Monday, March 31, 2014

Today -100: March 31, 1914: Asquith has run away

Sir John French, head of the Imperial General Staff, and Sir John Ewart, adjutant general to the Armed Forces, stick to their resignations. Secretary of State for War J.E.B. Seely again offers his resignation, and this time it’s accepted. Prime Minister Asquith will take over that job as well. Which means (as it meant before World War I) that he is required to resign his parliamentary seat and run again in a by-election, while continuing as prime minister. His opponent, unless the other parties decide to let him run unopposed, will be a Tory who is named Col. Sprot, because of course he is. Asquith’s absence from Parliament will conveniently make it unable to question him for a couple of weeks, including the period in which the Home Rule Bill is debated. “Premier Asquith has run away,” the Daily Mail says.

Count Zeppelin invents a soundless airship for the German military.

Stories from the siege of Torreón from war correspondent John Reed, as played by Warren Beatty: Federal commander Velasco going insane and having to be put under restraint. Pancho Villa personally throwing hand grenades.

The debate in Congress on repealing the exemption from Panama Canal tolls for US ships traveling between the East and West coasts of the US has been contentious. Woodrow Wilson is angry that he’s been accused of doing a secret deal with Britain on this.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Today -100: March 30, 1914: Of vice wars, censorship, espionage, plumes, currencies, traffic cops, and wild ballets

Vice Headline of the Day -100: “Vice War in Alton Menaces Churches.” In a little local dispute over prohibition, the Alton, Illinois YMCA, where dry meetings were held, is burned down, along with an alderman’s grocery store.

All the newspapers in Mexico City wrongly reported that the Constitutionalists were defeated at Torreón except one, El País. In other news, El País has been closed by the government. In other news, no one in Mexico City actually knows what is going on in Torreón.

A Russian inventor and telegraph engineer named Jhidkovsky is arrested for intercepting wireless messages from the War Office in St Petersburg and selling them to an (unnamed) foreign government.

Plume Headline of the Day -100: “French Officers May Wear Plumes.” The US ban on the importation of plumage will not apply to the humorous hats worn by officers assigned to French missions in the US.

There are now two currencies circulating in Mexico, issued by the two rival governments, neither of them backed by much of anything and both rapidly declining in value.

There is talk among the rebels of splitting the north of Mexico into a separate country.

A bill before the NY Legislature would increase the number of traffic cops in NYC to 1,000, nearly doubling the number of men directing traffic. A recent law made it a crime to disobey the orders of a traffic cop.

Proquest L.A. Times Headline Typo of the Day -100: “SHOOTS AT ZELAYA.: Revengeful Nicaraguan Tries to Kill Former President in Spain. But Ballet Goes Wild.”

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Today -100: March 29, 1914: Of new countries, street cars, hissing, feudists, and the paraphernalia and pretensions of war

Baja California has evidently seceded from Mexico.

Headline of the Day -100: “3-Cent Fare Riots Averted.” A Toledo, Ohio ordinance requiring that street car fares not exceed 3¢ went into effect at midnight. The car company is fighting this and there were worries that the militia would have to be called in to restore order if increased fares provoked riots. Instead, the company is only accepting the old higher fares (which I think were 5¢); if people offer the legally mandated 3¢, they are allowed to ride free (something about not establishing a legal precedent by accepting the 3¢ fare). So no rioting today.

A Dublin magistrate reaffirms that there is a Common Law right to hiss a play.

Orville Wright says current airplanes can’t make trans-Atlantic flights.

The Danish Senate unexpectedly rejects the Danish-American arbitration treaty. It’s not clear why.

Thomas Edison’s film studio in the Bronx burns down. A lot of films, sets, costumes, and cylinders intended to serve as the soundtrack for films, are destroyed.

Obituary of the Day -100: Randall McCoy, or as the NYT terms him, “Randall McCoy, Feudist”. Of Hatfields & McCoys feud fame, patriarch of the McCoys, he dies at 88, so I guess he wins.

H.H. Munro (Saki) has publishedWhen William Came,” a sci-fi book about England under German occupation (this is the US edition; the British one was last year). Bands playing “Germania Rules the Waves,” that sort of thing.

And H.G. Wells has published The World Set Free,” which suggests the coming of something resembling nuclear bombs and warns of the growing destructiveness that technology had brought to the world, and the failure of social and governmental structures to keep pace:
All through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the amount of energy that men were able to command was continually increasing. Applied to warfare that meant that the power to inflict a blow, the power to destroy, was continually increasing. There was no increase whatever in the ability to escape. Every sort of passive defence, armour, fortifications, and so forth, was being outmastered by this tremendous increase on the destructive side. Destruction was becoming so facile that any little body of malcontents could use it; it was revolutionising the problems of police and internal rule. Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city. These facts were before the minds of everybody; the children in the streets knew them. And yet the world still, as the Americans used to phrase it, ‘fooled around’ with the paraphernalia and pretensions of war.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Today -100: March 28, 1914: I don’t know of any assembly on the part of the working people that would be lawful

Oregon Gov. Oswald West is still on his anti-saloon tear. He warns Salem’s Mayor Hilda Larson that if she doesn’t stop violations of liquor laws in Salem he will close all the saloons. She had actually requested the DA investigate the sale of liquor to minors – in saloons competing with her husband’s. Instead, he has been arrested for the sale of liquor to minors; spite work by the other saloon-keepers, Mayor Larson says.

Frank Tannenbaum, the IWW leader who led the raid of the unemployed on NYC churches, is convicted for “participating in an unlawful assemblage.” He told the court, “I don’t know of any assembly on the part of the working people that would be lawful.” The judge informs him that the United States is “the best place in the world for every man who has industry” and accuses him of failing to appreciate the spirit of American institutions before sentencing him to a year in an American institution and a $500 fine, which should be a spur to industry.

Ironic-in-Hindsight Headline of the Day -100: “Lusitania Brings Shipwrecked Men.”

The NYT editorializes that Canada has the right idea in sending a United Mine Workers organizer to prison for 4 years for his part in riots associated with the coal strike in Nanaime, and giving shorter sentences to 50 more strikers. The Times seems to think that the law in the US is entirely on the side of strikers which... I can’t... even....

Headline of the Day -100: “FLIES 2 MILES UPSIDE DOWN; Huck Performs Remarkable Feat at Northampton Aviation Field.” One assumes on purpose.

The king of Italy wrote a four-volume book on coins.

Russia will ban the export of horses in order to keep the army’s equine bills down.

The New York Legislature finishes up its session in a frenzy of legislatin’. It passes bills to restrict the sale of heroin and to carry out executions only in one prison, Sing Sing. A bill for widows’ pensions passed the Assembly 100-2 but was blocked in the Senate. The Assembly fails to pay the enormous expenses spent so far in trying to extradite escaped insane murderer Harry Thaw from New Hampshire (and from Canada before that).

The British Army issues a new order that officers and soldiers may not be asked what they would do in hypothetical contingencies such as enforcing Home Rule, that officers and soldiers may not ask for assurances about future orders, and that it is the duty of officers and soldiers to obey every lawful command. Prior to this month, you wouldn’t have thought any of that needed saying.

Suffragettes are believed to have burned down the Belfast Lough country residence of retired Maj. Gen. Sir Hugh McCalmont, whose grounds have been used by Ulster Unionists to practice military drills.

A bunch of NY Gov. Glynn’s appointees are confirmed by the Legislature. Having learned the lesson of his predecessor’s impeachment, his nominees were all good Tammany men.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Today -100: March 27, 1914: Eat faster!

The Massachusetts Legislature votes to hold a referendum on women’s suffrage, although it will take another vote in the Lege in 1915 first.

This week the Women’s Freedom League picketed Scotland Yard to protest its continued employment of constables who knew about the sexual relations between another constable and a 14-year-old girl.

The Women’s Social and Political Union announces that in the fiscal year ending February 28, its income was £36,896, an increase of £8,000 over the previous year. Militancy pays.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “‘Eat Faster,’ Kaiser Rules.” Kaiser Wilhelm reforms dinner: fashionable dinners must now last no more than 45 minutes, and women will no longer leave men to their cigars and dirty stories after dinner, but will remain and socialize with them.

The kaiser refuses the crown prince permission to go on a trip to Africa. But is it for financial reasons, or because he realized it was less about visiting the German colonies for the prince than hunting, or “owing to recent events, of which the public are not informed”? Berlin is abuzz.

The chief of the British Army General Staff, Brig. Gen. Sir John French, and Adjutant Gen. Sir John Spencer Ewart resign over their part in acquiescing to the Curragh mutineers. They signed the written assurance that the military wouldn’t be used against Ulster, and view the Cabinet’s retraction of that unauthorized assurance as a personal slight. They say they’ll stay if Minister of War Seely is fired. So the response to a crisis about members of the military dictating to the government is to do it again.

Reports from the rebel attack on Torreón are contradictory and untrustworthy, as was the custom, but it seems the Federales have driven off the rebels through superior artillery.

Havana establishes a quarantine after cases of bubonic plague show up.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today -100: March 26, 1914: I repudiate the hellish suggestion!

Parliament is told that when Secretary of State for War J.E.B. Seely gave Brig. Gen. Gough those written assurances that the government wouldn’t use the military to “crush political opposition” to Home Rule, he did so without consulting the Cabinet, which has now rescinded the guarantee. And asked for it to be returned. Evidently the 37th Cavalry doesn’t get a veto over government policy after all. Seely has offered his resignation, but it hasn’t been accepted (yet). Probably just as well for Britain this clown wasn’t in that post when there was an actual war to minister.

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Spencer Churchill tells Parliament that he did indeed order a battle squadron to Ireland, just in case, but when the army maneuvers went off without fighting he’d decided to delay. Does that mean, a Tory MP asks, that he expected the maneuvers to lead to fighting? “I repudiate the hellish suggestion!” Winston thunders, as was the custom. He explains the order to embark field guns by saying it was just for exercise in case of rain. Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law pretends to believe that the whole thing was a plot to provoke an uprising in Ulster in order to crush it, a plot which was thwarted only by the convictions of the Army that, in the matter of Home Rule, the British government was as much a revolutionary committee as Huerta’s regime in Mexico and its orders could therefore be legitimately resisted.

The Assize Court rules that the British government can’t ban the importation of arms into Ireland.

Har Dayal, a former lecturer in Indian philosophy at Stanford Universtiy, is arrested ostensibly as an illegal alien, but actually because of his anarchist beliefs and because the British would like to get their hands on him. The position of the commissioner-general of immigration is that all Hindus like Dayal are unassimilable and liable to become a public charge, even if they’re rich like Dayal, who taught for free at Stanford. Dayal will flee to Europe.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Today -100: March 25, 1914: Of volcanos, planning meals in Torreón, cheers against kings, and the double standard

In Naples, panic ensues after some guy says he saw the giant statue of St. Januarius, patron saint of the city, change position and turn its back on Mount Vesuvius. An eruption is therefore imminent, according to idiots.

The Constitutionalists are besieging Torreón and have captured parts of it. Pancho Villa sends a message to the Federal general, asking him to breakfast tomorrow in the town, presumably left-overs from the dinner he boasted he’d be eating in Torreón three days ago. Villa is departing from his usual practice of killing wounded enemy soldiers.

At Henriette Caillaux’s preliminary hearing, she says that she shot Calmette because she was afraid her husband, who is a good shot, would kill him and go to jail. She bought a gun for the first time that morning (and practiced in the gunseller’s basement shooting range) and shot low, she says, just to scare Calmette, somehow hitting him four times. She talks about her “anguish” and “delirium” a lot, which is setting the stage for a crime-of-passion defense, which usually works, at least in Paris and for female murderers.

Other prisoners at Saint Lazare women’s penitentiary (staffed entirely by nuns, I believe) are complaining about the privileges Madame Caillaux’s getting (wearing her own clothes, catered food, a second cell for use as a reception room, etc), and got put in solitary in retaliation.

Gen. Sir Hubert Gough returns to Northern Ireland in triumph, telling the officers of the Third Cavalry Brigade that he has a guarantee – a written guarantee yet – that they will not be used to enforce Home Rule in NI.

Headline of the Day -100 (Daily Telegraph): “Cheers Against the King.” During the House of Commons discussion of the Curragh Mutiny, John Ward (Lib) says that Parliament must decide whether it will make the laws without interference from the king or the army. He paused after “king,” and there was a loud cheering from Irish Nationalist, Labour, and some Liberal MPs, indicating their displeasure with what they (correctly) believe was behind-the-scenes royal interference in the Home Rule Bill, which forced Asquith to allow Ulster that six-year opt-out. The NYT says of the cheering, “Parliament had not witnessed such an obviously hostile criticism of the Throne in the memory of the oldest member”.

Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond says “The Ulster Orange plot has been revealed.” The volunteer army of Loyalists never intended to fight, he says: “The plan was to put up the appearance of a fight, and then, by society influence, seduce the officers of the British army. By this means they intended to intimidate the government and to defeat the will of the British people.”

The London Times editorializes that it is a great mistake to pass laws which people will not obey; it brings all law into contempt. Votes for Women will point out that this is a “frank defence of law-breaking,” which applies as much to militant suffragist methods as to those of Ulster men. Similarly, Lloyd George asks in Parliament what moral right Bonar Law would have, if the Tories took power, to punish suffragettes. And The Suffragette says that if the army is allowed to decide not to move against Unionists, then police, wardresses, and prison doctors can refuse to coerce suffragettes.

A National Organization of Women Suffrage Societies of Canada is formed, bringing together the various provincial groups.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Today -100: March 24, 1914: Of the cavalry, the coercion of Ulster, superdreadnoughts, scabs, and Latin

US cavalry and Mexican troops have a brief firefight at the border. The Federales were shooting at a smaller contingent of Constitutionalists who were fleeing into the US, and then at the Americans who met the rebels. When the federals hit some horses, the cavalry fired back.

Brig-Gen Sir Hubert Gough, one of the British soldiers at Curragh who said he’d resign rather than fight against Ulster, is reinstated without having to take back that position. Some of this is just different people in the government working at cross-purposes, and some of them *cough* Secretary of State for War J.E.B. Seely *cough* Irish commander-in-chief Sir Arthur Paget *cough* are just terrible at their jobs, but the Tory press is crowing because it looks very much as if the rebellious soldiers have extracted a promise from the government that the military wouldn’t be used to enforce government policy, Home Rule, in the north of Ireland against rebellious resistance. PM Asquith explains to Parliament that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding. Tory leader Bonar Law says that “the coercion of Ulster is an operation no Government has the right to ask the army to undertake, and in our view an officer who refuses is only fulfilling his duty.” Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald points out that the army hasn’t resisted past orders to shoot down strikers (and Tom Mann went to jail for asking soldiers not to do so).

The US Supreme Court upholds a Massachusetts law limiting minors and women in manufacturing jobs to 10 hours a day, 56 hours a week (since amended to 54).

The US Navy launches its largest “superdreadnought,” the Oklahoma.

Mother Jones goes to the strike zone in Colorado and is rearrested, as was the custom.

Strikers get into a heated gun battle with special deputies protecting scabs at the Gould Coupler Company in Depew, NY. The strikers attack a train bringing scabs into the plant with stones and bullets. Early in the strike, which began three months ago, the company declared the town of Depew hostile and that it would employ no locals, so special trains have been bringing in scabs from Buffalo every day.

The Japanese cabinet resigns over a scandal involving Navy contracts.

Obit of the Day -100: Harry Thurston Peck, L.H.D., PhD, LL D, former professor of Latin at Columbia and author of numerous scholarly books. Fired by Columbia after being sued by his former secretary for breach of promise (he had a pretty racy private life for a Latin prof), despite the fact that the case was dismissed, and blackballed by the magazines he’d previously written for, he sank into hack work and destitution, mental breakdown and, finally, suicide.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Today -100: March 23, 1914: The soldiers have the bayonets, and I have nothing but the Constitution

Sylvia Pankhurst and a thousand of her closest friends attempt to attend services at Westminster Abbey. Sylvia is carried on a stretcher because of weakness from her umpteenth hunger strike. Slight problem: when you announce plans like this in advance, people tend to show up to watch the fireworks, and the Abbey was full by the time she arrived. She held a meeting outside the Abbey, then went home in an ambulance.

Kaiser Wilhelm leaves for Corfu for a conference with his fellow Triple Alliance monarchs, Austria’s ancient Franz Joseph and Italy’s Vittorio Emanuele, to discuss monarch business.

Gen. Blas Orpinal, one of the Mexican generals who escaped from a US refugee camp, is recaptured, disguised as a peon.

British Prime Minister Asquith denies that the movement of troops and ships had anything to do with coercing Ulster but were of a “purely precautionary character,” or that arrest warrants were issued for Unionist leaders, or that he intends a “general inquisition” of officers as to whether they would “take up arms against Ulster.” It’s odd that he’s referring to Ulster not only as if it were united (“against Ulster”), but as if it were united against his policies. A reminder: this is 9 Northern Irish counties we’re talking about, some of them with Catholic majorities, not the 6 counties that became the current province.

The anarchists who led the march down 5th Ave in New York yesterday (Emma Goldman’s “crowd of dupes,” as the NYT calls them) are forming an organization of the unemployed, to take what they need.

On Malekula Island in the New Hebrides, six native teachers from the Walla Island mission station are eaten by cannibals, as was the custom.

Mother Jones is heading back to the Colorado mine region in defiance of military orders, saying she expects to be arrested: “the soldiers have the bayonets, and I have nothing but the Constitution.”

Charles Young, a negro accused of assaulting an old white woman, is lynched near Mapleville, Alabama.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “Mangled Finger Saves Lives of a Hundred.” A freight train went out of control and wrecked at Butler, California, but it didn’t hit a work train which had been diverted because of a Mexican laborer whose mangled finger needed medical treatment. Not really as interesting a story as the headline suggested.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


So I saw in my Twitter feed that “Marsha and Glenna are married!”, without other context, and wondered if I was supposed to know who they were. Subsequent tweets divulged that they were the first gay couple married in Michigan, and I’d read “Marsha and Glenna are married!” without it jumping out at me that this was something unusual. The new normal got normal fast. In 5 years, we’ll see an announcement about someone named Adam marrying someone named Steve, and it won’t even occur to us there used to be a moronic slogan about that.

That said, I still wish the first gay couple married in France had been called Adam and Yves.

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Today -100: March 22, 1914: I am coming to have supper with you

Sir Edward Carson says “The Government is attempting to cow Ulster by intimidation and provocation, but both will fail.” In truth, while both sides are preparing for battle, neither wants to fire the first shot. The British government orders police in Ireland not to enforce the gun licensing laws against the many Ulster Unionists going around armed. The Unionists are using motorcyclists to disseminate communications. Property-owners in Northern Ireland are taking out riot insurance policies.

Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George gives a speech in Huddersfield, calling Ulster the spoiled child of Ireland. “Look at the frothy description of the Ulster volunteers in the Unionist press. Why, there has been nothing like it since Milton’s description of the heavenly host in Paradise Lost.” He accuses the Tories of keeping the issue bubbling because they have no other policies.

The unemployed army, 61 of them anyway, crossed into Nevada after all, despite the governor’s threats. The sheriff of Elko County feeds them and forces them to bathe in the hot springs. Another group of unemployed seize a train in Redding, CA but are now heading on foot for Oregon. Shasta County will feed them at stations 20 miles apart, luring them out of the county like E.T. and the Reese’s pieces.

Headline of the Day -100: “Menaced by Suffragists.” John Barnhill, running for Congressman-at-large in Illinois, opposed by suffragists due to such views as these: “My platform is to offer to every woman a home and a husband instead of the vote, and I believe that nine-tenths of the women would rather have a home and a husband than to have the vote.” How will he provide these homes & husbands? By raising the wages of men.

The Constitutionalists in Sonora, Mexico levy a tax of 3 or perhaps 5% (semi-legible NYT) on all property owned by Mexicans, though not that of foreigners, to be paid in gold.

Carranza refuses requests from Sonora residents that he apportion the land and property of the American Mormons who fled the country.

As the battle for Torreón finally starts, Pancho Villa phones the Federal commander there to say “I am coming to have supper with you.”

A Mexican federal commander refuses to hand over the five soldiers Texas says killed rancher Clemente Vergara. Gov. Colquitt has offered a $200 reward for their capture and delivery across the border.

Maxim Gorky is to be prosecuted for blasphemy for his novel Mother.

The government in Alaska is distributing reindeer to the natives.

The NYT has a long account of the Caillaux-Calmette feud, the months of mostly untruthful articles by Calmette about the finance minister in Le Figaro that preceded his murder. In court, Henriette Caillaux explains “I was greatly annoyed at the abominable campaign against him.” You do not want to greatly annoy Madame Caillaux; she will, as the French say, fuck your shit up.

1,000 Anarchists march up 5th Avenue in NYC. Alexander Berkman, who spent 14 years in prison for attempting to kill steel tycoon Henry Frick, led the march “with a woman on each arm.” Being anarchists, they jostled pedestrians – jostled pedestrians! – and “defied the traffic regulations”.

Elsewhere in the city, Salvation Army members invaded dance restaurants on Broadway to warn tangoers (tangoists?) that they were going to hell. They were welcomed at every establishment, so they sang songs and gave little sermons, were applauded politely and offered money, which they refused, and moved on to the next venue.

The Paris police prefect tells music hall and dance hall owners: no more nudity. It’s okay in theaters, because art.

Name of the Day -100: Countess Fanny von Moltke, the German head of the Christian Science movement, which may soon be investigated and prosecuted.

All university publications at the University of Nebraska will use a uniform system of simplified spelling.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Today -100: March 21, 1914: Of mutinies, men who can shoot and will shoot when necessary, fireplaces, slemps, and fake Hawaiians

The Curragh Mutiny: a few days ago, amidst rumors that Ulster Loyalists were planning to seize arms from military depots, orders were issued to Sir Arthur Paget, commander of the British army in Dublin, to send more troops to protect four depots. Paget refused, saying it would “create intense excitement in Ulster.” He was ordered to London for a little talking-to, and when he returned he suggested to his officers who lived in NI that they could “quietly disappear” if they wanted. The rest he told to obey orders or resign. That is, he gave them a choice, something you don’t usually do in the military. So far, over 100 officers are said to have resigned.

A personal letter, supposedly written by Kaiser Wilhelm to a Prussian princess who converted to Catholicism, is published in Germany. He tells her, “I hate the religion which you have adopted.”

The US cavalry is searching for a group of supporters of the Mexican federal government who crossed into Mexico, killed a rebel soldier, and then returned to the US.

Texas Gov. Colquist is looking to expand the Texas Rangers to patrol the Mexican border. Specifically, he’s looking for “men who can shoot and will shoot when necessary.”

King George takes out a patent on a moveable fireplace.

A Colorado coal company is suing the United Mine Workers, asking $1 million in damages. It says the UMW conspired to injure its business, bought weapons to terrify miners into striking, “caused inflammatory and intimidating speeches to be made to plaintiff’s said employees,” and restrained men in the tent colonies who wanted to return to work.

Headline of the Day -100: “Earth Swallows Miners.” Two of them, and nearly a third, in Shenandoah.

A hydro-plane service will start up between San Francisco and Oakland (the Bay Bridge is more than 20 years in the future).

Name of the Day -100: Rep. C. Bascom Slemp (R-VA), who is being sued for divorce by his wife Loberta.

Still coming to terms with women’s suffrage, the 25th ward of the Democratic Club in Chicago will distribute bottles of perfume to women who attend campaign meetings, while men continue to get cigars.

The inevitable riots follow the funeral of Le Figaro editor Gaston Calmette. A man who shouts “Assassin Caillaux!” is caned by a crowd, which he then shoots into.

A San Francisco court grants a divorce to Elvida Neilsen from Dr. Enfranng Cheng. When they married, she thought he was a Hawaiian, but after they married found out that he is in fact a Chinaman.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today -100: March 20, 1914: Of women and negro suffrage, divided armies, half-baked anarchists, and vulcanists (the most pacifist and logical of races)

The Senate votes 35-34 in favor of a women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution, well short of the necessary 2/3. Most of the debate is about race rather than sex. An amendment to the resolution offered by arch-racist James K. Vardaman (D-Miss.) to repeal the 15th Amendment loses 19-48. An amendment to restrict women’s suffrage to white women, offered by Mississippi’s other, slightly less racist (but still racist as fuck) senator, John Sharp Williams (who seems to have used the N–word rather a lot and who goes off on some weird tangent about how he’d give negroes a little leeway, for example by not sending them to prison like he would a white man for stealing chickens or for bigamy), fails 21-44. The 35 senators who voted for women’s suffrage included 14 D’s & 21 R’s; the 34 who voted against were 22 D’s and 12 R’s. Only three Southern senators voted in favor. The only senator willing to directly come out against women’s suffrage was James Martine (D-NJ), who wonders if pro-suffrage senators found objection to Jesus not having chosen six female apostles.

The White House claims that First Lady Ellen Wilson’s recent indisposition is the result of an accident – she tripped on a rug and had a minor injury, they lie. And a “slight operation” because she had a... bruise. (Update: “lie” may be too strong: she was keeping her condition secret even from Woodrow).

The NYT says there are 150,000 Ulsterites drilling in preparation for civil war. There are rumors that warrants have been signed for the arrest of Ulster Unionist leaders. The British government denies it, but Sir Edward Carson, the Marquis of Londonberry and others are making their way to Belfast, where presumably there will be a fight if arrests are attempted. In Parliament, Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law demands a referendum of the entire UK on Home Rule, including the provision for referenda in Northern Irish counties. He says if Asquith refuses his generous offer, it must be because the government wants to settle this by bullets (a bit rich from the man encouraging Ulsterites to import arms). He threatens that if there is a civil war, “The army will be divided, and that force be destroyed on which we depend for our national safety.”

The IWW invade and disrupt a meeting in Cooper Union called by socialists to discuss the unemployment problem. One of the socialist speakers calls them “half-baked anarchists” and asks why they came to “break up a respectable meeting.”

British aviators are charging passengers $250 for flights (or 15s a mile), including loop-the-loops. Evidently, women are particularly keen on the loops. Other passengers include Prince Paul of Serbia and some guy who brought along two little black pigs because why not. And yet another British military airman dies in a plane crash, the 36th.

Ironic Death of the Day -100: Prof. Giuseppe Mercalli, vulcanist, seismologist, and Director of the Vesuvian Observatory, burned to death by an overturned paraffin lamp. (Update: Wikipedia says he was actually murdered and his body burned to cover up a robbery.)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today -100: March 19, 1914: Of evil ferments, wahlweiber, rebels’ rears, scary geese, nickle calls, and sick Wilsons

Pro- and anti-Caillaux students fight each other in Paris, as was the custom. The Annales politiques et littéraires says that things like the assassination happen because of the “evil ferments introduced into our mores by divorce.”

Lady Bathurst, the owner of the London Morning Post, editorializes that militant suffragettes should be deported. I don’t know if she says where to.

A German court fines a doctor’s wife for describing the head-mistress of a Cologne girls’ school, who punished her daughter, as a... wait for it... suffragette. The court ruled that the word (wahlweiber) is libelous.

Huerta calls financiers and property owners together and demands that they support the military effort against the rebels, providing horses, wearing a little badge – in other words publicly committing themselves to one side.

Sexy War Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “To Worry Rebels’ Rear.” Huerta plans to send arson squads to burn railroad bridges and suchlike to bottle rebel troops up in northern Sonora.

Headline of the Day -100: “Honking Geese Scare Boy to Death.”

The New York state Assembly repeals the law for a referendum on whether to call a state constitutional convention.

The NY Assembly also votes for a flat nickel cost for phone calls within New York City.

There is a rumor that some member of Pres. Wilson’s family is seriously ill.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Today -100: March 18, 1914: The world is arming as it never armed before

I see Britain is issuing a stamp to commemorate their depraved indifference for the safety and well-being of a minor, leading to his premature death. Also, if Dickens had written the story of a 15-year-old allowed to enlist in the army and killed two years later at the Somme, he’d definitely have named him William Tickle.

Also, I kind of want one of those stamps.

In Paris, royalists riot over Henriette Caillaux’s killing of Le Figaro editor Gaston Calmette. In the National Assembly, Deputy Amédée Thalamas (who is also a Sorbonne professor who had run-ins with the far-right when they rioted over his views on Joan of Arc, no, really they did) circulates a letter he wrote to Mme. Caillaux congratulating her on her shooting. “Brava!”, his letter concludes.

Her husband Joseph Caillaux resigns as finance minister.

Sen. William Borah (R-Idaho) says a women’s suffrage amendment to the US Constitution (currently under consideration in the Senate) will never pass unless the 15th Amendment is repealed first. Do the advocates of women’s suffrage really suppose, he asks, that the Southern states will add 2 million more people to the list of those whom they must disfranchise? The 15th Amendment is a dead letter anyway, he says, and “It is demoralizing to the negro race to place in the Constitution the form of rights that we do not mean to see they shall enjoy.” Why, he continues, the 15th Amendment might furnish a precedent for an amendment giving negroes the right to hold real estate or, god forbid, attend public school.

Winston Churchill presents Parliament with a projected budget for the navy for 1914-5, with a 5% increase, though he says that 1915-6’s budget should be lower, barring any, ahem, developments. The increase is caused by the costs of the switch from coal to oil and the creation of a flying corps. And new battleships, of course, always new battleships. The British navy, he says, “is the one great balancing force we can contribute to our own safety and the peace of the world. ... The causes which might lead to a general war have not been removed. The world is arming as it never armed before. All attempts at arresting it have been ineffectual.”

The British king and queen attend a vaudeville show at the Palladium. Suffragettes get tickets for the box above theirs and rain down pamphlets against forcible feeding (“the medical profession has now become a police force whose task it is to break the spirit of the suffragist women by injuring their bodies”). According to the London Times, no one picks up any of the circulars.

Headline of the Day -100: “Summons Bomb-Hurling Aviator.” Isn’t it nice how new technologies always create new professions, like “bomb-hurling aviator?” Pancho Villa wants Capt. Alberto Salinas to assist in the attack on Torreón, presumably by hurling bombs from his plane.

Horrifying But Misleading Headline of the Day -100: “Bare Hobo Plan to Revolt.” That is, a California National Guard general lays bare an alleged plot by the unemployed marchers to seize a federal arsenal for a revolution, not, repeat NOT a plan by bare hoboes to revolt people with their naked hobo bits.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Today -100: March 17, 1914: Don’t touch me, I am a lady

Three days after Le Figaro printed that letter from Finance Minister Joseph Caillaux to his first wife, his current wife Henriette shoots the newspaper’s editor, Gaston Calmette, dead. On seeing her calling card Calmette reportedly said, “She is a woman, I must receive her,” and when a porter seized her after shooting Calmette, she said, “Don’t touch me. I am a lady (Je suis une dame!)” She told the police she wasn’t trying to kill Calmette when she fired five times at him (hitting him four times), just to give him a lesson.

A while back I considered concluding certain stories with the phrase “And that’s how World War I started.” This story definitely qualifies. Joseph Caillaux was not a war-monger, which was one of the reasons Calmette waged a bitter campaign against him. His secret diplomacy as prime minister during the Agadir crisis in 1911 when Germany sent a gunboat to Morocco to protest French moves in Morocco (Caillaux was a racist colonialist) defused the situation; Le Figaro has been claiming (falsely) that he gave the Congo to Germany in exchange for insider information which he used to make a fortune on the Berlin stock exchange, which he then used to buy Henriette a jeweled crown, literally exchanging colonies for diamonds.

Actually it was more a case of Caillaux considering Britain a bigger threat to French interests than Germany. More recently Caillaux opposed the increase in the length of mandatory military service. The Radical Party (of which he was president) and the center-left in general did quite well in the April-May 1914 elections, and if not for the fact that his wife was still on trial he would have been prime minister and the even more vehemently anti-militarist Jean Jaurès foreign minister in time for the Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination. But they weren’t.

The Austrian parliament is dismissed after continuous disruptions by Czech MPs protesting the dismissal of the parliament in the Czech regions of the Empire (Bohemia). It had still not been recalled when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

Mother Jones, a prisoner of the military in Colorado for more than three months, is released, after a contentious conversation with the governor, but defiantly says she will return to the strike zone. “So long as I live I shall refuse to submit to military despotism.”

The California-Mexico border is under virtual martial law after the murder of the Tecate, CA postmaster by “three men said to be Mexicans.”

Dr. James Devon, a prison commissioner who used to be a prison doctor in Glasgow (who oversaw forcible feeding there), slugs a suffragette who attacks him with a whip.

Headline of the Day -100: “CATCH WOMAN IN DISGUISE.; Whip Found on Supposed Man Arrested in House of Commons.”

The NY State Senate passes a bill for equal pay for NYC 7th- and 8th-grade teachers of both sexes.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today -100: March 16, 1914: Of rangers, streetcars, war scares, and llamas

Suffrage graffiti appears all over Birmingham Cathedral, including on the Burne-Jones stained-glass windows.

Oh, there are only 15 Texas Rangers total. Anyway, they’re all now stationed on the Mexican border.

A wildcat strike hits Terra Haute, Ind. streetcars, literally, with some cars wrecked.

The Russian cabinet explains to leaders of the Duma the need to increase the military by 460,000 men.

Headline of the Day -100: “PLEASED WITH WAR SCARE.; German Chauvinists Congratulate Themselves on Its Success.” Jingo newspapers think the scare they, um, scared up has intimidated Russia.

Headline of the Day -100 (yes, there’s a second headline of the day -100 because shut up): “Llama for Bryan Ordered Deported.” A gift to the secretary of state from the mayor of Buenos Aires, the curly-haired llama has foot-and-mouth disease. Since it would be destroyed if sent back, it will be sent on to London,

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Weakness is despised

John McCain, in an op-ed in the NYT, says Putin’s “world is a brutish, cynical place, where power is worshiped, weakness is despised, and all rivalries are zero-sum.” John McCain, the king – nay, the tsar! – of self-awareness strikes again.

Showing his usual prescience, McCain thinks Putin will be overthrown by a popular uprising, if only Obama stands up to him.

I especially liked this line: “His Russia is not a great power on par with America. It is a gas station run by a corrupt, autocratic regime.” Again with the self-awareness.

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Today -100: March 15, 1914: Mrs. Pankhurst is persecuting the Government without mercy

The NYT calls for a new trial for Leo Frank. It doesn’t mention, no one ever mentions, that one of the reasons why he was railroaded and why there was such an outcry against him was that he is Jewish. Evidently in Atlanta they hated Jews more than they hated black men who killed 14-year-old girls.

A day after the Daily Mail crows that the militant suffragette movement in Britain is dying out, suffragettes break the windows of Home Secretary Reginald McKenna’s home. All cabinet ministers’ houses have police protection these days, so they’re all arrested. One tells the court: “It is a lucky thing for you we do not shoot.”

Emmeline Pankhurst is released from prison into a nursing home, after a hunger and thirst strike. She was not forcibly fed. Sylvia Pankhurst, also hunger-striking, gets out of prison the same day.

The NYT says “All the suffragists condemn the Government in heated terms. Mrs. Pankhurst is released because she threatens to starve herself to death, and the harridans insist that the Government is persecuting Mrs. Pankhurst. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Pankhurst is persecuting the Government without mercy.”

Kaiser Wilhelm orders all military officers to prevent their wives riding horses except side saddle.

Austria-Hungary, worried about the strength of its military, bans the emigration of men aged 17 to 36.

Theodore Roosevelt sends a dispatch from his Amazonian adventures.

Predictable Headline of the Day -100: “Ulster, Immovable, Demands Even More.” Ulster Unionists won’t accept an exclusion from Home Rule that is less than permanent, and want the entire province excluded, including the counties in which Protestants are in the minority (5 of the 9 counties of Northern Ireland). Arms smuggling and drilling continue apace, as is the custom.

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill gives a speech about Northern Ireland in Bradford, and the NYT leaves out the important bits, the bits that Ulsterites took as a declaration of war:
If Ulstermen extend the hand of friendship, it will be clasped by Liberals and by their Nationalist countrymen in all good faith and in all good will; but if there is no wish for peace; if every concession that is made is spurned and exploited; if every effort to meet their views is only to be used as a means of breaking down Home Rule and of barring the way to the rest of Ireland; if the Government and Parliament of this great country and greater Empire are to be exposed to menace and brutality; if all the loose, wanton, and reckless chatter we have been forced to listen to these many months is in the end to disclose a sinister and revolutionary purpose; then I can only say to you, Let us go forward together and put these grave matters to the proof.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Today -100: March 14, 1914: Of dances not conducive to propriety, happy hoboes, crazed explorers, refugees, monopolies, and frank witnesses

Italian troops kill 263 natives in still-unpacified Libya, as was the custom.

The Massachusetts Legislature rejects a bill to ban the tango and other dances “not conducive to propriety.”

Happy Headline of the Day -100: “Hobo Army Happy.” Yolo County ordered the unemployed men to leave, but it lacks sufficient police to enforce the order. The unemployed non-marchers are currently being fed by Sacramento unions while Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and Nevada counties debate what to do about them. The governor of Nevada says he’ll stop them at the border. “So Kelley’s men continue to fish, eat, and bask in the sunshine.”

Crazed Headline of the Day -100: “Crazed by the Antarctic.” Sydney Jeffreys, the wireless operator on ill-fated Mawson expedition, driven crazy by memories of the cold and starvation and whatnot, wanders off into the Australian bush to die but is found before he succeeds. He’s now in a nice warm lunatic asylum.

The US bills the Mexican government $100,000 for the care and feeding of Mexican refugees. Huerta is disinclined to pay. Meanwhile, lawyers for 3,600 Mexican soldiers interned at Fort Bliss are filing habeas writs claiming that while the Hague treaty requires soldiers escaping a war into a third country to be held for the duration of that war, this does not apply to civil wars.

Supposedly, King George has told Prime Minister Asquith that while his government does indeed have an electoral mandate for Home Rule (contrary to the position of the Tories), it lacks one to coerce Northern Ireland. He bases this on Asquith’s off-hand remark during the last elections that he didn’t contemplate the possibility of Ulster resistance. This royal intervention (if the story is true) was responsible for Asquith’s offer of referenda in the nine NI counties on a temporary opt-out.

Pres. Wilson decides not to protest on behalf of Standard Oil (as the Taft Administration did) against German moves to establish a state oil monopoly (it would still import about the same amount of American oil, just not necessarily as much from Standard).

Another witness in the Leo Frank case comes forward. She heard screams, presumably those of Mary Phagan being murdered, but the solicitor-general couldn’t get her to change her story to say that they occurred at the time his theory of the case called for, rather than at a time when Frank had an alibi, and he never called her as a witness.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today -100: March 13, 1914: Ton Jo

The NY state Senate rejects a bill to make insanity and confinement to an institution for more than a decade a legal cause for divorce.

Sacramento and three surrounding counties come to an agreement for dealing with the “hobo army” of the unemployed. If they agree to be dispersed in groups no larger than 50, their rail fare will be paid (up to 50 miles). They will not be permitted to march in a group, and if they refuse, well...

Mary Richardson is sentenced to six months for slashing the Rokeby Venus (“malicious damage to a picture”), although of course she will hunger strike. This is the maximum sentence for damaging a work of art in a public museum; had it been privately owned she could have gotten two years. Had it been a window she could have gotten 18 months.

Pres. Wilson’s daughter Eleanor Wilson is engaged to Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo. She’s 24, he’s 50 and even in 1914 they knew that was icky.

Danish political parties come to an agreement on a suffrage bill removing property qualifications and giving the vote to women.

The front page of Le Figaro features a photograph of a 13-year-old letter written by Finance Minister (and former prime minister) Joseph Caillaux to his future first wife while she was still married to her first husband, although Le Fig doesn’t disclose to whom the letter was written or that it was supplied to the paper by the bitter former Madame Caillaux, who he divorced a few years back to marry a woman he also lured away from her husband, because he was just that French and that studly.

The letter, signed Ton Jo (your Jo), includes some political tittle-tattle about Caillaux (who was finance minister then too) sabotaging a tax bill he publicly supported; the date of the letter is not shown in the reproduction in order to mislead readers into thinking that it was a recent letter about current tax debates. Le Fig’s editor Gaston Calmette was a bit of a dick and has been pursuing a vendetta against Caillaux for some time.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today -100: March 12, 1914: Did you ever hear of a woman losing an argument with a man?

Pres. Wilson is moving two more infantry regiments to the border, mostly to prevent Texas Gov. Colquist invading Mexico. Colquist, who is sending more Texas Rangers to the border, gives a speech in which he says “I defy any authority on the face of the earth, Washington included, to prevent me from protecting our citizens along the border.” I suppose a US-Texas war would be entirely out of the question? Because that would be awesome.

The Colorado Democratic Party has to remove Gertrude Lee as chair of the party’s state Central Committee, because Democratic party rules don’t allow a woman to run a campaign – and this in a state with women’s suffrage. Mrs. Lee was quoted by the LA Times last week: “There is no reason why a woman should not be as good a campaigner as a man. Did you ever hear of a woman losing an argument with a man?”

Sacramento police forbid the supplying of food to the encampment of the unemployed marchers. Surrounding counties are threatening to meet them with armed force if Sac County decides to move them on once again. Plans to disperse them in small groups are thwarted because the railroads refuse to carry them since the practice of moving undesirables on to other counties, as has been happening for days, is illegal under California law. Gov. Hiram Johnson insists there is no unemployment problem but rather a problem of men who prefer vagrancy and will not work.

Following the Rokeby Venus incident yesterday, all the big museums in London are closed. London businesses dependent on the tourist trade are worried. Fat American tourists are moving on to Paris.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Edward Carson has a counter-offer: he’ll call an Ulster convention to consider Asquith’s plan, provided that the period for which counties can vote to exclude themselves from Home Rule is extended from six years to forever.

23 lawsuits arising from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire are settled with the building’s insurance company for $75 each, if you’re wondering what a dead seamstress was worth.

Gen. Scott refuses to allow the lawyers working on habeas corpus petitions for Mexicans being held in Fort Bliss into the fort to sign up clients.

The NYC Board of Education says that “most imbeciles and all idiots can in no way derive any lasting benefits from attendance at the public school. Their mental condition cannot be improved either by the course of study or discipline. The only practical and humane solution is institutional care.” It suggests the appointment of a state commission to investigate a “permanent solution” that might include involuntary sterilization and compulsory segregation.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Today -100: March 11, 1914: You can get another picture, but you cannot get a life

In the National Gallery in London, Suffragette Mary Richardson slashes Velasquez’s Vensus at Her Mirror (aka the Rokeby Venus)

in protest at the treatment of Emmeline Pankhurst. She tells the cops who arrest her: “You can get another picture, but you cannot get a life, as they are killing Mrs. Pankhurst.” And in a statement sent to the WSPU she said, “I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history.” In court, she tells the judge, “You must surely see that you cannot administer the dead letter of the law against the spirit of the new letter as manifest in the Suffragette!” Richardson claimed in her 1953 memoirs that she got permission for this action from Christabel Pankhurst. She explained, “I had to draw the parallel between the public’s indifference to Mrs. Pankhurst’s slow destruction and the destruction of some financially valuable object.” Certainly the act shocked a British grown jaded by mere arson.

The National Gallery will be closed until further notice.

(The painting, which took multiple serious-looking cuts, has been pretty much fully restored.)

Meanwhile, Mrs Pankhurst is removed from Glasgow to London, with a large number of cops necessary to thwart plans to rescue her by suffragettes in London, and suffragettes who rode to London on the same train.

The NYT says that the British government is getting what it deserves for its earlier “foolish tolerance” – arrests, imprisonments, forcible feeding, the Cat & Mouse Act, you know, tolerance – of the “harridans called militants.”

The London Times, due to the grave political situation (Ireland, not women’s suffrage), is temporarily reducing its price to 1p.

It seems that Clemente Vergara’s body was recovered from Mexico not through a sneak invasion by the Texas Rangers but through the power of bribery. Also, initial reports that Vergara’s hand was burned were wrong.

Germany demands an increase to three cardinals in the Catholic Church.

The German stock exchange drops due to rumors of a war between Russia and Germany.

The Colorado militia invades the tent city of striking miners near Ludlow. All strikers without wives or children are ordered to leave. The union says the colony is on land leased by the union.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Today -100: March 10, 1914: Texas has not committed an act of aggression against Mexico

Texas Gov. Oscar Branch Colquitt says that Wilson’s Mexico policy is “a crime against civilization.” Texas governors, always so subtle. He blames Wilson’s “namby-pamby policy” for the outrages against American citizens. He again denies that the Texas Rangers crossed into Mexico: “Texas has not committed an act of aggression against Mexico... but Mexico, by reason of the conditions existing in that country, is constantly committing acts of aggression against the citizens of Texas.” He says each state has the right of self-defense.

Sen. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico) gives the names of 79 Americans he says have been killed in Mexico and calls for military intervention in Mexico, but says “we do not war upon the Mexican nation or people... it is not our purpose to acquire territory, upset their laws or overturn their constitution; and with an invitation to the masses of the Mexican people to cooperate with us...” We’ll be greeted as liberators! “...we should immediately direct the use of the land and naval forces of this Government for the protection of our citizens and other foreigners in Mexico and lend their assistance to the restoration of order and maintenance of peace in that unhappy country.” In other words, Senator Fall owns property in Mexico.

The NYT calls bullshit: “‘Intervention’ in the Southwest has always meant annexation.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Streams of Water Rout 1,500 Hoboes.” Sacramento decides to deal with the unemployed army by driving them out of the capital with beatings and water cannon (except for the leaders, who are arrested) and keeping them from returning by lining the bridge over the Sac River with cops with shoot-to-kill orders.

NY Gov. Glynn plans to deal with the unemployed movement in NYC by removing the unemployed from the city and putting them to work as farm laborers. Their wives can be maids. Problem solved.

The National Civic Federation responds to the IWW threat by setting up a committee chaired by Alton Parker, the Democratic candidate for president in 1904, “to study the scope and limits of the rights of free speech and assembly both from the standpoints of the individual and of public order and welfare.” The NYT thinks the IWW’s ideas are outside of Constitutional protection.

Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested in Glasgow at a public meeting. Suffragists resist with pails of water, guns firing blanks, and small bombs. Also, the platform on which Mrs P was speaking was protected by barbed wire cunningly concealed by floral decoration. She will be moved to London.

NY State Supreme Court Justice Chester denies former Gov. Sulzer’s application to be paid his post-impeachment salary. Because it would have prejudiced this case, poor Bill hasn’t drawn his salary as a member of the Assembly.

British Prime Minister Asquith offers concessions on Ulster: before Home Rule goes into effect, there will be referenda in each of the nine counties in Northern Ireland (note: present-day NI consists of 6 of those counties) on whether to exclude the county from Home Rule for six years. Sir Edward Carson calls this plan “a sentence of death with a stay of execution.”

But that’s not the only important issue being addressed by Parliament: the House of Commons is considering a Plumage Bill, which would ban the importation and sale of the plumage of wild birds.

Foreshadowy Headline of the Day -100: “Mrs. Wilson Still Ill.”

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Today -100: March 9, 1914: Of bodies

The body of Clemente Vergara, the American rancher killed by Mexican federal soldiers, is returned to the US by persons unknown, supposedly. The Texas governor’s office absolutely denies the rumor that the Texas Rangers crossed into Mexico to retrieve it. I have no idea whether to believe him. Vergara’s body has three bullet wounds, a broken skull, and charred fingers (so he was tortured before being killed).

The Italian cabinet resigns.

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Today -100: March 8, 1914: Of two-by-four know-it-alls, vodka, unemployed armies, monks, and hearing voices

In Congress, Rep. Asbury Lever (D-SC) quoted unfavorably a remark he’d overheard in his hotel dining room by “one of those two-by-four know-it-alls” that only farmers and criminals can get money from the government. As it happened, the very same two-by-four know-it-all was in the gallery at that moment and sent him a note saying he’d be at the Shoreham Hotel if Lever wanted to challenge him to a duel or have lunch with him. Lever has called the hotel three times without finding the two-by-four know-it-all in, but it is unknown which offer he desired to take up.

Czar Nicholas goes to war against vodka (spoiler alert: vodka will win; vodka always wins), ordering the end of the ceremony at the end of every army parade in which commanders toast the imperial family in front of the troops. The czar would like to reduce the state’s financial dependence on its vodka monopoly (one-third of state revenue), but is facing opposition from his cabinet.

Despite the case against him having fallen apart since his trial, Leo Frank is re-sentenced to be hanged on April 17th. His 30th birthday.

The unemployed army demand that California Gov. Hiram Johnson provide them food and transportation to the state border. He refuses, but offers them work. They say they’ll finish their march to Washington first.

There’s a Supreme Court case about a guy, Augustine Wirth, who quit the Benedictine monks in 1897, got fairly wealthy writing books, and died in 1907. The Benedictines are claiming that his estate should go to them rather than to his heirs because he took a vow of poverty.

Headline of the Day -100: “Helen Keller Hears Voice.” The high notes of an opera singer singing Die Walküre.

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Friday, March 07, 2014

Today -100: March 7, 1914: Of drunks, the unemployed, and extraditions

The Special Commission on drunkenness appointed by the Massachusetts Legislature says that prohibition is a bad idea and that drunks should receive medical treatment rather than prison sentences.

Here’s how California cities have decided to deal with the army of the unemployed that intended to make its way to D.C.: Contra Costa County (Richmond, I assume) is sending them north to Benicia, which plans to ship them to the Sacramento area...

Suffragettes camp out for 40 hours on the doorstep of Ulster Unionist leader Sir Edward Carson in an attempt to extract a promise from him that no deal on Ulster would be acceptable that did not include women’s suffrage. Carson has stayed inside for two days, claiming to have a cold.

Texas Gov. Oscar Branch Colquitt decides to send extradition requests for the Federal soldiers who killed Clemente Vergara to both the Federals and Constitutionalists who claim authority in the states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. The extradition would only be for horse theft, since the shooting took place on the Mexican side of the border.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Today -100: March 6, 1914: Of watchful waiting, unemployed marchers, lèse-majesté, and hollow legs

Pres. Wilson asks Congress to repeal the act which exempts American ships from the Panama Canal toll.

Brazil declares a state of siege in major cities. Because of an insurrection, not because of Theodore Roosevelt.

Secretary of State Bryan convinces the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to shelve a resolution asking the administration for an account of Mexican outrages against Americans. However, the New Jersey Legislature is considering a resolution declaring that Wilson’s “watchful waiting” policy just encourages barbaric practices.

Huerta suggests that his regime and the US could work together to suppress disorder in Mexico, and the US could start by reimposing the ban on arms shipments. The Wilson administration plans to ignore this note.

The lower house of the Austrian Parliament, which was suspended five weeks ago after “violent obstruction” by Czech deputies, resumes its session and is immediately suspended due to more of the same.

An intended march by 2,000 unemployed men from San Francisco to Washington DC ends abruptly in Oakland, when cops with rifles round them up and put them on streetcars to Richmond, for some reason, I guess just passing the problem along, where they rioted until dispersed by more violent cops.

New York cops break up an IWW meeting in Seward Park. The NYPD announces that all future IWW meetings in public places will be dealt with similarly, though meetings in hired halls may proceed unmolested.

The Suffragette says that the Women’s Social and Political Union now wants a Tory government, because at least then Liberal and Labour politicians would condemn trickery and torture. The WSPU has taken to heckling Labour Party leader Ramsay MacDonald at every public meeting at which he speaks.

More alibi witnesses turn up for Leo Frank. The detective accused of suborning perjury says he’ll whip anyone who says so, which presumably means the 15-year-old who recanted his testimony yesterday.

In Germany, Hans Leuss is sentenced to six months in a closed-door trial for writing an article saying that the crown prince’s telegram of congratulations to the colonel responsible for the military clashes with civilians in Zabern, Alsace meant that it would be a misfortune if he became king.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “Hollow Legs Convict Him.” Chair legs, as it turns out, not human ones. Something to do (the article is unclear) with spiritualists tricking people at a seance.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Today -100: March 5, 1914: Of perjury, church invasions, battlin’ governors, department stores, and bentons

Another of the witnesses against Leo Frank, a 15-year-old newsboy, recants his testimony, saying he was coerced into lying by the detective and DA.

NYPD arrest 190 IWW church invaders in St Alphonsus Church (Catholic). They asked Father Hanley if they could stay there – No – if he’d give them money – No – food – No – work – No. He later complained that they were wearing hats.

Headline of the Day -100: “Blease Near a Fist Fight.” South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease goes to the Legislature to make some remarks about an inquiry into something or other, tries to start a fight with a rep. who pointed out that he had no right to just come in and speak. The governor went as far as to take his coat off but sadly there were no fisticuffs. That’s our Coley!

The Italian Chamber of Deputies passes a budget for the colony of Libya, which I only mention because I believe it’s the first time I’ve seen the name Libya used, although until the 1920s Italy treated Libya as the two provinces of Tripoli and Cyrenaica, as they had been under the Ottomans.

Gordon Selfridge spends $1,250,000 on the shop next to his, to turn Selfridge’s in London into a mega-store, as depicted in that not-very-interesting tv series.

The commission that was supposed to examine the body of William Benton gives up, convinced that the rebels are using delaying tactics endlessly while the corpse deteriorates.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Today -100: March 4, 1914: Of rangers, women’s suffrage, women cops, war plans, nipped plans, and Americans abroad

Texas Gov. Oscar Branch Colquitt sends an open letter to Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, asking to be allowed to send the Texas Rangers into Mexico. Since the Mexican government has failed to rein in its marauders, it’s up to us, he says. Actually, it’s not clear to me what the T-Rangers are supposed to do when they catch up to bandits. Drag them back over the border for trial? Or just kill them on foreign soil, which seems to be suggested by his approving references to times in the past when the Rangers ranged across the Rio Grande “in pursuit of bandits, marauders, and inflicted chastisement to them on Mexican soil.”

Congress is considering a women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution. Arguing against, Sen. Nathan Philemon Bryan (D-Fla.) makes the states’ rights argument that California has no more right to say whether negro women can vote in Florida than Florida has to say that Japanese can vote in California. Suffragist witnesses warn of dire consequences which will be inflicted on the Democratic Party by the 4 million women in suffrage states if Democrats block this. And Dr. Mary Walker insists that women already have a constitutional right to vote. Margery Dorman of the Wage-Earners’ Anti-Suffrage League of NY, which I’ve never heard of, says that women’s participation in the world of paid work is only “transitory and accidental” and they lack the experience to cope with government’s problems.

Chicago Police Chief James Gleason removes policewomen who had been sent to deal with a strike by waitresses at a downtown restaurant. He says that evidently women will resist arrest when the cop is female.

The Cologne Gazette claims that Russia is secretly planning for a war with Germany. The plans may not be complete until 1917. (This is not entirely inaccurate: Russia was working, not secretly because how could you, on extending its railroad network to the German border, facilitating troop movements in event of war, and the German military did therefore consider 1917 a sort of deadline, if they were going to have a war with Russia. Ironically, the absence of those rail lines in 1914 meant that it would take a long time to mobilize the Russian army, so they had to make the decision to start mobilizing early if they didn’t want to be over-run if a war started, and when they did so, there were threats and ultimata...)

Confusing Headline of the Day -100: “NIP PLOT TO BRING STRONG OPIUM HERE; Customs Inspectors Find Chinamen Had Arranged to Smuggle in Persian Drug.” At first I thought the NYT had gotten its racist epithets mixed up, but it’s “nip” as in put a stop to. I should have known the NYT would never gets its racist epithets mixed up.

Austria-Hungary sentences 32 Ruthenians to prison for inciting rebellion, by which is meant trying to convert Ruthenians to Russian Orthodox Christianity.

Theodore Roosevelt is not making a good impression in Brazil. Despite receiving lavish hospitality, including Brazil’s president turning over Guanabara Palace and its servants to him for a week, he sent bills for every speech he gave, including one for $3,000 for a short lecture to the Rio Historical and Geographical Society. Also, he kept talking about the Monroe Doctrine.

(Update: or possibly that was all made up??)

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