might constitute a cause for impeachment (including non-criminal acts and acts before Sulzer took office) and that it is up to the High Court of Impeachment to decide. I’m getting flashbacks to the Clinton impeachment.

Oh, dear, now I’m reading Alton’s speech and REALLY getting Clinton impeachment flashbacks: “Stripped to his quaking flesh, he stands now naked before this tribunal, without a rag of his attempted vindication clinging to his deformed and mutilated manhood.”

Woodrow Wilson touches a button on his desk to detonate 8 tons of dynamite to blow up a dike in the Panama Canal. It blowed up real good.

A Kiev newspaper, an anti-Semitic newspaper yet, is suppressed for saying that the “blood ritual murder” trial is bullshit.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today -100: October 10, 1913: Of opium, bullfights, roads, plague rats, hunger-strikers, impeachments and blood libels

Britain plans to establish an opium monopoly in Hong Kong, to facilitate ending the trade, supposedly.

French President Raymond Poincaré is visiting Spain. They scheduled a bullfight in his honor, but he said fuck no, he likes animals.

Nebraska has two of those everyone-work-on-the-roads-for-free days.

Headline of the Day -100: “Plague Rat Dooms a Building.” A rat with bubonic plague is caught in the Old Seattle Hotel, which is ordered demolished.

British Home Secretary Reginald McKenna orders the resumption of forcible feeding of imprisoned suffragettes. The Cat & Mouse Act was supposed to end that by releasing hunger-strikers for a bit to recover and then putting them back in prison (the last part the government has been doing at its discretion, because it would rather intimidate suffragettes into “behaving” than make martyrs out of them), but McKenna has decided that those convicted of arson should not be released.

The former judge acting as NY Gov. Sulzer’s attorney in his impeachment trial tells the High Court of Impeachment (which consists of the state senate plus high court judges) to shit or get off the can on the issue of whether a public servant can be impeached for acts that took place before he held office: “If that can be done in the present instance, then this court could convict the governor of the state and remove him from office because he stole cherries when a boy or spat on the sidewalk when a man.” He also argues that the law requiring the reporting of campaign expenses applies only to money expended, not donations received, and anyway no affidavit or oath is required, so no perjury was committed.

Speaking for the prosecution, Alton Parker, former chief judge of the NY Supreme Court and the 1904 Democratic candidate for president, says that Sulzer can indeed be impeached for the cherry thing, although I can’t say he makes much of a case for it. He also says of Sulzer blaming the incomplete campaign donation statements on a subordinate, “if Sarecky’s morals were bad and his business methods questionable, we must remember that he got all his moral and business training as an attaché of Mr. Sulzer’s office.” Wow, that is some crappy lawyering, Judge Parker. The prosecution is also doing a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose thing with Sulzer’s (laughable) claim that the donations he didn’t report were personal rather than campaign contributions: the prosecution case is that if that’s true, Sulzer is guilty of larceny because the donors would have assumed their money was going to the campaign.

700 Hungarian rabbis sign a declaration that Jews don’t use blood for religious purposes and send it (the declaration, not blood) to the court in Kiev currently trying Mendel Beilis.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Today -100: October 9, 1913: Of battleships, impeachments, and dead princesses

Woodrow Wilson wants to build three new battleships, but is having trouble with the big steel firms: Bethlehem and Midvale Steel companies are refusing to compete with each other, offering identical bids. So the government may have to build its own armor-plate factory.

NY Gov. Sulzer’s lawyers in his impeachment trial end the defense case without the governor testifying. Neither did his wife, who he’s been blaming for diverting campaign funds into stock speculations, although not so much during the actual case. He’s been implying that while he didn’t want to be such a cad as to put his wife on the stand, she was totally responsible.

It seems Princess Sophia of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach did not commit suicide because she was forbidden from marrying a Jew, but out of guilt for running over and killing a girl the month before (her chauffeur was just acquitted, and wasn’t it delightful of the royals to let him stand trial for it when she was driving?).

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I’ve been willing to compromise my entire political career

Today Obama held a press conference.

He starts by saying he told Boehner “that I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything -- not just issues I think are important but also issues that they think are important.” Or, to put it more plainly: I don’t think the issues they think are important are actually important.

“Think about it this way, the American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs.” I’m pretty sure Mitt Romney referred to his employees’ wages as ransom.

“You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox.” I think it would be hilarious if everybody in America with a mortgage tested this proposition tomorrow.

“In the same way, members of Congress, and the House Republicans in particular, don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs.” Sometimes I think Obama’s just stopped paying attention.

“No American president would deal with a foreign leader like this.” Ask Iran and Cuba about this, to name just two.

“Either my chief of staff or I have had serious conversations on the budget with Republicans more than 20 times since March.” Define serious.

“So even after all that, the Democrats in the Senate still passed a budget that effectively reflects Republican priorities at Republican budget levels just to keep the government open, and the House Republicans couldn’t do that either.” Obama’s not even looking for a negotiating partner anymore, he’s looking for someone to accept his surrender, and he can’t even find that. Wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

“Warren Buffett likened default to a nuclear bomb, a weapon too horrible to use. It would disrupt markets, it would undermine the world’s confidence in America as the bedrock of the global economy...” I guess my stock portfolio isn’t big enough to consider disrupted stock markets just as bad as thermonuclear war.

“the way we got to this point was one thing and one thing only, and that was Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying health care to millions of people. That law ironically is moving forward.” More Americans will have access to ironic health care than ever before!

“And when I hear people trying to downplay the consequences of that, I think that’s really irresponsible. And I’m happy to talk to any of them individually and walk them through exactly why it’s irresponsible.” Wow, the president will personally explain to me how irresponsible I am, sign me up, said no one ever.

“So -- so a lot of the strategies that people have talked about -- well, the president can roll out a big coin and -- or, you know, he can -- he can resort to some other constitutional measure -- what people ignore is that ultimately what matters is, what do the people who are buying Treasury bills think?” In case you were wondering who really runs the country.

“I have flaws. Michelle will tell you. One of them is not that I’m unwilling to compromise. I’ve been willing to compromise my entire political career.” That sentence can be read two ways, both of them correct.

Asked if the capture/kidnap (capnap?) of Abu Anas al-Libi in Libya followed international law, he somehow failed to answer.

“I was at a small business the other day and talking to a bunch of workers, and I said, you know, when you’re at the plant and you’re in the middle of your job, do you ever say to your boss, you know what, unless I get a raise right now and more vacation pay, I’m going to just shut down the plant; I’m not going to just walk off the job, I’m going to break the equipment -- I said, how do you think that would go?” And they said, ha ha, thanks for reminding us that organized unionism has been destroyed in this country.

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Today -100: October 8, 1913: Of race riots and forgotten property

Race riot in Romeo, Illinois after blacks attack the jail to release a woman jailed for drunkenness. The leader is shot dead. “Two households, both alike in dignity,” indeed. (The NYT is using the town’s old name; it changed its name to Romeoville when its sister town Juliet – isn’t that adorable? – changed its to Joliet).

Headline of the Day -100: “Buys Property, Forgets It.” A Mr. E.R. Wood of Philadelphia paid $3,800 for a property in 1887, and forgot all about it, as one does. It was taken over by squatters and eventually bought for $100 by a couple who are now awarded ownership.

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Monday, October 07, 2013

Today -100: October 7, 1913: I am going to give them my body and they can do anything they like with it

The impeachment trial of NY Gov. William Sulzer continues. From the opening remarks of his counsel: “The respondent is a plain, affable man, easy to approach, and a man who, until the year 1913, never made enemies. ... He never kept books of account or records of his transactions. He is exceedingly careless and unmethodical. Details are something to which he is almost a stranger.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Russia May Want Another Pogrom.” The Manchester Guardian suggests that the prosecution of a Jew, Mendel Beilis, in Kiev for the supposed ritual murder of a Christian teenager (who was very probably actually killed by a criminal gang who thought he was a snitch) is being deliberately conducted and publicized in such a way as to foment hatred of Jews.

Yuan Shih-kai is elected president of China by the Chinese Parliament.

Francis Burton Harrison, the new governor-general of the Philippines, arrives in Manila and makes a speech proclaiming Woodrow Wilson’s policy of “ultimate independence” for the Philippines (he neglects to provide a date for that ultimate independence). The number of natives in the appointive upper house of the Philippine Congress will be increased to a majority.

The Metropolitan Police raid a Women’s Social and Political Union meeting in order to arrest Annie Kenney, who was out on a Cat and Mouse Act license. Resistance was strong but futile. After the cops left, the meeting resumed and they auctioned off hats that had been knocked off the heads of cops (the one from a chief inspector went to an American for $25). Flora Drummond, referring to forcible-feeding and NOT TO ANYTHING ELSE, said, “This week I am going to give them my body and they can do anything they like with it.”

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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Today -100: October 6, 1913: Of radium monopolies and tax loopholes

A company is being formed which will attempt to establish a world-wide monopoly over radium called European Radium, Limited. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand has something to do with it, which seems like the basis for a good conspiracy theory, sort of a post-steampunky thing.

Woodrow Wilson is exempt from the new income tax (as are federal court judges), because the Constitution forbids reducing their salaries. The tax will therefore only apply to future presidents and judges.

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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Today -100: October 5, 1913: Of arson, car accidents, and darkness in Prussia

I guess the British suffragette militancy truce is over: the Women’s Social and Political Union’s Mary Richardson sets fire to an unoccupied house owned by the chancellor of the Diocese of London.

President Wilson’s car hits a kid on a bicycle. The Navy’s assistant surgeon, Wilson’s personal physician, was in the car, so the kid (his age isn’t given) got medical attention, and they drove him to the hospital. Wilson promised to replace his bike.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Police Decide When It’s Dark.” “The mere fact that it may happen still to be daylight in defiance of police orders is of no importance.” That’s the ruling of the Prussian Supreme Court in the case of a wagon-owner who was driving without a lantern 30 minutes after sunset, which is when the Prussian police have decreed that it is dark even if it isn’t. Germans, huh?

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Friday, October 04, 2013

Today -100: October 4, 1913: Of bosses, cannibals & radium, undesirable aliens, and tariffs

Woodrow Wilson’s secretary Joseph Tumulty denies that he is now the Democratic Boss of New Jersey (a newspaper claimed that he tried to impose a choice for state chairman on the NJ Democratic Party).

Cannibals in Papua New Guinea kill an American mineralogist who was searching for radium. I just like the combination in one story of cannibals and radium.

The secretary of labor allows Marie Lloyd and her fella into the country.

The Underwood-Simmons Tariff Bill becomes law. It reduces average tariffs from 37% to 27%, exempts many products altogether, and does various other tariff-billy things.

Oh, and introduces a federal income tax.

Theodore Roosevelt is off to South America for six months.

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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Today -100: October 3, 1913: Of undesirable aliens, ether, duels, happy families, and fathers

Immigration authorities at Ellis Island order the deportation of famous English music-hall singer Marie Lloyd, who arrived to do a US tour, as well as her... companion... jockey Bernard Dillon, when they discover that the two are not married. To be continued...

How They Died 100 Years Ago: Sir Frederick Williams, 4th baronet of Tregullow, dies from an overdose of ether, which is popular in Paris as a recreational drug.

How They Didn’t Die 100 Years Ago: Rouzier d’Orcières fights his 173rd duel. Loses, actually, with a couple of slashes to his wrist and forearm.

British suffragist Eva Ward writes to the NYT about Sir Almroth Wright’s book The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage, which explains how the women’s suffrage derives from hysteria (he’s a doctor, you know). It seems Wright’s wife Jane is prominent in several women’s suffrage societies, and gives every female college graduate a leather-bound copy of John Stuart Mill’s Subjection of Women. Almroth and Jane do not live together any more.

Rep. J. Hampton Moore (R-PA) proposes that the first Sunday in June be designated Father’s Day. Presumably he needed some new ties.

Moore has eight children, if you were wondering.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Today -100: October 2, 1913: Of woman suffrage’s destructive course, telegraph lines, destroyed romantic illusions, and hobo kings

Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson marry. I predict a long and weird marriage.

The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage says that if suffragists can prove to them (by December, for some reason) that a majority of women want the vote, it will “withdraw its opposition, albeit sorrowfully, and allow woman suffrage to roll on its destructive course.” It doesn’t explain how this support is to be demonstrated.

Woodrow Wilson plans to introduce legislation for a federal takeover of the telegraph lines and perhaps of inter-state phone lines as well.

A judge grants an injunction against Morgan College (now Morgan State University, a historically black college) from building a settlement in the Mount Washington suburb of Baltimore or, more specifically, from moving in any negroes (except as servants, of course).

A Canadian man kills himself in New York because, according to his diary, “Bernard Shaw has destroyed all my sentiments and romantic illusions”. Yup, Shaw’ll do that.

At the American Road Congress, a man announces himself as the Hobo King of America and asks to be seated as a delegate because “who is more interested in good roads than hoboes?” They seat him, because after all he is the Hobo King of America (C. Jeff Davis, President of the International Itinerant Workers’ Union).

President/King Davis wants you not to confuse hoboes with tramps, “who disgrace our profession.”

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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Today -100: October 1, 1913: A night at the theatre

The University of Berlin will no longer allow students from Russia. Currently its medical school has a large number of Russian Jewish students because Jews can practice medicine in Russia but aren’t allowed to study medicine there.

King Nicholas of Montenegro has written a play, “The Siege of Scutari,” which opens in Cettinje in front of an audience some of whom evidently don’t know the difference between a play and real life and had to be dissuaded from killing actors playing Turks.

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