Thursday, October 31, 2019

Today -100: October 31, 1919: Of sickbeds, deportations, and ratifications

Pres. Wilson supposedly received the attorney general to talk about the coal strike, the first time he’s seen a cabinet official in a month.

He also sees the Belgian royal family.

Oklahoma Governor James Robertson sends a telegram to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer asking him to deport any aliens who join the coal strike.

Japan ratifies the peace treaty.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Today -100: October 30, 1919: Of illegal strikes, prohibition in New York, kidnappings, and enemies of the peoples

Pres. Wilson’s doctors announce that they will stop issuing daily bulletins about his health because it is so improved.

The coal miners’ unions are disregarding Pres. Wilson (or whomever)’s plea to postpone their strike. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer says the strike is illegal under wartime laws.

The federal government’s first effort to enforce in New York City the Wartime National Prohibition Enforcement Act that passed over Wilson (or whomever)’s veto is a raid on a saloon on West 42nd, in which 2 people are shot by revenooers. One of them was a passerby on the street, hit in the leg.

The Cleveland police claim to have uncovered a nationwide bomb plot conspiracy, part of a planned anarchist uprising.

Mexico arrests the lawyer of William Jenkins, the US consular agent who was kidnapped by bandits and released after a ransom of $150,000 was paid. Mexico says the lawyer was complicit in the kidnapping. It also thinks that Jenkins faked the whole thing to create an international incident or just for the money (he was in debt for... just under $150,000).

William Randolph Hearst fails to show up at Carnegie Hall to debate Gov. Al Smith, so Smith makes a speech calling Hearst a “character assassin” and, um, an “enemy of the people.” He accuses the Hearst papers of distorting the truth, but doesn’t use the phrase fake news.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Today -100: October 29, 1919: Of semi-sitting positions, prohibition, lynchings, women on benches, and pussyfoot candidates

The latest White House bulletin announces that Pres. Wilson now takes his meals in a semi-sitting position. And the nation rejoices.

The Senate also overrides Wilson’s veto of the Wartime National Prohibition Enforcement Bill, 65-20. So the US will be dry until the ratification of the peace treaty, and then dry again once the 18th Amendment kicks in, if it hasn’t already.

A lynch mob murders a black man near Monticello, Georgia. Eugene Hamilton had been tried and convicted for shooting a white man.

Elections in Fiume for the local council are won by supporters of annexation of Fiume by Italy, if only because no one else was allowed to run and because the bridge to the Croatian quarter was closed.

Headline That’s More Interesting Than It Sounds of the Day -100: 

Jean Hortense Norris, the first woman magistrate in New York City, in the Women’s Day Court. She will eventually be removed for various forms of corruption and misconduct, including appearing in ads for Fleischmann’s Yeast in her judicial robes.

Headline of the Day -100:  

British slang for prohibitionist, named for the stealth prohibitionist campaign of a visiting organizer from the US’s Anti-Saloon League.

Lord Rothermere suggests selling Britain’s colonies in the West Indies to the US to pay off some of the war debt. West Indians are not amused.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Today -100: October 28, 1919: Of satisfaction in the company of crooked politicians, prohibition, provocative opera, and hog islands

William Randolph Hearst declines Gov. Al Smith’s challenge for a debate (a group, possibly Tammany-connected, had even booked Carnegie Hall for the debate). He says he won’t meet Smith “publicly, privately, politically, or socially” because he finds “no satisfaction in the company of crooked politicians.”

Pres. Wilson (or whomever) vetoes the Wartime National Prohibition Enforcement Bill, which does what it says on the box (yes there’s still a war on, technically). Wilson (or whomever, although this does reflect his pre-stroke thinking) says there isn’t a need for it anymore. The veto is then overridden by the House, 176-55. The drys sneakily rush it through in a single day while many wets are elsewhere.

NY Supreme Court Justice Giegerich rules that Mayor Hylan can ban opera sung in German until a peace treaty is ratified, calling the productions a “provocation.” The Star Opera Company argued that people doing a legal thing should be protected from people trying to stop them by doing illegal things, but the judge thinks otherwise.

Headline or Possibly Children’s Book of the Day -100: 

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Today -100: October 27, 1919: There can be no compromise with anarchy

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a very good day.”

Sen. Miles Poindexter (R-Washington) announces his candidacy for president. Jeez, 1920, we could have had a President Poindexter. On the other hand, his platform, which is itself a bit of a novelty, is mostly about how he hates Bolsheviks, Socialists, Anarchists, and unions. “There can be no compromise with anarchy,” he says. He calls the threatened railroad strike “government by terror for the benefit of a special class.”

6 members of Sinn Féin, including elected members of Parliament Pierce Beasley and Austin Stack – and how are those names not totally made up? – escape from Manchester Prison, in broad daylight, using a rope ladder.

Headline or Possibly Title of a Short Story in a Pulp Magazine of the Day -100: 

“Desonna was convicted by a jury... after sensational testimony had been given by Kittie Irving, a pretty girl, from Virginia.”

Speaking of girls from Virginia, Lady Astor accepts the Plymouth Conservatives’ offer to run in the parliamentary seat her husband was removed from when he succeeded his father in the House of Lords – which he is not at all happy about, and is consulting lawyers about whether he can renounce the seat and stay in the Commons (a law will allow this in 1963).

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Today -100: October 26, 1919: Of strikes, kidnappings, and sugar

The latest White House bulletin: “President Wilson is slowly gaining in strength.” The doctors have decided to reduce these bulletins from twice a day to once.

Despite all the talk about how Wilson isn’t allowed to do much work and his doctors aren’t letting him look at a prohibition enforcement bill, he magically revives enough to issue a statement about a possible coal strike. He’s against it.

The AFL says if Congress includes an anti-strike provision in the pending railroad bill, there will be a general strike.

The US demands that Mexico secure the release of a consular agent, William Jenkins, who has been kidnapped by bandits. It wants Mexico to pay the ransom ($150,000) itself if necessary.

The fighting near Petrograd continues. Latest rumor: all of Trotsky’s staff has been captured while Trotsky himself fled clinging to the side of a railroad car. Whoever started this story may have mistaken Trotsky for Buster Keaton. Trotsky’s the one with the mustache, guys.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Today -100: October 25, 1919: A good day

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a good day.” Good for him.

Supposedly, former kaiser Wilhelm “recently went through the solemn ceremony of loading his revolver in the presence of members of his family... and declared that the day the Entente demanded his extradition from the Dutch Government he would shoot himself.”

A House committee decides that Victor Berger, the elected Socialist congressman from Wisconsin’s 5th district, shouldn’t be allowed to take his seat because he was “disloyal” during the war.

Sen. Kenneth McKellar (D-Tennessee) introduces a bill to establish a penal colony for anarchists on some island in the Philippines.

Police and protesters clash, as was the custom, outside a New York City performance of Die Fledermaus.

The Industrial Conference ends after the withdrawals of the representatives of labor, capital, and the public, in that order, over the last couple of days. The chair of the employers’ group accuses labor of “showing a poor spirit of sportsmanship.” The American Federation of Labor will call its own conference of organized labor to consider the future of industrial relations.

A military intelligence officer testifies to the Senate Labor and Education Committee about radical propaganda in Gary, Indiana, much of which the military seems to have confiscated, which can’t possibly be legal. Lt. Donald van Buren warns darkly about the number of foreigners in Gary and the presence of many copies of the “Red Bible.” Van Buren is pissed that the US can’t simply deport Bolsheviks and IWW members.

Two Finns are convicted under NY’s law against “criminal anarchy,” for... writing articles. The law was passed in 1902 in reaction to the McKinley assassination, but has never been used before. They will be sentenced to terms of 4 to 8 years by a judge who tells them their writings were just as much treason as if they had actually organized an army to attack the government.

The Plymouth Tory party asks Nancy Astor to contest her husband’s former seat.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Today -100: October 24, 1919: Maternal

The British government loses a vote in Parliament, which might normally lead to it having to resign, but the vote was on whether aliens can have pilotage certificates, so c’mon. Earl Curzon of Kedleston and Arthur Balfour swap jobs, the former becoming foreign secretary and the latter Lord President of the Council.

France claims to have uncovered a German plot. It says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid 500,000 francs for Alsace-Lorraine independence activity. The French are arresting and deporting Germans in the province.

Mother Jones gives a fiery speech in Gary, Indiana, suggesting steel strikers hang scabs from telegraph polls.

Senate Republicans are thinking up still more reservations they can wrap arond the neck of the peace treaty, including one to exclude from League of Nations jurisdiction anything involving the “vital interests and national honor” of the United States.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today -100: October 23, 1919: A comfortable day

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a comfortable day.”

Labor Secretary William Wilson finally reads Pres. Wilson’s letter to the industrial conference in a last-ditch effort to keep the conference going – “At a time when the nations of the world are endeavoring to find a way to avoid international war, are we to confess that there is no method to be found for carrying on industry except in the spirit and with the very method of war?” So the labor reps, led by Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor, having failed to get any agreement on the right of collective bargaining, walk out.

A temporary injunction is issued against NYC Mayor John Hylan’s order banning German opera at the Lexington Opera House. Albert Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmermann is performed, despite the occasional egg thrown at the singers and the occasional gas bomb. Outside, soldiers and sailors (this may mean former soldiers and sailors) try to capture an army truck to aid in their protest, only to be attacked by mounted police; one sailor may die.

Headline of the Day -100: 

He thinks the League of Nation’s “prestige” can stop them, whenever the US stops dithering about and helps start it.

Senate Republicans agree on 10 “reservations” to pretty much every important provision of the Peace Treaty, limiting the US’s obligations under the League of Nations to whatever it feels like doing, and requiring 3 of the 4 Allies to agree to those reservations.

Oxford is thinking about admitting women and maybe even giving them degrees.

Pope Benedict calls for Catholic women to form a league against indecent fashion.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Today -100: October 22, 1919: Of industrial conferences, war crimes, and the sound of German gutturals

The industrial conference is not going well. All proposals for collective bargaining and for arbitration of the steel strike are voted down. I’ll spare you the details, but the employers’ representatives are being total dicks. Which should mean the conference ends in disarray but it’s saved, for now, by a letter which Pres. Wilson totally wrote himself to Secretary of Labor William Wilson. Sec. Wilson doesn’t read it out, but makes it known that the letter exists and he’ll deploy the 600-word missive if anyone steps out of line.

Pres. Wilson, we are told, wrote (dictated) that letter against the advice of his doctors, and is now totally tired out (I assume the letter was actually written by First Lady Edith Wilson).

The French are demanding that 600 Germans be tried for war crimes, including Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria,

accused of being the first army commander to use poison gas. Rupey says he will never surrender.

The French claim to have foiled a plot for an uprising in Alsace on November 9th, timed to coincide with a Communist uprising in Germany.

NY Mayor John Hylan bans the Star Opera Company’s performance of German opera, so the theatre was dark last night. The company appeals to the state Supreme Court, where the city argues that the ban is proper because the peace treaty hasn’t been signed. The performance was to have been Albert Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmermann, a comic opera. The American Legion Weekly says “it might be said simply that we do not like the sound of German gutturals. The trouble with German opera in German is that our mind hears not the theme so much as the shrieks of the Lusitania’s dying. Its measured cadences picture not tender human emotions, but a firing squad marching at the goose step upon defenseless women and children. If it conjures up sequestered sylvan glades, we see lying thereon the moaning victims of poison gas.” Everyone’s a critic.

The NYT says the Germans have only themselves to blame for the hatred brought on by their “obstinate defiance of American opinion” in trying to sing in German.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Today -100: October 21, 1919: A better day than usual

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a better day than usual.” Bills are passing into law without a presidential signature.

Elbert Gary, chairman of US Steel (and the man for whom Gary, Indiana is named) tells the presidential Industrial Conference to stay out of the steel strike. He doesn’t want arbitration, compromise, or anything else. He doesn’t really say what he does want, but “industrial war” would seem to cover it.

Headline of the Day -100:

Funny, yesterday they were supposed to have already captured it. Now they’re approaching, but 8 miles away. Kronstadt has also been reported to have surrendered, several times.

The Star Opera Company performs some German opera – selections from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger – despite a large “threatening crowd” outside the Lexington Theatre in Manhattan (including many from the American Legion and other ex-soldiers) and despite Mayor John Hylan having made it clear he didn’t want the show to go on. The company’s lawyer told them the mayor doesn’t actually have the right to ban opera. What’s the point of being mayor if you can’t ban opera? Hylan can’t get in touch with the city’s lawyer to find out if he has that power or not, so the police are forced to protect the performance against a crowd that throws chunks of masonry and cue balls at them. Lawyer Max Steuer (last seen here defending the owners of the Triangle Shirt Waist factory fire) says the protests are being got up by the Met to crush a competing opera company and the ex-soldiers are unwitting pawns. The NYT’s music critic thinks the performances sucked.

Lady Nancy Astor might be asked to run to fill the parliamentary seat her husband has vacated as he ascends to the Lords (Nancy, by the way, is American).

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Today -100: October 20, 1919: Of falls, indigestion, longshoremen, Americanized peace, and Astors

Headline of the Day -100: 

And if they keep reporting it and wishing reeeeally hard...

Headline of the Day -100:  

Dr. Grayson says the president is “holding his own.” Wow, did a tasteless joke just occur to me.

No, not that joke. More tasteless.

New York Mayor John Hylan asks the federal government not to send troops to replace striking longshoremen at the Port of New York.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge says the peace treaty won’t be ratified without reservations to “Americanize” it. And senators are coming up with new reservations, including preventing the US from accepting a League of Nations mandate (Armenia, say) without Congressional approval. Which doesn’t seem unreasonable. Also, rejection of any ruling by the International Labor Council on immigration (i.e., the US’s racist immigration policy). There is also a proposal for the US to bring the issue of Irish independence before the League of Nations. 

Three French army officers who during the war wrote for the German-published Gazette des Ardennes are sentenced to death. 7 non-military writers get sentences of 5 to 7 years.

The American-born but British-naturalized Viscount Astor dies. He will be succeeded in the Lords by his son Waldorf Astor, who will therefore be removed from his House of Commons seat representing Plymouth (very much against his will, but them’s the rules). Whoever will they find to replace him?

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today -100: October 19, 1919: Of decrees, debates, and grips

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio decrees that anyone expressing sentiments hostile to the cause of Fiume will be executed.

NY Gov. Alfred E. Smith, pissed off at the constant attacks on him by the Hearst press, challenges William Randolph Hearst to debate him publicly.

Headline of the Day -100:

Doomed, doomed I tells ya!

The (modern-day) NYT obit of Samuel Hynes fails to mention two of his books possibly of interest to readers of this blog: War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Both recommended.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Today -100: October 18, 1919: We cannot be beaten because death is our victory

White general Nikolai Yudenich’s forces are quite near Petrograd, although not actually inside the city, as the article’s headline claims.

Woodrow Wilson’s prostate became enlarged from an infection, and was thought to require surgery, but Wilson was considered too weak for surgery because of his stroke (the White House isn’t saying that part, obviously), so they’ve held off while Wilson lay close to death (they’re not disclosing this either). The White House also finally says what Wilson has been suffering from all this time: fatigue neurosis.

The Senate defeats some more amendments to the Peace Treaty, and discusses whether the US should accept a mandate over Armenia. There are some questions about whether there is oil in Armenia, but it’s agreed that if there were, the British wouldn’t be withdrawing their troops from it, that’s just science.

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio has plans:  “If nobody will attack me – and I am ready to fight any aggression – I will march on Rome, or I will throw myself against the nearest enemy with my comrades. We want to offer ourselves in sacrifice. We want to light a fire that will burn high. It will awake in a portentous flame the deceived hopes of oppressed peoples, and no power of arms and money will be able to put it out. ... We cannot be beaten because death is our victory.” Put a pin in that idea, “march on Rome,” for 3 years.

Two striking picketers are shot outside the American Steel and Wire Company plant in Cuyahoga, Ohio, by guns, possibly machine guns, fired from inside the plant.

Hunger-striking Irish political prisoners are released from prison.

After Thomas Bellon is executed at San Quentin, glands are taken from his body and implanted in a 60-year-old inmate to see if they make him younger.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Today -100: October 17, 1919: A fairly satisfactory day

The House votes 284-1 to extend wartime passport regulations on incoming aliens  for a year, so that “radicals” can be excluded from the country.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge’s amendments/reservations to the Peace Treaty are rejected by the Senate, 35-35, 3 D’s joining 32 R’s in favor. This vote focused on the award of Shantung to Japan.

The latest White House bulletin:  “The President had a fairly satisfactory day.” His doctors allow him to be told of the Senate vote.

A “high military source” in Gary, Indiana informs the press that seized documents prove that the steel strike’s leaders are linked to Soviet Russia. Tear gas shells are being sent to Gary, which is odd because my understanding is that tear gas wasn’t used for crowd control until 1921.

A Waukegan, Illinois deputy sheriff posts a notice: “If you do not like this country, go back to your own. If you have no country, go to hell.”

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Today -100: October 16, 1919: Build build build pay pay pay

The latest White House bulletin: “The President has had a satisfactory day.” The US delegation to the Peace Conference asked, last week I guess, who is currently responsible for giving it instructions, and has been told that Wilson will be incapacitated “for some weeks.” Which doesn’t answer the question.

The commander of the British naval forces in the Baltic tells the German troops to evacuate the suburbs of Riga or be shelled out.

Latest RussiaRumors™: Petrograd’s fall imminent! Entente invites Germany to join the blockade of Soviet Russia!

The American Legion is campaigning against German opera.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says that if the US doesn’t join the League of Nations, it should be prepared to build a huge navy – “build, build, build, while the rest of our country must pay, pay, pay.”

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Today -100: October 15, 1919: Of restless and uncomfortable days, Red plots, passports, insignificant annexations, and divorces

The latest White House bulletin: “The President had a restless and uncomfortable day, but is better tonight.”

The feds claim to have uncovered a “Red” scheme for a general uprising, beginning with those bombings in May and June, which they’re linking with Gary, Indiana “Reds” in an unsubtle attempt to discredit the steel strikers. They name several alleged bombers, only one of whom is in custody, and say one of them made his bombs in the Indiana Steel Company factory. There is/was also a plot to blow up Gary Mayor William Hodges who, to be fair, is something of a dick.

Secretary of State Lansing recommends that wartime passport restrictions be continued another year, so the government can exclude foreign “undesirables.”

Italian Foreign Minister Tommaso Tittoni thinks he has the solution to the Fiume mess: make Fiume a buffer state, with Italy doing an “insignificant annexation” of the land between Fiume and Trieste.

Hungary’s White Terror government annuls all the divorces granted by the Soviet government, except where one of the parties has since re-married.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Today -100: October 14, 1919: Only one thing left

The latest White House bulletin: “The President’s condition is about the same.” Dr. Grayson says for the first time something I hadn’t realized he hasn’t said until now, that Wilson’s mind is “clear as a bell.” He says that while Wilson still needs absolute rest, he could sign bills if need be. Some Republican senators are not so sure about this, and are whipping out their magnifying classes and examining Wilson’s “signatures” on several recent communications.

Germany accedes to Allied demands and stops sending supplies to the Baltic for General Rüdiger von der Goltz’s troops, who will return home. Hey I guess Germany did have control over him after all. There are accusations by the Germans and the Letts over which of them is siding with the Bolsheviks.

A steel worker striking in Gary, Indiana is searched and four copies found of a leaflet, allegedly from the Communist Party, calling for the overthrow of the military in Gary. Col. Mapes responds, “Before we leave we intend to clean Gary of Red agitators.” He sends soldiers to printing shops to try to track down the authors.

And a circular from the “American Anarchist Federated Commune Soviet of New York City” (!) is discovered, threatening reprisals for every worker killed. “Since the Government has Czaristically Russianized its methods in clubbing and murdering you whenever you raise your voices in protest against injustice or dare to go out on strike, there remains for you, the workers, only one thing left, and that is to arm yourselves.” It also asks soldiers to stop clubbing workers. The police are now protecting cops and judges and DAs involved in the prosecution of anarchists.

The Kalihi Territorial Hospital in Hawaii claims to have found a cure for leprosy. It hasn’t.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Today -100: October 13, 1919: A restful day

The latest White House bulletin: “The President is in good spirits and has had a restful day.” Dr. Grayson refuses to respond to Sen. Moses’s claim that Wilson suffered a cerebral lesion, although he does scoff at “long-distance diagnosis.” While wrong about the cerebral lesion, Moses is still closer to the truth than the official bulletins, which have yet to specify Wilson’s malady beyond “nervous exhaustion.” After two weeks, that’s beginning to wear a little thin.

The Allies order Germany to recall its ships from the Baltic, responding to German participation in a White Russian attack on Riga, Latvia. They also send  a note accusing Germany of duplicity for claiming to have no control over Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz but not taking any action against him for this alleged insubordination, such as, f’r instance, firing him.  The NYT thinks this is “the beginning of a new war for German supremacy”. France is worried that Germany is doing a better job of cozying up to the anti-Bolshevik Russian forces (who are surely going to win, everyone knows that) than France is.

France declares the state of war over. Censorship is lifted, early closing-hour rules are ended, and the people of Paris may even have to pay rent again.

Headline of the Day -100:

Headline of the Day -100:

Aren’t they always?

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Today -100: October 12, 1919: A comfortable day

The latest White House bulletin: “The president has had a comfortable day.”
Nevertheless, his doctors are saying that he will need bed-rest for an extended period. For the first time, we’re hearing of discussions of whether Wilson is suffering a “disability” such that his powers should be transferred to Vice President Whatshisname. One problem is that many of his powers are new ones granted by wartime legislation and cannot be transferred. The Constitution, people are discovering, fails to specify who decides whether a president is disabled. Sen. George Moses (R-NH) writes a letter to a friend that mysteriously leaks to the press, in which he gossips that Wilson had a cerebral lesion and that while he “may live,” he “will not be any material force or factor in anything.”

An Italian steamer sets off from Genoa, bound for Vladivostok with a shipment for the Whites fighting in Russia. However, the crew mutinies and diverts the ship to Fiume.

The German government bans the film “Wilhelm’s Good Fortune and Bad Finish,” which conservative groups have been complaining about, unseen. Anti-Semitic groups have been giving out free rubber clubs in anticipation of protesting the premiere. I have no idea what the content of this film is, and neither nor Wikipedia have heard of it.

A letter to the NYT asks for donations to the Home for Ex-Slaves in Nacogdoches, Texas, which it deems necessary to mention is “operated by a white advisory board.”

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Today -100: October 11, 1919: A good day, again

The latest White House bulletin: “The president has again had a good day.”

The Industrial Conference continues. The employers’ group demands the right to open shops and not have to negotiate with union officials who are not their employees (in other words, they want only plant-level unions, easily divided & conquered).

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Today -100: October 10, 1919: Another good day

The latest White House bulletin: “The president has had another good day.”

Former kaiser Wilhelm offers a large bribe to a paparazzo not to publish candid pictures of him doing... nothing in particular. And the German Officers’ League protests against a film, “Wilhelm’s Good Fortune and Bad Finish,” which it says will lower Germany’s reputation.

The Industrial Conference called by Pres. Wilson meets, obviously in his absence. There are proposals from various members for a national board of conciliation and arbitration, for a 3-month industrial truce, for a suspension of the steel strike pending arbitration (that from Samuel Gompers), and for each individual plant or corporation to come to deals with its employers (John D. Rockefeller Jr). Secretary of Labor William Wilson wants joint boards of employers and employees in each industry. I think it’s already pretty clear how effective this conference is gonna be.

German forces under Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz, who Germany claims is a renegade acting on his own in association with something called the West Russian Government, are attacking Riga, Latvia.

The Cincinnati Reds “win” the World Series.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Today -100: October 9, 1919: Of stronger wilsons, treaties, Latin seas, and air races

Headline of the Day -100: 


They’re still going with the “nervous breakdown” story.

NYPD break up a demonstration “in the guise of a protest against the Russian blockade,” beating protesters, as was the custom.

The ratification of the peace treaties by Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel is, indeed, not sufficient. The parliament will have to ratify them when it reconvenes in December, but evidently the king’s decree does allow the League of Nations to be booted up.

Gabriele D’Annunzio appeals to Yugoslavia (well, Croatia) to join with Italy to keep the Adriatic a “Latin sea” by preventing the League of Nations internationalizing Fiume. “Recognize the rights of Italy so that Italy can recognize yours,” he suggests. The League, he says, is not a league of nations but of international Jewish bankers. LOIJB for short.

63 airplanes begin a military/civilian trans-continental aerial race, the longest such race. And at the end of the first day, 58 of them haven’t crashed! The race is drawing a lot of interest, and will encourage people to take up flying and replace the flyers killed in this race (3 so far!).

The White Sox win the seventh game of the World Series, 4-1. The Reds seem to be having difficulty winning even a fixed ball game.

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Today -100: October 8, 1919: You are a poor man with whom to talk business

The White House again claims that Wilson’s health is improving – slightly – but he is still forbidden from doing any work. “You are a poor man with whom to talk business,” Wilson allegedly told Dr. Grayson, who replied, Doctor-McCoy-like, “I am not a business man, but a doctor.” I’m enjoying these phony dialogues, in which the ailing president displays such perfect grammar.

Italian King Victor Emmanuel ratifies the peace treaties with Germany and Austria by decree. Or maybe he doesn’t, since the king doesn’t really have that power.

Over 1,000 federal troops are patrolling Gary, Indiana to “prevent disorder” in the steel strike, i.e. protect the scabs. The troops have machine guns, cannons, hand grenades, etc. The “Intelligence Department” (department of what is not clear, maybe the federal Justice Department) has been seizing anarchist and communist literature.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Not the explosive, but the eponymous town in West Virginia, built during the war around factories producing nitro. Various corporations are trying to buy the town from the War Department. 

The Allies are considering sending Germany another note telling it to pull its troops out of the Baltic or else. Germany has just informed them it will stop the pay of those soldiers, which has pissed off the Allies, who hadn’t known Germany was still paying troops it’s been portraying as mutineers acting against orders.

A mob near Macon, Georgia lynches a black man who had been sentenced to 10 years for attacking a white farmer.

The White Sox win the sixth game of the World Series, 5-4.

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Today -100: October 7, 1919: A race of children

Dr. Rear Admiral Grayson’s official bulletin of bullshit for the 6th: “The President had a fairly comfortable day, with a slight improvement.” But his doctors are insisting on absolute abstention from mental work – just to prevent a relapse, you understand, not because he’s had a stroke or anything – so William Gibbs McAdoo, presidential son-in-law and former secretary of the Treasury, now a private lawyer, is in DC to be the president’s “alter ego” and supervise the executive branch, although he doesn’t seem to be doing any of that yet.

The Arkansas governor’s special committee’s investigation into the recent racial violence finds that it was “not a race riot. It is a deliberately planned insurrection of the negroes against the whites” fostered by a black man, Robert Hill, “who saw in it an opportunity of making easy money.” “He simply played upon the ignorance and superstition of a race of children – most of whom neither could read nor write.” Hill remains at large.

A large Lincoln County, Georgia mob burns two black men at the stake. Here is an actual sentence from the article: “The lynching is said to be in no wise an evidence of ill feeling toward the negro race in Lincoln County as the anger of white citizens was directed solely at the negro Gordon and his accomplices.” So that’s okay then.

In Britain, the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors will decide which of eleven claimants actually invented the tank and is entitled to the bounty.

The Cincinnati Reds win the fifth game of the World Series 5-0.

What to See on Broadway: Hitchy-Koo 1919, which the NYT thinks the best of the three Hitchy-Koo reviews so far. Music by Cole Porter.

Some of the songs are embedded in this post, though not “When Black Sallie Sings Pagliacci.” I’m also curious about the song “That Black and White Baby of Mine,” which was cut before the opening.

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Sunday, October 06, 2019

Today -100: October 6, 1919: We’ve just begun

Pres. Wilson’s doctor lies that he is somewhat better and “had a restful and fairly comfortable day.” A hotel two blocks from the White House has been asked to refrain from playing jazz in its roof garden, as it’s annoying the president. Dr Grayson has been consulting with Doctors Stitt and Ruffin, which sounds like a vaudeville act. Everyone’s trying to keep Wilson from doing president stuff, we are told; he asked for a stenographer but was persuaded against, being told it was Sunday.

Headline of the Day -100: 

A lynch mob runs wild through the swamps of Lincoln County, Georgia, looking for a particular black man but perfectly willing to shoot or whip any others they happen to come across, as was the custom. The mob is currently holding five black man it intends to lynch in a group once it captures the one it’s looking for.

Arrested black men in Phillips County, Arkansas “confess” that there was a conspiracy to kill all the white people today. The password for the uprising: “We’ve just begun.”

Fiume has been sending out girls to Italy to seduce soldiers into deserting to Fiume. Evidently they’ve recruited entire battalions.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The actress, Fernanda was filming... something. It doesn’t appear in IMDB, but maybe I have the wrong single-name-only Fernanda, there are a surprising number of them.

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Saturday, October 05, 2019

Today -100: October 5, 1919: A more encouraging day

The official bulletin from Woodrow Wilson’s doctor: “The President has passed a more encouraging day. The improvement is slight but not decisive.” Supposedly when Dr. Grayson told him Wilson temperature was normal, he replied “My temperature may be normal, but my temper will not continue so if you keep me in bed much longer.” I’m just not feeling this dialogue.

There are riots related to the steel strike in Gary, Indiana.

Italy lifts its blockade of Fiume. Food and mail are now allowed in (people are still banned from entering the city, not that that’s stopped anyone).

The Army Air Service announces that the US had 66 “aces” during the war (defined as shooting down 5 aircraft, and balloons count).

France and Britain are pressuring Italy and Japan not to sign the peace treaty, because they want the US to be the third ratifier, putting the treaty into effect and creating the League of Nations. It would be easier to do all that with the US participating from the start, is their thinking.

Gen. Leonard Wood, commander of the Central Department of the Army and current military ruler of Omaha, Nebraska, says the IWW was “undoubtedly” behind the disturbances in Omaha, because if there’s one thing the Wobblies are known for, it’s racist lynch mobs, I guess. He thinks officials should stop “the spread of un-American influence” and that foreign languages should not to be taught in grade school. Or to put it another way, Gen. Wood is planning to run for president.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Out of golden pots, because they’re the king and queen of Belgium and that’s how they eat beans.

The feds execute a warrant at the Union Terminal Cold Storage Company in Jersey City, seizing 2,792 tubs of butter they consider to have been hoarded.

The Reds win the 4th game of the World Series, 2-0. The odds are now 7:2 for the Reds.

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Today -100: October 4, 1919: Of slight improvements, treaties, avowed enemies, and tantalizing flies

Woodrow Wilson’s doctor reports a “slight improvement” and that the president is now “sleeping naturally.” In other words, Woodrow Wilson’s doctor is now openly lying. Rumors are flying, including one that Wilson will be operated on for a growth on his nose.

With the Italian parliament dissolved, the king may ratify the peace treaty by decree. Otherwise, they’d have to wait until December. The treaty has been ratified by Britain and France and will go into force when a 3rd Ally ratifies, either Italy or (cough) the US.

The residents of Fiume who want annexation by Italy are upset that PM Franceso Nitti won that vote of confidence. Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio calls Nitti “the avowed enemy of Italy.”

The Alabama grand jury investigating the lynching of 3 black men this week did its darnedest but simply can’t identify even a single member of the lynch mob.

The White Sox win the 3rd game of the World Series, 3-0. The odds are now 3:2 for the Reds.

Now Playing: Max Fleischer’s The Tantalizing Fly:

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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Today -100: October 3, 1919: Of very sick men, race riots, and eggs

Headline of the Day -100: 

Five doctors including a “nerve specialist from Philadelphia” (there’s a joke in there somewhere) examine Pres. Wilson. They prescribe complete bed rest and no seeing anyone except doctors & family members and no thinking about presidenting. The word that doesn’t appear in the article is “stroke,” the thing he had that morning.

The Yugoslavs supposedly shoot at an Italian ship carrying troops. Elsewhere in the paper, a story claims that if Yugoslavia attacks D’Annunzio’s forces, the Italian army will go to his aid.

The Senate defeats all 35 of Sen. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico)’s amendments to the peace treaty, which would have stopped US participation in the various international commissions (mostly setting European borders).

The French Chamber of Deputies ratifies the peace treaty.

The Arkansas race riots go into a second day, with 16 known dead in total. Locals are blaming a white former postmaster for stirring up the blacks into an uprising against the whites. Or at any rate talking to them about social equality, which is obviously pretty much the same thing.

Oklahoma Gov. James Robertson, whose name the NYT gets wrong, says Sen. James Reed (D-Missouri) “got what was coming to him” when an Ardmore crowd threw eggs at him because he had come to Oklahoma to, as the governor terms it, “grossly insult” the president over the peace treaty. Reed says the incident suggests that we need to learn to better govern ourselves before trying to run the rest of the world.

The Reds miraculously win the second day of the World Series, 4-2.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Today -100: October 2, 1919: Of jaded presidents, race riots, and sox

Headline of the Day -100:

“Jaded” is from the official bulletin.

Race riot in Elaine, Arkansas. 9 dead (actually a lot more) after blacks fight with sheriff’s posses responding to organizing by black cotton workers demanding higher wages for the next crop. Naturally, local whites see this as forerunner to a general massacre of whites by blacks and respond with mass murder, as was the custom.

Another white woman is (allegedly) assaulted, possibly by a black man (the victim’s account is curiously unclear on little details like that) in Omaha, Nebraska, but this time the authorities keep the news quiet for a while lest it cause more race riots in the city. I guess they held off reporting it until after federal troops march through the streets in a show of force and then position machine guns at major intersections. Thomas Reynolds, president of the State Federation of Labor, ascribes the earlier riots to the importation of “many worthless negroes” as strikebreakers, though he says the white mob consisted of unorganized laborers, not union members.

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago White Sox in the first day of the World Series in a, let’s say, surprisingly one-sided 9-1 win.

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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Today -100: October 1, 1919: You see the enthusiasm of the people of Fiume to be annexed

Gen. Leonard Wood, commander of the Central Department of the Army, orders
the arrest of the Omaha, Nebraska lynch mob. The army has taken control of the citiy police. “Those who attempt to interfere with the military authorities will find themselves fighting the United States Army,” Wood says. Governor Samuel McKelvie (R) deplores the participation of so many young boys in the riots.

The Allies demand that Germany remove its troops from the Baltic. Under the armistice agreement, Germany wouldn’t have to do that until told to. That finally happened in August, but Germany replied that it was no longer in control of those troops (who are now enlisted in White Russian corps commanded by German General Rüdiger von der Goltz). The Allies respond that they don’t believe it.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Or poet-AVIATOR, to give him his proper title. D’Annunzio tells an AP reporter who smuggled himself into the city under some coal on a train (which is suspiciously dramatic when no one else seems to be having much difficulty reaching Fiume), “You see the enthusiasm of the people of Fiume to be annexed.”

The steel strike seems to be petering out.

The Utah Legislature ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment.

World Series Headline of the Day -100:  

Well maybe not the most important.

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