Saturday, September 03, 2016

Today -100: September 3, 1916: I had rather be a dog and bay at the moon than to submit to such dictation

The Senate passes the railroad 8-hour bill 43-28. The strike is called off. Railroad companies vow to resist. In fact, they may go to court because it’s totally illegal for a president to sign a bill on a Sunday or national holiday, right? Sen. Jacob Gallinger (R-New Hampshire) says Congress is now no better than the Mexican Congress, simply passing bills the president wants without debate. Sen. Wesley Jones (R-Washington) says “This is the worst thing we could do for the working man.” How so, Sen. Jones? “If Congress can force the employers to pay more wages it can force the employes to take less wages. The principle is exactly the same.” Sen. Lawrence Sherman (R-Illinois) cunningly discovers the real victim in this: “It is the Senate that is being put under involuntary servitude” by the threats of union leaders. “I will either serve as a senator free from dictation or I will not serve at all. I had rather be a dog and bay at the moon than to submit to such dictation”. Well, if those are the options, Sen. Sherman...

Republican presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes, by the way, refuses to say anything at all about the railway situation.

There is a riot in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania when health officers, concerned over polio, try to order children under 16 out of an ox roast.

The British authorities ban Bertrand Russell going to... Sussex. Because they (the officer who signed the order is his cousin, by the way) can’t distinguish pacifists from German spies – or pretend they can’t – and think he might, what? signal to u-boats?

By the way, Russell, who is too old to be drafted for this war, will still be doing the pacifist thing 50 years later, marching against nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War.

In the NYT Sunday Magazine, Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, which is about to hold a convention to examine its goals and methods, explains the current state of the suffrage issue. The cause has won over the churches, the two parties, etc., she says. “Moreover, all the leading names in literature, art, philosophy, science, and business are enrolled on our side. But we have not won the reactionaries. We have not won the illiterate. We have not won the powers of evil”. Reminds me of Adlai Stevenson’s famous line: told that he had the vote of “every thinking person,” he replied, “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority.”

Baltimore recently passed an ordinance regulating how and where the Star-Spangled Banner may be sung. It has to be played verbatim, without musical embellishments (and absolutely not in jig time) and not as part of a medley. Musicians and singers should be standing while performing it. Absolutely no dancing to it (people dance to the Star-Spangled Banner?). The city council is denying that anyone who fails to stand while it is played will be fined $100.

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