Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Today -100: November 30, 1916: Of coal and tanks

The British government settles a labor dispute in the South Wales coal mines by taking over the mines. The colliers wanted a pay rise but the owners wouldn’t agree to an investigation to determine whether they could afford a pay rise or were, in fact, blatantly war-profiteering (as was the custom).

Headline of the Day -100:


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Today -100: November 29, 1916: Mush isn’t eaten enough

Facing the imminent capture of Bucharest, the Romanian government flees to Jassy (Iaşi).

Speaker of the House Champ Clark (D-Missouri) says families can cope with the increased cost of living (an egg boycott is being organized to protest price increases) by raising hens. And eating more corn. “Mush is highly nutritious, and it isn’t eaten enough,” says the Speaker, through a mouthful of mush no doubt.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Today -100: November 28, 1916: Of dejected lawyers, ambassadors, and beer

Charles Evans Hughes is going back to his old law firm, Rounds, Schurman & Dwight. His son CEH Jr will join him.

Britain refuses to give safe passage to the newly appointed Austrian ambassador to the United States. The last one, Konstantin Dumba, was expelled over a year ago for running sabotage operations in the US, which is Britain’s excuse for not allowing a new one.

August Busch of Anhauser-Busch joins Gustave Pabst in supporting regulation of drinking in order to ward off total prohibition, as the brewers attempt to separate themselves from the liquor interests. Busch supports abolishing bars in saloons so patrons are only served at tables, banning treating, and for allowing saloons to to sell only beer, light wine and non-alcoholic drinks as in Germany.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Today -100: November 27, 1916: Of southern Slavs, the reasonable use of beer, and being all undressed and nowhere to go

The London Times says Austria plans to create a puppet Southern Slav state along the lines of the Polish one in order to legalize conscripting Serbs in the parts of Serbia it’s occupying.

Gustave Pabst, the beer tycoon, says brewers are in favor of “true temperance.” After all, “thoughtful men and women are not opposed to the reasonable use of beer”.

Movie of the Day:

The first million-dollar movie evidently. The film is lost, because of course it is. And it’s got nudity! “There are long passages when Miss Kellermann wanders disconsolately through the film all undressed and nowhere to go.” They say that like it’s a bad thing.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today -100: November 26, 1916: How long must women wait for liberty?

Inez Milholland Boissevain, lawyer and poster girl of the women’s suffrage movement, often found on horseback leading a parade, dies in Los Angeles at age 30 of pernicious anemia, brought on by her hectic schedule campaigning across the country for Charles Evans Hughes in the interests of suffrage. Her last public words were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

I’ve been a little surprised by the Times’s obsessive coverage of her health over the last month: “MRS. BOISSEVAIN VERY ILL.; Throat Seriously Affected from Constant Speaking on Campaign Tour,” “Mrs. Boissevain Is Operated On,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN VERY ILL.; Two Transfusions of Blood Made In Effort to Save Her,” “Mrs. Inez M. Boissevain Near Death,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN IS LOW,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN BETTER,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN SINKING,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN BETTER,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN VERY LOW,” “Mrs. Boissevain Slightly Better,” “MRS. BOISSEVAIN IS BETTER.; Attending Physician Reports Her Condition "Somewhat Improved,” “Mrs. Boissevain Is Recovering,” “MRS. INEZ BOISSEVAIN DIES IN LOS ANGELES.”

Headline of the Day -100:

Also, too, marmalade. 

Venizelos’s self-proclaimed Provisional Government of Greece declares war on Germany and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, the Entente is demanding that the army (the king’s, not venizelos’s) turn over military supplies.

In Britain the National Transport Workers’ Federation protests government plans to introduce non-white workers on the docks.

The Sunday NYT Magazine section has an article by Arthur Conan Doyle on how ghosts are totally real.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Today -100: November 25, 1916: The world wants a new Mexico

Headline of the Day -100:

Russian Prime Minister Boris Stürmer is forced out by the Duma and is replaced by Transport Minister Alexander Fyodorovitch Trepov, who will also continue in that post. He is “progressive” in comparison to Stürmer and the czar and Rasputin (who he will try to bribe to stop interfering in policy), which is rather a low bar. It isn’t especially reassuring that his brother Dmitri was in charge of suppressing the 1905 Revolution and his father was also a reactionary general.

The US-Mexican Commission come to an agreement that would see US troops withdrawn from Mexico 40 days after it’s signed by Wilson and Carranza – if conditions in northern Mexico are sufficiently stable. Since that’s a subjective standard, it sounds to me like an agreement that the US will continue to do whatever it damn well wants. And after they withdraw, US troops can continue to enter Mexico to attack “marauders.” The Americans say there’s no reason Mexico should have any problem with that because the marauders are their common enemy. There is of course no reciprocal right for Mexican forces. Interior Secretary Franklin Lane, head of the US delegation, says “this is only a beginning to a policy which will make a Mexico that we can live with. ... We will help her to get into good shape if she can understand that we mean to be her friend.”

Someone cut down Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite sassafras tree. He offers a reward for the malefactor’s capture.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Today -100: November 24, 1916: There’s nothing like a democratic emperor

The new Austrian Emperor Karl I says that yeah, Austria is totally gonna stay in the war. It seems like, with all the false rumors of peace proposals going round, any time someone takes office now (new emperors, Russian prime ministers, whatever) they have to commit to staying in until the bitter end.

Headline of the Day -100:

He is also “a good shot, a sportsman, and an expert dancer”.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The city, not a small, bug-eyed dog.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The author, not the city.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Today -100: November 23, 1916: Of britannics, zitas, concessions, Londons, and diets

The Britannic, a White Star liner commandeered for use as a military hospital ship, sinks near Greece. The British are saying it was torpedoed, but it actually hit a mine. The Britannic was the largest British ship of any type, sister ship to the Titanic. 30 dead, 1,035 survivors. There were no patients onboard.

The new emperor of Austria-Hungary is Franz Joseph’s grand-nephew, 29, or as he’s now known, Karl I of Austria and Karl IV of Hungary. Two of the brothers of the new Empress Zita – Xavier and Sixtus – are fighting in the Belgian Army, which will make for an awkward Austrian Thanksgiving. Zita died in 1989 at 96, by the way, 67 years after Karl.

Charles Evans Hughes concedes.

Jack London dies. He was 40.

12 employees of the Chicago Health Department are taking part in an experiment to prove that you can eat perfectly adequately for 40¢ a day. They started with a breakfast of liver, bacon, an egg, muffins & butter, apples and coffee. That’s one meal, you understand, 13¢ worth.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Today -100: November 22, 1916: So suck it, Victoria

Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I dies. He was 86 and had been on the throne since he was 18, a longer reign than Queen Victoria’s.

Here’s the London Daily Mail obit: “Emperor Francis Joseph had been politically defunct for two years. In the present war he played a very insignificant part and it is exceedingly doubtful whether had he been in vigorous health he would ever have consented to become the passive agent of a German plot.” Etc.

The Habsburg family tree in general and the line of succession in particular have been... subject to revision... over FJ’s lifetime. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of course, but also FJ’s only son Crown Prince Rudolf’s suicide pact with his mistress at Mayerling in 1889, the execution of his brother Maximilian in Mexico, his wife’s assassination by an anarchist, one of his nephews lost at sea. Also his granddaughter Elisabeth Marie (Rudolf’s daughter) shot her husband’s actress mistress to death

If Germany does not intend to give up its Polish territory to the puppet Polish buffer state it and Austria announced, the German state of Prussia really doesn’t intend to give up anything. That land is “sacred and inviolable,” says Prussian Interior Minister Count Friedrich von Loebell. The Prussian Diet votes for no portion of Prussian Poland to be given to, um, the Poles. Though to head this off, Prussia might even give Poles some rights. 

Norway, which is not participating in the war (it has a note from its mum), will have to institute food rationing. And Britain orders a potato census.

The New York State Woman’s Suffrage Party plans to push for another women’s suffrage referendum in 1917, even though the 1915 referendum failed. This time it promises “No more pink teas, no more parlor meetings and abstract lectures for the suffrage cause.”

For the first time, the Philippines’ Senate has a full-blooded Moro, Hadji Butu. There are also two Moro – or, as the NYT puts it, “reclaimed savages” – in the lower house.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

APEC dress-up fail

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was held in Peru this year, and the traditional Make All the Leaders Dress Funny portion was just lame.

So lame.

Times past:

Ponchopallooza ‘04 in Chile:

Bar Girls in Hanoi, 2006:

Whatever the fuck this was supposed to be in Australia 2007:

Ponchopalooza ‘08 in Mexico:

Chinese Restaurant Waiters in Singapore 2009:

Here’s my post from the 2006 summit:

It’s so awkward when everyone shows up at work wearing the same thing.

Wow, that totally flatters his ass.

I am totally freeballing it under this thing.

Man, I coulda gone commando too.

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Today -100: November 21, 1916: Follow your Bliss

Eleftherios Venizelos says that he and his movement aren’t against the Greek crown, just the “system of despotism” around it. He says that after the war he’ll make sure there will be no more “forcing on the people against their will policies calculated to drive the country to national suicide.”

The Republicans are trying to figure out when to concede the presidential election. But the important news: the RNC’s treasurer is named Cornelius Newton Bliss, Jr. Cornelius Newton Bliss, Senior was McKinley’s secretary of the interior.

The American Federation of Labor recommends ignoring any injunction against strikes based on the dictum that labor is property. I don’t follow that, but the labor-is-property thing is central to an anti-union ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court earlier this year (see p. 181 here).

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Today -100: November 20, 1916: Hallmark does NOT make a card for that

The elections demonstrated that William Jennings Bryan’s influence over the Democratic Party in his home state of Nebraska is gone. So he seems to be leaving the state, moving his things to his other homes in Florida and North Carolina, and leaving the Democratic Party for the Prohibition Party.

At the beginning of the month, the Germans lobbed their one-thousandth shell at Rheims Cathedral. I’m picturing a monk sighing and then painstakingly illuminating a new hash mark on a manuscript.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Today -100: November 19, 1916: Of civilian fighters, energetic mouths, and Manx cats

The Entente objects to the Central Powers’ declaration of a Polish state on Russian Polish territory, saying that military occupation during war does not give the occupier the legal right to dispose of territory.

Romania denies German claims that its civilians are fighting the German invading army. Don’t know if it’s true, but it does sound like Germany is pre-justifying any massacres of civilians, using the same excuse no one believed in Belgium.

Germany denies that its plans to conscript people into civilian war work will include housemaids. You have to draw the line somewhere.

The NYT Sunday Magazine has an article about Jeanette Rankin. You can tell it’s written by a university professor and not a Times reporter by the fact that it doesn’t mention her hair color and “energetic mouth” until the 5th paragraph.

Rankin’s Democratic opponent Harry Mitchell says he won’t challenge Rankin’s election (some are threatening to do so on the grounds that women can’t be members of Congress) and he will refuse to take the seat if her election is overturned.

Headline of the Day -100:

A Mr. Wilberforce Wiggins, a merchant in Liverpool, was late to lunch with some friends. As a joke he explained that he had received an order from the Indian Government for 1,000 Manx cats at £5 each, to be used as presents for native princes, as wasn’t the custom. He was overheard by hotel staff who immediately got into the Manx cat business and before you know it there were 1,200 cats at the docks, many of whom escaped, and Wiggins felt it expedient to leave the country for New York. And I don’t believe a word of it.

“Wilberforce Wiggins,” indeed.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Oh bother

Mike Huckabee as ambassador to Israel? That's the wackiest idea I've heard all day, and I've heard about plans for a Winnie the Pooh live-action movie. But then again, it's Trump we're talking about, so it could wind up that Winnie the Pooh gets named ambassador and Huckabee will get his head stuck in a honey pot.

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What Alabama has wrought

Looking back over posts from 2000, I’m reminded that Trump has many more options for government positions than Bush did in 2000 before the Republican Hegemony. For example, with the balance in the Senate close then as now, Republican senators from states with Democratic governors were unavailable, so, to quote myself, “no Dick Lugar in DOD, no Richard Shelby at CIA and, thank God, no Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General.”

Does anyone know who called Sessions a white-supremacist Keebler’s elf? Because I’m planning to steal that.

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Pryor convictions

Well, the nice thing about having an old blog is that if Republican shits are going to keep resurfacing, I can just reprint old posts.

William Pryor, 11th Circuit judge, recess-appointed by GeeDubya, is showing up as a contender for the Supreme Court. Here’s what I wrote about him in 2003:

Bush’s judicial appointees are getting wackier. For example, William Pryor, Alabama’s attorney general, nominated to the 11th Circuit. Pryor thinks Roe v Wade is "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history." He indicted Barnes & Noble for selling art books (which he considered child pornography). He says he became a lawyer so he could fight the ACLU. He is against the separation of church & state, supports prayer in public schools and has said “God has chosen, through his son Jesus Christ, this time and this place for all Christians ... to save our country and save our courts.” He supported Ala.’s ban on sex toys and practice of tying prisoners to “hitching posts,” supports executing the retarded, endorsed a bill to let anti-abortion lawyers represent the state against minors trying to get judicial overrides of parental notification.

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Today -100: November 18, 1916: Of co-regents, legions, silver, and munitions of life

Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph will name his heir apparent, Archduke Karl, as co-regent next month on the 68th anniversary of his reign, if Frank Joey lives that long, which he won’t.

Huh, it seems there’s a little catch to the Teutonic promise to create a new Polish state on Russian territory: there have to be sufficient volunteers for the Polish Legion (who have to swear allegiance to Kaiser Wilhelm and Emperor Franz Joseph). If there aren’t enough volunteers, there will be conscription. If there is resistance to conscription, or the soldiers prove “unsatisfactory,” the promise of independence will be null and void.

Headline of the Day -100:

Belgium is in a panic over German orders for all men over 17 to report for inspection. They suspect that hundreds of thousands will be deported to Germany. The city officials of Tournai refuse to give the Germans a list of male inhabitants and the city is fined, and will be fined every day until they comply.

The Dutch parliament votes to allow women to be elected to it.

Carranza orders that taxes be paid in silver, so the state will get some of the silver that people have been hoarding, and everybody else will be stuck with crappy Mexican paper money.

Winston Churchill predicts that before the war is over, the British government will take over all shipping, conscript everyone for universal service, and ration food while setting prices. “We need a great organization for producing munitions of life just as we do for munitions of death.”

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Today -100: November 17, 1916: Of Cubist patriotism

Germany gives legal recognition to Judaism in Poland.

Headline of the Day -100:

Pres. Wilson orders 6,000 national guards withdrawn from the Mexican border.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Today -100: November 16, 1916: Of eight hours, progressives, controlled food, and dictated labor

Railroad companies, acting in collusion as was the custom, file identical lawsuits in various federal courts to stop the Adamson Eight-Hour Act from going into effect.

The Progressive Party in the Russian Duma withdraws from the majority coalition.

Britain will get  a Food Controller. “Boil that some more, it still has some taste” is a thing he’ll say, probably.

Germany, which already had a food dictator, will now also get a labor dictator, Maj. Gen. Wilhelm Groener. He’ll be able to draft civilians into jobs, though only male civilians (physically unfit for the military, too old for the military).

Germany is also getting Polish workers, sent by the puppet Polish National Provisional Government, because nothing says Polish independence like slave labor in Germany.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Today -100: November 15, 1916: Of censuses and middlemen

The German occupation authorities in Belgium are taking a census of all unemployed people, presumably in preparation for forcibly removing them to Germany to work.

Woodrow Wilson blames high food prices on middlemen.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Today -100: November 14, 1916: Put that bloody cigarette out!

The author H.H. Munro (Saki) is shot dead by a German sniper. I’ve been reading his short stories lately. Clever and amusing use of language; his character “Reginald” is like the bastard son of Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest by Saki’s fellow homosexualist Oscar Wilde. Munro’s last words were reportedly “Put that bloody cigarette out!”, addressed, rather too late, to a fellow soldier who was attracting the attention of the sniper. Munro was 45, and yes he was above the age limit to have volunteered for the trenches, but volunteer he did.

The Russian Duma reopens. Alexander Kerensky calls the government “cowards” and “hired assassins” under the control of “the contemptible Grishka Rasputin” and demands that they be removed. Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) Party leader Pavel Milyukov lists many failures of the government, asking over and over “Is this stupidity or treason?” Boris Stürmer and the rest of the government walk out (I’m not sure at what point in the proceedings they did so). Milyukov then sensibly retreats to the British Embassy to hide out until the February Revolution. The the government starts censoring Duma speeches.

Margaret Sanger reopens her birth control clinic.

Dr. Percival Lowell, the astronomer who proved that there is life on Mars, dies of mysterious ray-gun wounds a stroke.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Today -100: November 13, 1916: I won’t discuss pipe dreams

Theodore Roosevelt refuses to answer questions about running for president in 1920: “I won’t discuss pipe dreams.”

The American Union Against Militarism attributes Wilson’s reelection to “the fighting pacifist sentiment in the United States.”

Under Allied pressure, Greek King Constantine agrees to let military officers and government officials resign and join Venizelos’s self-declared provisional government.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Today -100: November 12, 1916: A blessing both for the workers and the nation

Headline of the Day -100:

Headline/Douchebag of the Day -100:  

“I have ordered measures to encourage the voluntary going of unemployed Belgian laborers to Germany and to evacuate the congenitally idle who refuse suitable work at good wages,” says the governor-general who’s been systematically looting Belgium’s raw materials and factories for two years now while diverting its power supplies and railroads but who seems to think unemployment is entirely the fault of the British because everything is always entirely the fault of the British. He says the deportations are “a blessing both for the workers and the nation.”

The German kaiser and the nearly dead Austro-Hungarian emperor issue a proclamation to the Poles of the occupied Polish bits of Russia saying they’re totally a country although for the time being we’ll “keep the administration of your new State still in our hands,” but bit by bit we’ll give you new institutions. “Of these the Polish Army is the most important.” Of course it is.

It’s almost like this whole “restoration of Poland” thing is a ploy to get Poles to fight for Germany and Austria. They’ve already set up a “Polish Legion.”

Herman Bernstein, editor of The American Hebrew worries about the treatment of the 3 million Jews in a new Poland, as well he might.

Speaking of shiny new nation-states, the Arabs – well, some Arabs – declare a Kingdom of Arabia. They’ve asked for US recognition, but the US has no idea who they are or how to get in touch with them.

For the first time, the Electoral College will include women, three of them, all from California.

An anti-war meeting in Cardiff, Wales, at which future prime minister Ramsay MacDonald is one of the principal speakers, is broken up by some pro-war types including another Labour MP, Charles Butt Stanton, the jackass elected to Keir Hardie’s seat after he died. When questions are asked in Parliament,  Stanton says that “they threaten us in Merthyr with another of their pro-German meetings, and... we will not tolerate it, whatever the consequences”. The home secretary will say that Cardiff’s constable asked him to ban the meeting under the Defence of the Realm Acts, but he declined to do so.

Japan and Brazil come to a trade arrangement which will include settling 5,000 Japanese a year in Brazil to work on the coffee plantations (and elsewhere, but mostly coffee). Many thousands of Japanese will emigrate to Brazil and Peru and be treated as second-class citizens for decades to come. Fun fact: during World War II the US got Peru to forcibly send many of its Japanese citizens to the US where they were interned alongside Japanese-Americans (and pressured Brazil to establish its own internment program). When the US compensated former internees in the 1980s, it excluded this group because they were “illegal aliens.” 

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Today -100: November 11, 1916: Benedict Arnold or Judas Iscariot? Make up your mind

There will be no Nobel peace prize this year. Can’t think why.

Congresswoman-elect Jeannette Rankin says “I knew the women would stand by me.” The NYT informs us that “Miss Rankin makes her own clothes and hats, and she is also an excellent cook.”

As a war measure, evening dress is now banned from Paris opera houses.

While Charles Evans Hughes isn’t ready to concede the election, he is telling his supporters to stop making accusations of election fraud.

The LAT continues to blame Governor/Senator-elect Hiram Johnson for Hughes’ defeat in California, suggesting that since Johnson won his election by 200,000 votes and “his political machine has elected enough of its mercenaries to assure the control of the next Legislature,” it isn’t possible for a fellow Republican to lose for president in the state without some sort of ballot fraud, and there should be a recount. The paper thinks that the deal that “regular” Republicans made to support Johnson if Progressives supported Hughes was somehow binding on the electorate. It also claims that the Johnson machine used RNC money to support Wilson, as recounted in this article.

I especially like the little “Iscariot.”

The LAT also has an editorial.

They’re sure the indignation over this treachery will rebound on Johnson at some point.

Hiram Johnson will continue as US senator from California until his death in 1945.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Today -100: November 10, 1916: Politics has not been purified

The NYT says that Wilson has won California, North Dakota and New Mexico, and therefore the presidency. By their count, if he hadn’t done so well in San Francisco, with a very strong female and Progressive vote, he would have lost the election. And if Hughes had just gone to shake Hiram Johnson’s hand when they were in the same damn hotel... The LA Times says Wilson got the women’s vote because he “kept us out of war,” although the LAT being the LAT...

Mrs. Arthur Dodge, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, says that the election results prove that sex solidarity is a myth. “The woman in politics and the woman trying to get into politics have contributed nothing to politics, but increased election costs, more expensive and spectacular stunts, more bitter partisanship and bigger bluffs than the men have made. The dignity, power, and status of woman in public life have not been elevated. Politics has not been purified.”

It is certainly true that suffrage states, largely in the West, went for Wilson rather than Hughes, even though the suffrage organizations mostly supported Hughes.

German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg tells the Reichstag that after the war Germany would accept an international league to enforce the peace. By which he means an organization to prevent “aggressive coalitions” aimed at Germany.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

I dunno

I stop blogging about current events and look what you people do.

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Today -100: November 9, 1916: That’s the Chicago way

The presidential election results are not in. Wilson goes golfing, Hughes goes driving. People are still placing bets.

After all that fuss about which candidate the German-American “hyphenate” vote was supporting, and all the accusations of pandering back and forth, it seems that the German vote was pretty evenly divided.

The feds arrested a bunch of people in Chicago on election day for selling their votes, but are now releasing them because evidently that’s not illegal.

Canada makes it illegal for anyone to have a copy of one of William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers, which have not been friendly to the Allies and have said embarrassing things about British rule in Ireland. The papers have already been banned from using the mails and telegraph cables in Britain and France.

Belgium protests what it says is Germany’s forcible deportation last month of 15,000 Belgian men to work in Germany. In cattle cars, no less. France is also protesting about the removal of civilians from cities in occupied northern France for forced farm labor. Because this happened in April, Germany says that France is only protesting now to stir up hatred for the Germans. Way to grab the moral high ground, Germany. It also puts the blame, as always, on the British blockade, which necessitated slave labor, obvs.

It’ll take a while to make the papers, but there is a massive explosion today at the Russian port of Archangel, the main entry of Allied military supplies to Russia. Several ships are destroyed as well as much of the port and a couple of barracks, killing upwards of 650 men. The Germans will claim to have accomplished this by a u-boat hitting the steamer Baron Driesen, while the commercial attaché of the Russian Embassy in the US will claim that it was a bomb placed on a ship in New York to cover up thefts on the docks, but you don’t really need to look for sinister explanations for munitions ships blowing up.

Well, you don’t need to, but it is good clean fun.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Today -100: November 8, 1916: Election results

Headline of the Day -100:

In truth, the presidential race is too close to call. Indeed, Hughes won’t concede for two weeks. 

But of course we know better than the Times, because we are magical gods from the future. Wilson actually got 49% of the popular vote and Hughes 46%. Eugene Debs is for once not running for president, so there’s a weaker Socialist vote than usual, 3% for Allan Benson. Wilson loses the entire North East except for New Hampshire, which he wins by 52 votes. He fails to win New Jersey, where he was governor. Hughes does very well in the Midwest, but Wilson takes Ohio. Wilson is strong in the South, of course, and the West and, decisively for this election, wins California, barely. Hughes will for the rest of his life blame that loss on that one time he was in the same hotel as Gov. Hiram Johnson and failed to go say hello. Wilson will wind up with 277 electoral votes to Hughes’s 254.

House of Representatives: R’s gain 20 seats, to 216. D’s lose 16 seats, to 214, but there are 3 Progressives, one Socialist (Meyer London of NY) and 1 Prohibitionist (Charles Randall of California), which in practice will mean a shaky working majority for the D’s.

Senate: R’s gain 2 seats, but D’s still hold a 54-42 majority.

California’s Progressive governor Hiram Johnson is elected to the US Senate, easily defeating George S. Patton, the father of the face-slapping general. Patton is a Democrat but is to the right of Johnson on most issues.

New York Governor Charles Whitman (R) is reelected. Republican Walter E. Edge is elected governor of New Jersey. His campaign manager was none other than “Nucky” Johnson, sort of played by Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire. John Cornwell is elected governor of West Virginia, the only Democrat elected to statewide office. Thomas Campbell (R) is elected governor of Arizona – or is he? More on that later.

State referenda:

Women’s suffrage is defeated in South Dakota by 52% of the voters and in West Virginia by 72%.

Florida voters reject a constitutional amendment aimed at eliminating the few remaining black voters by restricting voting to those who could pass a literacy test (including being able to “interpret” as well as read the constitution) and who own $500 in property, with a grandfather clause exempting those whose ancestors could vote in 1867, before the 15th Amendment. This was placed on the ballot by the state legislature before last year’s Supreme Court ruling invalidating Oklahoma’s grandfather clause.

Oregon voters narrowly reject a measure to remove the clauses in the state constitution discriminating against voting by negroes and mulattoes. These provisions will be removed from the constitution (also the one against “chinamen”) by a referendum in 1927.

Oregon also rejects a measure banning compulsory vaccination.

The Single Tax (on land, excluding buildings) loses in California 69% to 31%. As does prohibition, by 55%. San Francisco bans picketing.

Arizona voters pass the strongest form of prohibition in the nation, making it illegal even to possess alcohol. They abolish the death penalty by a very narrow majority, but fail to abolish the state senate.

Prohibition passes in Idaho by 72%, Nebraska by 55%, South Dakota by 55%, Montana by 58%, and Michigan. It fails in California by 55% and Maryland by 65%. North Dakota passes a measure defining bootlegging; so that’s actually a legal term. Oregon bans the importation of booze from outside the state. The majority of states are now dry. Typically, cities vote against prohibition, rural areas for it.

Women in Illinois vote for president for the first time. Jane Addams says “I believe that every voting woman in Chicago is feeling moved and thrilled by the experience”. Since women in Illinois have the right to vote for some offices but not others, there are separate ballots so we have something we don’t in any other state: a breakdown by sex of how women voted for president. Not much different from men, as it happens (Hughes easily wins the state, even Chicago). This leads the NYT to write a dickish editorial about how this proves that there’s no reason for women’s suffrage. It also prints a letter from Everett Pepperrell Wheeler, one-time failed candidate for governor of New York, about how it’s only fair to leave women’s suffrage to the states. Indeed, he says, the one time the federal government tried to intervene in the suffrage (the 15th Amendment), “It is now agreed by both whites and blacks that this was a great mistake and that it would have been far better to leave the regulation of this subject to each Southern State.”

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Monday, November 07, 2016

Today -100: November 7, 1916: Serene

Today is election day, and the final betting on the presidential race is at even money. Edward Doheny, the oil baron who will be deeply involved in the Teapot Dome scandal, is said to have bet upwards of $200,000 on Wilson at 8 to 10.

Headline of the Day -100:

Cardinal James Gibbons, not the arboreal anthropoid apes. A rumor is being spread that when he met the cardinal last year, Pres. Wilson called him “Mr. Gibbons.” This is denied by presidential secretary Tumulty, by a monsignor, and by Cardinal Gibbons himself. Mr. Bobo, a gibbon in the Bronx Zoo, also denies that Pres. Wilson called him by anything other than his proper title.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Today -100: November 6, 1916: Poland has been given back to Western civilization

Germany and Austria proclaim the restoration of Poland, or at least the parts of Poland held by Russia since 1815, as a nation. They still plan to hold on to the parts of Poland they grabbed during the Partition, although Austria is talking about “autonomy” for Galicia. And not now, of course, after the war. Also there’ll be a king to be named later, presumably a lesser Hohenzollern or Habsburg, and borders also to be determined later. But right now there’ll be a “Polish Legion,” if any Poles care to volunteer to fight for the Teutonic powers. According to the (German) Overseas News Agency, “The Poles are free from Russian oppression; no more to be trodden under the heels of the Cossack. ... Poland has been given back to Western civilization.” So that’ll be nice.

Headline of the Day -100:

Arriving to help a shingle-weavers’ strike (evidently shingles are woven, or used to be). During the strike, Sheriff Donald McRae decided to expel all IWW members from Everett. The IWW decided to fight for free speech, arrived by ship and were met by Sheriff McRae and the same mob of vigilantes that had been terrorizing strikers. A shoot-out ensues, with most of the guns fired by the vigilantes. At least 5 Wobblies are killed, and 2 of the deputized vigilantes (possibly accidentally by fellow deputies – there was a certain amount of alcohol involved). The IWW’s Thomas Tracy will be tried for murder but acquitted. 73 other Wobblies will be held for months and then released without trial after Tracy’s acquittal

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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Today -100: November 5, 1916: The Republican Party offers the people masters

Charles Evans Hughes gives his final speech before the election, in Madison Square Garden, and he gives his audience what he knows they want: tariffs! He warns of economic disaster if American industry is not protected from a European resurgence after the war.

Woodrow Wilson responds that the industries that used to have the highest tariff protections paid the lowest wages and had the worst working conditions. He says employers are trying to coerce their workers to vote Republican. “The Republican Party offers the people masters. We offer them comrades and leaders.”

All the news about the possible election of the first woman member of Congress that’s fit to print, apparently:

In general, NYT coverage of elections other than the presidential has been just abysmal this year.

Update: Oops, there’s more

I should explain the Congressman (sic) at Large thing. You know how reapportionment is supposed to work? Well, sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Montana gained a second member of Congress after the 1910 census, but for the 3 elections since then the Legislature hasn’t bothered to divide the state into two congressional districts, so both seats are at-large and voters will have two votes. This is confusing for the parties, which don’t really know how to strategize for that sort of election campaign rather than a straight two-person fight. Disarray among the D’s, a national upsurge in Republican sentiment, and the votes of women (granted in Montana in 1914), will assist Rankin in winning this election. Or maybe Montana voters have the same red-hair fixation as the NYT

Incidentally, Rankin’s hair was actually light brown.

Rankin was a long-time activist for women’s suffrage. She told the Montana Legislature in 1911 (the first time a woman had ever addressed that body): “It is beautiful and right that a mother should nurse her child through typhoid fever, but it is also beautiful and right that she should have a voice in regulating the milk supply from which typhoid resulted.”

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Friday, November 04, 2016

Today -100: November 4, 1916: Of uniforms and betting

There will be an inspection, or more accurately a count, of uniforms of the New Jersey National Guard. Someone got upset that girls were seen wearing the uniforms on Halloween and wants to find out how they got them.

The betting odds remain 10:7 in favor of Hughes.

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Today -100: November 3, 1916: I am appealing to all good citizens to save the country from ruin

Greece’s King Constantine orders the army to fight Venizelos’s forces, which are now being openly backed by the Allies.

Charles Evans Hughes denies that it is unpatriotic to discuss foreign policy, especially when Wilson’s sucks so hard.

Theodore Roosevelt tells a Cleveland rally, “I am here in no partisan sense. I am appealing to all good citizens to save the country from ruin.”

The betting odds are still 10:7 in favor of Hughes.

The State Dept says that Americans who take an oath of allegiance to a foreign state, i.e. join their militaries, are automatically expatriated. It is denying passports to Americans going to Europe to fight.

It’s also asking the French to rename its American Aviation Corps (Escadrille Américaine), which was created earlier this year. France will change the name to the Lafayette Escadrille.

Hirohito is installed as Crown Prince of Japan and heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. He gets a sacred sword and everything. And he’s now a captain in the army and a lieutenant in the navy. He’s 15.

The Berlin authorities are eliminating all but two types of sausage. And before you ask, they are blood sausage and liverwurst.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Today -100: November 2, 1916: So far as every other nation is concerned we must be absolutely a unit

Woodrow Wilson complains about (unnamed) people who use foreign policy for political advantage. You know: people who criticize him. Doesn’t like that at all. “Variety of opinion among ourselves there may be... but so far as every other nation is concerned we must be absolutely a unit.” He refers to people who “make play with the loss of the lives of American citizens even in order that they may create a domestic political advantage,” presumably meaning the recent sinking of the British steamship Marina, in which 6 American members of the crew died.

The odds being offered on the election are now 10:7 in favor of Hughes.

Headline of the Day -100:

Yes, food. Britain will require that all food for British and Canadian POWs in Germany go through England so it can be checked for secret messages. The delay involved means that foods likely to spoil can no longer be sent. This censorship does not apply to officers, only NCOs and privates.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Today -100: November 1, 1916: Of race favoritism, dimes, and twiddles

A Republican National Publicity Committee ad in today’s NYT:

Headline of the Day -100:  

This doesn’t refer to blacks, who are discriminated against in the segregated army, but to Jews. The problem arises from Cavalry Capt. Le Roy Eltinge’s book Psychology of War (1915), which says of the Jew: “For centuries he has been without a country. He doesn’t know what patriotism means. ... He has not been a soldier for over 2,000 years. ... The soldier’s lot is hard physical work. This the Jew despises. He does not have any of the qualities of a good soldier”. The War Dept orders him to delete all direct references to Jews, so that bit is changed to: “Another large proportion of our population is made up from those who, through they have no particular home on the earth from which to inherit their ideas, have peculiarities of physique and of mind that make them foreign in tastes and mental attitudes to all other classes of our population.” Evidently that’s not offensive because it doesn’t spell out the people to whom it’s obviously referring.

Can’t help but notice that the paragraph preceding that one is about the negro: “By association we know something of what he will do, but as we think with a different kind of brain we do not perceive the why of his acts. In other words, we will not be able to get the best out of him as a soldier because we do not understand how to touch the mainsprings of his character.” Eltinge also elaborates on the respective martial characteristics of the southern European and Anglo-Saxon races.

The new 10¢ coin, the Mercury dime, is out. People are lining up at the Sub-Treasury office and speculators are paying high prices for them because they might be recalled to be replaced because these have the designer’s initials, which the Treasury considers impermissible advertising. To be honest, the only reason I’m including this story is to mention that the Chief Clerk of the Sub-Treasury office in New York is named Wesley S. Twiddle.

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