Friday, January 31, 2014

Today -100: January 31, 1914: My alphabet has been the sight and trigger of a rifle

The British Labour Party’s annual conference again supports women’s suffrage, only 2 of the 600 delegates voting no.

Headline of the Day -100: “Villa To Adopt Civilized Warfare.” He will stop executing Federal prisoners unless they had been captured once before, released on a promise not to fight again, and broken that promise. Villa denies wanting to be president: “I never went to school a day in my life, and I am not educated enough for the post. My alphabet has been the sight and trigger of a rifle; my books have been the movements of the enemy.”

More military-civilian conflict in Germany’s most recently acquired provinces: at a concert for the Kaiser’s birthday in Metz, Lorraine, a lieutenant orders two locals to stop speaking French. They leave the concert hall but he follows them to a restaurant, where he is outraged to find that they (and two others) are persisting in not speaking German to each other. He calls in a major, who is outraged that they do not remove their caps in the presence of a royal Prussian major and knocks the cap off one of them, as is the custom with royal Prussian majors. The four Lorrainers are arrested and turned over to the police, who release them.

At the United Mine Workers convention, the Illinois secretary-treasurer accuses Samuel Gompers of having gotten “gloriously drunk” at the Seattle convention and having a “snoot-full” at the Atlanta convention. Miners are pissed that the AFL hasn’t given sufficient financial support to the striking Michigan copper miners.

The steamship Monroe goes down after being hit in the fog by the Nantucket in the Atlantic Ocean, 50 miles off Virginia. 41 die. Much is made of the heroism of the wireless operator, who stayed at his post signaling for help after giving his life preserver to a “hysterical woman.” His mother had had a premonition and begged him not to go to sea.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Today -100: January 30, 1914: Of leaks, Confucianism, archbishops, sick animals, large families, and awed bears

After details of American negotiations with Japan over the racist alien land law in California leak, the Wilson administration suggests that newspapers should in future refrain from discussing the US’s foreign relations, especially since it might embarrass the US when foreign governments read in newspapers stories about America’s policies that contradict what the US government has told them. And this means you, Edward Snowden!

The Wilsonites say that they do not consider as unfriendly the actions of Japanese companies in selling arms to the Huerta regime in Mexico.

Chinese President and Aspiring Dictator Yuan reestablishes Confucianism. Yuan will set an example for his religion-deficient people by starting to worship at the Temples of Heaven & Confucius, just like the emperors did, but without wearing a crown, because that would be too obvious.

British suffragettes lay siege to Lambeth Palace, demanding to see the Archbishop of Canterbury on the subject of forcible feeding. Eventually he reluctantly agrees to see one of them, but will only say that he would definitely have a think about the subject of forcible feeding (which has been going on in British prisons since 1909, so you’d think he’d have an opinion by now).

Honestly, I liked the old Mad King of Bavaria better: King Ludwig tells aristocratic women that instead of patronizing charities for sick animals, they should take care of sick poor people: “Sick animals should be killed, but sick people cured.”

The League of Large Families in France proposes Mme. Amet, mother of 22 living children, for the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

Headline of the Day -100: “Girl Teachers Awe a Bear.”

Or is this the Headline of the Day -100?: “Kisses Baby and Is Killed.” (LA Times). A Baptist minister in Georgia leans over to kiss his child good-bye, the gun he always carries so his children don’t play with it falls out of his pocket and goes off.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today -100: January 29, 1914: Of wireless, marches on Washington, red lights, and once again Oklahoma is not OK

Wireless communication is established between Germany and the United States, without any relaying. The first message is from Kaiser Bill to Woodrow Wilson, and just says whassup.

Gen. Coxey announces a new “Coxey’s Army” march of the unemployed on Washington, on the 20th anniversary of the last one. He wants there to be government-owned banks in every town with 1,000 people.

Ah, European aristocratic mating habits: Prince Blücher von Wahlstatt is now his son’s brother-in-law; his son is now uncle of his own half-siblings and is indeed his own uncle. That is, the prince and his son, Count Lothar, both married sisters (albeit 18 years apart), Princess Louise Radziwill and Princess Wanda Radziwill. The son married the older sister, because of course he did. If Lothar and Louise have children, he will be their 1) father, 2) cousin, and 3) great-uncle.

Pres. Wilson won’t sign a bill abolishing the red light district of the District of Columbia until there is non-prostitute work available for any prostitutes who want it. Or they could just all move to Alexandria.

Rear Admiral Charles Vreeland tells the House Naval Committee in secret session that in event of war Japan could easily seize the Philippines, but not Hawaii, Alaska or the Panama Canal. “Members of the committee got the impression from Admiral Vreeland’s testimony that preparation for any trouble with Japan must be based upon the idea that Japan would strike without notice if she went to war with the United States.”

As a result of the military-civilian contretemps in Zabern, Alsace, the entire Alsace-Lorraine government resigns. Berlin will probably appoint a more hard-line governor-general.

The federal circuit court upholds Oklahoma’s Jim Crow law against a negro doctor who was told, when the train he was on crossed into the state, to leave the “white” car. He refused, there was a lively debate and he was arrested.

In other segregation news, it has been noticed that a bill working its way through Congress for agricultural education allows any state with more than one agricultural college to decide how to allocate the funds. In other words, Southern states will send all the money to white colleges.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today -100: January 28, 1914: Of canal governments, rubber warships, exiles, coups, lions, and lynchings

Woodrow Wilson creates, by executive order, a government for the Panama Canal Zone, and names the Canal’s chief engineer, Col. George Goethals, governor. A bit of a conflict with New York City, which has offered him the post of police commissioner.

The British Navy is experimenting with rubber-plated warships. That just sounds dirty.

South Africa will exile 10 of the leaders of the general strike. To England. Without a trial. On a ship with no wireless that will take months to arrive.

Haitian President Michael Oreste resigns in the face of a successful revolution, and seeks asylum on a German warship. Meanwhile, American and German troops land, in order to protect their nationals and their property.

I wonder who the first person was to die making a film? Possibly Fritz Schindler, who was trying to film lions in Kenya, although he probably meant to film the exteriors of lions rather than their interiors.

A negro accused of the murder of a Mrs. Lynch in Wendell, North Carolina, is, well, the hint’s in that name, isn’t it?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Today -100: January 27, 1914: Of watchful waiting, anarchist MPs, and gypsy wars

Woodrow Wilson tells members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will end the arms embargo against the Mexican rebels, but that his policy is still the alliterative “watchful waiting” thing.

Amilcare Cipriani is elected to the Italian Parliament for Milan. A famous anarchist, he fought for Garibaldi, and for the attempted Greek revolution in the 1860s, and for the Paris Commune, and has spent much of his life in Italian prisons or the French penal colony New Caledonia. Which also means he’s been stripped of his civil rights in Italy, so he can’t take his seat even if he were willing to swear allegiance to the king.

Headline of the Day -100 (Washington Post): “France Wars on the Gypsies.” France plans to expel foreign-born gypsies and require all gypsies to carry i.d. cards with a picture and fingerprints. This brings France into line with most other gypsy-hating European countries. Germany is the most unpleasant to Roma.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Today -100: January 26, 1914: Of held Mexicans, royal yachts, and ex-towns

Headline of the Day -100: “NATION HAS RIGHT TO HOLD MEXICANS.” (We will hug him and squeeze him and call him Jorge). District court rules that the US Secretary of War can keep refugees from the Mexican Army interned.

Prince Wilhelm of Wied plans to arrive in Albania, the country whose king he’s going to be, on a new yacht, the Mohican. That’s assuming his rival Essad Pasha allows him to land at all.

Remember how the governor of Oregon sent his secretary to put the town of Copperfield under martial law because its saloons violated closing hours laws and its mayor & some city council members owned saloons? Now he’s ordered the town disincorporated unless its officials all resign.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Today -100: January 25, 1914: Of typograms (or something), kidnapping, and naval demonstrations

Technology Headline of the Day -100: “Typewriter May Soon Be Transmitter of Telegrams.” Some New Zealand guy has invented a doohickey. But really, sending messages around the world from your keyboard? That’s just crazy talk.

A special grand jury in Michigan refuses to return a true bill against the men who assaulted two miners’ union officials, kidnapped them, and forcibly deported them last month. The prosecutor had helpfully explained to the jury that it wasn’t kidnapping if there was no intent to confine them or to hold them in service, as opposed to forcing them over state lines against their wills.

The Senate passes a bill for a government railroad in Alaska.

The European Great Powers will each send a ship to Albanian waters in a “naval demonstration,” to suggest politely to Essad Pasha that he not try to make himself king of Albania.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

The strong interest of the Texas Legislature

The lawyer for the Texas hospital keeping the brain-dead pregnant woman on life support (and not enough has been made of the fact that this is a public hospital, owned by Tarrant County) argued in court, “Given the strong interest of the Texas Legislature in protecting the life of unborn children, it is unlikely the Legislature contemplated only the welfare of the mother”.

Wait, let me correct that for you: “it is unlikely the Legislature contemplated only the welfare of the mother”.

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Today -100: January 24, 1914: Of fake unions, defective Asiatics, and big sticks

German Chancellor Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg accuses socialist MPs who are asking questions in the Reichstag about the soldiers acquitted for their actions in Zabern of undermining the throne.

The convention of the United Mine Workers expels Local 979 of Pocahontas, West Virginia, on the grounds that it’s a front organization created by a detective agency to get an agent into the UMW convention.

Labor Secretary William Wilson proposes to Congress a ban on Hindu immigrants (who are supposedly sneaking into the US via the Philippines). He also suggests physical tests for prospective Asiatic laborer immigrants to exclude defectives; he’s presumably okay with white-skinned defectives.

The Bonapartist pretender to the French throne, Victor Napoleon (known as Napoleon V to a handful of cranks), fathers a male heir to his non-existent throne.

You know that “big stick” Theodore Roosevelt carried? It just got stolen.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Today -100: January 23, 1914: Of profit-sharing, voting rights, and war movies

Ford is quizzing its employees about how they spend their money before allowing them into the profit-sharing program. If they say they send it back to the Old Country, they’re not allowed to participate.

South Carolina’s General Assembly votes in favor of repealing the 15th Amendment.

The first fruits of Pancho Villa’s film deal are shown in New York City, and they sound rather disappointing. Villa is shown smiling as he leads his troops into battle at Ojinaga, then he is shown smiling as he leads his troops out of the battle at Ojinaga, but there’s no actual battle footage because the battle was fought at night. A likely story.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Counseling or screaming

During last week’s Supreme Court hearings on the Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone case, Stephen Breyer commented that the particular context of an abortion clinic might justify such a law: “Everyone is in a fragile state of mind.” He said, “It’s just tough to say whether they’re counseling somebody or screaming at somebody.” Breyer has clearly spent way too much time with Antonin Scalia.

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Today -100: January 22, 1914: Only those persons who have lost all moral sense can endure it. It is the shame of our days.

Headline of the Day -100: “SUFFRAGE HIT BY KINDNESS.; Senate Ready to Pass the Bill, but Ashhurst Talks Too Long.” Sen. Henry Ashurst (D-Arizona) (misspelled in that headline) gave a three-hour pro-suffrage speech, using up the time needed for a pro-suffrage vote, so the Senate moved on to the Alaska Railroad bill.

Alliterative Headline of the Day -100: “Menace By Militants.”

Straw Headline of the Day -100: “Straw Hat Appears in Mobile.” Sign of spring, or something, 1914-style.

Mesmeric Headline of the Day -100: “Raid Broke Up ‘Trance.’” Arresting 20 white people, evidently a Spiritualist meeting, at the home of a negro woman the Paterson, NJ who police describe as a “common clairvoyant.” She will be fined $100 and each of the attendees $3. For what crime, I don’t know.

The NYT letter columns for the past couple of weeks has been deeply concerned with palindromes.

Cardinal Cavallari, the patriarch of Venice, says the tango is “everything that can be imagined. It is revolting and disgusting. Only those persons who have lost all moral sense can endure it. It is the shame of our days. Whoever persists in it commits a sin.” He orders that absolution be denied to anyone who confesses to having tangoed without promising to abstain in the future.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gender diversity

The state of Utah’s latest arguments to the Supreme Court in favor of marriage inequality is that the state is supporting diversity, just like affirmative action or something:
Society has long recognized that diversity in education brings a host of benefits to students. If that is true in education, why not in parenting? At a minimum, the State and its people could rationally conclude that gender diversity — i.e., complementarity — in parenting is likely to be beneficial to children. And the state and its people could therefore rationally decide to encourage such diversity by limiting the coveted status of ‘marriage’ to man-woman unions.
The state doesn’t explain what gender diversity in parenting actually means, and should be made to explain its “Men do parenting like this, but women do parenting like this” argument in excruciating detail. As I’ve said before, homophobia is basically a subset of sexism.

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Today -100: January 21, 1914: The antagonism between business and government is over

Pres. Wilson appears before both houses of Congress to lay out the principles behind five anti-trust bills he will send them. These would 1) set up an Interstate Trade Commission (for disseminating information, not enforcement, except for fining corporations that do not provide information to it); 2) ban interlocking directorates; 3) better define the existing Sherman Anti-Trust Act; 4) allow individuals, not just the attorney general, to initiate anti-trust suits; 5) something or other about railroad securities. “The antagonism between business and government is over,” Wilson says. In other words, he’s denying that these measures are as radical as business types will no doubt make them out to be.

Headline of the Day -100: “Union Breaks Up Funeral.” During the funeral service for a Mrs. Marion Auzone of Trenton, the hearse drivers were informed that the musicians playing the dirge were non-union, so they quit and drove off. The pallbearers had to carry the coffin to the cemetery, stopping for occasional breaks, and if you’re not thinking of that Monty Python episode by now I don’t even want to know you.

The Wisconsin eugenic-marriage law is declared unconstitutional, both for setting doctors’ fees for issuing health certificates too low ($3) and for impairing the right of matrimony. However, the circuit judge did not agree that the law was unfair in only demanding medical examination of men.

The Ulster Women’s Unionist Council is organizing Ulsterwomen to participate in the upcoming civil war: driving ambulances, nursing, carrying messages, etc.

A French dancing teacher sues the archbishop of Paris for banning the tango. Loss of business.

Has the NYT been covering the Haitian revolution and I’ve just missed the stories? Anyway, the rebels have defeated government forces in a battle and the minister of war is running for his life.

The NYPD has some sort of objection to the play “The House of Bondage.” A play by one Joseph Byron Totten, something about a brothel, described by the New York Telegram as “so scarlet it screams.” Evidently it’s already been so expurgated in response to police pressure as to be silly, and it lasted 8 performances.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Today -100: January 20, 1914: The King has got to see us, or we shall know the reason why

Headline of the Day -100: “Women Now Menace King.” The Women’s Social and Political Union’s Norah Dacre-Fox on the WSPU’s plan to petition the king in person: “The King has got to see us, or we shall know the reason why.”

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today -100: January 19, 1914: Of assassins, sneezes, and funny money

In Paris a few days ago there was an assassination attempt on Mehmed Cherif Pasha, a former Turkish ambassador to Sweden who is now an anti-Young-Turk exile. The assassin did succeed in killing his valet before being shot dead by Cherif’s son-in-law. Anyway, since then a French lawyer, Georges Desbons, who claims to have information about another planned assassination attempt, was refused entry at Cherif’s house (possibly because the last stranger to turn up had a gun and a dagger and a Koran), so now he’s demanding an apology or a duel with Cherif, because of course he is.

A jury in Bunzlau, Germany, refuses a police demand that a man be convicted of disturbing the public police for sneezing too loudly.

Bulgaria sells Turkey 200,000 rifles it captured from Turkish troops during the Balkan war.

Venezuela says that it will not be able to hold congressional and state elections next month because of the state of rebellion and because Gen. Gomez really doesn’t want to give up power. They may not have said the last part out loud.

Mexican rebels are either issuing their own currency now or counterfeiting it, it’s not really clear. Anyway, 10 million pesos in paper money of this currency were seized in Chicago, but since the US doesn’t recognize any Mexican government, the money can’t be considered counterfeit under US law and will be given back.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Today -100: January 18, 1914: Of overrated navies, internationales, and gangsters’ balls

Headline of the Day -100: “Navy Is Overrated, Says F.D. Roosevelt.” Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt says the navy doesn’t have nearly enough dreadnoughts to protect the East Coast from invasion in event of some sort of war. He doesn’t say who he thinks would land soldiers on the East Coast. (The thing about the Navy being “overrated” is that people overestimate the number of ships it has; FDR says only 16 of them are good enough to be sent against an enemy fleet).

Two brothers, Pierre and Adolphe de Triter, went to court in France in a dispute over which of them composed the music of the song The Internationale in 1888. The court rules in Adolphe’s favor, but Wikipedia says that he was put up to falsely claiming ownership by Lille’s mayor and the French Socialist Party (Pierre had moved ideologically to their left). Adolphe admitted the fraud in his suicide note in 1916 and the copyright was re-awarded to Pierre in 1922. It is still in effect.

The House Rules Committee decides against setting up a special committee of the House on women’s suffrage.

New Headline of the Day -100: “Police Didn't Know of Gangsters' Ball.” An NYPD police captain is being investigated for neglect of duty for not stopping or at least keeping a watch on a gangsters’ ball which ended, as gangsters’ balls do, with a gun battle that killed a passer-by, who happened to be a City Court clerk. Cops from Capt. Sweeney’s precinct testifying in his defense say that no one knew about the ball, despite the placards which advertised who would be attending.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Today -100: January 17, 1914: Of subs, Hindus, and fleas

The British submarine A7 sinks to the bottom of Whitesand Bay, killing 11 men.

A meeting of Colorado miners threatens to free Mother Jones, currently being held by the military under martial law, by force of arms.

Canada will require Hindus entering the country to prove they have $200.

Alfred de Rothschild (of the London Rothschilds) buys a flea for $5,000. A sea otter flea. He collects fleas. Because of course he does.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Today -100: January 16, 1914: Of insurance, spoils, general strikes, and the tango

Lloyd’s of London calculates an insurance policy for Shackleton’s polar expedition based on a risk of failure of only 10%.

Pres. Wilson is in a dispute with Congressional Democrats over spoils in the postal system. Wilson says he will veto the Post Office appropriations bill if it contains an amendment removing 2,400 positions from the civil service and returning them to the spoils system.

Mexico mostly stops paying postal orders. Well, the PO will make full payment, but in stamps. The problem is that military units have been looting post offices.

South Africa has crushed the general strike, arresting many union leaders, some of whom surrendered after a field gun was trained on the Trades Hall in Johannesburg. The government mobilized Boer burghers into militias, telling the strikers in so many words, Hey the army might not shoot you, but these guys are crazy!

The pope comes out against the tango. So don’t dance the tango, dude. He also objects to the “new paganism,” although I doubt he was particularly fond of the old paganism.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Today -100: January 15, 1914: Of militias, fast cars, and honored women

Congress and the secretary of war are working on a bill to make the state militias available for use in foreign countries, and by foreign countries they of course mean Mexico.

Ford Motors in Detroit may recently have started the first moving assembly line, but Ford in Manchester, England, builds a car in 11 minutes and started driving it around in 19 (the 8 minutes were wasted because someone forgot to “pack the induction pipe,” whatever that means).

In a change of policy by Pancho Villa, the capture of Ojinaga is not followed by executions.

Sarah Bernhardt is named to the Legion of Honor.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today -100: January 14, 1914: Of lynchings, defaults, strikes, intellectual equals, disagreeable or incompatible races, and volcanoes

Booker T. Washington says there were only 51 lynchings in 1913, compared to 64 in 1912. Um, yay?

Mexico announces it will default on the interest on its bonds. And seize the property of rebels.

US District Court upholds the Wright brothers’ patent on heavier-than-air flying machines.

A general strike is declared in South Africa. The government declares martial law. Prime Minister Botha says he will crush the strike so that there won’t be another strike for a generation. Gandhi – that Gandhi – helps out the government by calling a halt to the Indians’ protest campaign against the pass laws (within a couple of days he will have negotiated a deal ending Indian-specific taxes and allowing polygamous marriages).

Members of the Paterson (NJ) Woman Suffrage League ask Mayor Fordyce why he refused to appoint any women to the Board of Education. Because “I do not regard women as the intellectual equals of men,” he says.

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease spends much of his annual state of the state message attacking some of the many people he considers his enemies: a US district court judge for being “a little cheap partisan politician,” Navy Secretary Daniels for being small and stupid (Daniels would not approve improvements to the Port Royal Naval Station unless the sale of whisky in the barracks was stopped). He complains about encroachments on states’ rights by the federal government, such as fixing hunting seasons. Why, he says, “one of the greatest and noblest battles ever waged was fought in the sixties for State’s rights... Now are we to sit idly by and see their work undone and the results achieved by them set at naught?” Does he think the South won the Civil War, or is he talking about the Ku Klux Klan?

Gov. Blease calls for bans on football and on smoking in restaurants patronized by women. He again calls for a ban on white women teaching in negro schools and for the banning of negro lodges. And for a law banning all state colleges and any public schools for white children from “admitting any negro, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, or other disagreeable or incompatible race into said school or school with white children.”

(The consul-general of Cuba objects to the “patent intention of this message officially to belittle and disgrace the Cuban people by putting them on a level with the South Carolinian estimate of the negro... nothing could be more insulting.”)

The volcano Sakurajima erupts in Japan.

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Monday, January 13, 2014


Obama sent Joe Biden to Ariel Sharon’s funeral to say nice things about him, just confirming Robert Gates’ assertion that Biden is always wrong.

“But when the topic of Israel’s security arose, which it always, always, always did in my many meetings over the years with him, you immediately understood how he acquired, as the speakers referenced, the nickname ‘Bulldozer.’” No, Joe, I think that was because he bulldozed the homes of Palestinians, sometimes with them still inside. Hope that clears up any confusion.

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Today -100: January 13, 1914: Of tiny elephants, banishments, race betterment, profit-sharing, and refugees

Headline/Fashion Tip of the Day -100: “St. Petersburg Women Have Tiny Elephants Painted on Their Faces.”

Mother Jones returns to the Colorado coal fields from whence she was illegally deported last week, and is arrested. Gov. Elias Ammons says she will be held, incommunicado, until she agrees to leave the strike region.

A Dr. J. McKeen Cattell tells the Conference for Race Betterment that if the birth rates of Britain, France and Germany continue to decline, in 100 years there will be no births at all. Other attendees express alarm that superior human stock aren’t producing enough children.

Henry Ford’s profit-sharing plan attracts 12,000 men seeking jobs, a line so long that it blocked the arriving morning shift. So they turned the fire hoses on them, in 0° weather.

The US is trying to figure out what to do with all the refugees streaming in from the fighting in Mexico, including fleeing Federal soldiers as well as civilians. There are various plans to move them to army bases or camps where they can be fed. The US plans to bill Mexico for reimbursement later.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Today -100: January 12, 1914: Of pogroms, tangoes, and circus girl wars

In Lodz, a “fanatical mob” attacks Jews and loots their homes and shops, as was the custom.

Munich police ban the tango, as do the Geneva police. And the archbishop of Paris declares dancing the tango a sin which must be confessed.

Alice Paul announces that her Congressional Union, which was a committee of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association focused on working for a federal suffrage amendment, has had its NAWSA funding cut off, but will continue to operate as an independent organization. The CU and its younger members are now free to adopt more confrontational methods. And will.

Headline of the Day -100: “Circus Girls to War on Foreign Invasion.”

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Today -100: January 11, 1914: Of ojinagas, strikes and scabs, exposition fatigue, and punitive self-defense

Mexican rebels led by Pancho Villa capture Ojinaga, for whatever that’s worth (the rebels have tended not to have sufficient troops to occupy the territory they capture). Several of the Federal generals and many soldiers, who had not received ammunition, much less pay, for months, have surrendered – to the United States authorities, who are rather less likely to put them in front of a firing squad than the rebels.

The US Dept. of Labor has issued a report on the Calumet, Michigan copper strike. It faults mine owners for their refusal to negotiate with the Western Federation of Miners (or, indeed, to employ any of its members). Jesus, the scabs were only paid $2.50 a day (Henry Ford pays the kid who sweeps the floors $5) and have to pay up to $22 per month for board and $24.50 for the cost of transportation from where they were hired (NY) to Michigan. The employment forms for the scabs were filled out in German but with the word “strike” in English because NY law requires workers to be told they’re being hired as scabs, but it doesn’t say they have to be told in a language they understand (several of the scabs, on arrival in Calumet, immediately defected to the union, saying they’d been told there was no strike). Michigan Gov. Woodbridge Ferris claims not to have read the report yet, but says that the strike “would have been settled long ago” if it weren’t for those outside agitators and the insistence of miners on having a union. It would all have been ok, he says, “if the miners had been allowed to treat with the operators as miners, and not as representatives of any organization”.

Several European countries are boycotting the San Francisco Exposition to protest the discriminatory rates they’ll be charged to use the Panama Canal, although Germany is claiming it’s just “exposition fatigue.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Sabre Rule Upheld by Army Courts.” A German court-martial acquits Col. von Reuter and Lieut. Schad of the Ninety-ninth Infantry for running amok in Zabern, Alsace, and reverses the conviction of Lt. Gunther Freiherr von Forstner for attacking a lame shoemaker with his saber, which the court deems an act of “punitive self-defense.” The acquittals are predicated on the supposed failure of the civilian authorities to stop the Alsatian natives from, I don’t know, looking funny at the soldiers, and the absolute requirement of military personnel to follow orders in the most Prussian way possible. Evidently under a Prussian Army regulation from 1820 (i.e., before the creation of Germany, much less the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine), the army can establish martial law whenever it likes.

Former President Taft sends 35 pants to the tailor to be taken in: he’s lost 80 pounds since leaving office.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Today -100: January 10, 1914: Of widows & orphans, dynamite, sanded chickens, and gay scenes

Ulster Unionists set up a $5 million fund for the widows and orphans of the civil war they plan to start in Northern Ireland.

In the railway workers’ strike in South Africa, a mail train is dynamited. Elsewhere, dynamite is discovered on railroad tracks before it goes off.

Headline of the Day -100: “Sanded Chicken Swindle.” Well, that’s gross. Before chickens are brought to the New York City market, they are first starved for 24 hours, then fed ground-up sand, gravel and stone. Then they’re sold by the pound.

Headline of the Day -100 That Wouldn’t Have Sounded Dirty in 1914 But Not In 2014: “British Ball Gay Scene at Waldorf.”

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Today -100: January 9, 1914: They have for women no constitutional existence

The Women’s Social and Political Union plans a deputation to the king to discuss women’s suffrage. It says it will no longer attempt to talk with cabinet officials, who have “degraded themselves by their cruelty and treachery.” Anyway, writes Christabel Pankhurst, “Parliament and the Government represent only men, and therefore they have for women no constitutional existence.”

The German princeling selected by the European Powers to be the first king of Albania is having second thoughts.

Headline of the Day -100: “Sailor Sues for an Eye.”

French doctors at Charenton asylum (you know, the one the Marquis de Sade was locked up in) claim to have successfully cured cases of previously incurable insanity with radium. Oh radium, is there nothing you can’t do?

H.G. Wells sells the film rights to his books for a reported $25,000 a year.

Boston Mayor John Fitzgerald bans a production of Salome.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Today -100: January 8, 1914: I do not intend to let the people laugh in this way

Headline of the Day -100: “GUNS TO STOP LAUGHING.; Even Smiling Offended the Military at Zabern.” This is the court-martial of the German officers who declared themselves in charge of the Alsatian town of Zabern/Saverne. When Col. von Reuter was asked to withdraw his provocative patrols and reminded that the Zabernhoovians weren’t doing anything more than standing around, he responded “I intend to prevent this standing about at any cost. I do not intend to let the people laugh in this way. If it continues I shall order the troops to shoot.” Von Reuter admits having stationed machine guns on the streets of Zabern.

The new nation of Albania arrests 200 soldiers sent by Turkey to install Izzet Pasha (Turkey’s ex-minister of war) as king.

Old Timey Lingo: “booze baiting,” the practice, now outlawed in Burlington, New Jersey, of washing the pavement in front of a bar with beer slops so that the smell brings in customers.

Joseph Chamberlain, 77, announces that he will retire from the British Parliament at the next election. Ill health has kept him from attending Parliament for three years, and he will (spoiler alert) die in July. The most powerful late-19th-century politician who failed to become prime minister, in part because he split the Liberal party over the issue of Irish Home Rule in the 1880s and then in the 20th century divided the Conservatives over his anti-free-trade posture, which was never all that popular with the public, even when cloaked in imperialist rhetoric. His sons Austen and Neville will both lead the Conservative Party.

The election of Frank Williams as a state senator in Maryland is challenged because he is a clergyman. The state constitution bans ministers and preachers from being senators. Williams says he has resigned his ministry (after an investigation, the Senate will agree, and seat him).

The Chicago School Board bans sex hygiene and personal purity lectures, which were introduced in 1912.

Guess I haven’t mentioned the suffrage march from New York to Albany. Anyway, the 11 marchers, three of whom did the entire route, arrive and meet Gov. Glynn, “who appeared loath to accept a ‘Votes for Women’ button that ‘Gen.’ Jones pressed upon him.”

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Today -100: January 7, 1914: The family that Wagners together

The German royal family puts on a show of unity, implicitly denying that there is a rift between the kaiser and the crown prince, by appearing in the same theatre box to watch Parsifal. Family bonding through Wagner, the German way.

Obit of the Day -100: Duke Alain Charles Louis de Rohan, Prince de Leon, a member of France’s Chamber of Deputies since 1876 and, as the titles might suggest, a Royalist. In 1876 there was still a chance that some version of the monarchy might be re-established, so the past 37 years must have been a bit of a disappointment to him.

The president of the French National Aerial League orders aviator Jules Vedrines to fight a duel with the associate of another aviator who he hit in the face (something about monopolizing petrol along a route). Vedrines had refused the man’s seconds, but says he will fight... the president of the Aerial League.

Pancho Villa has a personal bugler (not a euphemism). He has also made a deal with Harry Aitken of the Mutual Film Corp. to make movies of the war. Eight filmmakers will be sent to his camp. Aitken (who later produced Birth of a Nation) commented, “It’s a new proposition, and it has been worrying me a lot all day. How would you feel to be a partner of a man engaged in killing people, and do you suspect that the fact that moving picture machines are in range to immortalize an act of daring or of cruel brutality will have any effect on the war itself?” It is an exclusive deal: Villa is required to keep other moving picture cameramen off the field during his battles.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Today -100: January 6, 1914: Of profit-sharing, dueling immigrants, and whiskers

Henry Ford implements a profit-sharing plan. He will also switch to 24-hour production, three 8-hour shifts instead of two 9-hour ones. And there’ll be a minimum wage of $5 a day for even the lowliest of his workers. (Update: not true. The lowliest of his workers are the women, who will get a lower minimum unless they have large families financially dependent on them.)

US Immigration authorities clarify that they will not exclude all people who have engaged in duels: there will be exceptions for ambassadors, government ministers and their attachés.

Kaiser Wilhelm strips the Crown Prince of his military authority because he sent a telegram congratulating the commander of the regiment that implemented the “sabre dictatorship” in Zabern, Alsace for his “firm stand.”

At the University of Oregon, female students “adopted a series of resolutions against whiskers and since then have discriminated in social affairs against students wearing hirsute adornments”. In retaliation, all the male seniors have signed a pledge not to shave for the rest of the semester. That’ll show ‘em.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Today -100: January 5, 1914: Of stabilizers and mothers Jones

Orville Wright says that air travel will soon be as safe as any other mode of travel, what with his new automatic stabilizer, which will prevent stalling.

Mother Jones is deported from Ludlow, Colorado, where she’d gone to buck up striking miners. She promises to return to Colorado “as soon as it becomes part of the United States.”

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Today -100: January 4, 1914: Of bankers, martial law, suicide clubs, and gay Italian cars

An international (New York, Paris, London) consortium of bankers has loaned money to Mexico to prevent it defaulting on its bonds, but what will it do if, as seems inevitable, Mexico defaults in the future? Since the 1910 and 1913 loans were secured by 62% and 38% of Mexican customs duties respectively, the bankers seem to think it would be incumbent on their nations to land troops to collect those duties. The French government, at least, seems to feel no such obligation to the bankers.

A court in Oregon enjoins the militia from holding the town of Copperfield under martial law (imposed by the prohibitionist governor to enforce the closing of saloons). The sheriff forms a volunteer posse to resist martial law.

The British Tory press has taken to referring to those Liberals who oppose increasing spending to build new battleships the “Suicide Club.”

The other big issue in British newspapers lately, evidently, is a spat over Christian missionary work in Kenya. Worried about the inroads Islam is making against Christianity, the Anglican bishops of Mombassa and Uganda held a meeting of missionaries. Since it included Baptists, Methodists and the like, the Bishop of Zanzibar is accusing them of heresy. This is the sort of thing that kept the letter columns of The Times of London filled.

Headline of the Day -100: “Italy Likes Gay Cars.”

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Today -100: January 3, 1914: Of human sacrifices, martial law, and taxing royalty

A Mexican rebel offensive at Ojinaga fails.

Headline of the Day -100: “Human Sacrifice to Czar.” The czar just took a train from Moscow to Tsarkoe Selo (near St Petersburg), so soldiers were posted every few yards along the entire 400-mile route during a raging storm. Four soldiers were hit by trains in three separate incidents because the couldn’t see that they were standing on tracks because of the snow.

Headline of the Day -100 #2: “Girl Puts Town under Martial Law.” Oregon Gov. Oswald West’s secretary, Miss Fern Hobbs, declares martial law in Copperfield in order to shut its saloons after the mayor and city council refused her demand that they resign (the governor wants the officials who own saloons removed from office).

Germany will implement new taxes on the wealthy to support an increased army. The NYT’s figures are all round numbers in US dollars, which seems a bit suspect, but it says the taxes will raise $250 million, of which $1 million will be paid by the royal family, the first time they have been subject to taxation.

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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Today -100: January 2, 1914: Of tangos and radium

Headline of the Day -100: “Catholic Church Fighting the Tango.” Dance-off!

Dr. Carl Alsberg, chief chemist for the Department of Agriculture, warns against “fake radium cancer cures” offered by quacks.

Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck, announces a semi-philanthropic scheme to open banks to lend small sums to working-class people so they aren’t driven to use loan sharks. Near as I can tell, nothing came of this.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Today -100: January 1, 1914: Of eugenic marriages, divorces, colonies, and battleships

At the end of 1913, Wisconsin marriage license clerks were swamped by couples trying to beat the start of the new eugenic marriage law and avoid having to get medical approval (which may prove difficult to get since doctors are refusing to perform the exams for $3, the max the law allows them to charge, and other doctors point out that it is impossible for them to certify that people are VD-free).

And a new law in Nevada dissolves the divorce colony at Reno by requiring a one-year residence in the state before a divorce can be granted.

Bernard Shaw has a (possibly facetious, you can never be quite sure with GBS) plan to ensure peace in Europe: Britain should “politely announc[e] that war between France and Germany would be so inconvenient to England that England is prepared to pledge herself to defend either country if it is attacked by the other. If we are asked how we are to decide which is the real aggressor, we can reply that we shall take our choice, or even, when the problem is insoluble, toss up for it”.

Mexico extends the bank holiday another 15 days.

The British Foreign Office denies that the UK and Germany have come to a deal on dividing up Portugal’s colonies (and Portugal denies that they’re for sale).

British Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George “opens a peace campaign.” Actually, he’s pushing back against the demands of Winston Churchill (the First Lord of the Admiralty) for more expensive battleships, pointing out that 1) Britain and Germany are so friendly these days that there’s little chance of war, 2) European powers are focusing on enlarging their armies, so Germany won’t be challenging British naval supremacy any time soon.

Have a peaceful and prosperous and peaceful 1914, everyone!

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