Sunday, March 29, 2015

Today -100: March 29, 1915: The Carpathian Caper

Headline of the Day -100:

Is it a heist caper? Are the Russians a motley crew of misfits attempting to overcome their differences and steal the Hungarian crown jewels? Is one of them a humorous older character actor? Is one of them Brad Pitt, I mean one of them is always Brad Pitt, right? Has this whole war just been a distraction? Have I used the word caper yet?

Headline of the Day -100:  

We’ve all been there.

That story was written by an embedded reporter – embedded firmly up Gen. Joffre’s ass. It’s purest propaganda: a wounded soldier (Georges Bastard by name) sings the Marseillaise to encourage his comrades; Joffre pins a medal on a soldier whose eyes fill with tears as he remains at attention; the French soldiers are “hardy and unfatigued” and look “strong with purpose”; trench life is “singularly attractive” (!), etc.

The spread of prohibition in the US has reduced federal income from various alcohol taxes by $2 million this year, with 9 more states due to go dry in 1916.

The Tory press, starting with the London Times, has been criticizing Prime Minister Asquith for the worrying – but pleasingly alliterative – shell shortage.

Georgia’s governor-elect, Nathaniel Harris (whose wives’ names were Fannie and Hattie, which is about as Southern as you can get), is being very On the One Hand, On the Other Hand about the Leo Frank case, and is plainly hoping the US Supreme Court will make a decision that will let him avoid having to make his own decision about whether to pardon Frank.

Headline of the Day -100:  

With the nature of 20th century warfare understood better than it was, for example, last August, I’m a little surprised at how blatantly greedy and pragmatic the countries that haven’t entered yet – Bulgaria, Italy, Greece etc – are being in their public statements. No one’s talking about making the world safe for democracy, or the dangers of Prussian militarism or British perfidy, or poor little Belgium; instead they’re being quite open that it’s all about how much territory they can grab. And it’s still perfectly acceptable to proclaim that as a good reason to send teenagers off to die.

To be fair, Italy is also perfectly willing to be bribed territorially to refrain from entering the war. They don’t really care who wins, as long as they get Trieste.

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