Monday, August 31, 2015

Today -100: August 31, 1915: Of horse thieves and foreign-policy elections

San Antonio police arrest 26 Mexicans, thwarting a supposed plot to kill gringos (and Germans) and reattach Texas to Mexico.

A posse of Texas Rangers, customs guards, the 13th US Cavalry, and civilians kill 5 horse thieves from Mexico near Hillsburg, TX including, it is suspected (correctly), Gen. Pascual Orozco, who jumped bond last month after being arrested with Huerta. It’s actually a little murky. The rancher Dick Love who called in the authorities didn’t tell them Orozco was one of the Mexicans, although they knew each other. Love may have been carrying out a personal vendetta against Orozco and those may not even have been his horses, but Orozco’s.

The NYT thinks the 1916 elections will be the first US election ever fought on foreign issues. They quote the Boston Herald saying that the D’s will fight on “He kept the country out of war.” First time I’ve seen that phrase in the NYT. Won’t be the last.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Today -100: August 30, 1915: Of fire and snakes

A mob in Sulphur Springs, Texas, lynches two negro brothers who killed a couple of sheriffs. They are burned (one alive, one dead) at the stake. The NYT describes that as a “compromise” between those who wanted the men burned alive in the town square and those who wanted to allow the law to take its course. Who says Texans don’t believe in compromise?

Germany is supposedly now using phosphorus shells to set enemy soldiers on fire. Are Germans actually Texans? Are Texans actually Germans? Someone check Wikipedia.

Feel-Good Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Today -100: August 29, 1915: Of negro women suffragists, TR speeches, and tighter skirts

The Woman Suffrage Party in NY will open a branch for black people (ahead of the November referendum).

Theodore Roosevelt responds to Secretary of War Garrison’s criticism of his speech in typically temperate terms and it’s like watching him degenerate into a Fox News commentator.

Headline of the Day -100: 

German dressmakers had intended to bring out wider, material-wasting skirts simply to do the opposite of whatever is current Paris fashion. The government would rather save the cotton.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Today -100: August 28, 1915: Blackjacked

A fire in the Presidio kills the wife and three of the four children of Gen. “Blackjack” Pershing, who will lead US expeditionary forces during World War I. Evidently there are standing orders for Presidio personnel not to pull an alarm to call the SF Fire Department until they’ve tried to put it out themselves (with old, inadequate equipment).

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Today -100: August 27, 1915: When mobs are no longer possible, liberty will be dead

Russia abandons Brest-Litovsk.

Former SC Gov. Coleman Blease shows up at the Conference of Governors and speaks out against the use of the third degree by police, which he says is a violation of the Constitution and a blow to the whole spirit of our institutions.  Unlike lynchings, which of course he totally supports: “when mobs are no longer possible, liberty will be dead.”

The US is now pushing Germany for a response to its last Lusitania letter about submarine warfare. That letter actually said that it didn’t require a written response, just not torpedoing quite so many Americans in the future, but now, with the Arabic sinking, the US demands an explicit response. Germany is evidently telling the US privately that it already sent orders to modify submarine warfare and refrain from attacking passenger ships (which the U-boat that sunk the Arabic ignored), but that it won’t say so publicly because the German people are really committed to sub warfare, in part because the government is exaggerating how successful it is and how vital to the war effort.

France announces the end of martial law outside of actual war zones.

The New York Constitutional Convention reverses itself and drops the literacy requirement.

Headline of the Day -100: 

The British and German ambassadors to the US both turn up at the Shoreham Hotel restaurant for separate lunches. They do not make eye contact.

German occupation forces appoint a city council for Warsaw, 12 Poles, 12 Germans, and 6 Jews.

A W.J.L. writes a letter to the NYT saying that he’d offered a German street band a dime to play the Marseillaise but “They are not out for cash, it seems.”

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Today -100: August 26, 1915: We have treated elocution as a substitute for action

Haitian President Philippe Dartiguenave, in office less than two weeks following his predecessor’s precipitate removal from office by a murderous mob, signs the convention giving control of Haitian finances and police to the United States. It now has to be ratified by the Haitian Congress and US Senate. Secretary of State Robert Lansing is openly using the term “protectorate.” He says, “The United States Government has no purpose of aggression and is entirely disinterested in promoting this protectorate.” Hell, he says, we haven’t even demanded Mole St. Nicholas be ceded to the US like Guantanamo Bay.

Theodore Roosevelt says Americans should stand by Pres. Wilson only so far as he is right. In a speech at the US Military Instruction Camp at Plattsburg, he denounces “professional hyphenated Americans” and also “professional pacifists and the poltroons and college sissies who organize peace-at-any-price societies,” and the man with a mean soul. He wants every young man in America to be given military training, just like Switzerland. He says the US has “played an ignoble part among the nations” since the start of the world war, shirking its responsibility to defend Belgium. He says, and you know I believe he might just be referring to President Wilson, that “We have treated elocution as a substitute for action. ....  Reliance upon high-sounding words unbacked by deeds is proof of a mind that dwells only in the realm of shadow and of sham.”

Tomorrow Secretary of War Garrison will issue a very public rebuke to Gen. Wood for letting Roosevelt make that speech.

The proposal that the right to vote be contingent on an ability to read and write in English passes the NY constitutional convention. For now.

What the NYT calls the “Grape Juice Hiatus” at the State Department comes to an end, as Lansing reverses Bryan’s ban on alcohol at diplomatic dinners. The NYT asks why grape juice was made the go-to substitute for booze, instead of, say, ginger ale.

Paris jewelers have developed a wrist watch for soldiers - complete with a compass and a glow-in-the-dark radium-coated dial (World War I saw the widespread switch from pocket to wrist watches, which were much more convenient in the trenches).

Headline of the Day -100:

German saboteurs are being blamed lately (sometimes correctly) for every industrial mishap, but this time (in Jersey City) they have gone too far!

Headline of the Day -100: 

That’s why you should always use SPF 30 or higher.

Headline of the Day -100:

I dunno, if Staten Island didn’t have a criminal class, it wouldn’t have any class at all.

Headline of the Day -100:

Nope, I can’t even think of a joke to make about this one.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today -100: August 25, 1915: Of arabics, literate voters, unknown lynchers, sops, and emperors

Germany has been leaking suggestions that the Arabic wasn’t torpedoed but sank because it hit a stray floating mine. The government has asked the US for a delay for it to prepare an answer after it investigates how the Arabic was sunk and even whether the American passengers who died were actually American.

At the New York constitutional convention, there’s a debate over a proposed requirement for voters to be able to read and write in English. Charles Young (R) says that German immigrants who can only read the German-language press are a grave menace to the US, while Prof. Louis Marshall points out that the requirement would piss off the 1 million Jews who can only read Yiddish.

Completely Unsurprising Headline of the Day -100:

Headline of the Day -100: 
The 10% who are Catholic or Protestant or who work at US consulates.

Chinese President Yuan Shikai denies planning to make himself emperor (while being obviously behind the propaganda campaign for the restoration of the monarchy). He says that his sons are unfit to be non-commissioned officers, much less succeed him as emperor. I foresee an awkward Thanksgiving.

The US gives Haiti until noon to agree to a 10-year treaty giving the US control of its customs revenue and police forces.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Today -100: August 24, 1915: War is a dirty business

Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pašic says the Serbian army hasn’t been fighting lately because of sanitary conditions. He also says, through gritted teeth, that he is giving in to his allies in allowing Italy to pretend it controls Albania.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Today -100: August 23, 1915: Universal peace will be any color you want, as long as it’s black

William Jennings Bryan says that the sinking of the Arabic is not a cause for war, and again blames the American passengers who put their convenience above their nation’s welfare for their own deaths, and should we really let selfish dead people like that drag us into war?

I still don’t know exactly how many Mexican leaders, generals etc were sent those letters by the US and the Latin American ambassadors demanding a conference be called to settle, you know, everything, but some of the answers are beginning to trickle in. All of Carranza’s generals got one, and they’re all replying “Hey, talk to the boss. We just work here.” Including Gen. Obregon, who some Americans are considering putting into power.

Henry Ford says he will use his fortune to campaign for universal peace.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Today -100: August 22, 1915: Of declarations of war, pales, fresh sacrifices, sublime days, and deaf drivers

Italy declares war on Turkey. Italy’s complaints: Turkey is fomenting revolt in the Italian colony of Libya, and it won’t let Italians leave Syria.

Russia loosens its restrictions on where Jews can live, since most of the Pale of Settlement is either occupied by German troops or an active war zone. They still won’t be allowed in Moscow or Petrograd or in the vicinity of the tsar’s various residences, because you have to have some standards.

Some people want the US to respond to the sinking of the Arabic by expelling the German ambassador. Theodore Roosevelt, not surprisingly, thinks this is not sufficient and would, indeed, be “a fresh sacrifice of American honor and interest.” he says the time for words has “long passed,” but doesn’t spell out what the US should do, although I think we can guess.

Germany captures the fortress Novo Georgievsk, or as Kaiser Wilhelm puts it, “It was a sublime day, for which I humbly thank God. The booty in Kovno has increased to 600 guns.” It’s not often you hear someone use the words “sublime,” “humbly thank God” and “booty” so close together, except maybe in rap songs.

A member of the Russian Duma named Alexandrof will be prosecuted for publishing an article before the war predicting war between Germany and Russia.

New Jersey’s DMV commissioner rules that deaf people can’t have driver licenses.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Today -100: August 21, 1915: Emperors v. mosquitos

The Germans have totally developed a “ray” that can cut through barbed wire from a mile away.

Karl Liebknecht, the socialist Reichstag deputy, puts a question to the foreign minister: will Germany negotiate on the basis of no annexations? Foreign Minister Gottlieb von Jagow replies that “the moment is unsuitable” to answer.

The secretary of Germany’s Imperial Treasury, Karl Helfferich, admits that the war has gone waaaay over budget, but he intends to finance it through war loans which will be repaid by the defeated enemy after the war ends.

Headline of the Day -100: 
I believe Sean Connery had a line about this in The Untouchables.

Jacques Lebaudy, the Emperor of Sahara, is recaptured after being defeated in the Long Island woods by the toughest enemy of all: mosquitos. His lawyers will get him sprung in a week or so. One of his first acts will be to take out an ad disavowing any debts (shop accounts, that sort of thing) entered into by his wife. In fact, he claims that she isn’t even his wife but “a French woman of no social standing” passing herself off as his wife. She is, of course, his actual wife. Some people don’t take being committed by their spouses very well. Their relations and his mental health will not improve and she will shoot him dead in self-defense in 1919.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today -100: August 20, 1915: Proudly and without fear we look into the future!

A u-boat torpedoes the White Star liner Arabic shortly after it left Britain for the US, killing 44 (including 3 Americans). No warning is given, which the White House is trying to confirm, because it’s an important factor in how pissed off it will decide to be.

Job Title of the Day -100:
One of the Arabic passengers, a J.F. Rowley of Chicago and/or Kansas City, who was visiting Britain to set up an artificial limb factory.

At the opening of the German Reichstag, Chancellor Theobald Bethmann-Hollweg explains at length how the war was all Britain’s fault and Germany is fighting in self-defense against half the world, but it’s going swimmingly. A German victory, he says, will mean a Poland freed from the Russian yoke, Balkan nations freed from Russian oppression, and a “new Europe, delivered from French intrigues, Muscovite lust of conquest, and British tutelage.” “Proudly and without fear we look into the future!”

Turkey is locking Armenians in barns and burning them, and putting chains around Armenians and drowning them in lakes.

Georgia Gov. Nathaniel Harris offers a reward of $1,500 for the first three convictions of members of the Leo Frank lynch mob.

Anna Howard Shaw of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association denies that the Leo Frank lynching had anything to do with chivalry, noting that Georgia’s age of consent is still 10.

Jacques Lebaudy, the Emperor of Sahara, escapes from the Knickerbocker Sanitarium (evidently the preferred loony bin for royalty: past residents have included the King of Europe and the Empress of Africa).

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Today -100: August 19, 1915: It isn’t a mob spirit that prevails here

The Germans capture Kovno! (now called Kaunas, Lithuania)

Pancho Villa accepts Woodrow Wilson’s plan for a conference, which is pretty safe since he knows Carranza never will.

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): 

Judge Newton Augustus Morris, former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, who is being treated as a hero because he kept Leo Frank’s corpse from being mutilated, says “It isn’t a mob spirit that prevails here [in Marietta]. The men who lynched Mr. Frank were intelligent men; they did it in an intelligent way.” I’m no superior court judge, like Morris used to be and will be again, but I believe that’s called pre-meditation. “I believe Frank has his just deserts,” says Morris, because evidently a belief in the rule of law isn’t a requirement for to be a judge in Georgia.

Pictures of Frank hanging from the tree are already being sold in Atlanta. The acting mayor says there’s no law against it – as long as they have a license. However, postcards with the picture cannot be sent through the mails.

Jacques Lebaudy, aka Jacques I, self-proclaimed Emperor of Sahara (he landed mercenaries in Morocco in 1903) (he inherited a fortune in sugar refining money and that’s how he chose to spend it), which he used to run from the Savoy Hotel in London and now runs from Long Island, gets into a dispute with a neighbor who persisted in disobeying his royal command not to drive on her own driveway. Sheriff’s deputies were called, and they got into a scuffle with the Saharan Army (four messenger boys, but Lebaudy gave them uniforms and everything). The sheriff chased Emperor Jack, both on horseback. His wife (the Empress Augustine) agrees to have him sent to the Knickerbocker Sanitarium.

Justice Charles Evans Hughes of the Supreme Court says he will not run for president in 1916 and if nominated would not run, and I for one believe him.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Today -100: August 18, 1915: An act of law-abiding citizens

Lynching of the Day -100: Leo Frank (1884-1915), kidnapped from prison, is driven 175 miles to Mary Phagan’s birthplace in Marietta, Georgia, and hanged.

Gov. Nathaniel Harris, who was attending a reunion of Confederate veterans, says he’ll make sure the lynchers are brought to justice. He says “I do not believe that the people of Georgia will at all approve of this action.”

There were postcards made of the lynching. You can Google them. Frank is hanging from a tree, barefoot, in a nightrobe. Some of the mob are easily identifiable and none are wearing masks, nor were they when they invaded the prison farm. None, of course, were ever arrested.

This defunct site lists 26 of the probable members and planners of the lynching party, including former Georgia Gov. Joseph Mackey Brown, who last December wrote an op-ed asking “Are we to understand that anybody except a Jew can be punished for a crime?” and last week wrote another one saying the time had come for “the people to form mobs”; E.P. Dobbs, mayor of Marietta; Eugene Herbert Clay, former mayor of Marietta and future president of the Georgia Senate; Newton Augustus Morris, former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, past and future superior court judge and occasional cattle rustler.

By the way, Marietta’s mayor is named Dobbs and its police chief is named H.H. Looney. This is like a Preston Sturges movie gone horribly wrong.

Headline of the Day -100:

The Atlanta Constitution says the mob has “assaulted, desecrated, raped” the sovereignty of Georgia and “lynched, not Leo Frank, who is only a detail in the awful story, but the State itself.” (Those Southerners sure did see everything in terms of rape, don’t they? The Macon Daily Telegraph says the mob “raped the State penitentiary”.

The Marietta Journal, on the other hand, says “We regard the hanging of Leo M. Frank in Cobb County as an act of law-abiding citizens” merely carrying out the death sentence that Gov. Slaton shouldn’t, in their opinion, have commuted.

The Jeffersonian (edited by former Congresscritter Tom Watson, who was one of William Jennings Bryan’s two running mates in 1896 and will be a US senator) proclaims, “Let Jew libertines take notice.”

Atlanta Mayor James G. Woodward defends the lynching, saying “when it comes to woman’s honor there is no limit to which we will not go to avenge and protect it.” He says 75% of Georgians believe Frank was guilty and they ought to know (how?). He suggests that former Gov. John Slaton, who commuted Frank’s sentence, should stay out of the state for at least another year and maybe forever.

Slaton, in San Francisco, says better a lynching than a hanging by judicial mistake. He says every member of the lynch mob should be hanged.

Elsewhere in Georgia, a 68-year-old negro man, John Riggins, is also lynched.

Headline of the Day -100:

Villages are being depopulated, with Armenians ordered to take a hundreds-mile-long march through the desert, during which most will die.

King Ferdinand of Bulgaria fires his German medical adviser after discovering that he’s a spy.


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Monday, August 17, 2015

Today -100: August 17, 1915: Whither Leo Frank?

Leo Frank is grabbed from the Georgia State Prison Farm by a group of 25 to 40 men. They bundle him into a car and take off for parts unknown. Details are few today because they cut the telephone lines, except the one they missed. They planned it pretty meticulously, considering they only had to overcome two guards and a trusty.

Chinese President Yuan Shikai wants to name himself Emperor. He’s arguing that a hereditary monarchy would prevent China falling into chaos, like Mexico, when he dies.

The Allies will declare cotton shipments contraband.

The Providence Journal says that the German Embassy has spies in the State and Treasury Departments, who informed it, among other things, of the path the Lusitania would take.

France denies using poison gas. “That’s just how we smell,” says the Ministry of War.

Sorry ‘bout that.

Lillian Feickert, president of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association said recently that Woodrow Wilson will declare his support for the NJ women’s suffrage referendum. Wilson is reportedly furious about this claim.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Today -100: August 16, 1915: Of enumeration, shields, and race riots but not that kind of race riot

It’s Enumeration Day in Britain! Yay! Everyone in Britain aged 15 to 65, both sexes, was supposed to register for war work. Many see this as a prelude to conscription, a trick, basically. Some responded by quickly joining up, thinking they’d be better off as volunteers. Irishmen responded by returning to Ireland, where the registration doesn’t apply. And some men got hastily married, thinking that conscription would grab the single men first (as it indeed would). Sylvia Pankhurst refuses to register.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Just another Monday on the Western Front.

The government and some newspapers (the ever-hysterical Providence Journal and the New York World) are concerned about German-Embassy-financed propaganda and subsidized newspapers in the US, as well as covert activities including attempts to start strikes in munitions factories. Speaking of which,

There’s a “race riot” in Milwaukee between Austrian and Italian construction workers at the Federal Pressed Steel Company, who were supposed to be building a plant to manufacture munitions for Russia. The Austrians walked off the job when they realized what it was in aid of, Italians made fun of them, and knives were pulled, as was the custom.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Today -100: August 15, 1915: With no other inspiration save the thought of their afflicted land

Kaiser Wilhelm responds to the Pope’s letter about peace saying that of course he’s willing to negotiate peace – if the other side makes the first move.

It’s not just the German socialist party that is divided about the war. The National Liberal Party is also squabbling, with the more war-like members demanding the annexation of Belgium and parts of France (chiefly the ones with coal under them). This is interesting in that the government is trying to prevent any public discussion of Germany’s war aims. What Germany is fighting for is literally a state secret.

British press baron Lord Northcliffe will begin an organized campaign to introduce conscription.

The US, supported by the ambassadors of 6 Latin American countries (who don’t actually claim to be speaking for their governments), sends a letter – a “friendly appeal” – to various Mexican political leaders, generals and warlords. The letter suggests that they have simply failed to notice the deleterious effects of endless civil war “on the prestige and security” of Mexico and need only have those deleterious effects pointed out to them. It proposes a conference of delegates from the military factions, to be held “far from the sound of cannon, and with no other inspiration save the thought of their afflicted land,” to create a provisional government and hold elections. An answer is demanded within ten days.

Well, if that doesn’t solve everything, I don’t know what will.

Britain seized seven steamers from German owners and rechristened them the Hungerford, the Hunsdon, and other Hun-nish names.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Today -100: August 14, 1915: Of chloroforming awakening consciences, and drinking races

Germany prohibits newspapers from publishing a statement by the anti-war socialists criticizing the pro-war socialists. The anti-warites say that the SPD executive “makes a mistake if it hopes to chloroform the rapidly awakening conscience of the workers with the phrase ‘the defense of the Fatherland’.” It points out that the government has used the pretext of the war to seize back every gain won by the workers over the last 50 years.

On Prohibition, the NYT says that “the drinking races have been the ruling races of the world”.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Today -100: August 13, 1915: Who better?

The German government arrests anti-war Socialists on charges of high treason. Their high treason consisted of a pamphlet criticizing pro-war Socialists. The NYT doesn’t say how many were arrested or who they are, nor did it, near as I can tell, ever follow up, but I think we’re talking about the core members of the future Communist Party (KPD): definitely Clara Zetkin, maybe Rosa Luxembourg.

British Munitions Minister David Lloyd George declares 345 factories “controlled,” suspending labor rules and customs and limiting profits.

Woodrow Wilson will simply ignore Carranza’s letter telling them to butt out of Mexico’s affairs.

Headline of the Day -100:

W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage is published by William Heinemann.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Today -100: August 12, 1915: Of roses and black-eyed beauties

Headline of the Day -100: 

Spillover from the Mexican turmoil. Gov. James Ferguson wants Wilson to double the size of the army on the border. In 2015 Texas governors are still concerned about being invaded, although by the federal government.

An unnamed German officer writes an article published in several German newspapers about how smoothly the occupation of Warsaw is going. Really, he says, the Poles are pretty relieved to be occupied by “German soldiers accustomed to order and discipline”. Hell, they’re being greeted as liberators: “Everywhere one turns one sees bright faces, and roses are thrown by black-eyed beauties. A fine rain does not keep the beauties of Warsaw indoors, although they have on diaphanous blouses with skylights.”

A French military court sentences Henri Racine, a perfumer, to perpetual banishment for selling essence of neroli and olive oil to a German perfumer. Racine will get that verdict overturned and get a new court-martial, which will sentence him to 5 years in prison.

The German Socialist Party (SPD) finally splits between its anti-war and pro-war factions.

That 1 million ounces of Bank of England gold arrives in the US, and they take every precaution transporting it to J.P. Morgan for safe-keeping,

including many armed guards and a decoy train.

The Rockefeller Institute says it has found what causes diabetes. And they’re right (for Type I, anyway).

Headline of the Day -100: 
Night telephone operators in Massachusetts work 12-hour shifts, which they say violates the 10 Hour laws. The company says they’re allowed to sleep after midnight – subject to being woken up by people who want to make phone calls – so it doesn’t count.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Today -100: August 11, 1915: Trust German sense and justice

Sir Hiram Maxim, inventor of the Maxim gun and a shitload of other things, says he has invented a method to protect against poison gas, something about detonating incendiary bombs in the path of the gas, heating it and thereby forcing it to rise. The article doesn’t say what device he’s proposing be used to hurl the incendiaries; I’m picturing a sling shot.

Another multi-zeppelin air raid on the coast of England, killing 14.

Carranza telegrams Argentina’s president complaining about that country’s participation in Wilson’s conference on Mexico’s future. “Argentina has made herself an accomplice in a crime against our race, which possibly may help to bring on a war between two American nations.”

Prince Leopold of Bavaria, who leads the troops that occupied Warsaw, issues a proclamation, calling on the remaining inhabitants to “undertake no hostile action, to trust German sense and justice...”  Speaking of German justice, the same proclamation says that the army is taking hostages. Leopold asks the Poles to inform on anyone planning actions against German soldiers. What’s the Polish for “Snitches get stitches”?

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100:

An oil steamer, not a furry Andean animal.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Today -100: August 10, 1915: Of gold, soap, and suspicious pianists

The Bank of England ships gold bullion – rumored to be $100 million worth – to the US for safe keeping.

Soap is now expensive and hard to find in Budapest, because people are now eating the gross stuff, like the grease from boiling ham, that went into soap before the war. So I guess Hungarians no longer smell like boiling ham.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing says that a “very definite policy” on Mexico has been agreed on with six Latin American countries’ ambassadors, but he won’t say what it is.

Headline of the Day -100:

And I’m sure they’re darned grateful for being relieved of the burden.

Germany, increasingly desperate about Turkey’s military performance, tries again to bribe Romania to allow supplies to be sent through it to Turkey. This time the offer is 36 artillery batteries, ammo, and 2 million pounds of barbed wire.

Headline of the Day -100:

Natalia Janotha. She’s also a minor composer. And Polish. The British have mostly refrained from deporting or interning Poles. I don’t see that any reason was ever given for this particular deportation, but the 59-year-old pianist was evidently so dangerous that cops from Scotland Yard bundled her into a car and onto a ship out of the country without even giving her time to pack.

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Today -100: August 9, 1915: Of separate peaces

Russia rejects an offer of peace from Kaiser Wilhelm, it is reported (update: tomorrow the Danish royal family, who were said to be the intermediaries, deny this, for whatever that’s worth).

Serbia is willing (under pressure from the Allies) to return to Bulgaria the lands it acquired during the Second Balkan War, which is Bulgaria’s stated price for remaining neutral. Greece isn’t willing to give up its new lands.

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

Today -100: August 8, 1915: So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

The Italian submarine Nereide is sunk by the Austrian u-boat under the command of George von Trapp.

At the National Conference on Race Betterment, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the corn flake and weirdo, calls for eugenics to create a “real aristocracy made up of Apollos and Venuses and their fortunate progeny” instead of the growing “aristocracy of lunatics, idiots, paupers, and criminals”. And “Every one of these lunatics possesses the right to vote even in States where women are not given the right of franchise.” Um, “even”? He wants the creation of a “eugenic registry” based on presumably compulsory annual medical inspections and connected in some unspecified way to marriage restrictions, because as we all know, without marriage people are physically incapable of becoming pregnant, that’s just a medical fact.

Emma Goldman is arrested in Portland for distributing illegal literature. The NYT doesn’t elucidate, but it was birth control literature.

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Friday, August 07, 2015

The Republican debate: Just the abortion bits

I’m going to confine my discussion of the Republican debate to one issue and two candidates who pulled talking points from their ass and pretended they were science.

Scott Walker supported his position opposing abortions even to save the life of the mother by flat-out denying that that ever comes up, claiming that “there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.”

Huckabee, who is actually saner than Walker in allowing for a life of the mother exemption, thinks that “now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception. The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on.”

“DNA schedule” is not a thing.

The Huckster also thinks fetuses have 5th and 14th Amendment rights and the president can just “invoke” those rights to declare abortion banned. Which is insane on so many levels. Beyond the lunacy of treating embryos and fetuses as legal people, those amendments limit governments and only governments. Oh, and the 14th amendment applies to US citizens, which it defines as “All persons born or naturalized in the United States”. Born, you peckerwood roadkill-eater.

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Today -100: August 7, 1915: Just two more years

US forces are now in control of the strategic buildings and whatnot in Port au Prince, and they’ve only had to slaughter a few Haitians.

Frederick Davenport, a former Republican member of the New York State Senate and the Progressive Party candidate for lieutenant governor in 1912 and governor in 1914, defects back to the Republicans, saying all Progressives should do the same. He’ll eventually get back into the State Senate and then the US Congress.

London insurers are writing policies that will pay if peace does not come by September 30, 1917.

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Today -100: August 6, 1915: So full of a glory so pure that it will forever illumine the human race

The German Army moves into Warsaw, which the NYT notes is the 3rd largest city in the Russian Empire. There was no battle; it was a strategic retreat by the Russians, after they stripped the city of everything useful and blew up all the bridges over the Vistula.

Kaiser Wilhelm is reported to plan making Poland (that is, the Polish lands previously divided between Russia, Germany and Austria) a semi-autonomous state under joint German-Austrian-Polish rule.

The French parliament celebrates the anniversary of the start of the war. President of the Chamber of Deputies Paul Deschanel, manic pixie dreamgirl that he is, says “This year has been so full of a glory so pure that it will forever illumine the human race. It has been a year in which France, the France of Joan of Arc and Valmy, has risen, if possible, to even greater heights.” A statement by President of the Republic Raymond Poincaré is read, praising the unity of France at greater length than seems strictly necessary, and saying that “on the victory of France and the Allies rests the future of civilization and humanity.”

Ignatius Timothy Trebitsch-Lincoln, former missionary and member of the British Parliament, is arrested in New York on a charge of being a fugitive from justice from Britain, where he is wanted for forgery, although he says that that’s just an excuse because he’s actually a spy for Germany (he was born a Hungarian citizen), a charge for which he could not be extradited. He will be extradited and be put in a British prison until 1919, then deported. He’ll spend the next few years hanging around fringe right-wingers (including Hitler), happily selling their secrets to any government that would pay. Then he’ll become a Buddhist monk, because of course he will, and found a monastery, although it sounds like he was mostly in it for the chicks and dough, and announced that he was the new Dalai Lama. Although he worked for the German and Japanese secret services, he also wrote a letter to Hitler protesting the extermination of the Jews, so Germany asked the Japanese to poison him (he was in Shanghai) in 1943. The end.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Naked Headline of the Day -100: 

Aussies, of course.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Today -100: August 5, 1915: Of beaten villas, airplanes, ill-feeling, three revolutions, no waiting, and hard dictators

Pancho Villa’s wife leaves Mexico, saying Villa knows he’s beaten.

H.G. Wells wants a fleet of a thousand aeroplanes to fight the war. Planes, he says, fit the individualistic character of the English and French, while Zeppelins are typical of the Germans, with large crews working in unison under orders.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle says that while the Napoleonic, Crimean and Boer wars were followed by no ill-feeling, the beastly conduct of the Germans in this war means they won’t and indeed shouldn’t ever be forgiven. No more German tourists in London, no English art students in Munich, etc.

British Colonial Secretary Andrew Bonar Law says after the war the Dominions (Canada, Australia, South Africa) would have a role in governing the British Empire (spoiler alert: they won’t).

There are three revolutions going on in Portugal.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Today -100: August 4, 1915: Of rocks, blockades, godfathers, and eggs

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the Italian army is said to have killed over 10,000 Austrian soldiers by rolling rocks down hills at them.

The Providence Journal claims that Gen. Huerta’s attempt to sneak into Mexico and try to take back power was actually a German plot, a plot thwarted by... the Providence Journal.

Word reaches Paris that Turks slaughtered all the males in the Bitlis region of Armenia, then drove 9.000 women and children to the banks of the Tigris river, shot them and dumped the bodies in the river. Which is true.

Britain finally responds to Woodrow Wilson’s note complaining about the enforcement of the blockade of Germany. Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey says, yeah, we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing.

Kaiser Wilhelm loosens his weird rules for when he’ll be a godfather. He does it for seventh sons for some reason, but previously they had to be the 7th son from both parents. Henceforth, they only have to be the 7th son of the mother.

Headline of the Day -100:

French cardinals respond to the pope’s call for peace and his offer of mediation with a call for a day of prayer for French victory.

A month ago, we are just finding out, Woodrow Wilson sent a plan to fix Mexico to 6 Latin American countries. Secretary of State Lansing will now hold a conference with the ambassadors of those countries. The details of the Wilson plan are unknown, except that it will discard Carranza, Villa and Zapata, and in some way pretend to adhere to the constitution, perhaps by naming as president whoever the highest-ranking surviving member of the Madero cabinet is.

How is this story not on the front page?

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Monday, August 03, 2015

Today -100: August 3, 1915: Our country seeks only her own advantages and wishes to realize her rights

The German occupation authorities in Belgium arrest British nurse Edith Cavell for smuggling Allied soldiers out of Belgium. She will be executed in October.

Various pro-peace (i.e., pro-German) groups with names like Friends of Peace, the American Truth Society, and the American Fair Play Society, attack Secretary of State Robert Lansing as a menace to peace who should resign or be forced out before he drags the US into war with Germany against the will of the people.

Headline of the Day -100: 
Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov, not even slightly chagrined at negotiating with both sides concurrently, says “Our country seeks only her own advantages and wishes to realize her rights. ... The only question to be settled is, how can we achieve our aim with the least sacrifice?”

News from Haiti: “Since the uprising in Port au Prince last week... there has been desultory fighting around Cape Haitien between the Blot and Bobo factions.” Worst... comic book.... ever. Evidently Woodrow Wilson gave Adm. Capterton really broad authority to do pretty much anything he wants to bring about law & order and a new puppet government in Haiti.

A crew member of the US steamship Leelanaw, which was sunk by a German u-boat off the UK last week, is put in prison by the British when it is discovered that he is German (and pretending to be Dutch).

A NYT editorial appeals to women suffragists not to bother the 64th Congress with their silly little issue when it has so many important things to deal with instead. It worries that sympathetic congresscritters “may be impelled, through their sense of chivalry, to waste the nation’s precious time in debating the question.”

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Today -100: August 2, 1915: Of marines, caskets, and flammenwerferapparaten

Both Germany and Russia will soon offer autonomy or independence to Poland. Neither of them will mean it.

The French land some marines in Haiti to protect their embassy, but only after asking permission – from the Americans. No Haitians were asked.

Headline of the Day -100:

I knew this war was missing something: flamethrowers (Flammenwerferapparaten). The article calls them “flame projectors,” the term flamethrower, adopted from the German, not yet having entered the English language.

The cops, having read that story about the plaque on the casket of executed cop Charles Becker accusing the governor of murdering him, go to his widow’s home and take it right off the casket.

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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Today -100: August 1, 1915: Full of gratitude, we can say today that God is with us

Secretary of State Robert Lansing says US forces will remain in Haiti indefinitely. The US plans to impose a fiscal arrangement where it will operate Haitian customs collections in the interests of foreign loan-holders (as in the Dominican Republican) and a treaty whereby the US can intervene in Haitian affairs whenever it feels like it (as in Cuba). The revolutionaries have settled on a president after being turned down by their first 12 choices: someone named General Bobo.

Kaiser Wilhelm, on more or less the one-year anniversary of the start of the war, tells the German people: “Before God and history my conscience is clear; I have not willed war. Full of gratitude, we can say today that God is with us.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Carranza’s forces capture – or re-capture, or re-re-capture, or whatever it is – Mexico City.

British recruiting poster issued some time this month:

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