Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today -100: May 31, 1914: Of surrenders, tango foot, black princes, paines, immigrants, and disgusted Germans

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Surrender of Wilson.” Woodrow Wilson gives a Memorial Day speech at Arlington Cemetery. He had turned down an invitation from the Grand Army of the Republic but came under criticism from GAR posts, especially when it was learned that he’d be unveiling a monument in Arlington to the Confederate dead next week. He receives a lukewarm reception. Only 126 Union soldiers from the Civil War made it.

American warships mark their territory Memorial Day in Vera Cruz, each ship firing 48 guns (that’s 1,152 all together), to which the French, German, British and Spanish warships respond in kind. How joyous the Mexicans must have found this!

A German doctor asserts the existence of a malady he calls “tango foot,” an affliction of the leg muscles caused by excessive dancing of the tango.

Headline of the Day -100: “Black Prince To Visit Us.” Prince Joseph Wolugembe of Uganda. And if you didn’t catch the subtle reference, he’s a gentleman of the negro persuasion.

Headline of the Day -100 (New York Times Sunday Magazine): “Paine’s Long Lost Remains Home By Parcel Post.” Actually just some hair and a wax cast of his face. The rest of Tom Paine... kind of went missing. It’s a long story.

Queen Mary’s servants are on strike. She keeps reducing their numbers and expecting them to accomplish the same work. They now have to get up at 5 a.m. instead of 6. When their afternoon break was reduced, they refused to work during that period.

The Jewish Immigrants’ Information Bureau will stop trying to redirect Jewish immigrants from New York City to Galveston. The problem was that Jewish immigrants didn’t want to go to Galveston and the immigration officials in Galveston were especially hostile to Jewish immigrants.

Headline of the Day -100: “Albania’s Ruler Disgusts Germans.” By his cowardice during the recent disturbances. Although I seem to remember reading just yesterday that Kaiser Wilhelm is afraid of elevators.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Today -100: May 30, 1914: Of Irish empresses, beer, re-elections, and royal elevators

The ocean liner Empress of Ireland sinks in the Saint Lawrence River after colliding with a Norwegian coal ship in the fog (the captains of the two ships would each claim the other was at fault; the inquiry in Canada would blame the Norwegian while the inquiry in Norway blamed the Brit). Over 1,000 are lost and 465 rescued. The worst maritime disaster in Canadian history.

Unlike the Titanic, there were plenty of lifeboats, but the Empress went on her side so half of them couldn’t be used. Also it was nighttime and chaotic, and the ship went down quickly because passengers had left portholes open. And unlike the Titanic, the wireless brought rescue boats swiftly, but fog hampered the rescue.

167 of the dead were members of the Salvation Army on their way to a conference in London, including D.M. Rees, the head of the Salvation Army in Canada. Also dead: Laurence Irving, son of actor/manager Henry Irving and a not very successful actor-playwright, and his wife. The Empress’s captain, H.G. Kendall, who performed admirably in rescuing people from the water, was previously famous as the man who recognized a passenger as the fleeing murderer Dr. Crippen. This is not the first shipwreck Kendall survived, nor the last.

The Mexican rebels have seized the brewery in Monterrey and are selling beer to raise money for the war. I hear selling cookies door to door also works.

The Constitutionalists have finally sent a delegate, Juan Urquidi, to the Niagara Falls conference. The ABC mediators are now considering whether they want to allow into their talks someone who might bring a dose of reality to their fantasy “peace plan,” such as the sentiment expressed by Urquidi that the conference has no right to determine Mexico’s internal arrangements. The US is leaning towards allowing Urquidi to join in, because they’re sure that Carranza can be persuaded to accept the plan and give up his victory right before he grasps it.

The American occupation’s collector of the port of Vera Cruz imposes a $90,000 fine on the Bavaria, which delivered its cargo of ammunition to the Huertaists.

There may have been some sort of mutiny in Mexico City, in which Huerta’s home was attacked. Or not. All of Mexico is one giant rumor mill at this point.

Eleven-term Congresscritter Richard Bartholdt (R-Missouri) has set up a headquarters to campaign against being re-elected against his will.

Evidently Kaiser Wilhelm refuses to get into any elevator not in one of his palaces.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Today -100: May 29, 1914: Of commissions, tea, and TeleVista

The Niagara conference will, after all, name a five-man commission to govern Mexico, which the US promises to give “moral support.” This will all be valid under the Mexican constitution, they say, because the man the conference picks as president (a member of the commission with no greater powers than the other four) will first be named foreign minister by Huerta, who will then resign so that he becomes president (there is currently no veep); he’ll then name the other four to his cabinet. (Actually, the rebels point out that this maneuver would only be constitutional if you recognize the legitimacy of Huerta in the first place, which they don’t and the US supposedly doesn’t either). Whoever this guy is will be someone sympathetic to the rebels, but not an active rebel. Since the representatives of Argentina, Brazil and Chile refuse to participate in naming members of the commission, the job will be left to... wait for it... the United States and the delegates representing Huerta, who is currently busy packing his bags and, I’d imagine, drinking heavily. I have difficulty believing that everybody at the conference really deluded themselves into believing that this plan has any chance of being accepted by the Constitutionalists.

Headline of the Day -100: “Huerta Takes Tea.” He also had a haircut, the story mentions. Why the tea and not the haircut was worth a headline on the front page, I do not know.

Misleading Headline of the Day -100: “Senators Would Accept Greece's Offer to Buy Mississippi and Idaho.” To be fair, that’s the sub-hed, but the NYT index page showed only that, leaving out the headline, which makes clear that we’re talking about battleships rather than states. That said, it’s hard to see the states of Mississippi or Idaho being anything but improved by being sold to the Greeks.

Two suffragettes break windows at Buckingham Palace. The Master of the Royal Household refuses to prosecute. They’re also badgering the Archbishop of Canterbury, who refused to give sanctuary to Annie Kenney. Kenney returns to Lambeth Palace and says she’ll stay (still on hunger strike, lying on the pavement) unless the archbish speaks to her. She’s arrested again.

Dr. Archibald Low, a British inventor, says he’s invented a method of “seeing by wire,” which he calls TeleVista (a letter to the Times offers “teleseme”). He’s thinking of it as a videophone but what he’s actually got is a very crude, very early television. Or you could say early internet, in that he can send pictures over a telephone wire. Low admits his invention isn’t commercially viable yet, which just shows he didn’t think about the porn possibilities. He will soon be distracted by the Great War into pursuing other lines of mad science, including wireless-guided rockets.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Today -100: May 28, 1914: Of recruiting, ypirangas, and mice

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan tells a banquet of the National Foreign Trade Convention that the US government won’t necessarily interfere by force in other nations to protect American business interests. Yeah, right.

Huerta issues a decree allowing anyone to enter the militia with a rank dependent not on ability but on the number of recruits they bring in and equip: 100 recruits and you’re a major, 150 a lt. colonel, 200 a full colonel.

Huerta’s former interior minister Aureliano Urrutia has fled to Texas, a sure sign of desperation. He wants to become a US citizen. He says Huerta must resign and the US should establish a military protectorate over Mexico. The Constitutionalists claim, in a very detailed and highly unlikely story, that Urrutia, a doctor, once helped Huerta cut out the tongue of a senator, and is in the US on some secret mission.

The Ypiranga (and another German ship, the Bavaria) unload their cargo of rifles, machine guns and ammunition for the Huerta forces in Puerto Mexico, and there’s nothing the US can legally do about it.

Constitutionalists confiscate five coal mines owned by French and American firms.

Aaaaand Mrs. Pankhurst is out of prison again, like a militant yo-yo. She’s got them too scared to forcibly feed her when she goes on hunger strike.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Longer than many Americans expected

Today Obama made a statement on Afghanistan. He plans to pull the last troops out a couple of weeks before leaving office, he says.

“The United States did not seek this fight.” And yet so many seemed really happy when we invaded Afghanistan. You know, you can accept Obama’s war of necessity/war of choice distinction or not, but after 12½ years, the “they started it” argument begins to wear thin, and it’s kind of our choice that it’s still going on.

“We went to war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies...” It’s interesting that he doesn’t use the word Taliban in this speech.

“...with the strong support of the American people and their representatives in Congress; with the international community and our NATO allies; and with the Afghan people, who welcomed the opportunity of a life free from the dark tyranny of extremism.” Really, the Afghan people supported the invasion and occupation. Was there a vote? A Gallup poll?

AND YEARS PAST THE TIME WHEN MOST AMERICANS THOUGHT WE’D ALREADY LEFT: “We have now been in Afghanistan longer than many Americans expected.”

THANK GOD IT DOESN’T HAVE FIJORDS OR WE’D BE THERE FOR-FUCKING-EVER: “We will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns, mountains or valleys.”

IS IT? IS IT REALLY? “I think Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them.”

NOT A PERFECT PLACE, BUT A LOT MORE RUBBLEY AND CRATERY: “We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.”

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Today -100: May 27, 1914: Of plans of pacification, unbroken heads, horses, the unfit, and rivers

More rumors about Huerta being about to resign and flee the country, possibly on the German ship Ypiranga, which still has a cargo full of weapons that the US occupation of Vera Cruz prevented being delivered to the Federal army (Spoiler Alert: but not for much longer). It is assumed he’d try to get to Vera Cruz, where the Americans would happily escort him aboard a ship, or a boat, or a dinghy, anything that would get him out of the country; the rebels are positioning troops along the way to capture him.

The exercise in irrelevancy that is the Niagara Falls conference continues swimmingly, working on what one of the US delegates, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lamar, is pleased to call “the plan of pacification.” The US has dropped its demand for a detailed plan of land reform; the Huerta delegates insisted the peons were too ignorant to own land, or something.

Headline of the Day -100: “Not a Single Head Broken in Ulster.”

Germany’s Conservative Party leader calls for the vigorous repression of Danish nationalist sentiments in Northern Schleswig, which hope to reattach the province to Denmark if Germany is defeated in a war.

The Daily Express (London) claims there is a suffragette plot to kill the King’s horse in the Derby.

The annual meeting of the American Medico-Psychological Association recommends passing laws for the compulsory sterilization of the feeble-minded and banning marriage by the “unfit.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Roosevelt Shows His River On A Map.” To the National Geographic Society. Not a euphemism.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Today -100: May 26, 1914: Let the curtain ring down on this contemptible farce

The Irish Home Rule Bill’s third reading passes the House of Commons 351-274. It will set up an Irish parliament and a senate, which will not have powers over foreign or military affairs, foreign trade, or the currency, and will not be able to establish or ban a religion. Irish representation in the UK Parliament will be reduced from 103 to 42.

There are no provisions to exclude Ulster, but Asquith has promised to bring in an amending bill later, although he won’t say what changes he plans, just vote for this now and, you know, trust him to make it better. An odd way to run a railroad, if you ask me. Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law uses that as an excuse to refuse to debate the bill, saying, “Let the curtain ring down on this contemptible farce. It is only the end of an act, and not of the play. The Government can carry the bill through Parliament, but the concluding act of the drama will be in the country, where an appeal to the people will not end in a farce.” That last sentence could mean the next general election – and no doubt if he were called out on it that’s what he would claim he meant – or it could mean violent resistance.

1,000 armed police have been moved into Northern Ireland, but things are quiet so far. Nationalist leader John Redmond says “the assembling of the Irish Parliament is as certain as the rising of tomorrow’s sun” and suggests that those Ulster Loyalists (who he pointedly calls “our fellow-countrymen”) who are “genuinely nervous as to their position will abandon unreasonable demands and enter into a conciliatory discussion with their fellow country-men upon the points of the bill upon which they would desire further safeguards.” Because nothing says Northern Ireland like “conciliatory discussion.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Militants Hiss the King.”

The European Powers are discussing sending an international military force into Albania.

The National Association for the Study of Epilepsy calls for the establishment of colonies for epileptics (on the leprosy model, I guess) in every state.

The US Supreme Court rules that lawsuits from the Titanic sinking may be filed in the US regardless of the nationality of claimants, but the White Star Line’s liability will be limited to $91,000 – total. The law reaches that figure by adding the total value of the ship AFTER it crashed into the iceberg (which amounts to the total value of the lifeboats) plus the amount of the fares and freight money for the voyage.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today -100: May 25, 1914: Of chains, free love, returning princes, wider religions (whatever that means), and whistling

Headline of the Day -100: “Sylvia Pankhurst Marches in Chains.” Just out for a little Sunday stroll, chained to 15 other women. Other suffragists protested in Westminster Abbey and Newcastle Cathedral at the Church of England’s indifference to forcible feeding. Also, some windows were broken in West End shops and someone tried to wreck the Glasgow aqueduct.

Entrance for women to the British Museum now requires a written recommendation; the Tate is closed altogether. However, the Palace denies reports that the king and queen will forgo public engagements.

In the US, the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is claiming that what suffragists really want is free love.

It isn’t.

What they really want is the suffrage.

It’s right there in the name.

Evidently the plan for a mixed commission to run Mexico was William Jennings Bryan’s, not that of the Argentinian, Brazilian and Chilean ambassadors, who refuse to accept their assigned role in the plan, to name one of the three commissioners.

Huerta claims to have suppressed a planned military revolt. Gen. Eugenio Rascon, who has just died, is rumored to have been executed.

The Irish Home Rule Bill is about to pass its Third Reading in Parliament, so everyone’s preparing for civil war. Sir Edward Carson is expected to proclaim a provisional government for Ulster.

Prince William is back ashore in Albania, but his hasty retreat to the safety of an Italian warship at the first sign of trouble while leaving regular Albanians to the mercy of the rebels is not going over especially well.

Vice President Thomas Marshall says labor evils can be solved only by “a wider religion.”

Theodore Roosevelt rejects Bull Moose attempts to get him to run for governor of NY.

Headline of the Day -100: “He Whistled To The Queen.” Evidently the queen and Princess Mary went for a walk in a park with so little security that when the princess dropped a handkerchief, a man could pick it up and whistle to alert her without being aware she was anyone special. He soon found out. He will be missed. Kidding.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Today -100: May 24, 1914: Of con artists, fleeing princes, panaceas, mummies, and Paris trends

Two con men are arrested for raising funds ostensibly for a orphanage in Syria. The interesting thing is that the first people they scammed were Woodrow Wilson, Sen. William Stone, and Secretary of War Garrison, who provided letters of recommendation the men used to con people out of donations.

Albania: Essad Pasha’s supporters (I was beginning to wonder if he had any) attack Durrës, forcing Prince William to seek sanctuary on an Italian warship.

There have been a series of letters to the NYT about why twenty years of women’s suffrage in Colorado didn’t prevent the coal wars. Today, Alice Stone Blackwell admits that woman suffrage has not prevented labor troubles, but “If this proves it to be a failure it must be on the principle that ‘only panaceas need apply.’”

London police raid the offices of the Women’s Social and Political Union. In response, a few paintings are slashed at the National Portrait Gallery and a case in the mummy room of the British Museum is smashed, as was the custom.

Headline of the Day -100 (L.A. Times): “Norway Women Equal With Men.” Not only do they have the vote, but can enter any profession except the army and of course the priesthood. There is even a lady judge.

The Niagara Falls conference is happily negotiating away in its little bubble. Talks are going so well that they may be wrapped up early. Right now they’re working on solving the Mexican land problem as the Constitutionalists come closer and closer to Mexico City. The NYT says that the mediators “are almost convinced that the rebel leaders will be virtually obliged by the opinion of the great nations of the world to accept any plan of settlement which is brought forward by the Ambassador of Brazil and the Ministers of Argentina and Chile and is assented to by the representatives of President Wilson and Gen. Huerta.”

St. Louis businessman and amateur aviator Albert Lambert volunteers to help the Navy develop its aviation wing. Lambert already organized a “reserve corps.”

When she shot the editor of Le Figaro, Henriette Caillaux started a fashion: pistol shooting. Shooting ranges have been crowded all over Paris and new ones have been started. The place where Madame Caillaux bought and test-drove her pistol on that fatal day is now a chic spot for women.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Today -100: May 23, 1914: I think women are angels

The British government acquires a large stake in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, to secure a large supply of oil for the Royal Navy. Oil and imperialism, two great tastes that taste great together.

The ABC negotiators are evidently proposing a commission to run Mexico, consisting of three people named by Huerta, Carranza, and the ABC countries (or maybe 5: 2, 2 and 1). This is obviously a non-starter, as the Constitutionalists are clearly winning militarily. Also, the rebels point out that they call themselves the Constitutionalists and do you really think we’d agree to something that so blatantly violates the Mexican Constitution?

Gen. Pasqual Orozco, who led a minor short-lived rebellion against Madero and then Huerta a couple of years ago, is now besieged by a larger force of Constitutionalists.

The NYT helpfully explains, “Human life counts for nothing in Mexico.”

In an interview with the Saturday Evening Post, Woodrow Wilson says, “I hold this to be a wonderful opportunity to prove to the world that the United States of America is not only human but humane; that we are actuated by no other motives than the betterment of the conditions of our unfortunate neighbor, and by the sincere desire to advance the cause of human liberty. ... They say the Mexicans are not fitted for self-government; and to this I reply that, when properly directed, there is no people not fitted for self-government.”

British suffragettes try to set fire to Stoughton Hall in Leicester and blow up the Rosehall United Free Church in Edinburgh, both unsuccessfully. Just as well, since the former was occupied.

Headline of the Day -100: “Suffragists Insult the King and Queen.” During a play a woman calls the king “a Russian Tsar.” (It’s going to be a little awkward that the byword for awful governance will, in a few months, be the UK’s ally in the Great War). Cops tried to grab her, only to find that she had chained herself to the seat. Other women made similar demonstrations every few minutes. One reached the stage and tried to speak, only to be struck by stage fright. As the play (“The Silver King”) continued, the line “I think women are angels” was received with laughter.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Today -100: May 22, 1914: Of mud, arsenals, non-ritual murders, and non-vice-presidents

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Militants Roll Police in Mud.” British suffragists attempt to present a petition to the king at Buckingham Palace. There’s a fracas with the police, as was the custom (I don’t use the word fracas often enough). The 1,500 (!) police surrounding the palace outnumbered the suffragettes. There were 58 arrests, including 3 male supporters and Emmeline Pankhurst, resulting in this famous photograph of her being hauled off (note her feet are not touching the ground) while a by-stander berates her:

Competing Headlines of the Day -100 (London Times): 1) “Suffragist Arsenal Raided” (well, the arsenal mostly consisted of some stones, wrapped in tissue paper, presumably for throwing through windows, and some hammers). 2) and, on the same page, “Bayonets Seized in Dublin” (intended for the National Volunteers; somehow the cops can find those but never can manage to intercept guns smuggled in by the Ulster Loyalists).

The five suffragists found with the “arsenal” in a West End flat will be tried as “loose, idle, and disorderly persons” who have committed or are about to commit a crime.

Flora “General” Drummond of the Women’s Social and Political Union is released from prison in an ambulance on the grounds that further imprisonment would endanger her life. Three hours later she’s arrested protesting outside Home Secretary Reginald McKenna’s house.

“General” Coxey’s army of the unemployed finally arrives in Washington. All nine of them.

The Constitutionalists will send a delegate to the Niagara Falls conference after all, but to observe and present the rebels’ views, not to negotiate with the Huertaist and American delegates.

Authorities in Ukraine drop ritual murder charges against a Jew after deciding a killing in Fastiv in December was just a plain old murder.

Sen. William O’Connell Bradley (R-Kentucky) dies. He was also a governor of the state in the ‘90s, but his obit in the LAT contains the saddest words which may be said about any politician: “Was once mentioned for vice-presidency.” Just last week he announced that he wasn’t running for re-election because of declining health – then he ran to catch a streetcar and fell down, sustaining injuries from which he died 9 days later.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Today -100: May 21, 1914: Of prohibition, certified babies, arson, and evil postcards

Supporters of a prohibition amendment to the Constitution give up for this session, unable to overcome states’ rights objections.

Pancho Villa executes a captured general and 31 other officers, as was the custom.

The Chicago Morals Court’s psychopathic laboratory will now “certify” adoptive babies: “Foster parents will receive certificates guaranteeing that the child turned over to them is ‘free from organic disease, insanity, or constitutional weakness.’ A scientific inventory of the infant’s traits and possibilities will accompany the certificate.” They haven’t quite decided what to do with the “sub-normal and degenerate” babies. I’m sure they’ll think of something.

Theodore Roosevelt speaks about everything that’s been going on in the US in his long absence (he especially doesn’t like the idea of compensating Colombia for his role in fomenting the Panama revolt and secession) and about his trip up the Amazon (he really didn’t enjoy having to eat monkeys).

In the German Reichstag, the Social Democratic deputies, instead of following their usual practice of leaving the chamber before the traditional call for cheers for the kaiser, stayed – and remained seated.

A brushfire in Aldershot is believed to have been started by suffragettes as a way to welcome the royal family, who were in residence at the royal pavilion there. Cavalrymen cut down the burning undergrowth with their swords, as was the custom.

Supposedly, Princess Mary, daughter of the king and queen of England, was recently arrested. She was taking a picture at the army airplane base at Aldershot and a sentry decided she must be a militant suffragist planning to burn down the hangars. As he was marching her off, despite her protestations of her royalness, she was recognized and let go. The sentry was told “to keep his mouth shut – and it is said he has rarely opened it since, but to swear at the suffragettes.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Ratify Treaty on Evil Postcards.”

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Today -100: May 20, 1914: Of opera houses, contributions, revolting Albanians, and sewing queens

The Prussian Diet is discussing Kaiser Wilhelm’s demand for money for his new Royal Court Opera, which is funny because when the Diet originally asked for a say in its design, he said that since he was paying for it, he’d do whatever he wanted. Anyway, during the course of the debate, Karl Liebknecht says he hopes the opera house will outlive the monarchy; hilarity ensues.

Oh: it did survive the monarchy, but not the RAF.

Germany insists that what it called a “war tax” when it was voted on is not a war tax when foreign countries complain that it violates various treaties by taxing their citizens living in Germany for military purposes. Germany claims it’s not a “war tax” but a “contribution.”

Mexico’s Constitutionalists say it will not be bound by anything which the Niagara Falls conference, which they refused to attend, decides and they reject the United States having any say in Mexico’s internal issues.

The international fleet representing the Great Powers off of Albania puts marines ashore to protect Prince William from a revolt led by Essad Pasha, who is arrested by I guess the Austrians. (He will be sent to Italy if he signs a promise not to return to Albania without William’s permission).

Queen Mary of Britain tried to organize sewing parties to make clothes for the survivors of the Sicily earthquake, but everyone turned down her invitations, so she gave up.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Today -100: May 19, 1914: Of oil taxes, secret elections, looting and looping

Huerta has supposedly authorized his delegates to the talks at Niagara to negotiate his resignation. But only if it’s absolutely necessary. And he has conditions: large loans to Mexico, a say in naming his successor (and certain others barred from the post), etc etc. Non-starters, in other words.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan tells the Constitutionalists not to impose excessive war taxes on Tampico, especially their 8¢ a barrel tax on oil exports (which is actually the same as the Huerta junta imposed when it was in control of Tampico).

Remember how three days ago the Peruvian Congress supposedly elected coup leader Col. Oscar Benavides president? Well now former First Vice President Roberto Leguia claims that he was elected president. In a secret session. At his house. Leguia is currently hiding out in the Italian Legation.

At the Colorado state militia court-martial, a captain admits that troops looted the Ludlow tent camp as it burned.

Winston Churchill denies reports that he looped the loop.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Today -100: May 18, 1914: Of pacification in Mexico and Colorado, and grandstanding

The talk in Washington is that America’s little sojourn in Mexico won’t be over when Huerta is overthrown, but that its forces will need to stick around to help the Constitutionalists “pacify” the country, whether they want that help or not.

Gov. Ammons reassures Woodrow Wilson that the state of Colorado can now dispense with federal troops. In other words, he plans to send the state militia back into the coal regions. The striking miners are not best pleased.

Suffragettes burn the grand stand at the Bromwich race track.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Today -100: May 17, 1914: Of Wagnerian bastards, dueling scars, unmolested privates, and wingos

Isolde Beidier is suing the family of the late composer Richard Wagner to be legally allowed to say that she is his daughter, which she is (Wagner had an affair with Cosima von Bülow, Franz Liszt’s daughter and the wife of conductor Hans von Bülow; Isolde was named after the opera of Wagner’s that the cuckold was conducting at the time).

At the Society for Aeronautics and Aviation in Dresden, mad scientist Prof. Conheim of Hamburg demonstrates that birds can maintain their balance in the air after their brains have been removed, thus proving that it is possible to invent an automatic pilot for airplanes. Also drones. Now you know who to blame for drones: Professor Conheim. Revile his name!

German university students think nothing is cooler than a dueling scar. But one student, unnamed in this story, wanted a cool scar but was afraid to duel, so he asked a university (which is also unnamed) servant to cut him very slightly on the face with a saber. He is now suing the servant because he got more of a slash than he bargained for.

Limerick County Council resolves to support the Nationalist volunteers, the counterparts of the Ulster Volunteers.

Headline of the Day -100: “Orangemen Play Joke on Officials.” A couple of bored members of the Ulster Committee chat on a phone line they know is being tapped about a fictitious shipment of arms being smuggled in. The Royal Navy scrambles some warships to Bangor (near Belfast).

Ford Motors is laying off 6,000 or so workers during its annual slack season. First for the chop: bachelors.

After capturing Tampico, the Constitutionalists executed all the Federal officers, as was the custom, “but it is reported that the privates were not molested”.

Name of the Day -100: Rep. Otis Wingo (D-Ark), who predicts the US will annex Mexico and all the countries down to the Panama Canal. Congress was discussing appropriations for a new embassy in Mexico City; and Mr. Wingo thinks there is no need for one because Mexico won’t be a foreign country much longer.

Name of the Day -100 #2: When Mr. Wingo died in 1930, his widow, Effiegene Wingo, was elected to replace him. (Wikipedia mistakenly names as her children the children of another congresswoman, Ruth Pratt, leading me briefly to believe that Effiegene had married a Pratt before marrying a Wingo. Imagine my disappointment upon realizing the error, but imagine my joy at reading of something called the Pratt-Smoot Act.)

China now requires all newspapers to make a security deposit with the government against their good behaviour, and for all editors, publishers and printers to be 30 years or older. And there’s a long list of things they’re not allowed to report on.

As the Colorado Legislature’s special session is coming to an end without really accomplishing anything, Pres. Wilson telegrams Gov. Ammons saying that he only sent federal troops into the strike district until Colorado could take control of its own affairs, so get on with it.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Today -100: May 16, 1914: The era of brotherhood is not only coming as predicted: it is here

The Wilson administration has banned arms shipments across the border to either side in Mexico but for some reason has no objection to arms being shipped into the rebels’ newly captured port of Tampico, even from the United States. So the rebels are placing large orders. I guess Villa’s policy of not publicly objecting to the US invasion of his country is paying off.

Not knowing what to do with the Mexican snipers captured in Vera Cruz, the US lets them go.

The Constitutionalists capture Tuxpam.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan thinks the forthcoming mediation with Mexico is a sign of a “new era of peace efforts” in which arbitration will replace war. “I believe the world is making progress morally. There is evidence of a world-wide moral awakening. The era of brotherhood is not only coming as predicted: it is here.”

British suffragettes burn the grandstands of cricket grounds in Birmingham and London (a message left at the former says “Down with sport and up with fair play for women”). WSPU leaders “General” Flora Drummond and Norah Dacre-Fox are sentenced to one month in prison for disturbing the peace by camping out on the doorsteps of Sir Edward Carson and Lord Lansdowne. They continually interrupted the court procedures, as was the custom, with Drummond reading out inflammatory remarks made by the Ulsterites (“militant men,” as the WSPU is now prone to calling them).

Peru’s coup leader Col. Oscar Benavides is “elected” president by the Congress.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today -100: May 15, 1914: Of vibratory massage instruments, cleaning up Vera Cruz, scabs, how to have a blast at a garden party, and peace at any price

Am American living in France and pretending to be a doctor is sentenced to three years and a huge fine “on a charge of fraud in connection with the sale of a vibratory massage instrument.”

Gen. Funston, the US Army’s military ruler of Vera Cruz, cleans up the town, every house and gutter, every mosquito eradicated, or so he claims. He announces prison terms of 20 days for not burning garbage, 10 for allowing cesspools to form, and 5 for spitting. Gambling is also banned.

Federal troops stop scab miners entering the Colorado coal fields. The military says it will stop miners imported by the coal companies but not men who come voluntarily seeking work. No way the companies can figure out how to exploit that loophole.

At a court martial, a first lieutenant of the Colorado militia admits that militia fired into the tents in the strikers’ camp in Ludlow, but he says the miners shot first. Doesn’t say why shooting down women and children was better than, I don’t know, moving back. Courts-martial of 39 national guardsmen are planned. The UMW is refusing to participate.

I meant to mention this much earlier: there’s a book about the Ludlow Massacre, which I haven’t read, called The Great Coalfield War. What’s curious is that one of the authors is George McGovern, and he published it (a reworking of his PhD dissertation) in 1972 while he was running for president.

Headline of the Day -100: “Bomb At Garden Party.” As entertainment at a fundraising party for the Army Relief Society. The bomb is a patented invention for aerial combat: one plane drops the bomb, attached to piano wire, onto the other one, which it grips with hooks. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are on the guest list.

For-realsies aerial bombardment is going on in Mexico. Carranza’s nephew drops bombs on a Federal gunboat and claims to have done more damage than he probably did. The dropping of high explosives from planes is banned by the Second Hague Conference, but Mexico never signed that one. Neither did most of the countries that will be at war in a few months.

Plans to celebrate Peace Day in Baltimore schools are abandoned when the school board bans “the propaganda of ‘peace at any price.’”

The Women’s Social and Political Union introduces this famous poster for the Ipswich by-election:

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today -100: May 14, 1914: On to Mexico City!

Headline of the Day -100: “‘On To Mexico City!’ Now the Rebel Cry.” The Constitutionalists capture Tampico, giving them 1) a port, which means they can import supplies (including arms) and collect customs duties, 2) nearly complete control over the north. It’s just a matter of time now.

Headline of the Day -100, runner-up: “ADVANCE OF REBELS A TRAIL OF ROBBERY; Villa's Army Held Together by License to Loot, Says American from Mexico.” And your point is?

Huerta divides Chihuahua State in 3, with two of the sections to be run directly from Mexico City. Not that any of this matters since Huerta has no power in Chihuahua.

There are rumors that France and Germany plan a joint military operation to take over Haiti’s custom houses (as the US did in Vera Cruz) and divert Haiti’s customs income to paying off bonds held by France and Germany (they invited the US to participate, but offered to let it appoint only 5% of the officials in the new regime, proportionate to the amount of bonds held by the US; the US declined). Evidently I missed something a few months ago, when France simply hijacked two Haitian gunboats, forcing their crews to jump into the water, and towed them away until they got payment of interest on French-held bonds. Since then Germany and Britain have each gotten money by threats to take similar action.

Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to confine itself to appropriations bills and an anti-trust law. Congresscritters who wanted a rural credits bill are pissed off.

A recent California law forcing men to support their illegitimate children has its first application: a salesman, traveling I’d like to think, is ruled to be the father of twins.

The Sorbonne grants its first PhD in literature to a woman, Jeanne Duportal. The first woman PhD in France in any subject was of course Marie Curie in 1903.

Parisians are debating a point of dueling etiquette. American sculptor Edgar Macadams slugged Waldemar Georges, the art critic for the Paris Journal. Georges wants to respond to this with a duel, but his seconds seem to think that Macadams hit him too hard. If he’d just slapped him – you know the way – it would constitute an insult that could be erased through a duel, but if it’s more like a punch, a “coup d’apache” (yes, like the Indians), then the police need to be called in.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today -100: May 13, 1914: Of extreme art criticism, lighthouses, archbishops, primaries, lynchings, and doubters

Maybe if they just stopped letting women with hatchets into art galleries? A suffragette attacks the Sir Hubert von Herkomer portrait of the Duke of Wellington at the Royal Academy (she’ll be sentenced to six months).

The ABC countries are proposing to negotiate a provisional government for Mexico, with elements of the Huerta and Constitutionalist sides. The Consts say no thanks, we are winning you know.

The Huerta Junta complains that the US seized a lighthouse on Lobos Island in violation of the ceasefire. The US says it took it over when the lighthouse keeper decided to leave and denies that it is an occupation in the military sense.

Huerta may have expelled the archbishop of Mexico City.

Both houses of Congress pass a bill for organizing primaries for the election of US senators in states that haven’t bothered to do so since the 17th Amendment passed.

A negro is lynched in Shreveport, Louisiana for supposedly attacking a 10-year-old white girl. He was hanged and stabbed.

Headline of the Day -100: “Roosevelt Made Angry By Doubters.” That he discovered a new river in Brazil.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Today -100: May 12, 1914: We have gone down to Mexico to serve mankind if we can find out the way

A French plane drops bombs during a battle with Moroccans.

German socialist Reichstag deputy Karl Liebknecht accuses army and navy officers and government officials of being members of the board of Krupp’s and other armaments companies. He seems to think that’s some sort of conflict of interest.

The special session of the Colorado Legislature, called to deal with issues arising from the coal strike, rejects Gov. Elias Ammons’ proposal for a statewide constabulary, correctly seen as being intended as a police force to protect the mineowners’ interests.

Mary Wood, the suffragette who slashed the John Singer Sargent painting last week is released under the Cat and Mouse Act after a hunger & thirst strike.

Headline of the Day -100: “Bandits Wreck Windmills.” Huerta-backed privateers, after American ranchers in Chihuahua refused demands for money. Many cattle are threatened, as the windmills supply their water.

Woodrow Wilson gives a speech at the Navy Yard, commemorating the dead in his Mexico adventure. Dead Americans, that is. Naturally. “We have gone down to Mexico to serve mankind if we can find out the way. We want to serve the Mexicans if we can.... a war of service is a thing in which it is a proud thing to die. ... I fancy that it is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you.” Um, no, no it isn’t.

Mexican rebels blow up one of the government’s five gunboats.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Today -100: May 11, 1914: Of scabs, men of tact, and dulling the brain

Woodrow Wilson orders the military ruler of the Colorado strike zone to stop the influx of strike-breakers.

Some IWW protesters invade John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s church, the Calvary Baptist Church in NYC. Ushers beat them up and eject them, as was the custom. The pastor went on with his sermon on “Samson, the Man of Sunlight, the Man of Tact.”

Thomas Edison bans cigarettes at his plants. “They Dull the Brain,” say his No Smoking signs. Of course Thomas Edison being Thomas Edison, he only did this after some scientific and some not-so-scientific investigation: 1) he investigated 20 brands of cigarettes and found poisonous material in the paper, 2) he talked to a Mexican who told him that everyone in Mexico smokes; “That is why Mexicans as a race are not clear-headed.”

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Today -100: May 10, 1914: What scares French ghosts?

Constitutionalists suggest that American citizens get out of Tampico, which they’re planning to start bombarding soon.

Mexican Freemasons break off relations with the American Freemasons.

Headline of the Day -100: “Spread of Leprosy Alarms Frenchmen.” Among other possibly fictitious cases, “the story is told of Michel, a grave digger at Trinité, near Saint-Roch, whose face was such a horror that the inhabitants finally demanded his removal on the ground that the dead were so terrified that they were unable to rest.”

French newspapers have been claiming that various recent explosions (on a battleship, on other ships, in coal mines) were caused by wireless waves.

Germany denies planning to expel all French citizens from Alsace-Lorraine (it is definitely refusing to renew residency permits, but it’s unclear in what numbers).

20 cases of arms that were shipped from Boston are seized in Belfast.

1,100 cans of opium are seized in San Diego from a ship headed for Ensenada that made an emergency stop in SD to refuel. Officials eventually decided that the ship hadn’t legally landed and gave back the opium, which is intended for the Chinese population of Mexico.

There’s an earthquake in Sicily.

China says it will execute anyone under 40 smoking opium in Changtu; those older than 40 will be jailed.

Italy tells Colorado that it will demand damages for each of the Italian citizens (somewhere in the double figures) killed during the coal strike.

Le Matin has an article about Germany’s predilection for eating dogs.

The NYT has a fierce editorial against the practice of people whose secretaries telephone you and ask you to “hold the wire” for them. “Impudence could not go much further... the telephone... has developed in its use and abuse a tendency to discourtesy, a shameless regard of human rights.” The Times also thinks women talk on the phone too much.

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Today -100: May 9, 1914: Of disarmament, cease-fires, refugees, lynch-trains, and what 24¢ will buy you

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease joins a debate over medical inspection of school children, saying he will pardon any father who kills a doctor who attempts to examine the father’s daughter against his will, because that’s what he would do.

The UMW orders its Colorado members to comply with the military order to hand in their arms, or be expelled from the union.

Mexico accuses the US of violating the cease-fire by continuing to land troops in Vera Cruz. The US admits doing so, but denies it’s a violation of the cease-fire.

The Federals may or may not have executed a captured US soldier, Private Samuel Parks, an orderly who had gone insane, possibly from sunstroke, and rode off by himself towards Federal lines. A Mexican officer suggests Parks probably went insane from a poisoned cigarette (he means marijuana) given to him by some woman in Vera Cruz.

Huerta still controls most of Mexico’s railroads, I believe, but rebel attacks on Tampico are preventing him getting any oil, so he’s converting locomotives to run on wood.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan receives the Mexican Constitutionalist Minister of the Interior, who brought a memorandum detailing the rebels’ friendly attitude towards the American occupation. The Consts view the acceptance of this memorandum as de facto recognition (at least in the parts of Mexico they now control).

Some of the American refugees insist that they were tricked into leaving Mexico. They went aboard ships believing they’d be put back ashore when the rioting in Tampico and Tuxpam was over, and then found themselves in Galveston. The US says it will pay their passage back to Mexico.

A Federal District Court rules that a railroad is liable if one of its trains is chartered by a lynch mob. The widow of the lynchee in this case is awarded $7,000.

A negro, Sylvester Washington, who killed a deputy sheriff is lynched in St. James, Louisiana. Earlier a white guy was mistaken for Washington and shot.

Invention of the Day -100: the vending machine. The first one ever is installed in Macy’s, which rotates the merchandise on offer. Yesterday its offerings, for 24¢, were soaps, face powder, tooth paste, hosiery, garters, shine kits, sanitary supplies.

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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Today -100: May 8, 1914: Of tecks, conquests, humanitarian considerations, ethnic cleansing, White House weddings, and rallying geographers

Prince Alexander of Teck, a brother of Queen Mary, is appointed governor-general of Canada.

Several wealthy American idiots take a yacht out to the Coronado Islands, Mexican possessions, and claim them for the United States “by right of conquest.”

Police arrest silent protesters in front of the Rockefellers’ (John D. and Jr’s) NYC houses. One protester who wore a shroud is sentenced to 60 days in the workhouse.

The Mexican rebel air force, which consists of Carranza’s nephew in a biplane, drops a couple of bombs on Mazatlan, killing three men and a baby. Tom Selleck, nooooo!

Pancho Villa complains that the US arms embargo is prolonging the civil war needlessly. Therefore, “every humanitarian consideration” calls for the lifting of the embargo.

Five Mexican rebels are arrested... actually I’m not sure if they’re arrested on the Mexico or Texas side of the border, but the US military grabs them for violating the embargo on contraband of war (they were buying uniforms in the US).

The new hard-line German governor of Alsace-Lorraine intends to expel all French citizens from the Lost Provinces (as France refers to them) or force them to adopt German citizenship. France notes that there are 100,000 Germans living in Paris....

Woodrow Wilson’s daughter Eleanor marries Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo in the 14th ever White House wedding. He’s 50, with 7 children (two of them older than Eleanor) from his first wife, who died two years ago; she’s 24. They’ll divorce in 20 years and he’ll immediately marry his 26-year-old nurse because ick. McAdoo would later run for president (check back in this space in 10 years or so) and was a US senator from California. Oddly, he was once law partners with a former congresscritter also named William McAdoo, who was not a relation of his. Worst. Sitcom. Ever.

Headline of the Day -100: “Geographers Rally Around Roosevelt.”

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Today -100: May 7, 1914: Of disappointing votes, salutes, sawmills, rivers, and fear conferences

The House of Lords votes down the women’s suffrage bill 60-104. The Times of London warns that women would find the vote “profoundly disappointing,” which would lead to further demands – and the same methods. They would demand to sit in Parliament, then to govern the country, then who knows what.

The British Boy Scouts refuse to take part in the Empire Day parade if Girl Guides are included.

The Mexican rebels are attacking Mazatlan.

American war vessels off Vera Cruz fire their guns, scaring everyone in Vera Cruz, but it was just a salute to honor the accession of King George of England, which is totally a thing you’d do in a country you’re at war with.

Theodore Roosevelt has lost 55 pounds on his trek through the Amazon, which just shows the benefits of poor planning, starvation, and tropical diseases.

Facing a British ultimatum, Haiti pays $62,000 to a British subject whose sawmill burned down during one of Haiti’s weekly revolutions.

Leo Frank’s motion for a new trial is rejected. It will now go to the Georgia Supreme Court.

California is about to have its first Hindu naturalized citizen, Sakharen Ganesh Pandit, a lecturer on Hindu philosophy, yoga etc who has gone through several courts, which finally decided he was Caucasian. In the 1920s, the US government began revoking citizenships granted to Indians (invalidating their marriages to American citizens). Pandit, now a lawyer, argued his own case before the Supreme Court, winning in 1927 and ending the denaturalization policy.

English geographers doubt that Theodore Roosevelt really discovered a thousand-mile-long river.

Headline of the Day -100: “Fear Conference Will Fail.” Here is a brief excerpt from the minutes of the Fear Conference:
Mr. Lovecraft, delegate from Rhode Island: “Tentacles! So many tentacles.”

And your Movie of the Day -100: In “A Busy Day” (aka “A Militant Suffragette”), released 100 years ago, Charlie Chaplin dons his familiar... well, okay, he’s in drag, and it’s not all that good slapstick, but there are a couple of seconds of him twerking in front of a band that I liked.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin wrote a defense of the botchecution of Clayton Lockett, and the only true sentence in it came right at the beginning: “(Warning: this column contains descriptions of a violent crime and is unsuitable for children)”.

She does admit one thing and only one thing wrong about the botchecution: “the process of death by lethal injection took too long.” Delayed the after-party, and we can’t have that: the champagne went all flat.

She complains that “Some anti-death penalty advocates have even gone so far as to say that all Oklahomans have blood on their hands.” In the next sentence she calls them “out-of-state pundits,” smugly implying that every single person in Oklahoma is as comfortable as she is with torturing people to death, which if true would provide a clue to the identity of the liquid on their hands.

“Justice was served,” Gov. Fallin claims. “The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands. They saw Clayton Lockett for what he was: evil. His execution means he will never again harm or terrorize another person.” Unlike yourself, governor.

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Today -100: May 6, 1914: Of mediation, suffrage, crucifixions, and circuses

A date is set for the ABC mediation of the US-Mexico contretemps:
two weeks from now, at Niagra Falls, Canada. It remains to be seen if the Constitutionalists will be represented. The ABC countries want to settle all issues in Mexico, but may have to settle for mediating between the US and the Huerta Junta, presumably over just how many guns should be fired to salute the American flag, if anyone still remembers that that’s what this is all supposed to be about.

It’s not only in the Huerta camp that there are intrigues. Pancho Villa replaces a Constitutionalist governor of Chihuahua, Mañuel Chao, who was supposedly conspiring against him, although it sounds like the real cause was that Chao expropriated the property of one of Villa’s friends, after Villa asked him not to, and gave it to one of his own friends. After Chao refused to leave office, Villa went to Chihuahua to fire him personally, and by fire I mean punch.

A women’s suffrage bill is introduced in the British House of Lords. It would give the parliamentary vote to women already eligible for the municipal vote (local ratepayers, about 1 million women). Lord Curzon, the former viceroy of India, says it would hurt relations between the sexes and Britain’s prestige in the world. He helpfully adds that non-militant suffragists could stop the militant outrages by merely giving up all suffrage work for six months.

250 Muslims are reportedly crucified in Albania by the Epirotes (Greeks).

Woodrow Wilson goes to the circus.

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Monday, May 05, 2014

Today -100: May 5, 1914: This is why we can’t have nice things

Suffragist Mary Wood hacks up John Singer Sargent’s 1913 portrait of Henry James at the Royal Academy exhibition. The NYT says the militants are all crazy and should be put in asylums and forcibly fed.

The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage has chosen an emblem to wear on the day of the D.C. suffrage demonstration in order to break up the suffragist color scheme (which I’m assuming is white, purple and gold). The NAOWS statement says: “The anti-suffragists disapprove strongly of street parades, hikes, and other spectacular and unwomanly tactics employed by suffragists... They realize, however, that absence of any sign of disapproval may be misconstrued by onlookers to be an acquiescence in the clamor of the streets. Consequently, as a means of voicing their disapproval in a quiet and dignified manner they have issued instructions for the wearing of the red rose.”

Some of the witnesses Leo Frank’s lawyers and private dick William Burns found to his innocence have been recanting, claiming they were bribed. Some of these were originally prosecution witnesses, who have now changed their stories twice.

Some US senators are fighting a proposal to accept Rockefeller money for boll weevil extermination. Harry Lane (D-Oregon) says the money is “covered with the blood and tears of women and children shot down in the Colorado strike. ... some folks believe the curse of God is on every dollar he possesses.”

The ABC countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile) revoke their invitation to the Constitutionalists to join the mediation process, because of Carranza refuses to agree to an armistice.

Zapata issues a proclamation that he will attack Mexico City on Cinco de Mayo, and will execute Huerta and Gen. Blanquet. So, um, no deal with Huerta, as previously reported, huh?

Constitutionalists at Tampico threaten that if any US warships enter the Panuco River, they’ll open up the oil tanks and burn Tampico.

More and more generals are coming out against Huerta, including Gen. Velasco, who is pissed that he got blamed for losing Torreón when the government deprived him of supplies.

It seems that many of the first anti-American flood of recruits into the Mexican army after the occupation of Vera Cruz were sent to fight the rebels instead of the Americans, and arms were only supplied to units fighting the rebels.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George proposes a soak-the-rich budget, with a “supertax” on incomes above £3,000 and increased land taxes and death duties to pay for increased spending in health, education, insurance, etc.

Gov. Coleman Blease of South Carolina fails badly in getting his supporters elected to the state Democratic Party convention.

The NYT editorial page is indignant at the IWW picketing campaign against John D. Rockefeller, Jr. A “menace to human rights,” they say.

Civil War general Hiram Duryea is shot dead by his lunatic son.

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Today -100: May 4, 1914: Of military rule, duels, and revolting Mecca

Maj. Holbrook, the new military ruler of the Colorado mining regions, has banned the shipment of arms into Colorado and between regions within Colorado. And he’s ordered the closing of saloons in the disturbed areas.

The IWW, following Upton Sinclair’s lead, is picketing John D. Rockefeller, Jr at his country estate, his NY house, and his church. Rockefeller brings in armed guards, so it’s like Colorado in miniature, or something.

Gen. Frederick Funston, the new military ruler of Vera Cruz,
establishes full military government there, giving up on the pretense that Mexicans would be allowed to run their own city.

Lots of rumors about Huerta resigning.

A Catholic-Greek Orthodox riot in Butler, Pennsylvania leaves one man dying from a stab wound and several injured. One of the Orthodox made a remark about the Catholic Church, and hilarity ensued.

Joseph Caillaux won’t fight that duel after all. His electoral opponent d’Aillières’s seconds contend that the words on his electoral bills didn’t constitute an insult and were about a matter of public interest, so Caillaux isn’t entitled to demand satisfaction. Arbitrators were chosen, who agreed. Who knew there was so much bureaucracy involved in dueling?

Headline of the Day -100: “Mecca Is In Revolt.”

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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Today -100: May 3, 1914: Suffrage for women is a question that men will decide according to the demands of women

9,000 march in a women’s suffrage parade in Boston, not normally a hotbed of suffragism.

A military commission investigating the Colorado coal strike blames the Ludlow Massacre on Greek strikers – the phrase “ferocious foreigners” appears in its report. The union boycotted the inquiry because it was not conducted publicly. The report essentially blames the suffocation deaths of 11 children and two women in a pit on the lack of foresight of the strikers in not digging a big enough pit for people to hide in while the militia shot at them and set their camp ablaze. It also blamed the strikers for hiding behind women by placing their own defensive rifle pits where the National Guard could not help killing non-combatants with return fire. While claiming it was not determining who was responsible for the strike, “we feel that for their treason and rebellion against organized society, with the horrible consequences of anarchy that followed, certain union leaders must take responsibility before man and God.”

The coroner’s jury, however, says the Ludlow fire was deliberately started by the state militia, mine guards, or both.

Secretary of War Garrison issues a proclamation that all persons in the Colorado strike area who are not in the military must turn in their arms, mine guards as well as strikers (but probably not the state militia, which will simply leave the area).

Headline of the Day -100: “Mexicans Demand the Prompt Surrender of Pumping Station.” Several hour stand-off, with a few shots fired at the end, just to make a point.

Headline of the Day -100, runner-up: “Mexicans Will Not Attack Us Again.” A cease-fire. After the Battle of the Pumping Station.

There are repeated rumors that Huerta is about to flee, while everybody is still fussing about details of the mediation process – where should it be held? Havana?

Joseph Caillaux, the French former prime minister and finance minister whose wife shot the editor of Le Figaro, challenges Fernand d’Aillières, who ran against him for parliament, to a duel. D’Aillières’ election posters said those who voted for Caillaux would be “accomplices in crime.”

Name of the Day -100: Rep. Samuel J. Tribble (D-Georgia), who I haven’t run across before but is causing trouble, as Tribbles do, by preventing a provision to double the number of chaplains in the Navy. He said navy personnel who live in cities can just go to church and complained that 3 of the current navy chaplains were not born in the US. There followed a discussion about how many Jews there are in the Navy.

The German Reichstag is considering a bill against nudity in art that might “arouse the phantasies of unripe youth.” The phrase comes from a decision of the Imperial Supreme Court about postcards of famous but nudey works of art that works are only indecent which injure the feelings of modesty of a normal person, as opposed to the phantasies of horny unripe youth.

NY Mayor John Purroy Mitchel, addressing a Suffrage Day meeting in Carnegie Hall, says that women don’t really need the vote, but will get it when enough of them want it: “Suffrage for women is a question that men will decide according to the demands of women.”

A suffrage meeting in Brooklyn sends its resolutions off to Pres. Wilson by carrier pigeons.

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Friday, May 02, 2014

Today -100: May 2, 1914: Of May Day, neutralization, mobs, and sulphur

New York police attack May Day celebrants in Union Square, using a squabble between Socialists and Anarchists as an excuse to unleash their clubs on both, as was the custom.

Mexican rebels are beginning their attack on Tampico, even though the US asked them nicely not to because that’s where Mexico keeps our oil. The US called for “neutralization” of the oil fields. Carranza rejects the idea. Nor is he receptive to the idea of a cease-fire with the Federals. In other words, the rebels are winning.

Mexican Foreign Minister José Portillo y Rojas is fired, which is significant since there is no vice president, meaning he was next in line if Huerta resigned.

The NYT keeps insisting that the residents of Vera Cruz welcome the American occupation and would like it to continue.

The US is trying to track down rumors that Edward Ryan, a doctor for the Red Cross, was arrested by the Federal authorities in Zacatecas, Mexico as a spy and sentenced to death. Huerta orders his release, if he is indeed a prisoner.

William Burns, the private detective investigating the Mary Phagan murder, is mobbed in Marietta, Georgia, Phagan’s home town, and forced to leave the city by a crowd evidently more interested in seeing a Jew executed for the murder than a negro, even if the latter was actually guilty.

Kiev orders 580 Jewish families to leave the city and closes three private girls’ high schools.

Obit of the Day -100: Herman Frasch, America’s sulphur king. He is survived by his daughter, the sulphur princess I guess.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014


So not only did Oklahoma botchecute Clayton Lockett, they also tased him that day (why were they trying to x-ray him anyway?), and the IV was stuck in his groin (and then covered with a sheet, which is why they didn’t notice it wasn’t working correctly). And they ran out of their death drugs, so they couldn’t have completed the execution even if they could have found a usable vein.

Says Gov. Mary Fallin, choosing her subordinate, the commissioner of public safety, to conduct an “independent” investigation of the botchecution, “We need to take as long as possible to get the answer right.” I’m sure no one can take as long to get the right answer as you can, Gov. Fallin.

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Today -100: May 1, 1914: Of bull moose, funstons, campaigns of extermination, and teddies with boils

The Progressive (Bull Moose) Party’s executive decides to run full state tickets in all the Northern states this year, focusing on Kansas, Pennsylvania and Illinois, hoping to win 3 US Senate seats. A cablegram is sent to Theodore Roosevelt in Brazil asking him to return.

The US Navy hands control of Vera Cruz over to the US Army, and from the alliterative Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher to the alliterative Gen. Frederick Funston.

If there was ever a man with a name that sounds like he was destined to join the army and become a general, it was Frederick Funston.

A new constitution is promulgated for China by a puppet Constitutional Convention appointed by President Yuan Shikai after he dissolved Parliament in January. Surprisingly, the document gives Yuan Shikai near absolute control.

A truce in the Colorado coal war goes into effect as the federal troops arrive. Yesterday’s armed battles in Forbes and Walsenburg resulted in 15 deaths. A United Mine Workers explains that the strikers welcome the troops if they disarm mine guards and displace the state militia, and if the mines remain closed. That’s adorable. Actually, the mine companies will use the troops as cover to import even more scabs. Major Holbrook is talking about disarming the strikers but not the mine guards. Owners of 19 coal companies refuse the suggestion of Rep. Martin Foster (D-Ill.), chair of the House Mines Committee, for negotiations to be held without recognition of the United Mine Workers union. The owners accuse the UMW of waging a “campaign of extermination” and destroying mines and equipment.

British suffragists heckle the wedding of Noel Buxton, a Liberal MP, asking if he will promise to insist that his wife has the vote. Leaflets are thrown from the gallery.

Theodore Roosevelt is coming home. He has explored the Amazon enough, and is suffering from boils.

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