Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Now with S

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Today -100: September 30, 1915: Of strikes, wirelesses, conductors, military training, and rainbows

A strike begins at the Pratt & Whitney factories in Hartford for an 8-hour day and overtime pay. The general manager refused to negotiate with workers’ leaders he called transient agitators and new employees unrepresentative of the employees as a whole. At some point no doubt he’ll also claim, as was the custom, that they’re being paid by the Germans, but the truth is that with all the war orders this is a great time for the workers to press demands.

A NYT account of the Battle of Loos, 4 days in, fails to mention, as they all have, the British use of chlorine gas.

A wireless phone call is successfully placed from Arlington, Virginia to Mare Island, California, 2,500 miles away. This should enable the Navy to communicate with ships at sea. (In fact, the message reached all the way to an AT&T mast at Pearl Harbor.)

Headline of the Day -100, Because Inter-Racial Marriage Is Always News:

Arturo Toscanini, the principle conductor of the Metropolitan Opera House, who left for Italy some months ago (originally booked on the Lusitania), won’t be coming back. He actually volunteered for the Italian army after Italy entered the war, despite his age (48) and terrible eyesight. He will later flirt with fascism before sharply breaking with Mussolini, but he won’t return to the US until 1939.

Massachusetts Governor David Walsh wants to introduce mandatory military training for boys at age 14 and to excuse men who serve 3 years in the state militia from paying poll taxes.

D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow is published. It will be prosecuted for obscenity and all the copies seized and burned. It won’t reappear in Britain for 11 years (except for illicit copies of the American edition, published next month).

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Today -100: September 29, 1915: Of victim-blaming, aggression, kindred nationality, primaries, loafing agitators, and mittens

Headline of the Day -100:

Wow. In a couple of days Bernstorff, the German ambassador to the United States has switched from calling accounts of the genocide “pure inventions” to “greatly exaggerated” to military necessity and they were asking for it.

Headline of the Day -100:

Their own fault, presumably.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Spoiler Alert: Bulgaria will totally attempt aggression.

Grey claims in his friendly warning to Bulgaria that Germany is trying to stir up disunion and war in the Balkans by promising territorial gains, but these will only come at the cost of complete subordination to Germany. On the other hand, Britain’s policy is “to insure each [of the Balkan states] not only independence but a brilliant future, based as a general principle on territorial and political union and kindred nationality.”

With Austrian Amb. Dumba’s recall, the US considers the whole sorry affair “closed,” and won’t take any action against German military attaché (and future chancellor) Franz von Papen, although just to be sure von Papen plans to go to Mexico to lay low for a while.

A US cavalry private who went missing last week during a cross-border scuffle is reportedly seen on the Mexican side - well, his head anyway.

New York primaries continue the recent sorry trend of Tammany politicians winning back their party from the reformers. There are “only” 17 election-related arrests in NYC (15 fraudulent voting, most of those just people who’d supposedly lived at their addresses less than a year, and 2 for electioneering).

L.T. Russell, a New Jersey Democrat, wrote an editorial about a threatened Singer sewing-machine factory strike, suggesting that “every loafing agitator” be taken to Staten Island Sound, have a rock tied around their neck and be thrown off the dock. Although he didn’t name any loafing agitators in particular, John Keyes of Elizabeth NJ swears out a warrant for Russell for inciting to murder. In fact, there was no strike: Singer took the less murderous step of firing workers who had the effrontery to ask for higher wages.

I know, the “rock tied around the neck” thing seems so much more Jersey, doesn’t it?

Headline of the Day -100:

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Today -100: September 28, 1915: Of Mexican Wobblies, pure inventions, personae non gratae, and political offenses

Carranza is blaming the recent cross-border shootings on Mexican Wobblies wearing imitation Carranzista army uniforms. A likely story. Something about a plot to provoke US intervention, which will lead, somehow, to land redistribution.

German Ambassador to the US Count von Bernstorff says the reports lately filling the newspapers about the Armenian Genocide are “pure inventions.”

Austria, after trying to get the US to agree to Amb. Konstantin Dumba going on a leave of absence until that whole thing about trying to disrupt work at US munitions factories dies down, will recall him as the US demanded.

A person or persons unknown tries to burn down Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hyde Park mansion.

Miroslav Sichynsky, a Ukrainian/Ruthenian who assassinated the Austrian governor of Galicia, Count Potocki, in 1908 and escaped prison in 1911, surrenders to the US commissioner of immigration. He’s been living in the US since November and wants US citizenship. The bureau will rule in December that the assassination was a political rather than a criminal offense and so will not deport him. He died in Michigan in 1979.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Today -100: September 27, 1915: Cloth caps off

Keir Hardie, the first proper Labour (and socialist) member of Parliament (from 1892, when some of his campaign funds came, curiously, from Andrew Carnegie), former leader of the Labour Party and the Independent Labour Party, anti-imperialist, supporter of women’s suffrage, secret lover of Sylvia Pankhurst, and cloth-cap owner extraordinaire, dies at just 59, worn out from fighting the war.

Dr. H. Barringer Cox has invented a portable wireless system, which he will lend to “a certain foreign power” for war use. Unlike some of the inventors who have been surfacing lately, Cox has and will have a pretty good track record on dry cells and wireless systems.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Today -100: September 26, 1915: Of long-distance treason, idiotic Yankees, dogs, and hobo poets

The detailed NYT story on the commencement of the Battle of Loos fails to mention the British use of poison gas.

The Imperial Court of Galicia (Austrian Poland) asks a Youngstown, Ohio court to question an Austrian subject, Joseph Ciepielowski, on their behalf about treasonous remarks he supposedly made, in Youngstown, about Austria. The judge actually summons Ciepielowski, who refuses to answer.

Military attaché of the German embassy Capt. Franz von Papen says the phrase in his intercepted letter, “idiotic Yankees,” was taken out of context; he only meant the publishers of a certain New York newspaper, you know, those idiotic Yankees. Also, he complains that it’s “deuced bad form” and “ungentlemanly” to publish a man’s letter to his wife.

The US federal government says that some of the recent cross-border firefights were provoked by Texas deputy sheriffs and civilians shooting into Mexico, and asks the governor of Texas to put a stop to it.

The team of dogs that won the whatever-Alaska-had-before-the-Iditerod race is sold to the French army for use in the mountains.

IWW members are flocking to Salt Lake City to protest the forthcoming execution of “hobo poet” Joseph Hillstrom, aka Joe Hill (coiner of the phrase “pie in the sky”) for supposedly shooting a grocer and his son as part of a robbery or something. He showed up at a hospital with a bullet wound after that event, but there was never any proof that the two shootings were related. Still, he was a Wobbly, so it’s off to the firing squad for him.

Headline of the Day -100:

Passaic election officials are “puzzled” about the rights of a second-generation US-born citizen.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Today -100: September 25, 1915: Of looses, mobilizations, stolen wheat, and yeah I’m sticking with “lynchings”

The Battle of Loos begins with the British using poison gas (chlorine) for the first time. They had no delivery system except the wind, so some of the gas inevitably blew back on the British lines. One officer who pointed out that the wind was blowing the wrong way was ordered to release the gas anyway, which tells you everything you need to know about the military. Once the Germans saw what was happening, they started shooting at the gas tanks, with hilarious results. Still, the British did gas 600 or so Germans to death. And lost the battle.

Speaking of inhumane weapons, most of the British troops at Loos were Scottish, so they were led into battle by pipers. Don’t know how you play bagpipes wearing a gas mask.

Because Bulgaria mobilized its military, Greece is mobilizing its military. Isn’t that how this stupid war started to begin with?

A large band of Mexicans, some wearing the uniform of Carranza’s army, invade Progreso, Texas, loot the post office and burn it. Several are killed as well as one US Army private.

J.F. Lucey, a former US Army captain involved with Belgian relief, tells an interesting tale of how last November when Liège was starving, he requisitioned (i.e., stole) 5,000 tons of German wheat being held in Holland.

A 14-year-old negro is lynched in Jackson, Georgia for allegedly assaulting a white girl. Since he’s only 75 pounds, there is some discussion of whether weights need to be tied to his feet to hang him properly.

Did I say lynched? Actually he was legally executed, in public in front of a crowd of 50 or so . Sometimes it’s hard to tell the fucking difference.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today -100: September 24, 1915: Meet the Diminutive Submersible of Doom

Sexy, Sexy Headline of the Day -100: 

Reports received by the US government, including ones from its consular officials which are not being made public, indicate that Turkey has killed 500,000 Armenians.

Prof. Herschel Parker, physicist and mountain-climber, has invented a miniature two-man submarine (aka “diminutive submersible” or “motor torpedo”) and intends to give it to the US. He’s also invented a powerful underwater searchlight to spot enemy subs. Parker says 1,000 mini-subs can be manufactured for the cost of one dreadnought. I don’t think anything came of any of this. He claims to have the endorsement of Henry Ford, who will deny this rather vehemently next week.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Today -100: September 23, 1915: Of mobilizations and rescues

Bulgaria mobilizes its military, claiming it’s purely defensive and precautionary. It is not.

French naval ships which were on blockade duty off Ottoman Syria rescued 5,000 Armenian refugees (in July, but we’re just now hearing about it). They’re now in a camp in Egypt. Nice to know somebody is doing something about the Armenian Genocide.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today -100: September 22, 1915: I always say to these idiotic Yankees that they had better hold their tongues

Anthony Comstock, crusader against smut and general all-round asshole, dies at 71. Some of the “smut” he fought against included the works of Boccaccio, Zola and George Bernard Shaw as well as medical textbooks, some of which he banned from the US mails from his position as postal inspector, and of course anything relating to birth control. Most recently he hounded Margaret Sanger out of the country and put her husband in jail.

Germany is still claiming that the Hesperian was sunk by a mine rather than a German torpedo. Britain is sending the US government what it says is a fragment of the torpedo.

More of Austrian Ambassador Dumba’s letters, seized by the British from his courier, are made public. One to the Austrian foreign minister says it is pointless to continue complaining about US munitions sales to the Allies because of the “self-willed temperament” of Pres. Wilson. Dumba talks of the slave-like conditions in the steel factories and suggests commissioning an exposé novel along the lines of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. He also has plans to send agents into the Bethlehem steel factories to “work in secret among their fellow workers,” and to hire soap-box orators and subsidize foreign-language newspapers.

Also leaked to the press: Germany military attaché Capt. Franz von Papen’s letter to his wife: “I always say to these idiotic Yankees that they had better hold their tongues.” The future chancellor of Germany, ladies and gentlemen!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Today -100: September 21, 1915: Shocked to hear that gambling etc

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Germany is claiming that France is forcibly enlisting men from Alsace-Lorraine into its army, and giving them forged French citizenship papers so they won’t be charged with treason if captured by the Germans. Alsace-Lorrainers who really don’t want to fight for France are sent to Africa, where it’s harder to defect, to fight in colonial units.

William Jennings Bryan objects to the big loan being arranged by US banks for the Allies, saying it is “getting the people of this country to gamble on the war” and creating a vested interest in one side winning.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Today -100: September 20, 1915: Because not killing people is soooooo tiring

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Supposedly a German u-boat sneakily disguised as a British submarine is sunk by another u-boat (doubtful).

More Fog of War: The Austrians have supposedly melted down the Cesare Zocchi monument to Dante in Trento to make cannons (no, of course they haven’t).

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Today -100: September 19, 1915: You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry or playing ukeleles

Austrian Amb. Konstantin Dumba complains to Secretary of State Robert Lansing that his communications with his home government have been so censored by the US (he has to rely on US-controlled wireless stations, while his Allied counterparts can use the trans-Atlantic cables from Canada) that Vienna is likely to recall him without even knowing that he denies having violated any US laws with his plans to disrupt US munitions production. He continues to assert that his only aim was to protect his countrymen from inadvertently violating Austro-Hungarian law, which would be a good argument if his captured unencyphered letter hadn’t talked about disrupting munitions manufacturing.

Headline Combining the Words “Angry” and “Ukeleles” of the Day -100: 

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Today -100: September 18, 1915: Of explorers and protectorates

Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the Canadian arctic explorer, who has been out of contact for nearly 18 months, turns up at Herschel Island for supplies. He plans to continue mapping out the territories he’s discovered, at least until he runs out of expedition members (13 dead so far). Stefansson provides an account, if you’re interested. I notice the map in one of the NYT stories still includes the fictitious “Crocker Land.”

The US recognizes Haiti’s government – after it signs the treaty to no longer be a real government in control of its own finances and police.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Today -100: September 17, 1915: Of dumas and toadvines

Tsar Nicholas prorogues the Duma, which has been pushing for reforms, for two months. The leftists in the Duma are not pleased, a deputy named... Kerensky shouting “Down with all traitors!”

Name of the Day -100: Ernest A. Toadvine, who wins the Democratic primary for clerk of the Circuit Court in Wicomico County, Maryland, despite having died the day before.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Today -100: September 16, 1915: Of medicals, hangings, prisoners, and insulting Germans

One of the people mentioned in Austrian Amb. Dumba’s intercepted letter as a participant in his schemes to disrupt munitions production in the US was Consul-General Alexander Nuber von Pereked. Evidently he’s also been going around Ohio making Austrian and Hungarian nationals take medical exams for military recruitment and charging them $3. Which sounds so much like a scam that a Budapest newspaper denounced it as such, before having to reverse themselves the next day.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Turkey’s less-than-diplomatic response to efforts by US Amb. Henry Morgenthau’s attempts to get them to dial down the genocide.

Germany objects, officially, to the French and British use of non-white troops. African and Indian troops, they say, take ears as souvenirs and kill wounded soldiers. They’re just making this nice, decent war all uncivilized.

The Tsar of Russia orders an amnesty for all political prisoners, maybe 100,000 of them.

The German occupation authority in Belgium makes it illegal to boycott, blacklist or insult Germans or pro-German Belgians, a crime punishable by 2 years’ imprisonment, 5 if done by several people in collusion.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Today -100: September 15, 1915: Of prohibition, hesperians, crown princes, and idiots & irresponsibles

A South Carolina referendum decides 2 to 1 in favor of prohibition.

Germany is vehemently and officially denying that the Hesperian was sunk by a German sub. Which it was. When they were making that claim a week ago it could have been down to irregular communications with u-boats, but after this much time, they have to just be lying, presumably because the sub that torpedoed the Hesperian was the same one that sunk the Lusitania.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: the German crown prince is said to have gone insane during the Argonne campaign but refuses to give up his command.

The Anglo-French Commission is planning to float a $1 billion loan in the US to pay for munitions and other American war-related exports. The Wilson Administration is quietly looking the other way. German-Americans are threatening to withdraw funds from any banks, for example in heavily German Milwaukee, participating in the loan.

The Detroit Free Press accuses Austria of subsidizing German-, Hungarian-, and Polish-language newspapers in the US.

Henry Morgenthau, the US ambassador to Turkey, wants to raise a fund of $1 to $5 million to save Armenians from the genocide and bring them to the US.

Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor urges organized labor to fight for women’s suffrage. “Women cannot assume equal rights with men in the industrial struggle while classified with idiots and irresponsibles in political affairs.” Donald Trump supporters?

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Today -100: September 14, 1915: A German, even though every kindness be shown to him, remains always a German

Headline of the Day -100: 

Revolution? Unpossible!

It seems there are many who believe that Russia is doing so badly in the war because of German influence in the government. Also, the officials responsible for procuring munitions have prioritized maximizing procuring bribes, often 10% of the value of the contracts, for themselves. It would also help if they checked that the shells they were buying fit Russian cannons rather than German ones, as was the case with those sent to Warsaw right before it fell.

Headline of the Day -100: 
She says as a Dane she’s hated the Germans since they took Schleswig-Holstein, but just had to keep quiet, even when German immigrants were given high positions. “A German, even though every kindness be shown to him, remains always a German.”

Thomas Edison wins a contract to supply the Navy with 365 gun-firing batteries (one for every day of the year, I guess) for battleships. He was the only bidder willing to accept the government terms that if a battery fails within 8 years he has to refund double its price.

The Swedish Socialist Party expels several members who wrote a book advocating that Sweden fight on the side of Germany.

Opening on Broadway: Hit-the-Trail Holliday, by George M. Cohan, starring Fred Niblo (his brother-in-law) as a Billy Sunday-style temperance preacher. The NYT (Alexander Woollcott?) finds it “distinctly second-rate,” largely blaming Niblo and saying the part would have been better performed by Cohan himself (who will take the lead in the now lost 1918 film version) or by Douglas Fairbanks (who Niblo, much better a director than he was an actor, will direct in some of his more famous roles). The play, the review says – oh, it has to be by Woollcott – is “no more than nearly beer.”

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Today -100: September 13, 1915: A singing what now?

Brooklyn and Newark police arrest a “new type of thief,” one of a gang stealing films, after 250,000 feet of film were found to be missing from Mutual offices. Since there are so many movie theatres, it’s easy to market stolen movies.

The NYT praises the work of the state constitutional convention – and really praises Elihu Root, whose name I will never stop finding amusing. The convention has finished rewriting the constitution, extensively reorganizing and simplifying government administration and making a lot of offices no longer elective (the “short ballot”) and moving some decisions, like teacher pay, from the state to the local level (“home rule”). It now just needs to be voted on by the electorate. Which will reject it.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Today -100: September 12, 1915: I will not be interviewed

The Evening Sun quotes German Ambassador to the US Count von Bernstorff as saying that if there is a diplomatic breach, U-boats will be ordered to sink every ship they see, which will lead to war. Bernstorff denies saying any such thing and adds that he didn’t give the paper an interview and never gives interviews, and he can’t comment on the purported interview because that would be giving an interview. (No, really, that’s what he says.) The Sun responds that they never said it was an interview, just that they’re in a position to state what Bernstorff’s views are. Bernstorff says he won’t confirm or deny that those are his views, because that would be giving an interview. It’s hard to argue with such logic.

Irish people in the US are raising funds for weapons for an uprising in Ireland. The “Defense of Ireland Fund” says that the British government is buying up riot shrapnel, whatever that is, from the US in order to put down protests in Ireland against conscription (conscription won’t actually be introduced in Ireland until 1918).

The NYT Sunday book review section has an article by Joyce Kilmer on the late war poet Rupert Brooke. “It is true that if it were not for the war he would not now be dead. It is also true that if it were not for the war he would not now be certain of literary immortality.” So, swings and roundabouts, yeh?

Headline of the Day -100: 

Local 41 of the New York Federation of Musicians objects to the use of school, church and other bands composed of children performing at civic events (specifically, they’ve filed a complaint against Mardi Gras celebrations on Coney Island), as being bad for the children and for musicians trying to support their families.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Today -100: September 11, 1915: Of precedents, menaces to society, and peace terms

Carranza (rather belatedly) rejects the US plan for a conference to settle Mexico’s affairs and pick a president who is not Carranza. He says that accepting such a foreign initiative “would impair profoundly the independence of the republic and would establish the precedent of foreign interference in the determination of [Mexico’s] interior affairs”. He doesn’t add, presumably because he is too modest, that his troops have lately been kicking Pancho Villa’s ass.

William Sanger is convicted of giving a copy of his wife Margaret’s birth control pamphlet to a spy sent by Anthony Comstock. Comstock tells the court that he was threatened (he does not say by whom) with being shot if he went forward with this prosecution. The judge calls Sanger a “menace to society” and says women suffragists should instead advocate women having children. Sanger refuses to pay the $150 fine and is sentenced to 30 days.

The British Trades Union Congress votes down a resolution for the Labour Party to formulate and advocate peace terms satisfactory to the working class.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Today -100: September 10, 1915: Of ambassadors, Arabics, controlling the Pacific, and deadly roller towels

Pres. Wilson politely requests that Austria recall Ambassador Konstantin Dumba, complaining that he “conspire[d] to cripple legitimate industries of the people of the United States and to interrupt their legitimate trade...” you know, selling arms to warring countries, that legitimate trade. And that he used an American citizen as a courier for official dispatches. The US will have to ask Britain and France to allow Dumba to return home without hindrance or, you know, capture. I’m not sure if similar free passage would also have been extended to a new Austrian ambassador, but Austria didn’t try to send one, so Dumba was the last ambassador of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the US. Although only 59, Dumba will retire from the diplomatic service. I guess getting caught trying to sabotage your host country’s industry doesn’t look good on the CV.

Germany explains that the Arabic was sunk because it changed direction and the U-boat commander was a-scared that it intended to ram his boat. So they will not be paying any indemnity, “even if the commander should have been mistaken as to the aggressive intentions of the Arabic.” It’s the Great War equivalent of American cops’ “Yeah, that black guy I shot looked like he was reaching for a weapon.” However, reports from passengers say the Arabic was hit near the stern, which would mean it wasn’t trying to ram the sub. Indeed, the Arabic didn’t even know it was being followed until it saw the torpedo coming at it.

The Daily Mail (London) is getting up a meeting of 3,000 women, each “representing” their male relations in the military, to call for conscription. The Vote, which has some questions about this odd system of representation, also points out that the Daily Mail used to argue against women’s suffrage precisely on the grounds that women might vote to send men to war without being subject to it themselves.

Headline  of the Day -100: 

The US’s Seamen’s Act regulating conditions for sailors has led to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company getting out of the biz. The Japanese worry this will damage US-Japanese trade.

William Howard Taft says he will not be a candidate for president in 1916. Not that anyone was asking.

Headline of the Day -100:

And strangely, it’s not Beyoncé, but Estelle Lawton Lindsey (the NYT misspelled her name), who was elected as the first woman on the LA city council in June. Her first act as acting mayor is to write to the City Council about the need for legislation to require that public restrooms have individual towels rather than the “deadly roller towel” shared by everyone.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Today -100: September 9, 1915: Finally, someone puts trench warfare methods to a constructive use

Henry Ford increases his endowment for a world peace fund to $10 million. In response, the Packard Motor Company will pay a bonus and give extra vacation days to any of its employees who join the militia or go to military training camps – the president of Packard, Henry Joy, is also vice president of the Navy League.

William Jennings Bryan suggests that instead of preparing for war with ships and guns and Packard workers, we should build 12 coast-to-coast roads. Which is of course roughly what Eisenhower did in the 1950s for similar reasons.

Gustav Stahl, one of Germany’s witnesses who claimed that the Lusitania had cannons, pleads guilty to perjury before a federal grand jury. He will be sentenced to 18 months in the pokey and a $1 fine.


The British Trades Union Congress votes 600-7 that the war is “completely justified.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

And escape with $2,000.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Today -100: September 8, 1915: Of modesty, orders, gold, conscription, and wreaths

Woodrow Wilson is protesting the efforts of his friends in New Jersey to nominate him for a second term as president. Something about it looking like he was taking advantage of the current world situation for personal advantage.

Austrian ambassador-for-now to the United States Konstantin Dumba tells Secretary of State Robert Lansing that he was just following orders with his plans to disrupt munitions and steel production in the US, except his letter to the Foreign Office sounded more like he was asking permission to carry out his own ideas (the text at the link is presumably the British government’s translation of the letter, so take that for what it’s worth).

Britain ships another $66 million in gold to the US for safe-keeping.

The British Trades Union Congress, representing 3 million trade union members, votes its opposition to conscription.

Walter Kandulski, who shot down Adolphe Pégoud’s plane, drops a wreath on an Alsatian village inscribed “To Pégoud, who died like a hero, from his adversary.” Isn’t that sweet?

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Monday, September 07, 2015

Today -100: September 7, 1915: Of Filipino politicians of not the highest standing, monarchies, and boxing

William Howard Taft (who was governor of the Philippines before he was president), criticizes the Philippines policies of Pres. Wilson and Gov-Gen. Francis Harrison, who he calls “a Tammany congressman” who knows nothing about the Philippines and who put himself under the control of “a Filipino politician of not the highest standing,” Manuel Quezon (who will certainly become a politician of the highest standing, president in fact). He also objects to American colonial officials being replaced by actual Filipinos. Obviously, you can’t give self-rule to the natives for two generations, when everyone will speak English.

The German newspapers are saying that maybe the Hesperian wasn’t really hit by a torpedo. Hey, maybe it didn’t exist at all, or maybe some  kid is dreaming, and we’re all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare.

China decides that becoming a monarchy would create all sorts of paperwork, including getting foreign nations to recognize their government all over again, so they’ll continue to be a republic, but the president will hold office for life and his sons will inherit the office, which is totally different from a monarchy, somehow.

The sheriff of Allen County, Ohio calls out the Ohio National Guard to prevent a boxing match, which involves them in a brief armed stand-off with the Lima police.

You know who else doesn’t like boxing? Illinois Gov. Edward Dunne, who protests Labor Day being celebrated at Joliet Penitentiary with boxing.

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Today -100: September 6, 1915: Rudyard Kipling, sitting in a tree...

The passenger steamer Hesperian is torpedoed (without warning) off Ireland on its way to Montreal, by the same u-boat that sank the Lusitania. 32 are killed. Most of the passengers were wounded Canadian soldiers returning home or British emigrants to Canada. No American passengers. The British newspapers are crowing that this proves the German ambassador’s assurances to Pres. Wilson were lies. (Actually, the Hesperian had a mounted 4.7 gun, which means the U-20 was under no obligation, I believe, to give a warning, although there’s some question about that). (And will be more so when it’s revealed that it was a 6-inch gun, which the US considers the boundary between defensive and offensive guns). It is suspected that the Hesperian was targeted in the belief that it was carrying one of those shipments of gold Britain has been sending to the US.

James Archibald, an American reporter (he was the first man shot during the Spanish-American War, where he was a war correspondent), was detained a few days ago by the British authorities when his ship made a stop at Falmouth on its way from New York to Rotterdam. He was couriering some letters from the German and Austrian embassies in the US. The British kept the letters and are now gleefully leaking their contents. Konstantin Dumba, the Austrian ambassador to the US, is defending his letter to the foreign minister proposing measures to “disorganize and hold up for months, if not entirely prevent, the manufactures of munitions and in Bethlehem and the Middle West,” such as fomenting strikes. Dumba says this is an entirely legitimate part of his job. He says the steel industry has thousands of workers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire who “are uneducated and who do not understand that they are engaged in a work against their own country” and he just wanted to explain to them that they could be prosecuted if they ever returned home. He is going to Washington to explain his position to Secretary of State Lansing who (Spoiler Alert) will not agree.

Also seized were similar letters from military attaché at the German embassy, Capt. Franz von Papen, who will also be expelled from the US, although not until December. That’s the same Franz von Papen who was chancellor of Germany in 1932 and vice-chancellor under Hitler.

Canada is building giant military airplanes capable of speeds of nearly 100 mph.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Rudyard turns his hand to war reporting. The officers he quotes sound suspiciously like Rudyard Kipling.Rudyard turns his hand to war reporting. The officers he quotes sound suspiciously like Rudyard Kipling.

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Saturday, September 05, 2015

Today -100: September 5, 1915: Of skirmishes, lynchings, martial law, and Comstockery

Running gun-battles across the Texas-Mexican border with some combination of Mexican bandits and Carranza soldiers.

A negro is lynched near Dresden, Tennessee for a “crime against a white woman.”

The Vatican denies that Cardinal Gibbons passed on a message from the pope to Woodrow Wilson.

US Rear Admiral William Capterton declares martial law in Port au Prince.

William Sanger, husband of Margaret, on trial (and denied a jury) for giving a copy of one of her birth control pamphlets to an agent of Anthony Comstock who passed himself off as a friend of hers, says that he was offered a suspended sentence if he’d say where his wife is.

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Today -100: September 4, 1915: Resolved to win!

Pointless Headline of the Day -100:

The NYT grants anonymity to “a [British] high Government official” to say that Britain wants to... wait for it... win the war. This is actually a push-back against an anticipated move by Germany to negotiate a peace now that it’s winning, especially in the east.

Mexicans have been shooting across the border at US Army airplanes.

Standard Oil of New Jersey agrees to the 8-hour day for all its employees.

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Thursday, September 03, 2015

Today -100: September 3, 1915: Of gigantic plots, bee farm locations, readiness, lynchings and grand juries

US District Attorney Charles Clyne of Chicago says he has uncovered “gigantic plots in violation of American neutrality” attempts by foreign nations to recruit soldiers in the US and using operatives to blow up arms factories. The countries he mentions as employing the recruiting agents are Britain and... Montenegro.

Another US district attorney, John Neely in Florida, has to release, due to insufficient evidence, a suspected spy for Germany, the magnificently named August Orbolph, who made sketches of lighthouses and military installations for two years while “on the pretense of hunting a location for a bee farm.”

The White House makes public letters Wilson sent his secretaries of war and the navy asking them to develop plans to strengthen the military. Republicans, not least Teddy R, are looking to make military readiness a major issue in 1916.

Cardinal Gibbons meets Woodrow Wilson, evidently bearing a message from the pope asking him to mediate between the warring powers. But Wilson won’t do that until he’s asked, and asked nicely.

The Cobb County, Georgia grand jury somehow fails to ascertain the identity of even a single member of the mob which lynched Leo Frank, although by golly they tried their very best.

In good lynching news, Speaker of the House Champ Clark talks an outraged mob out of lynching a negro in Missouri. Harry Rose is lucky the mob assembled near Clark’s house, sparing a grand jury the task of a pantomime investigation.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Today -100: September 2, 1915: Mmmm, horse

Germany gives the US the assurances it demanded, saying in future it will refrain from sinking liners without warning and will try its darnedest not to kill civilians (unless the liners resist or try to escape).

The New York Constitutional Convention rejects a proposal to increase the term of office for governor from 2 to 4 years.

Austria, following Germany, says that its citizens resident in, say, the US, who work in munitions factories are subject to imprisonment or execution.

The influx of Belgian refugees to Britain has brought Belgian cuisine to delight the palates of Londoners and Glaswegians. Well, horse meat, anyway. It is legal in Britain for any butcher to sell whinny steaks, but there must be a permanent sign advertising the fact, and no one gets horse who didn’t explicitly ask for it.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Today -100: September 1, 1915: Is it YOU?

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: The German sub U-24, which sank the SS Arabic, is reported sunk. Which would conveniently release Germany from the dilemma of whether to punish its commander for disobeying directives in torpedoing the British ship or admit that Adm. Tipitz sabotaged the move by failing to pass on the directives to U-boat captains. Or it would have released Germany from its dilemma if the U-24 has actually been sunk, which it has not. Is this German disinformation? A genuine mistake? The NYT doesn’t say where its information came from.

Adolphe Célestin Pégoud, widely but wrongly credited as the first aviator to fly a loop-the-loop, is shot down and killed. By one of his old (German) students, Walter Kandulski.

Two British recruiting posters issued this month:


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