Monday, July 25, 2016

Today -100: July 25, 1916: Go and win her if you can

The US will buy the Danish West Indies for $25 million. In gold. Denmark, which acquired them in the 17th and 18th centuries, figures they just aren’t as much fun (or as profitable) since the slave trade ended. The US will rename them the US Virgin Islands. The US wants them because they’re close to the approach to the Panama Canal. No one asks the 27,000 inhabitants of the islands.

San Francisco District Attorney Charles Flickert says the bomb at the preparedness parade was placed by people (not that he knows who they are) who are part of a nation-wide movement against all organized government.

Sir Roger Casement’s appeal against his death sentence is refused. Pope Benedict asks for clemency for him.

After Irish Nationalists reluctantly accepted Lloyd George’s home rule plan, the government made a few little changes: making the exclusion of the 6 Ulster counties permanent, throwing Irish MPs out of the Imperial Parliament, that sort of thing. Irish Nationalist leader John Redmond objects in Parliament and Prime Minister Asquith threatens to resign and call a general election. That’s a direct threat to Redmond’s power, since his party would do badly at any election, but his MPs would likely be replaced by much less compromised and compromising ones who would be harder for Asquith to negotiate with, so it’s not much of a threat. And there are technical and legal reasons why an election would be difficult to carry out in wartime. Sir Edward Carson says the exclusion of Ulster isn’t that big a deal: “Then go and win her if you can. She can be won by good government.”

New York polio death count: 609. The feds have stepped in. New York City children will not be allowed to leave the state without city and federal certificates of health. Not that towns and cities will necessarily allow them in even if they escape the Big Apple.

We’re hearing now that a month ago a French pilot, Lt. Anselme Marchal, attempted to fly from France to Russia, with a mission to drop leaflets on Berlin. The NYT doesn’t give the whole text, something about the causes of the war and why the Allies are totally gonna win it, but it begins by saying, Hey we could have dropped bombs instead, aren’t you glad it’s just a leaflet. Marchal flew 800 miles, a record for non-stop flight, before he was forced by spark-plug failure to land in Austria-occupied Poland where he was captured. He will escape (on his fourth attempt) in February 1918.

I didn’t mention the Shark Week stories filling the NYT last week, but there were lots of shark sightings off Coney Island, Oyster Bay, and elsewhere. A letter in the NYT signed “Nativist” blames... the Germans. It seems the u-boats sinking all those ships have given sharks a taste for human flesh.

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