Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today -100: November 30, 1914: Love, not dreadnoughts and siege guns, will bring peace to warring Europe

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle says that Sir Roger Casement must have gone literally insane, probably from all that time in the tropics, to have gone to Berlin to negotiate.  The Irish nationalists repudiate Casement.

Woodrow Wilson is going ahead with his plan to settle the Colorado coal strike, even though the mineowners rejected it.  He appoints a commission to settle future differences (or, as the bitterly anti-union LA Times puts it, “President Vents Spite”).  Not that he can force anyone to listen to the commission, so I’m not sure what he thinks he’s accomplishing.

Gen. Pablo Gonzales is reported to have declared himself provisional president of Mexico, because Mexico definitely needed a third one of those.  Can’t have enough provisional presidents, I always say.

The commander of the United States Naval Training Station in Rhode Island bans the song “Tipperary” because it violates Woodrow Wilson’s neutrality order.

Speaking of violating neutrality, Today -100’s Headline of the Day: “Mr. Bryan Evades Embrace. He Had Just Predicted Love Would Bring Peace to Europe.”  A young woman who claimed to be his cousin, but wasn’t, tries to hug him.  There’s never a cameraphone around in 1914 when you need it.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Today -100: November 29, 1914: Beware the French Dragons!

France and Germany and Austria will exchange civilian prisoners aged 45-60 who are medically unfit for military service.

NYT Index Typo of the Day -100: “DRAGONS WRECKED GERMAN AIR FLEET; French War Office Describes Night Attack of Cavalry on an Aeroplane Camp.”  What are French dragons like?  I picture him wearing a beret, with a Galois hanging from the corner of his mouth.

German newspapers are trying to reassure the public that the Russian winter isn’t really so bad for German soldiers.  In fact, according to the professors being trotted out, severe cold kills germs and is therefore healthy (cholera has already broken out among some soldiers).

Norway’s women’s suffrage society (est. 1885) dissolves, because they won.  In Norway suffrage was granted in installments (local elections to women paying a certain amount of tax in 1896, in state elections in 1907, county elections in 1910 for women over 25, and equal votes in 1913.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Today -100: November 28, 1914: Of football, fighting clergy, disguised steamers, impudent good will, and muffs

London newspaper owners jointly decide to stop reporting on football beyond the scores.  If that doesn’t make everyone join the army, I don’t know what will.

Headline of the Day -100:  “German Clergymen Want To Fight.”  Some clergymen in Berlin protest being exempted (I guess actually barred) from the military.  It’s an insult, they say.

Churches are not exempt from military service, however.  At least according to the London Morning Post, which claims that the German army has put machine guns and anti-aircraft guns in the towers of Cracow Catholic churches to lure Russia into bombing them, thereby alienating the Poles.

German schoolboys have been “volunteering” for military training at their schools.  They will go to the front in the spring as young as 16.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Lusitania Drops Disguise.”  Arrives in New York painted in its Cunard Line colors again, after having been cunningly disguised for two months by being painted black.

British newspapers are castigating former diplomat Sir Roger Casement for going to Berlin and getting a statement from the kaiser that Germany would never invade Ireland (which the Daily News calls “an impudent message of good will”).  Casement is also negotiating for more concrete aid for Irish rebels.

Turkey has decided not to default on its pre-war bonds.  But it will pay the interest only in person at the Ministry of Finance in Constantinople.  Just make your way through the front lines, foreigners who hold most of the bonds.

Headline of the Day -100:  “WANT MUFFS FOR SOLDIERS.; German Officer Appeals to Women to Send Their Furs.”  Say, what sort of war is this, anyway?

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Today -100: November 27, 1914: We will again save the republic

Carranza arrives at Vera Cruz, declares it the new capital, or temporary capital, or something.  “We will again save the republic,” Carranza says.

Prime Minister Asquith says he won’t bring in legislation to ban football.  Or to seize all football grounds for military purposes.  Yet.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany accuses Britain of a war crime: a British airplane was forced down behind German lines, and beside the pilot was a German prisoner, very cold and very naked, who’d been taken up in an attempt to scare him into revealing military secrets.  The pilot was then shot.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times):  “Russian Girl is Crucified.”  Another Fog of War story, one hopes.

A British battleship, the Bulwark, blows up in Sheerness Harbour, killing 738 of the crew. Not enemy action. Maybe it’s not a good idea to store shells next to the boiler room bulkhead after all.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes denies Leo Frank a writ of error on technical grounds, but expresses doubt that he received a fair trial, given the presence of a threatening mob.

Retired Tammany Boss Richard Croker’s marriage comes off. Since he was marrying an Indian, there was a crowd in front of the church of “ragamuffins in black face and motley attire, masquerading in honor of Thanksgiving Day”.  Elsewhere in the paper, the NYT complains that “Army of Beggars Mar Thanksgiving.”

This blog wishes you and your army of beggars a happy Thanksgiving.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today -100: November 26, 1914: Of pardons, Bavarians, football, Christmas ships, internment camps, and Indian maids

Outgoing South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease will pardon or commute the sentences of 75 prisoners for Thanksgiving.  I’m still not sure what’s up with his campaign to use his pardon power to empty the jails.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: More stories about how disaffected the Bavarian troops supposedly are, fraternizing with French soldiers and not shooting at them but into the air.  I’m not sure whether this propaganda campaign (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s not true) is aimed at reassuring the French or dividing the Germans.

After the weekend, the British newspapers conducted a tut-tut campaign about how many healthy young male spectators there were at football matches and how few of them responded to army recruiters.  So the next step is a campaign to ban football, because of course it is.  A question will be asked in Parliament tomorrow.

One of the ways in which the US is helping out with the war is the “Christmas ship,” a philanthropic scheme to send presents to European children (and sell copies of the newspapers sponsoring the scheme, of course).  It was the least we could do.

The Duchess of Marlborough (née Consuelo Vanderbilt) has zeppelin-proofed her London home, Sunderland House.

Germany orders a census of all the animals in Germany, for rationing purposes.  Also, to save flour, Berlin bakers are banned from baking bread more than twice a day, which they do because everyone prefers fresh bread.  Berliners will eat stale bread and by god they’ll like it, officials declare.

British guards shot several rioting interned Germans at the detention camp on the Isle of Man.  News of this has reached Germany and there are now fears of reprisals against British prisoners.

Zapata’s forces move into  Mexico City as Gen. Blanco’s forces hastily depart, leaving barely any time for mobs to form and start looting. This is why you need to be prepared and draw up a shopping list.  Pancho Villa plans to enter the capital tomorrow.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Croker Is To Wed Indian Maid Today.”  Richard Croker, the former Boss of Tammany Hall, will marry Beulah Edmonson, a Cherokee woman “who last year rode a pony and sang Indian songs in the Hippodrome,” and rode a horse at the head of a suffrage parade in D.C..  The NYT says she’s 50 years younger than him, but it’s really 40, 41 years, tops.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today -100: November 25, 1914: Of invasions, missionaries & dwarfs, salaams, and Florida property

H.G. Wells suggested that if Germany invaded Britain, civilians should defend the country with carving knives or any other weapons they could find.  The government is trying to shut down this sort of talk (which would violate the rules of war and make the entire population of Britain legitimate military targets), but won’t say what it’s plans in case of invasion actually are.

Headline of the Day -100:  “German Missionary Tries to Blow Up Ship.”  In West Africa somewhere, a British gunboat called the Dwarf.  He says he’s a soldier first and a missionary afterward.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100 / Headline of the Day -100: “Salaams of Indian Stay German Fire.”  One of Britain’s Indian troops was scouting at night when a German spotlight fell on him.  He started salaaming (bowing) his way to the Germans, where he pretended to be a disaffected colonial who just wanted to fight the British.  The next day he said he could come back with more like-minded Indians, so they let him go, like the lunk-headed Germans they are, not realizing that every single subject of the Raj is completely loyal to the king.

That article says that the Indians in Europe have been engaged in trenching and counter-trenching.  I have no idea what that means and no, Google, I did NOT mean “define contour-trenching.”

More Fog? Germany is said to be dismantling locomotives for their copper and brass, to make more bullets.

Zapata’s forces are entering Mexico City, which Carranza’s troops have all left.

E.C. Chambers, on trial for using the mails to defraud by the sale of Florida (swamp)land, claims that William Jennings Bryan himself inspected the land back in ought-ten and declared it perfectly good land (though under two feet of water) and later bought some.

I don’t normally do birth anniversaries here, but what the hell: Joe DiMaggio, whose autograph my father failed to get twice, once in the 1940s and once in the 1970s.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, November 24, 2014

There’s never an excuse for violence

I’m reading Obama’s comments on the Ferguson grand jury rather than watching them on tv because I can’t stand to hear his voice any more. To be fair, there hasn’t been a president in my lifetime whose voice I could stand to hear this far into their presidency.

“our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day.” They sure put SOMEONE’s lives on the line every single day.

“As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence...” Okay, this is my first Fuck You, Obama Moment™ in this address. You can argue that violence, setting a police car on fire, for example, is not the appropriate response, but the word “excuse” suggests that Some People just love them some violence and have no other motivation beyond their love of violence, and don’t really care about Michael Brown at all.

“...distinguish them from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.” The police don’t get to decide what “legitimate issues” are. Also, Obama, since you inserted that word “legitimate” in there, maybe you can tell us which issues related to cops shooting unarmed black kids are illegitimate? Because we’d really like to know.

“The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.” How many parts is the right number?

“And there are good people on all sides of this debate”. There are also a lot of assholes. But I’ll bet you won’t talk about them.

“We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. I’ve witnessed that in my own life. And to deny that progress I think is to deny America’s capacity for change.” This just occurred to me, and I haven’t read his memoirs, but has Obama ever talked about any discrimination he has personally felt in his life?

“there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion.” How often is the right amount?

“That [progress] won’t be done by throwing bottles. That won’t be done by smashing car windows. That won’t be done by using this as an excuse to vandalize property.” There’s that word again.

“Those of you who are watching tonight understand that there’s never an excuse for violence”. Tell that to the fucking grand jury.

Or the Iraqis, Afghans, etc, yeah yeah, but I think we all know “there’s never an excuse for violence” was never intended to apply to Johnny Foreigner.

“But I think that we have to make sure that we focus at least as much attention on all those positive activities that are taking place as we do on a handful of folks who end up using this as an excuse...” You’re really beginning to piss me off, dude. “ misbehave...” Oo, I love it when he talks to us like we’re naughty children. “...or to break the law...” Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s too impressed with “the law” this evening. “...or to engage in violence.” “There is inevitably going to be some negative reaction, and it will make for good TV.” I mean, not “Breaking Bad” good, but still pretty good.

Oh, and I hear Officer Wilson is engaged, and not to a big hairy cellmate named Bubba. Congratulations, Officer Wilson!

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Today -100: November 24, 1914: That’s a lot of bullets

After seven months, the American occupation of Vera Cruz ends, “with little show of enthusiasm on the part of the Mexicans.”  In the end, they just left, without deciding to which of the competing Mexican regimes to hand over the port, the customs house, and seven months of customs duties.  Carranza’s soldiers take over the town, following two blocks behind the withdrawing Americans, and issue orders that everyone has to turn in their weapons or face execution, anyone who commits crimes will face execution, and all the saloons are closed until further notice.  Which probably explains the lack of enthusiasm.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Wilson To Receive Women.”  For Christmas?  Actually, he will receive and, I’m gonna predict, condescend to, a women’s suffrage deputation.

The Belgian authorities in Antwerp are refusing to pay the fine demanded by Germany until they stop requisitioning anything they want from the city.

Germany complains to the US and other neutral nations that Britain is violating the laws of the sea in seizing what it declares to be contraband.

Someone or other has calculated that it takes 168 pounds of bullets, which is 5,860 bullets, to kill a man on the Belgian front.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Football, Not War, Attracts English.”  English newspapers are working themselves into a froth, as is the custom, over this.  Recruiters at Saturday’s games succeeded in getting only one man to take the king’s shilling.  Now that the first giddy rush to arms is over, recruitment is way down. They’ve raised the pay, already the highest in Europe (they’re the only warring country without conscription) and reduced the minimum height to 5’3”.

A British patrol trawler, the Dorothy Gray, rams a German U-boat, the U-18, off Scotland’s coast, causing it to founder and surrender.  26 crew are taken prisoner, only one died.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Today -100: November 23, 1914: Of spies, plots, and again being a state

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the Allies have reportedly shot René Colaert, the mayor of Ypres (which is currently being destroyed by the battle of the same name; the town hall was blown up yesterday), as a spy for Germany.  None of which is true.

Russia arrests several Social Democratic members of the Duma for a supposed revolutionary plot to overthrow the state.

More Fog, from the Morning Post (UK): Kaiser Wilhelm is said to have demanded that Austria transfer all its troops to the defense of East Prussia because he thinks Austria itself is a lost cause. The Austrians would prefer that German troops help them defend Cracow. There’s also a story that retreating German and Austrian troops quarreled and shot at each other.

Still more Fog? Honestly, I don’t believe anything I’m reading today.  The military governor of the Austrian fortress of Cracow says civilians aren’t obeying his order to leave the city fast enough, so he’ll have any that don’t do so shot.

A committee of the Colorado Legislature demands that outgoing Governor Ammons “prepare to accept for the people of this State the responsibility of again being a State” and send the national guard back into the strike regions so that federal troops can leave.  They want him to issue a proclamation that everyone should obey the law and refrain from “incendiary utterances” and tweets, and make clear that every able-bodied man from 18 to 45 is a member of the state militia whether they like it or not. The governor-elect talks of deporting from the state any strikers who break the law.  Neither governor suggests that the mining companies accept Wilson’s proposed truce, much less negotiate in good faith with the miners.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Today -100: November 22, 1914: Of unfriendly unhostile acts, free countries, swapped giants, and little lord fauntleroys

Turkey explains why it fired on a US launch in Smyrna.  See, they were just friendly warning shots, warning the launch that the harbor was mined and they shouldn’t enter it.  The Wilson administration is pretending to believe this, although we’re not quite sure what the captain of the Tennessee believes, since he reported the shots as “unfriendly” but also as “not intended as a hostile act,” whatever all that means.  It also seems that US embassy was informed that the port of Smyrna had been closed but didn’t have the means of communicating that information to US Navy ships.

The NYT Magazine asks “Did You Ever Hear of a Free Country Called Moresnet?”  Moresnet was a tiny sort-of-nation between Belgium and Germany, sort of jointly but very loosely administered by both, without a real government or courts.  And (Spoiler Alert) it won’t last long.

Evidently not just Carranza fled Mexico City, but also the entire police force.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Swap Giant for Dwarfs.”  William Hempstead, an eight-foot-tall Englishman stuck in Germany at the start of the war, is exchanged for two Germans who are under two feet tall, and are you fucking kidding me?

Headline of the Day -100:  “LORD FAUNTLEROY,' ORIGINAL, MARRIES.”  That’s Vivian Burnett, the son of novelist Frances Hodgson Burnett, is forever stuck with being called Little Lord Fauntleroy, the effeminate character his mother modeled on him.  Indeed, in 1937 the NYT reported his death at 61 under the headline “Original Fauntleroy Dies in Boat After Helping Rescue 4 in Sound.”

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Today -100: November 21, 1914: Of uniforms, knives, vicious lobsters, and illicit newspapers

Headline of the Day -100:  “Leaves Battle Front to Visit His Tailor; Marquis of Anglesey, His Coat Shot Away, in London for New Uniforms.”  The article notes that his uniform may have been more than usually fragile because it was made by a fashionable tailor, and that the previous Maquis of Anglesey, “Toppy” Paget, was renowned for his wardrobe of more than 300 coats (and for cross-dressing, but the NYT doesn’t mention that part).

Mexican Rumor of the Day -100: Gen. Lucio Blanco is now in charge, having imprisoned Gen. Obregón.

The US has decided to keep the customs duties it collected while occupying Vera Cruz until there’s a stable government in Mexico.  Could be a while.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Slew 1,200 With Knives.”  Moroccan troops.  Either the French didn’t trust with guns or they simply didn’t need them.  They attack Germans who were desecrating a graveyard at Tracy-le-Val by digging trenches in it.  I’m guessing there’s some slight exaggeration in this story from Le Temps.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Bitten By Vicious Lobster.”  A helper in the kitchens of the Hotel Klein in New Brunswick, NJ, is bitten on the finger by a lobster he was trying to grill.  He had to go to the hospital for more than a month and has now won $210 + medical expenses in court.  Don’t know what happened to the vicious lobster, who I have decided was named Harold, but I fear the worst.

Canada bans four German newspapers.  It is now illegal to sell or even possess one.

The British Parliament votes to raise another 1 million soldiers, in addition to the existing 1.1 million.  They are assured that will be quite enough to ensure victory.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We’ll miss her when she’s gone. She is going, right? Please tell me she’s going.

Michele Bachmann complains about Obama’s immigration policy: “millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language.” And they’ll take away jobs producing hilariously oblivious straight lines from hard-working American idiots.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Today -100: November 20, 1914: Of bigger armies, volunteer prisoners, and squandered shells

Headline of the Day -100:  “Taft for a Bigger Army.” Also, bigger pants, bathtubs, pies.  However, he supports Wilson’s policy of staying out of the European war.

After multiple scandals at Sing Sing, the new warden will be Thomas Mott Osborne, a prison reformer who spent a week as a volunteer prisoner in Auburn Prison last year, just like Robert Redford in that movie, and wrote a book about it.  He is opposed to capital punishment and won’t attend executions, but says if there are to be executions, they should be public.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Squandered Shells to Please the Kaiser.”  While he was touring the front.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Today -100: November 19, 1914: Three hundred miles of cannon spoke

A committee of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) submits a report in favor of the restrictive immigration bill (including literacy tests) pending before Congress.  It says that the European war will be followed by mass migration from the affected countries, but those governments will offer inducements to the fit to stay and aid in restoration while encouraging those crippled by the war – “these bits of wreckage” – to emigrate to America.

Carranza moves his capital from Mexico City to Orizaba.  The other president of Mexico, Eulalio Gutiérrez, is rumored to have been put in jail by Pancho Villa for approving the idea of Villa and Carranza going into exile.

Turkish forces in Smyrna shoot at a US Navy launch (which was flying the US flag) from the cruiser Tennessee.

German troops have reportedly captured the governor of Warsaw (Russian Poland).  He is being confined in the “best hotel” in Gnesen.

Germany is trying to forcibly recruit Belgian Civil Guards into its war with Russia.  They are resisting, hiding, and attempting to escape into Holland.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Even the overly credulous NYT doesn’t really believe this one: A Cossack general named Arintinoff captured Czernowitz, in Austrian Poland, and told the town rulers that, following the Austrian example in Kaminez Podolski, he wanted 600,000 rubles in gold and silver (reduced, after much begging, to 300,000) by the next day or he will blast the city.  So they milked every last peasant (the rich people having already fled town), collecting trinkets, jewelry, menorahs, church ornaments etc, and just managed to raise it by the deadline, whereupon the general told them to take it back, he just wanted to show them what it’s like.

A little light googling doesn’t show up a Gen. Arintinoff or Arintinov or Rintintinoff, except for this tale.

Rudyard Kipling shits out a poem in praise of the late Lord Roberts:
He passed in the very battle-smoke
Of the war he had descried.
Three hundred miles of cannon spoke
When the Master Gunner died.  Etc.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today -100: November 18, 1914: Of mediation, good times in Warsaw, elusive teetotalers, wet military zones, and humane projectiles

Headline of the Day -100:  “President to Await Mediation Request.”  And await... and await...

Command of Mexico City is seized by Gen. Álvaro Obregón.  On behalf of Carranza, but that part is not clear to a confused NYT yet.  The move was intended to forestall Villa, who is sending troops towards the capital.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Germans Expected Good Time in Warsaw.”  This is why you should never trust graffiti in bathroom stalls.  The Germans had been planning to hold a ball in Warsaw after they captured it – they printed invitations and everything.  The army is now retreating, leaving behind horses and artillery, although it claims this is merely a strategic maneuver.

To pay for the war, British Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George proposes doubling the income tax and increasing the tax on beer and, so that the “elusive teetotalers” don’t escape having to pay, on tea as well (at this point Liberal MP and temperance advocate Leif Jones stalked out of the House of Commons chamber in protest).

Britain declares the whole North Sea a military zone, supposedly in response to Germany using civilian shipping vessels to lay mines.  So really, this military zone thing is a benevolent act to protect neutral ships from German perfidy and not at all a naval blockade intended to starve Germany.

Britain denies German charges that it uses dum-dum bullets, and says Germany does.  On the standard British army bullet, “In the opinion of Sir Victor Horsley, a well-known surgeon [and well-known vivisector of dogs], this bullet is ‘probably the most humane projectile yet devised’”.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Today -100: November 17, 1914: The Germans all boast of their culture

Russian troops may have set Cracow on fire.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: More Russian rumors about Austria: Austria is planning to seek a separate peace, independently of Germany;  Germany demanded that Austria fire 11 generals and the heir-apparent, Archduke Karl Franz Josef (as a field marshal; he can continue being heir-apparent); and have taken command of Cracow’s defenses away from the Austrians.

The war is costing Britain £1 million a day.

Germany is re-naming French cities it claims to have annexed: Calais will be Kales, Dunkirk Dünkirchen, Lille Ryssel, Boulogne Boonen, Nancy Nanzig, etc.

Pope Benedict urges peace.  He blames the war on materialism and lack of brotherly love.  “The spirit of Christ does not reign today,” he says.

Pancho Villa accepts Carranza’s offer that they both quit their positions and leave the country.  So we’re all agreed, and this will definitely happen, right?  Eulalio Gutiérrez certainly thinks it has, and has written to Woodrow Wilson, “president” to president, that “the time of dictatorships born of violence and personal ambitions has passed forever” in Mexico.  So that’s all good.

Name of the Day -100: Americans with German names are being warned by the State Department against traveling to countries at war with Germany after complaints from a George Rottweiler of Chicago about ill-treatment in France and Britain.

In the NYT letters pages appears what you didn’t even realize the war needed: a limerick.
The Germans all boast of their culture
In a way that would almost insult you;
But the wreckage at Rheims,
And the loot of Louvain
Show their “culture” develops a vulture!

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Today -100: November 16, 1914: Of foxes, censorship, flügels, uriahs, fortresses, and Masonic conspiracies

First World War Problems: the war is seriously interfering with fox hunting in England.

All train passengers heading from London to the Continent will be searched for spy stuff.

The Daily Chronicle (UK) complains again about military censorship.  Germany has accredited war correspondents and “If Germans die in the performance of a heroic exploit, they do not die unheard of, unhonored, and unsung, as with rare exceptions their British and French opponents do.  In this way the martial enthusiasm of the nation is kept at the highest pitch.”  But the French War Office’s “policy it has been to hound down British correspondents in France like vermin and treat them as if they were worse than spies.”  And the British government has taken to seizing reporters’ passports.  The Chronicle claims Germany treats reporters from neutral countries very hospitably, but NYT correspondents report frequently being arrested as suspected spies.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Worry Over War Kills Dr. Fluegel.”  Worst Dr. Seuss book ever.  Ewald Flügel was chair of the Stanford English Philology Dept, working on a massive project to create a concordance to Chaucer’s work.  And he was worried about the war.

Also dead: Uriah Hill, a retired stove manufacturer.  Nothing noteworthy, but you just don’t see many Uriahs anymore.

Russia is imposing financial penalties on East Prussian towns, just like Germany does in Belgium.  The German military authorities have ordered East Prussians to flee and leave nothing behind that the Russian troops can use, bringing their flocks with them and burning their homes.

Exotic-As-Hell Headline of the Day -100:  “Indians Take Turkish Fortress in Arabia.”

Cardinal O’Connell of Boston blames the disorder in Mexico on a “Masonic conspiracy.”

Masonic conspirator Carranza offers to turn control of the military over to Masonic conspirator Gutierrez and go into exile in Cuba – provided that Masonic conspirator Villa does the same, on the same date.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Today -100: November 15, 1914: Of little Bobs, touchy czarinas, Belgian caps, audaciouses, illustrations independent of accordance with fact, and ice

Field Marshal Frederick “Little Bobs” Roberts, the 1st Earl Roberts of Kabul and Kandahar, the retired former Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, dies of pneumonia at age 82 in France, where he had gone to visit Indian troops.  He bounced around the colonies most of his military career, which spanned the Indian Mutiny to the Boer War.  He spent the last years before the war agitating for compulsory military service and for the army to rebel and refuse to enforce Irish Home Rule.  At five foot two, he was too short to be an enlisted man, even with the newly reduced minimum height.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Touch of Czarina Like Miracle Cure.”  A barracks near the Winter Palace has been converted into a military hospital, and Mrs Tsar and a couple of the czarettes play at nurses.

Fashion Headline of the Day -100:  “BELGIUM MAY BE INSPIRATION FOR WINTER'S NEW FASHIONS; Details of Costumes Worn by Inhabitants of Little Nation Which Has Stirred the Imagination of the World May Be Reproduced in Other Lands. Already Belgian Cap Is the Smart Thing in Millinery.”  I’m assuming a Belgian cap is some sort of contraceptive device.

The super-dreadnought HMS Audacious, the 3rd largest ship in the British Navy, was sunk by a mine last month in the North Sea.  Most of the crew was rescued by the Olympic.  The news was kept secret for more than two weeks, despite being known by the crews and civilian passengers of multiple ships.

If a dreadnought fears nothing, what is a super-dreadnought?

The federal commissioner of Indian Affairs, Cato Sells, admits that Kate Barnard’s accusations about Indians being robbed of millions are true, but says he inherited the situation from previous regimes and he’s now sending probate lawyers to try to straighten it out.  He doesn’t seem to be as willing as Barnard to accuse the newish state of Oklahoma of being a giant criminal conspiracy to defraud Indians of their lands, which is what it was.

The Rev. Hugh MacCauley of the Second Presbyterian Church in Paterson, NJ, says that his mention in a recent sermon of a New Jersey woman who adopted two Belgian boys, only to find when they arrived that their hands had been cut off by German soldiers, was just a rumor which he used as an “illustration” and “its value as an illustration was quite independent of its accordance with fact.”

The city of Bakersfield’s new charter, which has to be ratified by the California Legislature, declares ice a public utility and authorizes the city to manufacture and sell it.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Asked in Burma about press freedom, Obama says he has raised the issue with both the Chinese and Burmese governments: “I’m pretty blunt and pretty frank about the fact that societies that repress journalists ultimately oppress people as well”. First they came for the journalists, but they weren’t people, so I said nothing....

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

The return of In Other Words

George Bush is interviewed by NPR, because of course he is. He mostly talked in other words about the book he totally wrote all by himself about his father.

IN OTHER WORDS: “He had a strategy to deal with Saddam Hussein. And then when he said, this will not stand, he meant it. In other words, he understood that when a president speaks, he’s got to mean what he says.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “We both went to the United Nations to get a resolution. In other words, this wasn’t a unilateral American action.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “It was more complex because this decision was made in a post-9/11 world. In other words, the removal of Saddam from Kuwait was definitely in our national interest. But it didn’t necessarily mean that the United States’s homeland would be threatened or not threatened depending upon his actions.” No, it didn’t necessarily mean that. I think. Wait, what did you say?

WHAT GEORGE CAN UNDERSTAND (NOT GRAMMAR. NEVER GRAMMAR): “I can understand the comparisons between he and me.”

WHAT GEORGE COULD ENVISION: it was totally necessary to invade Iraq because “one could envision a nuclear arms race between Iran and Iraq.”

A BETTER SHOT: “And I would argue that the people of Iraq have a better shot at living in a peaceful state.” They certainly have enough ammunition.

GREENE: I guess I just wonder broadly what you tell Americans who look at the chaos today and link it back to your decision to invade in 2003. And...
BUSH: I just say the condition elsewhere matters to the security of the United States, and we cannot become isolationists.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Today -100: November 14, 1914: Of insane dukes, passports, villas, and punctured romances

Headline of the Day -100:  “Duke of Cumberland Made Insane By War.”  Found wandering around in a demented state because his son, the Duke of Brunswick, has been declared missing in battle.  I don’t know if either element of this story – the insanity or the MIA thing – have any truth to them.  This could be British disinformation aimed at two guys on the German side (the elder Duke used to be the king of Hanover, when there was still a kingdom of Hanover, and the younger is married to Kaiser Wilhelm’s daughter) who happen to possess English titles (which they will be deprived of in 1919).  The inter-marrying of royalty creates these problems.  The dukes are direct descendants of George III, who was king of both Britain and Hanover, as were all British monarchs from George I until Victoria – Hanover’s rules of succession did not allow for female monarchs.  (Update: Germany denies, a few days later, that Brunswick is wounded or missing or a prisoner.)

The US says it will end its occupation of Vera Cruz in 10 days.  Evidently trying to get out before the newest civil war heats up.  Now they just have to decide which government to give the customs duties they’ve been collecting.

Kate Barnard, the state commissioner of charities in Oklahoma, says there is a conspiracy in the state legislature and congressional delegation to rob Cherokees, Seminoles and Chickasaws, especially orphans, of tribal funds.  This theft was facilitated by the 1908 decision to turn the cases over from federal courts to Oklahoma courts.  Once she started advocating for Indian wards, the Legislature de-funded her Department of Charities and Correction, which now runs on, well, charity.  Incidentally, state commissioner of charities is the only office a woman was allowed to hold under the OK constitution.

Britain will now require Americans boarding steamships for America to show passports, but...

The State Department admits that foreign spies have gotten American passports (such as Carl Lody, who was just executed in Britain) pretty easily.  Under new rules, people will have to do more than pretend they’ve lost their passport and swear that they’re American, like Lody did.

Kaiser Wilhelm, afraid that Greece might soon join the Allies, is trying to sell his villa, Achilleion, on Corfu before it gets confiscated.  Which is in fact what happened.  It became a wartime hospital, an orphanage, a Nazi headquarters, and a museum/casino (in which the casino scene in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only was filmed).

Speaking of film history, “Tillie’s Punctured Romance,” the first full-length comedy motion picture, starring Marie Dressler, Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand, directed by Mack Sennett, is released.  This is a pretty good print, but turn off the obnoxious sound.

The New Statesman publishes George Bernard Shaw’s article “Common Sense About the War,” which will also begin running in the NYT tomorrow and lead to much vituperative debate in Britain, questions in Parliament about why it wasn’t censored, etc (some of the debate is reproduced in the book version at the link). Read it and decide for yourself (in other words, I completely forgot I intended to read it by today).

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Today -100: November 13, 1914: Before the leaves have fallen from the trees

Berlin: Censorship to repress any news of the Russian invasion of East Prussia doesn’t really work if your city is filling up with refugees.

A guy told a guy who told a NYT correspondent that Kaiser Wilhelm, visiting a field hospital, told soldiers, “Mark my word, there will be peace before the leaves have fallen from the trees.”

Russia claims that Armenians are gleefully welcoming Russian troops and even joining them.  Which a few certainly are doing, but this Russian  propaganda plays into the pre-genocidal all-Armenians-are-traitors propaganda that the Turkish government is already beginning to ramp up.  Also, it will soon be clear that the move into Armenia was more of a feint by a single army corps than a real invasion, so any Armenians who did gleefully welcome Russian troops would be kind of screwed.

Japan is upset at California’s re-election of Gov. Hiram Johnson and the election of still more racist legislators.  They fear new legislation will prevent Japanese not just owning land in California as at present, but leasing it.

Headline of the Day -100:  “President Resents Negro’s Criticism”  (Alternate headline, in the LA Times: “Wilson and a Negro Clash in White House”).  The critical negro is William Monroe Trotter of the small National Equal Rights League and the criticism is over Wilson’s segregation of federal offices.  Wilson repeatedly insists that segregation, which was of course implemented for the comfort and in the best interests of negroes, is not a political issue.  Trotter promises united negro opposition to the Democrats in 1916 and expresses disappointment in Wilson, who says he’s never been so insulted in his life, and that mentioning votes is a form of blackmail, finally ordering Trotter out, saying that if the NERL ever came to the White House again, it had better be without Trotter.  The next day, various negroes sent telegrams to the White House disavowing Trotter, and the White House trumpeted its great support of black federal employees: why, two negro messengers have been advanced to clerkships!  Two of them!  One of whom had only been waiting for a promotion for 45 years.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Disobeyed His Orders, Killed 600 Germans.”  A French gunner, so it’s okay.

Headline of the Day -100 (Chicago Tribune):  “Sneeze Powder Kills Man.”  In a New York streetcar. James C. Allan, 78, one-time Greenback-Labor Party candidate for lieutenant-governor.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Kaiser Clips Ends off His Mustache.”  The London Standard claims this has brought home to Germans that they are losing the war.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Today -100: November 12, 1914: The Battle of Cocos. No, really, that’s what it’s called.

The German cruiser Emden, which has been very successful against Allied ships – mostly British – for two months (2 warships, 16 steamers and a merchant ship captured or sunk) is attacked and destroyed by the Australian cruiser Sydney off the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, with 1/3 of its crew killed.  The Emden’s captain and officers will be allowed to keep their swords.  They won’t be returned to Germany until 1920.  A landing party on Direction Island when the battle occurred escaped capture, stole a ship and got back to the German fleet safely.  One of the Emden’s guns may now be viewed in Hyde Park, Sydney:

German newspapers are neglecting to mention that Russian troops have crossed into German territory.

The NYT’s military expert says “The close fighting of the last nine weeks in France has been very trying to the morale of the troops.”

Luxemburg’s Parliament opens, not that it matters, given the German occupation.  Grand Duchess Marie says the Germans are promising an indemnity, presumably because they didn’t resist like Belgium did.  “Our rights, though violated, remain. ... I thank the people for their correct attitude, whereby disagreeable events have been prevented.”

Carranza declares war on Villa.

The NYT praises Southern women suffragists for opposing the federal route to women’s suffrage:  “If they cram the vote down the throats of a large part of the United States which does not want it and is even hostile to it,” the Times says, the “indifference and lack of intelligence” which the new voters will display “will be a body blow to the influence and standing of women in politics.”  The lesson from negro voters is that “the real friends of the negroes” wanted to start with just a few negroes voting and gradually expand it and had this been done, the Times says, some negroes might still have the vote, because evidently the reason they were deprived of the vote was that they weren’t very good at it, and for no other reason.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Today -100: November 11, 1914: They will do what is just

Formal declaration of war by Britain, France, Russia, Belgium and Serbia on Turkey.

At the Southern States Suffrage Conference in Chattanooga, Alva Belmont says that with the European armies “shelling cities and destroying everything before them, leaving women and children without a place to lay their heads, it is somewhat illogical to talk of woman’s sphere as the home.”  Asked whether negro women in the South should be allowed to vote, Belmont would not venture an opinion, saying it should be “left entirely to the men of the South to decide.  They will do what is just.”  There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.  “We seek for women political rights equal to those of men.  Negro women could share the rights of negro men. If they are disfranchised let the women share the same treatment.”  Since she, unlike most Southern suffragists, supports a national constitutional suffrage amendment, I wonder how she thinks it should be phrased to allow for racial discrimination.

The German government is complaining about vulgar cartoons of the heads of enemy states.  “Germany does not require such poisonous medicine and should leave such things to the English mob, the Paris apaches, and Russian moujiks.”

14 states are under quarantine for foot-and-mouth disease.

Psychic Headline of the Day -100:  “Psychic War News.”  The Occult Messenger (UK) reports, via psychic sources, that the Allies will do very well in November and that “The United States, the most unlikely people of all, will put a finger in the Turkish pie.”  Very unlikely: when the US finally did join the war with the Central Powers, it did not declare war on Turkey.

Carl Lody, the German spy, is executed at the Tower of London, the first execution there since the 11th Lord Lovat, a Jacobite, in 1747.

Germany is threatening to ban the importation of food into Belgium (whose population is being partly fed by American charity) unless Belgians return to work.  What work? the Belgians wonder, since the Belgian economy has been wrecked, bombed, thoroughly looted, and is in no shape to provide jobs.  Every means of transportation has been commandeered.

Mexico orders a secret German wireless station in Ensenada closed.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Today -100: November 10, 1914: More men and still more

Carranza declares himself chief head of Mexico, ordering generals to ignore the convention and subordinate officers to ignore their generals if they follow the convention.  Gutierrez also declares himself president.

Lord Kitchener, the British secretary of war, wants “more men and still more, until the enemy is crushed.”  He admits casualties have been “severe,” but says those casualties “will act as an incentive to British manhood to prepare themselves to take the places of those who have fallen.”  Come on, British manhood, those mass graves won’t just fill themselves.

Headline of the Day -100:  “RAIN OF GERMAN SHELLS MAKES YPRES A RUIN; Fine Old Buildings Destroyed ;- Lone Woman Fights Flames With Buckets of Water.”

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Today -100: November 9, 1914: Of absinthe & glass eyes

The US will intern the German cruiser Geier at Honolulu after it missed a deadline to leave port because it was trying to out-wait a larger Japanese ship waiting to sink it.

France bans absinthe.

First World War Problems: all of Germany’s glass-eye factories have shut down, and the US is running out of them.  The US manufactures some of its own, but the material came from Germany.

Britain denies German claims that German ships bombarded Yarmouth.

Germany imposes yet another $1.25 million fine on Brussels, for the crime of Brussel’s police having helped newspaper vendors resist arrest by German secret police for selling contraband Dutch newspapers.

The Mexican convention gives Carranza until Tuesday to relinquish the presidency, or force will be used.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Today -100: November 8, 1914: Of beer, internment, wireless, and cow pictures

Japan previously said it would only keep Kiautschou temporarily but, now that it’s been captured from Germany, says it will administer it until the end of the war and then “open negotiations with China.”  Germany hasn’t left much of it intact.

Headline of the Day -100:  “A.F.L. Declares for Beer.”  Says prohibition is contrary to freedom and would throw (unionized) brewery employees out of work.

As threatened, Germany has ordered all male English nationals aged 17 to 56 to report for internment.

The exposition for New York’s tercentenary opens. It is opened by an Indian named... White Man Runs Him.

Cuba says it has put down an army mutiny.

The US military is searching for secret wireless stations that certain unnamed European countries (Germany) are using to transmit military information – the positions of sinkable ships, that sort of thing.

Headline of the Day -100:  “War Facts in Cow Pictures.”  Supposedly, the German army is using cow-themed graffiti to leave messages directing troops – the cow’s head pointing in the direction of French troops, the size of the cow indicating the size of enemy forces, that sort of thing.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Friday, November 07, 2014

What North Korean orphans shout for – joy, evidently

With all the election hoopla you may have missed the important news that North Korea has opened a new Pyongyang Baby Home and Orphanage.

“The baby home and orphanage were garbed in a festive atmosphere as the children were very happy and pleased with the best cradles. Entering the fairytale nurseries, education rooms, exercise rooms and other best-furnished places for living and entertainment, the children were so happy that they shouted for joy. Nurses, teachers and officials were very grateful to Marshal Kim Jong Un. The children gave art performances in their new buildings and they sang of their happiest life in the world.”

Kim Jung Un visited a few days before it opened, so he wouldn’t be bothered by actual babies and orphans, because you’d hate to have anything distracting mess up your PR photos.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Today -100: November 7, 1914: We cannot see beyond the range of our guns

As the Turko-Russian war heats up, Russian newspapers have started calling Constantinople “Tzargrad.”

Woodrow Wilson declares the US neutral in the war between Britain and Turkey.  Jeez, we get it, you’re neutral already.

Germany surrenders the port of Tsing-tau to Japan after a 65-day siege.

Turkey’s chief religious leader, the Sheik-ul-Islam, decrees that it is the religious duty of all Muslims to fight Russia, France and Britain.  Yup, jihad.

Headline of the Day -100:  “English Eat Grapefruit.”

Britain is intercepting shipments of copper from the United States to Italian ports but intended, Britain says, for the German war machine.  All ships bound for Italy are being diverted to Gibraltar and copper removed.  American copper magnates say it’s just an excuse for Britain to create a monopoly in copper manufacturing.

George Bernard Shaw writes an open letter to Woodrow Wilson, asking him to request Britain, France and Germany all withdraw from Belgium and fight their war (which he calls “the quaint absurdity of a war waged formally between the German Kaiser, the German Czar, the German King of the Belgians, the German King of England, the German Emperor of Austria, and a gentleman who shares with you the distinction of not being related to any of them and is therefore describable monarchically as one Poincaré, Frenchman”) on their own territories.  He is appealing to the US because “We cannot be just.  We cannot see beyond the range of our guns.  The roar of the shrapnel deafens us; the black smoke of the howitzer blinds us.  And what these do to our bodily senses our passions do to our imaginations.  For justice we must do as the mediaeval cities did – call in a stranger.”

Montana suffragists are concerned that the delay in election returns from Anaconda might be part of a dirty trick to defeat the women’s suffrage referendum.  Evidently the poll workers just... forgot to count votes on the propositions. I mostly mention this because it’s the first time I’ve seen the name of future Congresscritter Jeanette Rankin, now the president of the Montana Equal Suffrage Association, in a newspaper (the LA Times).

Although on the same page they mis-spell the name of Frances Munds, an Arizona suffrage activist just elected to the state Legislature from Yavapai County, the first woman legislator in Arizona.

The NYT reports on a women’s suffrage meeting in Carnegie Hall, and for once doesn’t describe what a single one of the women speakers was wearing.  Is that even legal?

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Today -100: November 6, 1914: Of declarations of war, cypruses, dead klucks, and Ostendais

Britain and France declare war on Turkey (actually, France says that Turkey created the state of war by attacking a French steamer, I guess at Odessa, without immediately making amends by firing all the Germans in its army and navy as a way to disclaim responsibility for the act).

Britain annexes Cyprus.

France, Britain and Russia all having large numbers of Muslim subjects, there’s some concern about unrest in sympathy with the Ottoman Empire, although they’re all pretending not to worry.  Britain issues a proclamation – in India, which included what is now Pakistan – promising not to molest – is that really the exact word they used? – Muslim holy sites in the Middle East.

Death Rumor of the Day -100: The French newspaper Excelsior says that German Gen. Alexander von Kluck died 10 days ago, and they’ve been covering it up.  Nope.

Ostend, Belgium is about to come under artillery attack, and the Ostendais have been ordered (by whom?) to hide in their cellars for the next five days.

Ostendais: that’s what people in Ostend call themselves.  Now you know.

Someone from the Christian Science Committee on Publication feels obligated to write the NYT a letter denying that Gen. Moltke, former head of the German General Staff, is a Christian Scientist.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Today -100: November 5, 1914: Subordinate to our rules and desires

This is the 5th anniversary of my first Today -100 post.

Headline I Really Didn’t Want to Click On of the Day -100:  “Wants Cat Skins for War.”

Okay, now I really want Germany to lose.

Headline of the Day -100:  “PICK OFF RUSSIAN OFFICERS.; German Soldiers Then Have to Stand Revengeful Bayonet Charges.”  Another London Standard propaganda story, the gist of which is that Russian soldiers love their officers and that Germans hate hand-to-hand fighting, preferring to take pot-shots from a distance, because they’re cowards.

Headline of the Day -100:  “French Officers Swordless.”  Not a euphemism.  Because of that pot-shot thing, they’re trying to be less conspicuous.  Their new uniforms will be indistinguishable from those of the grunts (poilus, to use the French term coming into use right about now).  Officers are also ordered to lead from the rear, because they’re so much more valuable than the poilus.

Mrs. Arthur Dodge of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage says the elections show that women’s suffrage is doomed.  In addition to losing 5 of the 7 state referenda, none of the 18 anti-suffrage members of Congress targeted by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage lost their seats.

Turkey breaks off relations with Britain, France, Russia and Serbia.  Russia invades Armenia.  The London Daily Chronicle says “The campaign in this wild, mountainous Armenian region will mean considerable hardship at this season of the year, but it will certainly be a most picturesque episode of the great war.”  So that's okay then.

Gen. Paul von Hindenburg says “The war will not end until all the nations who are fighting against us have become subordinate to our rules and desires.”

Woodrow Wilson warns the people of the part of Arkansas into which he’s sending federal troops against “doing, countenancing, encouraging, or taking any part in such unlawful obstructions, combinations, and assemblages” and says they should return to their homes.

The British government pays Orville Wright £15,000 to settle his patent-infringement case and to cover any future use of airplane-related patents.

Walter Lanfersieck, executive secretary of the Socialist Party, is happy with the election results.  One Socialist congressman, several state legislators and city council members.  But with the general collapse of the Progressive Party, “There is now no place for honest Progressives to go but to the Socialist Party.”

The German minister of war bans the use of Boy Scouts in the field.  They have been used up to now to bring food, ammunition and such to the troops.

NYC Mayor Mitchel (a Democrat) says the poor showing of Democrats in the state’s elections shows that Tammany’s Boss Murphy must go.  Boss Murphy disagrees.

Elsewhere in fixing-the-blame news, the White House says congressional election losses were down to the changes made in tariffs.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Today -100: November 4, 1914: The Suez Canal is threatened by camels?

Election results:

Women’s suffrage was on the ballot in 7 states yesterday, passing only in Nevada and Montana, bringing the number of suffrage states to 12 (plus Alaska), but losing by a 56% no vote in South Dakota (that initiative included a provision allowing foreigners who intended to become citizens to vote), 55% in North Dakota, 64% in Missouri, I dunno in Nebraska, and 60% in Ohio, whose constitution defined voters as white male until 1923.  Jane Addams thinks the bad suffrage showing is the result of the European war causing men to lapse into primeval instincts.  “Persuasion has no place in the psychology of men who are contemplating resort to force.” Ain’t it the truth.

The 8-hour day and/or the 48-hour week fails everywhere they’re on the ballot (California, Oregon, Washington).  Prohibition wins in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, but loses in California and Ohio.  There are now 14 dry states.  Arizona narrowly fails to abolish the death penalty (putting 15 prisoners who had been reprieved pending the vote back on death row), votes to require that 80% of employees at companies employing more than five workers be U.S. citizens, and limits railroad fares to 3¢ per mile.  California bans poll taxes and prize fighting but rejects a proposition allowing only property-owners to vote on bond measures.  Oregon will require voters to be American citizens and abolishes the death penalty by a narrow vote (which will be overturned in 1920).  Washington state votes 79% against foreigners being allowed to own land.

These were the first US Senate elections under the 17th Amendment.  Democrats picked up 3 seats, giving them 56 of the 96 seats.  New senators include Warren G. Harding for Ohio and Charles Curtis (Hoover’s vice president) for Kansas.

The House of Representatives: Democrats also continue to hold a majority in the House, with 230 seats, down from 290.  The R’s have 196.  Former Speaker of the House Joseph “Uncle Joe” Cannon (R), who lost his Illinois seat in 1912, returns, as does Nicholas Longworth (aka Mr. Alice Roosevelt).  Charles Randall, a Prohibition Party member (and formerly a Republican, a Democrat, and a Progressive, not necessarily in that order), wins a congressional seat from California’s 9th district (Los Angeles County) in a tight three-way race, defeating an incumbent Republican 30.9% to 30.3%.  He will serve three terms, the only Prohibition Party congresscritter ever.  Meyer London, a labor attorney, is elected for New York’s 12th district (Manhattan) as a Socialist.  London is a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, and that’s his real name.  He will serve two terms before being defeated by Henry Goldfogle, the Democrat he defeated this time.  He admits he can’t pass any legislation, but he hopes to call Congress’s attention to the study of social problems and labor legislation.  Good luck with that.  “The business of socialism,” he will say at a celebration held in Madison Square Garden, “is to give intelligence to discontent.”  He says he will show Congress “what the east side of New York is and what the east side Jew is.”  Both Randall & London will vote against entry into World War I.  Victor Berger, the former one-term Socialist congresscritter from Milwaukee, loses a bid to return in the district he lost last election.

Charles Whitman is elected governor of New York in a Republican landslide that gives the party both houses of the legislature and all the statewide offices.  Voters were presumably turned off by the intra-Democratic fighting that culminated in last year’s impeachment of Gov. Sulzer and the victory of Tammany corruption.  Sulzer ran this time under the American Party and the Prohibition Party banners, coming a distant third but he calls himself “vindicated” by Glynn’s defeat).  Even New York City didn’t give many votes to Democratic Gov. Glynn.  The anti-Catholic campaign against him didn’t help, but neither did a series of corruption scandals and Tammany appointments.

California re-elects Hiram Johnson as governor.  In 1910 he was elected as a Republican, this time he ran as a Progressive, winning just shy of 50%, with Republican John Fredericks getting 29% and Democrat J.B. Curtin 12.5%.

Supposedly Austria is sounding out Russia about making a peace separate from Germany.

Japanese sailors have requested permission to make a raid on Kaio-Chau to capture the German governor, but they’ve been turned down.  The request was written in the sailors’ own blood; no word on what bodily fluid the rejection was written in.

French newspapers are speculating that Germany, which unlike France is fighting on two fronts, must be running out of munitions.

The Turkish ambassador, about to leave Russia as the two countries start their war, refuses to pay the embassy’s Russian employees the back wages he owes them and makes a smart-ass jibe about paying them in Odessa when Turkey captures it. A clerk clobbers him, as is only fitting and proper.

Headline of the Day -100:  “SUEZ CANAL IS THREATENED.; German Officers with a Camel Corps ;- Agitators Sent to Egypt.”  The canal is threatened by camels, because of course it is.

Woodrow Wilson sends federal troops to Arkansas to see that a federal judge’s orders are enforced – something about bankrupt mines, mines being blown up, and miners rescuing other miners from the cops.  Yes, the troops will have machine guns, as was the custom.

Carranza rejects the convention’s attempt to replace him, claiming that the resignation he sent them was a “telegraphic error.”  Fuckin’ autocorrect, amiright?  So Mexico now has two rival presidents, as was the custom.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Today -100: November 3, 1914: Did you know one of those could be closed?

Montenegro declares war on Turkey.  No one notices.

Headline of the Day -100:  “North Sea Closed by British Order.”  Supposedly Britain is laying mines in the North Sea purely in retaliation for Germany laying mines off the coast of Ireland along the shipping route between Liverpool and the US, but a naval blockade of Germany is an obvious, indeed inevitable tactic given Britain’s naval superiority.  (Update: This must be a response to the sinking of the super-dreadnought Audacious by a submerged mine a week ago, which the public hasn’t been told about yet).

The Mexican convention accepts Carranza’s resignation and elects Gen. Eulalio Gutiérrez president for a term of... 20 days, but Carranza says he never officially resigned, because his conditions (the retirement of Villa and Zapata as commanders) were not met.

The Turkish government has asked if it’s too late to apologize for starting a war with Russia and blowing all that shit up (some people in government are less intent on war than others, the others being primarily Young Turks).  Russia isn’t really saying, but the minimum conditions would be the removal of all German officers from the Turkish army and navy and the dismantling of two cruisers Germany transferred to Turkey.  The grand vizier has apologized for Turkey’s actions, while blaming the Russian navy for starting it.  I’m not sure what that means – Russian ships fired on the Turkish ships which came to bombard Odessa?

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Some random Englishwoman reports that since the start of the war Kaiser Wilhelm’s hair has turned white.

Headline of the Day -100:  “Pooh-Poohs Invasion Talk.”  Britain does, because what other country would “pooh pooh” something?

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Coercing young people

OK, clearly I’m not writing that long post about the decline of respect for the concept of free speech, but I do want to mention something Obama said at the UN in September: “Their [the Islamic State] propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students – young people full of potential – into suicide bombers.” And Obama wasn’t even talking about person-to-person propaganda in mosques, say, he was talking about the internet. Free speech, even hortative speech, is not “coercion.”

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.

Today -100: November 2, 1914: You should have seen the one that got away

Turkey invades Egypt.

The NYT ponders why Europeans are apprehensive about the use of dark-skinned troops in the Great War.  The problem, it thinks, may be that “the ‘savages’ show themselves practically equal to us in the very things for which we admire ourselves most”.

The Netherlands say that several hundred German troops – out of uniform – tried to cross the border.

Britain says that since Germany is holding French and Belgian civilians (males liable for military service in France and Belgium) as POWs, Britain will start doing the same to enemy nations’ reservists found on neutral ships.

A Dutch trawler catches a German u-boat in its fishing nets.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.