Saturday, February 29, 2020

Today -100: February 29, 1920: Of treaties, women’s suffrage, arks, trapehooters, and anthills

Woodrow Wilson stomps on a move by some Democratic senators to accept the Lodge reservations to the peace treaty. He says if the reservations are attached, he will refuse to deposit the treaty. Can a president veto a ratified treaty? Or do amendments turn it into a different treaty?

Everyone in Ireland hates hates hates Lloyd George’s Home Rule Bill.

Oklahoma ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment, following a squabble over whether there should be a referendum. 33 down, 3 to go.

The Japanese government, afraid the Diet will vote to expand the franchise, asks the emperor to dissolve it. He does so.

Pres. Wilson ignores demands from railroad and other unions that he veto the bill returning railroad lines to private ownership. They particularly object to a board to establish wages which would have representatives of the companies, the workers, and the general public. The unions think the latter will side with the owners; Wilson says people hostile to labor shouldn’t be appointed. That’s totally reassuring, I’m sure.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer says there will soon be more Soviet Arks carrying deportees to Russia. He alternates, in a speech to the Women’s Democratic Political League, between saying that there is absolutely no threat from Red Radicals, and that the situation is very serious indeed. He claims that thousands of propagandists had been sent to the US by the Soviets to teach the doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat “in a land that had no proletariat.” He insists that the bomb thrown at his house was not aimed at him, but was an attempt to destroy the US government, presumably because he thinks no one could possibly have anything against him personally.

Columbia University European history professor Charles Downer Hazen has a long book review of John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which was published in December, but whose US edition is just out, I believe. The review is a bit of a hazen, calling it “a very angry book.”

Thanks to a misspelling in the NYT Index, I’ve just  spent way too much time trying to figure out what a trapehooter might be. Someone who hoots trapes, presumably.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Today -100: February 28, 1920: People who don’t want women in public life are too late

The US position is to completely ignore Soviet Russia’s latest peace feelers. The State Dept won’t even release it to the public, because it’s all propaganda, man. Russia is requesting that other nations just stop trying to overthrow its Bolshevik government militarily, and it will even pay 60% of the foreign debt run up the tsars (this is aimed at France, which is strongly against recognition and holds most of that debt).

French railway workers striking for state ownership of the railroads are conscripted into the army.

The British Labour Party offers a bill to amend the Representation of the People Act of 1918 to give the vote to women at the same age as for men (at 21 instead of 30). Nancy Astor supports the bill, not for the sake of the women, she says, but for the sake of the country. “People who don’t want women in public life are too late,” she adds, no doubt pointing at herself and winking.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George publishes his Irish Home Rule Bill. There would be two anemic parliaments for the North and South, which would each name half the members of a Council for Ireland, which might turn into a real all-Ireland parliament, unless it were somehow obstructed by Ulster, which has, to reiterate, half its members. It’s hard to believe this is a serious proposal that LG or anyone thinks is workable.

The House Naval Committee is investigating the presence of under-age boys in the Navy. The commandant of the Marine Corps tells the committee that a battleship captain complained that half his crew were “worthless boys under 17 years old.”

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Today -100: February 27, 1920: Washington called us off

Woodrow Wilson’s letter to the British and French prime ministers repeats his threat to withdraw the peace treaty with Germany and the defensive treaty with France from Senate consideration if they try to impose an Adriatic settlement on Yugoslavia, especially if they invoke the secret 1915 treaty with Italy. He will give up his idea of a free Fiume, but only if Italy and Yugoslavia agree. He opposes compensating either country with territory from Albania. The whole correspondence with the Europeans is released, which the US had been pushing for.

Maj. A.V. Dalrymple, Supervisor of Prohibition Enforcement for the Central Division, retreats from Iron County, Michigan, with only a few smashed wine barrels and no prisoners to his credit. “Washington called us off,” Dalrymple says. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer issues a warning to dry agents, in general terms but obviously aimed at Dalrymple, not to arrest anyone or seize evidence without warrants.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Today -100: February 26, 1920: Of present political affiliations, the draft, by-elections, opium, shackles, and glue

Woodrow Wilson nominates Bainbridge Colby as secretary of state, which official Washington finds just as unfathomable as his firing of Robert Lansing, because, despite Bainbridge Colby having a very secretary-of-stateish name, he has no diplomatic experience. Also, he’s been a Republican, a Bull Mooser, and an Independent; “He declined to answer a question as to his present political affiliations.” Democratic senators especially are grumbling at the appointment.

Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey and his manager will be indicted for draft-dodging. He got out of the draft by saying he had dependents; the government says he didn’t, since he wasn’t paying alimony to his ex-wife.

Former British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, who lost his parliamentary seat in the 1918 general election, wins a by-election in Paisley, Scotland.

The Chinese authorities seize and burn a shipment of opium worth $150,000. It came from the US which, unlike Britain, has not banned the opium traffic to China.

Sen. Warren G. Harding (R-Ohio) says it is time to “unshackle” US industry from wartime regulations.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari premieres in Berlin.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Ben and Jerry’s worst flavor ever.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Today -100: February 25, 1920: He kept his American head

The Maryland Legislature, following up on its, ahem, dickishness in rejecting women’s suffrage, votes to send a delegation to Virginia to urge its legislature to do the same.

The Allies decide to resume economic relations with Russia, but without recognizing its government until “the Bolshevik horrors have come to an end.” They will get the League of Nations to send a commission to investigate whether this has happened.  Also, they will no longer advise states bordering on Russia (Poland etc) to continue to make war on Russia, “which may be injurious to their own interests.”

Maj. Dalrymple, Supervisor of Prohibition Enforcement for the Central Division, arrives in Iron County, Michigan intending to arrest State Attorney Martin McDonough and various police officials for obstructing prohibition agents. McDonough, naturally, swears out his own warrant for the major, for malicious libel.

First Sentence of the Day -100: “The cut of General Pershing’s coat and trousers was debated today in the House.” Evidently it’s too European. Rep. Otis Wingo (D-Ark) points out that “He kept his American head, but I, too, noticed that his tail was very English.” Worst mythological creature ever.

In other news, there was a member of Congress named Otis Wingo. After he died in 1930, his seat was won by his widow, Effiegene Wingo. Sound like characters in a W.C. Fields movie.

Interestingly, Otis died exactly two weeks before the 1930 election, so the ballot included elections for both the remainder of his term (until March 1931) and the next term, 1931-3. Effigene won both.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Today -100: February 24, 1920: Me no drink, me no fight the United States

The “rum rebellion” (wine, but the press is going with the alliteration; there are also lots of references to the Whisky Rebellion) in Iron County, Michigan subsides in the face of the threat of military action. Many in the county are moving their booze to hiding places in the hills, though some are simply pouring out barrels of wine. “Me no drink, me no fight the United States,” one veteran of the 32nd Division and Italian stereotype says.

Britain will end conscription at the end of the month, retaining a 220,000-strong volunteer army (not counting the army in India). War Secretary Winston Churchill notes that Britain tried to get other nations to agree to end conscription generally, but with no takers, including the US.

France will retain an army of 1 million, which they figure they need in part because they can’t depend on the US.

The German Workers’ Party changes its name. It is now the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei aka the NSDAP aka the Nazi Party.

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Today -100: February 23, 1920: Hummmmmm

Anti-Semites, including soldiers, attack a meeting in Berlin, beating up the speaker Hellmut von Gerlach (not a Jew, but a pacifist).

In Iron County, Michigan, a mining area with a lot of wine-loving Italians, cops and sheriffs supported by the county’s state attorney, Martin McDonough, clashed with federal dry officers and took back wine they’d seized without a warrant, and then threatened to arrest them for... transporting liquor. So Major A.V. Dalrymple, Supervisor of Prohibition Enforcement for the Central Division, declares the county to be in revolt against Prohibition and asks permission to lead a military force to crush the rebellion. Attorney General Palmer grants it. Dalrumple promises to “make things hum.”

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Today -100: February 22, 1920: Of gum, regents, and rabies

Italy is trying to dodge blame for the Allied ultimatum to Yugoslavia, saying that Prime Minister Francesco Nitti signed it without knowing what was in it, specifically League of Nation supervision over Fiume, because... it was in English and he can’t read English.

Some Spanish doctors think the Spanish Flu came from badly manufactured chewing gum.

Adm. Miklós Horthy is named Regent of Hungary by the Hungarian Assembly. Horthy says he plans to hand power over to Charles Habsburg whenever he becomes king, which will be over our dead bodies, say the Allies. Horthy was in charge of the Austro-Hungarian Navy at the end of the war and led the coup against Béla Kun last year.

Police in Alabama shoot dead a black man who had rabies. As you do.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Today -100: February 21, 1920: Of eclairs, explorers, and archangels

Headline of the Day -100: 

I had a dream once in which I was attacked by an eclair. Sooooo chocolate.

Robert Peary, the explorer who in 1909 was the first to reach the North Pole, or so he claimed, dies at 63.

The Soviets capture Archangel.

After a cop is killed in Dublin, a raid is carried out, with tanks and everything, and a curfew is ordered.

A naturalized Italian-American in Indiana, Frank Pedroni, got into an argument with a man who, in the course of a heated discussion of Austro-Italian disagreements, said “To hell with the United States.” So Pedroni shot him dead. He is acquitted of murder, the jury taking two minutes.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Today -100: February 20, 1920: Of suffrage, royalties, and executions

New Mexico ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment. 32 down, 4 to go.

The Authors’ League decides that royalties (up to $5,000) should count as dividends and are therefore not subject to income tax. Good luck convincing the IRS.

Illinois state officials step in to block Cook County Sheriff Charles Peters forcing prisoners to watch an execution for the third time.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Today -100: February 19, 1920: Of incapacity, the attitude of women voters, and women’s suffrage

In 1920, the US Constitution remains unclear about the process for declaring a president incapable of performing his duties, which should have been rectified after James Garfield took 79 days to die after being shot (the 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, allows an incapacitated president to be removed by the veep +a majority of the Cabinet). Two measures are introduced in the House, one for a Constitutional amendment authorizing the Supreme Court to check up on the president’s health, the other doing the same without writing it into the Constitution. Neither measure actually mentions Mr. Wilson by name.

Mary Kilbreth, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, writes to Carrie Chapman Catt, president of “the alleged League of Women Voters” as Kilbreth puts it (the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association became the League of Women Voters last week), suggesting that since the wives of both James Wadsworth and the likely challenger for his Senate seat, former Secretary of State Robert Lansing, were prominent anti-suffragists, Catt should run for the seat “to leave no doubt of the attitude of women voters toward a woman candidate”.

The Mississippi State Senate rejects the women’s suffrage Amendment. The House has already done so.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Today -100: February 18, 1920: Not in politics

The Allies decide that the Dardenelles and Bosporus will be removed from Turkish control and internationalized under the League of Nations. They will graciously allow Turkey to keep its capital city Constantinople, but may take it away if massacres of Armenians continue.

Headline of the Day -100: 

He has a name, you know.

Poet-Aviator Gabriele D’Annunzio says annexation of Fiume by Italy is now impossible.

Both houses of the Maryland Legislature reject the women’s suffrage Amendment, 18-9 in the Senate, 64-36 in the House of Delegates. The argument being made by the Antis is a States’ Rights one, because of course it is. They contend that such an amendment isn’t even valid, since it “would wholly or partially destroy the State, by taking away from the States... one of their functions essential to their separate independent existence as States.” Also, the legislators say, the Maryland Constitution limits suffrage to men, so voting to ratify would itself violate the state Constitution. 

Sen. Warren G. Harding’s friends in the Ohio Legislature pass a bill to change the rules for primaries, allowing him not to have to declare for reelection to the Senate until after he knows if he has the presidential nomination. But Gov. James Cox (D), who has some presidential ambitions himself, vetoes it.

The French Senate begins the treason trial of former prime minister Joseph Caillaux for “plotting against the external security of the State by manoeuvres, machinations and intelligence with the enemy” during the war.

Russian White Supreme Commander Anton Denikin gives up his dictatorial powers under pressure from The Cossacks, who think pretending to be a democracy will stop all their military reversals, or something.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Today -100: February 17, 1920: Of good faith and disapproval

The Allies give up their demand that Germany extradite the 890 alleged war criminals, accepting Germany’s proposal that it try them itself, at Leipzig. The Allies say they won’t interfere in the trials but will reserve the right to “decide by the results as to the good faith of Germany, the recognition by her of the crimes she has committed, and her sincere desire to associate herself with their punishment.” The frustration that Germany continues to refuse to accept the entire blame for everything since 1914 is palpable.

The Allies also demand, again, that the Netherlands turn over the former kaiser Wilhelm, complaining that the Neth. “does not appear to consider that it shares with other civilized nations the duty of securing the punishment of crimes against justice and the principles of humanity... The Allies cannot conceal their surprise at finding in the Dutch reply no single word of disapproval of the crimes committed by the Emperor” etc.

Herbert Hoover’s name will be on the Republican primary ballot for the presidency in Indiana. So I guess he’s... a Republican now?

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Today -100: February 16, 1920: In control

Headline of the Day -100: 

Yeah, no.

One of the ways in which he attempts to demonstrate his return to “control” is by warning the Allied governments that he doesn’t like their agreement for settling the territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia, especially the fact that they didn’t consult the US. He really did think the entire world should just sit on its hands for however many months he recuperated from the stroke they didn’t know he had. He threatens to withdraw from European affairs if they continue threatening Yugoslavia, or at least if they continue doing it without him (tomorrow this will be corrected by the White House: he was only threatening not to participate in the gifting of Fiume to Italy, not in all European affairs).

European newspapers question whether Wilson is really in a position to make this sort of threat, given that 1) he can’t get the peace treaty ratified, and 2) he’ll probably be replaced by a Republican a year from now.

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Today -100: February 15, 1920: The mental expert that was employed at the White House was discharged too soon

The NYT points out that Wilson’s complaint that Lansing informally calling together the Cabinet was unconstitutional is wrong since the Constitution doesn’t actually mention the Cabinet.

Republican congresscritters say that Pres. Wilson’s letters to Secretary of State Robert Lansing suggest that he is still not fit, physically or mentally, to resume presidenting, Sen. George Norris, R-Nev: “the mental expert that was employed at the White House was discharged too soon.” (It’s funny because it’s true). Rep. Martin Madden (R-Ill.): “The president admits that he was not able to function and therefore no one else must.” (It’s funny because it’s an accurate account of Wilson’s position). Democrats are grimly refusing to comment.

Lenin supposedly predicts that the recent peace agreement with Estonia will be revisited, and Russia will grab back parts of the country inhabited by ethnic Russians, when Estonia has finished passing through its “Kerensky period” into Soviet rule.

NYC Health Commissioner Royal Copeland (he’s a homeopathist, you know) says the influenza epidemic is almost over.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Today -100: February 14, 1920: Of resignations, executions, sugar, and booze cruises

Secretary of State Robert Lansing resigns after the Oval Office releases a letter from Pres. Wilson accusing him of usurping presidential authority by calling informal sessions of the Cabinet while Wilson was indisposed. Lansing responded that everyone was denied communication with Wilson for months, so what was he supposed to do? Wilson responded nothing, he was supposed to do nothing, and just wait for months and months. He says that Lansing has been increasingly reluctant to accept Wilson (or whomever)’s guidance and direction (in other words, Lansing has been insufficiently supportive of the League of Nations project). Lansing responds that Wilson has been ignoring his views for over a year (he was snubbed and sidelined at the Paris negotiations) and he would have resigned then except it would have looked bad abroad. And then came “your serious illness, during which I have never seen you,” so again he didn’t feel he could resign. He says he’s leaving office now “with a sense of profound relief.”

White military leader Adm. Alexander Kolchak and White PM Viktor Pepelyayev were executed in Irtusk on the 7th. The West is trying to figure out how they fell into Bolshevik hands. They were sold out, of course, as was the custom.

Switzerland joins the League of Nations. It will be allowed to retain its neutrality and abstain from any League-ordered military actions, although it will have to join economic sanctions. Everyone denies this could be a precedent for the US; Switzerland is a special case.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Austen Chamberlain blames the high cost of sugar on Americans, who’ve been ingesting tons of the stuff since prohibition came in. He thinks moderate drinkers like himself, who get their sugar from alcohol, are good citizens.

The Mauretania arrives from New York; despite setting sail with a record amount of booze on board, passengers drank not so moderately from the minute it hit the three-mile zone until it reached Southampton, drinking the ship entirely dry. The Cunard line assures thirsty passengers that they will be increasing storage room for future voyages.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Today -100: February 13, 1920: Of citizens of the Internationale, suffrage, generals, and referenda

The NY State Assembly is still considering the expulsion of those 5 elected Socialist members. State Attorney General Charles Newton signs a brief that they “come here under the false pretense of being loyal to their Government, when in fact they are really citizens of the Internationale, and desire above all things the destruction of this Government.”

Arizona ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment. 31 down, 5 to go. It was unanimous. In the Virginia House of Delegates, however, it is defeated 62-22; it had already been defeated 24-10 in the state Senate. This has been the pattern: near unanimity when the vote is in favor, large No majorities when the vote is against.

Poet-Aviator-Kidnapper Gabriele D’Annunzio releases Gen. Nigra, who his forces grabbed up a couple of weeks ago.

The first referendum has been held in Schleswig. They’re doing it by zones. The north zone voted 3:1 to join Denmark. Germans living in the province now have 2 years to decide whether to become Danes or keep their German citizenship, in which case they will have to leave within a year.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Today -100: February 12, 1920: Because nothing says criminal anarchy like “business manager”

Benjamin Gitlow, a former one-term Socialist member of the NY State Assembly, is convicted of “criminal anarchy,” for his role as business manager of The Revolutionary Age, and sentenced to 5 to 10 years.

Idaho ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment. 30 down, 6 to go.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Everyone’s a critic.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Today -100: February 11, 1920: We failed to restore Russia to sanity by force

One of Woodrow Wilson’s doctors, urologist Hugh Young of Johns Hopkins, is interviewed by the Boston Sun. “From the very beginning the medical men associated with the case have never had anything to conceal,” he lies. All Wilson’s organs are now functioning normally, he lies. Wilson’s brain works even better than before his illness, he lies. The only reason Wilson hasn’t been seen outside more is that the weather’s been bad, he lies. Wilson is bright and tranquil and serene, he lies. Still, he uses the term “cerebral thrombosis,” which is the first official admission that Wilson had a stroke.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George tells Parliament that Russia must be “restored” under an anti-Bolshevik government. Admitting that military intervention and propping up various White armies has failed (I don’t know if the West knows yet that Adm. Kolchak has been executed), he still intends to win through economic something or other. Trading with Russia but not recognizing its government.  “We failed to restore Russia to sanity by force. I believe we can save her by trade. Commerce has a sobering influence.”

French PM Alexandre Millerand informs Germany that because of its non-compliance with the peace treaty, the occupation of the Rhineland will now be indefinite. This is a power move against Lloyd George’s recent dominance of Allied policy and his lack of interest in pressing too hard for the extradition of German “war criminals” (the former crown prince offers to stand trial in place of the other 889, “if the allied and associated powers want a victim”). In fact, Millerand  made this announcement without consulting with LG or Italy’s PM Nitti.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Today -100: February 10, 1920: Of lynchings, military training, doctrines, freak pitching, and monkey glands

On the streets of Lexington, the Kentucky National Guard fights a mob determined to lynch a black man, Will Lockett, who was being tried for killing a 10-year-old white girl. The Guards shoot into the mob, including with machine guns, killing at least 5 and wounding 17+. Lockett is then sentenced to die by the electric chair (he was arrested, “confessed,” indicted, tried and sentenced in 6 days). Meanwhile, members of the mob attack hardware stores and pawnshops and seize all the guns they can find. There are rumors that 1,500 “mountaineers” will descend on the city. Martial law is declared.

Woodrow Wilson (or whomever) writes to warn the House Democratic caucus against making a decision on compulsory military training, thereby making it a party issue. Also, he supports “moderate training projects” for their “great disciplinary and other advantages” for young men. The caucus ignores him and votes to oppose universal training.

Another revolt against Japanese colonial rule in Korea. Insurgents, supposedly armed by Russia, attack Japanese army outposts.

Germany is drawing up its own list of Allied soldiers and officials responsible for war crimes, because two can play at that game.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing refuses El Salvador’s request that the US explain the Monroe Doctrine before it signs the Versailles Treaty, which mentions the doctrine.

The US refuses to recognize the independence of Lithuania, preferring a united Russia.

New Jersey ratifies the federal women’s suffrage Amendment after a Democratic filibuster in support of a referendum. 29 down, 7 to go.

The people in charge of baseball ban “freak pitching,” which includes the spitball, although each team can designate two spitballers for the next season only. There are other rule changes, but I lost interest. I feel tricked into momentarily caring about sports by the phrase “freak pitching.” Are there any other phrases in today -100’s sports section that could do that? Yes, yes there are:

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Sunday, February 09, 2020

Today -100: February 9, 1920: Of hoovers and fugitives

Herbert Hoover says he’s not seeking the presidency. Which is not the same thing as saying he wouldn’t accept the nomination. He’s also not saying whether he’s a D or an R, saying he wants to see what the parties stand for first. He does say he’d support whichever party favored the League of Nations.

Some of the Germans deemed war criminals by the Allies are slipping into Switzerland to avoid possible extradition. There’s no Swiss law against fugitives entering the country.

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Saturday, February 08, 2020

Today -100: February 8, 1920: Of reservations, doctrines, suffrage, piracy, and breakers of marriage

Sen. George Hitchcock (D-Neb.) shares with the Senate a letter Pres. Wilson wrote him a couple of weeks ago accepting Hitchcock’s proposed compromise reservations to the League of Nations.

Since the US got a mention of the Monroe Doctrine included in the League of Nations Covenant, some Latin American countries are putting off joining the League until the US explains exactly what the Monroe Doctrine entails.

Nevada ratifies the women’s suffrage Amendment. 28 down, 8 to go.

D’Annunzio’s men capture a destroyer and a food train.

Soviet Russia now has an official “Breaker of Marriages” to grant divorces, and he’s breaking hundreds of marriages a week. “All that appears to be required is the signature of the person desiring freedom from matrimony,” the scandalized NYT reports from its fainting couch.

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Friday, February 07, 2020

Today -100: February 7, 1920: Of johnsons and wood, campaigns, cooperatives, and suffrage

The US State Department claims that Russia is planning a campaign against India, using Turkestan as a base. Actually, reading on, it sounds like they just mean a propaganda campaign. Big deal.

Not sure what the thinking is here, but the Russian Soviet government takes control of cooperatives, just as the West was prepared to resume economic relations with Russia as long as it was with the cooperatives and not the government.

The Virginia State Senate rejects the women’s suffrage Amendment, 24-10.

Dirty Headline of the Day -100: 

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Thursday, February 06, 2020

Today -100: February 6, 1920: Of impossible demands

The German government says the Allied demand for 890 alleged war criminals is “impossible.” Chancellor Gustav Bauer says, yeah we did sign that treaty that required the extradition, but we didn’t think you meant it.

The Allies supposedly accept that war crimes trials will never happen, but wants Germany to accept the list and the theoretical guilt of the 890 and the Allies’ theoretical right to put them on trial. Of course France will insist on continuing to occupy the Rhine until the extraditions it knows will never happen happen.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Today -100: February 5, 1920: Of plebiscites, submarines, extraditions, and rockets

Schleswig-Holstein will shortly hold its plebiscite on what country to be a part of. Non-residents (i.e. Germans and Danes) have been banned from participating in electioneering.

Three of Poet-Aviator-Pirate Gabriele D’Annunzio’s men are caught trying to steal an Italian submarine.

The Allies hand the list of 890 alleged war criminals to the head of the German delegation, Baron Kurt von Lersner. Or try to, since Lersner immediately informs them that he has resigned and no other German official will help with the extraditions, so there. It’s unclear whether he’s acting on his own or under orders.

A Capt. Claude Collins of the New York City Air Police, which I don’t think is actually a thing, volunteers to be on the first manned rocket to Mars (the Robert Goddard rocket). He doesn’t want any pay, just life insurance.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Today -100: February 4, 1920: Of narrow escapes, books of hate, flags, and cheek and jowl shuffles

Pres. Wilson has had a “narrow escape from influenza,” according to his doctor. The president’s health is said to be steadily improving. The president’s health is indeed always said to be steadily improving. For four months now. He should be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound at this point.

The list of alleged war criminals the Allies want Germany to hand over – deemed by the Germans that “book of hate” – now contains 890 names, including Hindenburg and Ludendorff, many generals, Adm. Von Tirpitz (for submarine warfare), former Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg (for invading Belgium), three Hohenzollern princes and one Bavarian one, Baron Von der Lancken (for the execution of the nurse Edith Cavell), and a bunch of U-boat commanders. The only woman on the list is an attendant at an internment camp, Elsa Schneiner. The British put 97 names on the list, France 334, Italy 29, Belgium 334, Poland 51, Romania 41, and Yugoslavia 4. The US and Japan added none.

The NY Assembly, investigating (again) the patriotism of the 5 elected Socialist members it keeps excluding, hears the testimony of a 17-year-old girl that Assemblyman Charles Solomon once spat on the American flag.

Congressional Republicans remove mandatory military training for males from the military bill on grounds of cost.

An association of Pittsburgh dance hall owners will ask the city council to ban “jazz” dances, including the shimmy and the cheek and jowl shuffle.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Monday, February 03, 2020

Today -100: February 3, 1920: Are ghosts kosher?

Germany asked that the Allies not demand that “war criminals” be handed over as specified in the Treaty of Versailles, as it might cause a counter-revolution to break out. The Allies tell them to suck it and hand over 780 men.

France is still executing wartime spies, in this case an Austrian who was in Paris during the war and reported to Germany where its long-range shells were hitting.

The French, as usual, are concerned about the country’s low birth rate and its effect on military readiness. There is now a “Supreme Council of Natality,” because of course there is.

Russia asks Poland if it would like to put an end to all the fussin’ and feudin’.

Estonia has made peace with Russia. Estonia is an independent country. For now.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Charles Thomas, president of the Commonwealth Trust and Security Company of Chicago, is arrested for having a hip flask, but are the trousers he kept it in a “vehicle” under the dry law, and therefore subject to seizure and sale? Federal prohibition agents will argue before the US District Court that they are.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Today -100: February 2, 1920: FDR does crimez

The Russian Soviet government gives permission for Russian cooperatives to trade with companies in foreign countries, evidently dropping its previous demand for an armistice before the resumption of commercial relations.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt tells a meeting that after the US entered the Great War, he did lots of totally illegal things to prepare the Navy, including spending $40 million for guns (presumably cannons on ships) that had not yet been authorized by Congress. That seems to be the only crime to which he specifically admits.

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Saturday, February 01, 2020

Today -100: February 1, 1920: Of poles, arrests, and low bodies.

40,000 Poles have applied to leave the US, most stating as their reason, you guessed it, prohibition.

The British arrest dozens of Sinn Féin leaders, including the just-elected members of the Dublin council and Lord Mayor Tom Kelly, whose office makes him an ex officio captain in the British Army. And they’ve finally caught up with Michael Collins.

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Low bodies” is a typo, tho’ a fun one; they meant low bodices. One anonymous French doctor says today’s fashions allow a salutary “double aeration of the skin”.

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