Monday, August 31, 2020

Today -100: August 31, 1920: The people want a leader, not a syndicate presidency

More sectarian violence in Belfast. And armed men burn down the country residence of Jospeh Pike, the deputy lieutenant of County Cork, after allowing the servants to take their possessions and leave.

In Indianapolis, FDR says Harding would be run by the “Senate cabal.” He says “The people want a leader, not a syndicate presidency.”

An Oklahoma City mob lynch a black man, Claude Chandler, who was part of a shootout during a raid on a moonshine still in which his father and two cops were killed.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Today -100: August 30, 1920: It will be better for my country if I am not

More fighting in Belfast Saturday, 11 dead. “The greatest of bitterness was displayed during the fighting.”

The imprisoned, hunger-striking Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney (whose name the NYT finally spells correctly), who is about to die at any moment (no he’s not, he’s only on Day 17), tells his sister, “I am convinced I will not be released. It will be better for my country if I am not.”

William Anderson of the Anti-Saloon League warns NYC Mayor John Hylan that he will ask Gov. Smith to remove him from office if he doesn’t start cracking down on booze.

A Tulsa mob of 2,000 lynches a 19-year-old alleged murderer. His race is not specified in the article.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Today -100: August 29, 1920: Of racial entities, looting, holy water, and why Berlin can’t have nice things

Warren Harding suggests that, instead of a League of Nations, what is needed is an “Association of Nations” with an international court with “teeth.” He says the League’s failure to stop the Russo-Polish war proves that it’s past restoration. He and Cox have both made pro-Irish statements this week, Cox saying “The League of Nations does not abridge the right of any racial entity to determine its own destiny” and Harding that the Irish “have as good a right to seek their political freedom as we had in 1773, and have the same right to develop eminence under the inspiration of nationality as we held for ourselves.”

More “law and order” in Ireland: Cameron Highlander troops loot stores in Queenstown (County Cork) allegedly owned by Sinn Féiners.

Terence MacSwiney, the lord mayor of Cork hunger-striking in Brixton Prison, refuses to take pastilles of holy water from Lourdes, in case they contain nourishment or, I don’t know, magic. A hunger strike’s a hunger strike. Everyone thinks he’ll die momentarily, based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how long it takes people to starve to death.

The authorities have been trying to track down Charles Ponzi’s agents, who seem to include a Boston Police Department lieutenant, 5 inspectors and a bunch of patrolmen. They may have thought this was a legitimate business.

The president of the American Baseball League says players can’t boycott Yankee pitcher Carl Mays just because he killed that guy with a baseball.

Albert Einstein is thinking about leaving Berlin after several public lectures attack the theory of relativity on the basis that it can’t be right because Einstein’s a Jew.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Today -100: August 28, 1920: Vulgar salesmanship is the worst kind

The NYT seems disappointed that Gov. Cox’s “proof” of the $15 million Republican slush fund is more an aspirational list of quotas for state and local branches, and even more disappointed that the Republican documents are “pervaded by the tone of the most vulgar ‘salesmanship.’”

Tickets for D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East, which opens next week, will cost as much as $10 (orchestra seats) at the Forty-fourth Street Theatre.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Today -100: August 27, 1920: Ratification complete

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby proclaims the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Suffragists wanted a big ceremony in front of movie cameras, but he just signed it at his home, without any women present, possibly in his underwear.

The anti-suffrage speaker of the Tennessee House, Seth Walker, telegrams Colby, insisting that Tennessee really didn’t ratify because there wasn’t a proper quorum when a motion to reconsider was rejected (because 31 Antis fled the state), so Gov. Roberts was wrong to certify ratification.

Russia accedes to Britain’s demand that it drop from its peace terms for Poland the creation of people’s militias. Foreign Minister Georgy Tchitcherin points out that Britain obviously believes that all workers are Bolsheviks, “a point of view [which] will undoubtedly be welcomed by those who look foeward to spreading Bolshevism in Great Britain.”

Sing Sing executes its first cripple, a man with a wooden leg. Also a black man who I’m guessing is not the first one executed at Sing Sing.

Sinn Féin appoints Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, who was the leading Irish women’s suffrage activist and is widow of Frank, who was extra-judicially executed during the Easter Rising, to the Supreme Court of Ireland. Nothing will come of this.

More sectarian rioting in Belfast, with sniping at soldiers, arson, looting, armored cars firing machine guns, the usual. It began with false rumors that Nationalists stoned children leaving a school.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Today -100: August 26, 1920: Of injunctions, statues, hunger strikers, and gunboats

DC Supreme Court Judge Frederick Siddons refuses to issue an injunction against the 19th Amendment being declared ratified. The antis will now appeal to the District Court of Appeals, but if the governor of Tennessee’s notification of ratification arrives (by registered mail) before that Court can hear the case, the secretary of state can certify it and that’ll be it.

Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, says women should not create their own political party but join the D’s or R’s.

Pilgrims are pouring into Templemore, Ireland, which  has one of those weeping holy statues that can miraculously cure people, so that’s nice.

Prime Minister David Lloyd George responds, dickishly, to a message from the sister of hunger-striking imprisoned Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney: “It is with profound regret that I hear of the pain inflicted upon you by the determination of your brother to starve himself. It is impossible for the Government to make an exception in his case. Were they to do so it would break down the administration of the law in the United Kingdom, for all prisoners would claim the same privilege.” I assume she will respond questioning the “administration” of “law” by jury-less military courts-martial and subsequent deportation to English prisons. LG is also pointing out that the only use MacSwiney could have had for possessing the police cipher was to help in the campaign of killing police. One might point out, again, that it was a police hit squad that murdered MacSwiney’s predecessor as lord mayor.

The US sends a gunboat to Honduras to protect American interests against possible revolutionary movements in Honduras and Guatemala.

Poland rejects most of Russia’s peace terms. Actually, all but one out of 15, and the one (for Polish disarmament) with an addendum: only if you do too.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Today -100: August 25, 1920: I am prepared to believe that he knows nothing about a lot of things that are going on around him

Warren G. Harding is refusing to campaign at the Ohio State Fair being held only 50 miles from his front porch, because Cox and the Prohibition Party candidate will both be there. His campaign wanted to have a tent where they’d just play phonograph records of his speeches, but the manager of the Fair told them it’s the candidate in person or nothing.

Arthur Balfour, on behalf of the British Government, sends a note to Russia asking whether it’s true that it’s changed its peace terms for Poland to include land nationalization and a Polish Red Guard, and he expects an answer by Friday dammit!

The Times of London claims that Trotsky secretly visited Germany and made a deal to buy ammunition for use in the Warsaw campaign, but too late. Naturally, he paid using the crown jewels.

The convention of the National Association of Masters of Dancing develops new dance steps including the Cat Step, Camel Walk, Chic Walk, Fox Trot Artistique and the Triangle One Step. Dance them all today.

The chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court sets aside a restraining order preventing the governor certifying the Legislature’s ratification of the 19th Amendment. So he certifies it. Now the “American Constitutional League” says it will ask the DC Circuit Court to stop Secretary of State Colby certifying (the last step in the process).

There’s still an obstacle to women voting in this year’s election in some states: early registration deadlines. Maryland would need to call a special session of the Legislature to extend its reg period, which ends two days from now.

The Harding and Cox campaigns are shouting back and forth about Cox’s assertion that there’s a $15 million Republican slush fund. Cox offers to provide evidence to a Senate sub-committee and responds to Harding’s claim to know nothing of such a fund, “I am prepared to believe that he knows nothing about a lot of things that are going on around him.”

It’s funny because it’s true.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Today -100: August 24, 1920: Of ethnographic limits, Mexican Protestants, and Jewish seats

The US informs Poland that it won’t support any military action by Polish troops beyond the “ethnographic limits of Poland.” Poland promises to behave.

Dozens of houses and businesses and a boot factory supposedly owned by Irish Nationalists in Lisburn, near Belfast, are burned down by Unionists in retaliation for the assassination of Inspector Swanzy, and employees are being told to sign a pledge that they are not in Sinn Féin and are loyal to king and country.

The bishop of Aguas Calientes and Leon calls for Mexicans to oppose the spread of Protestantism. Priests should demand that children at first communion promise never to read Protestant propaganda, and to avoid the English language, which is just a Trojan horse for Protestantism.

The Committee of Jewish Delegations will campaign for a special Jewish seat in the League of Nations.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Today -100: August 23, 1920: Of retaliations, bullfights, masculine deeds and feminine words, and jewel collectors

The Times of London thinks Britain will shortly recognize Egypt’s independence.

A Royal Irish Constabulary inspector, Oswald Swanzy, believed (correctly) to have been behind the murder of Cork’s Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in March, is killed by an IRA hit squad by order of Michael Collins, as he leaves church in Lisburn, an Orange town near Belfast to which he was transferred for his safety. A constable who was with Swanzy is also killed, and two other cops wounded. Inspector Swanzy is killed (with MacCurtain’s own personal gun) in front of his family; to be fair, so was MacCurtain. Naturally, a pogrom against the Catholic residents of Lisburn ensues. The incident was one of several attacks on police in the last few days.

Democrats in Ohio are worried that a recent influx of blacks from the South is intended to affect the vote in Ohio, of something.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Staten Island detectives believe that a bootlegger killed Saturday was murdered by two dirty Federal prohibition agents to prevent him squealing on them for reselling confiscated whisky after he was arrested. The dry agents pressured a saloon-keeper to pay his bail so they could get at him.

Suffragists in Maryland want the state motto, Fatti Maschii, Parole Feminine (Deeds are Masculine, Words Feminine), changed. That’s old Italian, by the way, not Latin. It’s still the motto in 2020, although the state now claims it means “Strong deeds, gentle words.”

Prison authorities shut down the Sing Sing Bulletin after it featured an article by a famous bigamist that began “A good wife is a jewel. I have been a jewel collector.”

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Today -100: August 22, 1920: Of escaping representatives, hunger strikes, and whistling

A judge issues a restraining order against the governor and other officials of Tennessee certifying the ratification of the 19th Amendment because of a provision in the state constitution that we know violates the US Constitution. Meanwhile 30 Anti House members flee the state to prevent a quorum (this is sort of a Tennessee tradition; the state was without US senators for two years in the 1840s because of a walkout that included future president Andrew Johnson). Suffragists say the state rules on quorum don’t apply on this federal matter.

Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, now in an English prison where he is hunger-striking until his demand that the New York Times spell his fucking name right, or at least spells it the same wrong way twice in a row, is met, is told by Home Secretary Edward Shortt that he won’t be released and won’t be force-fed either.

What To Watch, Except You Can’t Because It’s Another Lost Movie: The Untamed, starring Tom Mix, at the Capitol Theatre. Advertised as “A Startling Tale of Three Strange Comrades of the Wild – A Man, A Horse and a Dog.”  Mix plays “Whistling Dan.” “His whistling was like the magic of wild things, the cry of the banshee, weird, soft and beautiful – that’s why people loved him, feared him and called him ‘Whistling Dan.’”

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Today -100: August 21, 1920: Of oaths, socialists, and gunfights

Charles Ponzi, still in jail because he can’t raise bail, admits to bankruptcy and takes the bankrupt’s oath, whatever that is. His investors are FINALLY beginning to realize that they’re screwed.

The 5 Socialist members of the New York State Assembly who were expelled last spring are re-nominated by their respective county committees.

A fight between the town marshal and a deputy sheriff of Irvine, Kentucky over who gets to take in a bootlegger prisoner turns into a gunfight, leaving two cops dead and another cop and the bootlegger wounded.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Today -100: August 20, 1920: Of bribery, arms-less armies, and welcomed women

A Tennessee grand jury opens an investigation into whether bribes affected the Legislature’s vote to ratify the 19th Amendment, specifically the vote of Harry Burn, the 24-year-old representing McKinn County. The only influence brought on young Harry was a letter from his mother telling him to be “a good boy” and vote for ratification (“help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification”, she wrote, whatever that meant).

Woodrow Wilson is back to his old weight, the White House says. And he likes cowboy movies. Of course he does.

The Poles are driving back the Russian army. At the peace talks, Poland rejects the Soviet demand that it’s army be disarmed.

Headline of the Day -100:

I’ll bet he does, I’ll bet he does.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Today -100: August 19, 1920: The civilization of the world is saved

The Polish army turns back the Russian siege of Warsaw. Everyone is very surprised.

The Tennessee House of Representatives votes 50-46 in favor of the federal women’s suffrage Amendment (an earlier vote to table was lost by a single vote). This should be the end of the ratification process but it isn’t because there may (Spoiler Alert: will) be a vote on rescinding the ratification, and then possibly a legal challenge under the Tennessee Constitution.

Presidential candidate Gov. James Cox praises the ratification: “The civilization of the world is saved. The mothers of America will stay the hand of war and repudiate those who traffic with a great principle.”

Alice Paul, the chairman of the National Woman’s Party, says “The victory of women today completes the political democracy of America and enfranchises half the people of a great nation.”

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Today -100: August 18, 1920: Of sieges, suffrage, Ponzi, and rats, but I repeat myself

The Russians fail to encircle Warsaw. They lose communications and become spread out, allowing Polish troops, some of whom got to the front on double-decker buses, to break their lines.

The North Carolina Senate votes 25-23 to postpone any consideration of women’s suffrage until the 1921 session. So ratification of the 19th Amendment is now entirely in the hands of the Tennessee Legislature, where things are getting a little heated.

Charles Ponzi says that he’s the real victim here, as many people altered the notes they held with him, changing $100 to $1,000, that sort of thing, and that’s why the government auditors found those discrepancies in his liabilities.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Today -100: August 17, 1920: Of reversals, secret ciphers, warships, lynchings, child soldiers, and deadly baseballs

Warren G. Harding says a Republican victory in November would result in a “complete reversal” of Wilson’s foreign policy, although he refuses to give any details. When asked about Poland, he says he hasn’t read a newspaper today, and only the president and secretary of state really know what’s going on in the world. Harding is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, is sentenced by a military court-martial for possession of the secret police cipher (I assume that means a police cipher which is secret, not the cipher of the secret police), and of having a document likely to cause disaffection, namely the resolution of the Cork Corporation pledging allegiance to the Dáil Éireann, and of making a seditious speech. He told the court that the trial was illegal and anyone taking part in it is liable to arrest under the laws of the Irish Republic. He also tells says he will set his own term of imprisonment through hunger strike and “shall be free, alive or dead, within a month.” He doesn’t understand how long it actually takes to starve to death.

British soldiers seize a man named Patrick Lynch from his home, I think in Dublin, and kill him, which is a bit on the nose if you ask me.

The US is sending warships to Danzig. To protect US citizens and their interests, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says, though some suspicious souls suspect a broader intervention into the Russian-Polish war.

A lynch mob seize a suspected child murderer after setting fire to the town hall and the jail to get at him. But he makes a little speech about how only a degenerate would do such a thing and they decide to let the legal process run its course. Which is how lynch mobs work in Canada (specifically St Catharines, Ontario).

A 15-year-old appears in Brooklyn Children’s Court, charged with shooting craps. He is released when it comes out that he’s a World War I veteran, having enlisted at 13.

Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indians’ shortstop, is hit in the head in the fifth inning by a pitch from Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. He’s not dead yet, but will be, the first and only Major League Baseball fatality.

The Indians win the game, if you were wondering. 4-3.

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Today -100: August 16, 1920: Of speed traps, loop the loops, hunger strikes, and financial dementia

Constables from Jacksontown, Ohio attempt to arrest Gov. Cox and his four-automobile campaign group for speeding, but he refuses their order to turn around and go to court immediately. The cops follow on motorcycles trying to get the cars to pull over for a while, but content themselves with taking down their license numbers. Jacksontown is a known speed-trap, but it might have been a Republican plot to embarrass the governor.

“Girl flier” Louise Brownell sets a loop-the-loop record, flipping her plane 87 times. The previous record was 25.

Cork’s Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney and his fellow political prisoners go on hunger strike.

A lot of wild rumors lately about Soviet plans to team up with Germany, possibly after instigating a revolution there, to invade France, then Britain, then the world, then Mars.

Charles Ponzi’s legal defense may be “financial dementia.”

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Today -100: August 15, 1920: Of castles, too much money to be spent honestly, and little ententes

The Olympics open.

A crowd attempts to storm Dublin Castle. A few shots are fired. No mention of pitchforks, which are surely de rigeur on such occasions. Elsewhere, trucks bringing mail from England are intercepted and government correspondence taken.

Russian artillery flashes are visible from Warsaw.

In Sioux Falls, FDR makes fun of Harding’s front-porch campaigning, saying it’s great to get around the country and hear from all sorts of people and who wouldn’t want to do that: “I cannot understand the viewpoint of a man in a similar position to mine who would set up a little shrine in his front yard and expect the people to come there and worship without taking advantage of this opportunity.” He also warns that Republicans are raising a $30 million campaign chest; “I believe that is too much money to be spent honestly.”

Some Republican members of the House of Representatives’ Reapportionment Committee are contemplating reducing the representation of Southern states that deny the vote to blacks, as set out in the never-used section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania sign the “Little Entente,” a treaty for mutual defense.

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Friday, August 14, 2020

Today -100: August 14, 1920: Of no bias, coal & salt, and more ponzi schemes,

The Tennessee State Senate ratifies the Susan B. Anthony Amendment by a surprising 25-4 (out of 33). The lower house will be more difficult. Carrie Chapman Catt denies a charge made by Sen. Walter Chandler that she supports racial intermarriage. He says he based his accusation on a speech in which she said that “suffrage knows no bias of race, color or sex.”

The Red Army is within 20 or 25 miles of Warsaw. Russia’s peace terms to Poland (which seem to be trickling out bit by bit) include a referendum within a year on the future of former Russian Poland, with unrestricted propaganda in the meantime. Russia also wants control of Poland’s coal and salt mines.

The Old Colony Foreign Exchange Company, another Boston ponzi scheme, unrelated to Charles Ponzi, is raided and its officers arrested. Like Ponzi, it promised 50% profits in 90 days. Many of its investors, like Ponzi’s, are Italian immigrants. The district attorney had warned the public against investing with it, but noted that there was no law to shut it down; the patsies kept on enthusiastically handing their money over. Many Boston cops, by the way, are Ponzi investors. The lawyers are still working on it, but those who benefited from being at the top of the Ponzi pyramid can probably be sued by Ponzi’s creditors for (at least) their profits. The NYT suggests that those who profited are receivers of stolen goods.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Today -100: August 13, 1920: In a year, all Europe will be Bolshevist

Charles Popnzi is arrested for using the mails to defraud, after failing to provide evidence that he had the $4 million in assets he claims he has. The federal auditor calls him “hopelessly insolvent,” which is the worst kind of insolvent. Letters from investors are still coming in, but the estimate is that 40,000 of them gave Ponzi between $15 and 20 million. The Post Office says he never dealt in those international reply coupons.

Reportedly, Russia’s peace terms for Poland include a clause that Poland’s workers be armed. I’m guessing they don’t really. France advises Poland not to accept the peace terms, Britain advises the opposite.

Franklin Roosevelt says Poland could have been saved if only the US had joined the League of Nations, the “moral force” scaring off the Russians without a single soldier needing to be sent.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Russian War Minister Leon Trotsky predicts “In a year, all Europe will be Bolshevist.”

Speaking of poles, six members of Roald Amundsen’s ill-fated North Pole expedition quit, leaving him with too few crew to continue. He may hire Eskimoes.

Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos is shot at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris by two royalist Greek ex-soldiers who aren’t very good shots, missing him 6 times but hitting him in the left shoulder and right thigh.

Warren G. Harding favors tariffs to protect California lemons against cheap Sicilian lemons.

The Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, and ten associates are arrested by British soldiers. The previous lord mayor was killed by a British death squad a few months ago.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Today -100: August 12, 1920: Society owes me a chance to redeem my past

France recognizes the White “South Russian Government” of Gen. Pyotr Wrangel, “taking into consideration the military success and strengthening of the Government of General Wrangel,” which, yeah, no. The Soviet government had asked the allies to get Wrangel to surrender, and this is France’s response. France will send a high commissioner (ambassador).

Charles Ponzi admits having been to prison, once in Canada for, he says, taking the blame for his persecuted employer (it was for forging a check), and once in the US for smuggling Italian immigrants into the US, but he says “Society owes me a chance to redeem my past” (and how’s that redemption going, Carlo?). Authorities close the Hanover Trust Company, in which he bought a one-quarter share.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Today -100: August 11, 1920: Of peace terms, patriot-poets, and actors

The terms issued by Russia to Poland include shrinking the Polish army, handing over arms – quite similar to the terms the Allies imposed on Germany, really – but nothing about turning Poland into a communist workers’ paradise or drastically altering its borders. Lloyd George tells Parliament that the initial Polish attack on Russia was not justified, and Russia is justified in imposing certain conditions, but not in erasing Polish national existence.

To add insult to injury, Poland won’t be able to participate in the Olympics because of the war.

The US is trying poet Fabio Fiallo by court-martial in the US-occupied Dominican Republic. He could be executed for failing to comply with US censorship (a pro-independence article, I believe).

Actor James O’Neill dies, and the NYT’s theatre page misspells his name, which he would NOT have appreciated, and gets his age wrong, which he would. He is most famous for playing the Count of Monte Cristo for decades; he wanted to move on to other roles but the public insisted, as his son Eugene will portray in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. There’s a 1913 film version of his Monte Cristo, which I can’t find online although it is not lost.

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Today -100: August 10, 1920: We oppose a mere period of coma in our national life

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the recently resigned Assistant Secretary of the Navy, accepts the Democratic party’s nomination for vice president in Hyde Park, NY from “the largest front porch which has yet appeared in the campaign”. He says Harding’s message is “We are tired of progress, we want to get back to where we were before, to go about our own business, to restore normal conditions – I mean conditions of normalcy.” Oo, making fun of Harding’s favorite non-word.

And what do the Democrats oppose? “Our  opposition is to the things which once existed, in order that they may never return. We oppose money in politics. We oppose the private control of national finances. We oppose the treatment of human beings as commodities, we oppose the saloon-bossed city, we oppose starvation wages, we oppose rule by groups or cliques. In the same way we oppose a mere period of coma in our national life.”

Lloyd George has decided not to go to war with Russia to defend Poland, quite yet. This may be because the labor movement has made it very clear it will use strike and other action to prevent it. French Gen. Maxime Weygand offers to take command of the Polish Army (which is what he thought was going to happen when he went to Poland last month). They say no thank you. The Polish government is retreating from Warsaw.

The Massachusetts state bank commissioner orders Charles Ponzi’s bank to stop honoring his checks, since he is overdrawn (which he denies). Massachusetts Attorney General J. Weston Allen says there is no evidence that the vast sums Ponzi says he is sending to, and receiving from, Europe actually exist.

The Evening Standard (London) claims that Sinn Féin has a $500,000 slush fund to influence the US presidential election, and a further $1 million to work for US recognition of the Irish Republic. Irish President De Valera admits to having funds for the latter but denies trying to buy himself a US president.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s ship arrives off the Irish coast, and he is taken off it by a freaking destroyer, one of several deployed for the purpose, so that he won’t set foot on Irish soil. Mannix says the government “are putting me to a little inconvenience, but are making themselves very silly.” The Lord Mayor of Dublin says the action shows the government “are in a state of nervous prostration.”

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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Today -100: August 9, 1920: Of blockades, brain stuff, and bicycling eggs

British Prime Minister Lloyd George asks Russia for a 10-day truce with Poland. Russia says no. France and Britain are talking about re-establishing the blockade of Russia.

French President Paul Deschanel has cerebral anemia.

Headline of the Day -100: 

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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Today -100: August 8, 1920: The house of civilization is to be put in order

Gov. Charles Cox gives his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination, endorsing US entry into the League of Nations: “The house of civilization is to be put in order. The supreme issue of the century is before us, and the nation that halts and delays is playing with fire.” He is strongly against making a separate peace with Germany, as Harding wants. “We are in a time which calls for straight thinking, straight talking and straight acting.” He doesn’t explain what times don’t call for these things.

The Sunday NYT Magazine tells us that Harding is a baseball fan who played first base on the Marion team, and that Cox likes horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

Tennessee Gov. Albert Roberts finally calls a special session of the Legislature to vote on women’s suffrage. Including a poll tax provision, in case you laughingly thought Tennessee would allow black women to vote.

The “race war” in West Frankfort, Illinois against Italians continues, despite the occupation of the town by State Guards with machine guns. A mob attacks a house and kills a man.

Under the deal for Pancho Villa’s surrender, he will get a large estate and the government will pay 50 of his followers to act as guards.

Charles Ponzi says his new Charles Ponzi Company will open tomorrow. “Some of [my managers] may be arrested, but I doubt it.” He expects investors to give $10 or 20 million in the first couple of weeks, with no other security than his word. “My clients must have faith in me. I’m going through.” He plans to buy Shipping Board vessels. He’s ignoring Massachusetts Attorney General J. Weston Allen’s request that he come in for an interview because he is too busy to “bother” with it.

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Friday, August 07, 2020

Today -100: August 7, 1920: Of street car strikes, Irish crimes, and frooks

Denver police and/or armed strikebreakers open fire on striking street car workers who were advancing on the car barns, killing 3. The city is now being patrolled by tanks with machine guns. The American Legion is also patrolling.

The British Parliament passes the Irish Crimes Bill 206-18, after a walkout by Labour and Irish Nationalist MPs. An amendment to limit the imposition of courts-martial to one year is rejected.

Dorothy Frooks, lawyer and suffragist orator since the age of 11, announces that she will run for Congress from the 27th district of New York. I don’t think she does, although she will in the ‘30s, but this is a good excuse to link to her 1997 obit.

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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Today -100: August 6, 1920: Of revengeful spirits, prohibition, ethnic cleansings, hysterical womanhood, and duels

Germany says it will refuse the Entente permission to send troops through Germany to help Poland against Russia. The Times of London  falsely reports that Russia and Germany signed a secret treaty before Russia began its offensive.

In the debate on the Irish Crimes Bill, which would replace civilian juries with military courts-martial in disturbed areas, Irish Secretary Sir Hamar Greenwood says they would not operate “in a revengeful spirit.” So that’s okay then. In the debate, former PM H.H. Asquith calls for giving Ireland dominion status, like Canada & Australia. In response, Lloyd George asks if he’d allow Ireland an army and a navy or give it control over its own ports and says that during the war current Sinn Féin leaders had an arrangement with Germany to “attack us at the moment of our greatest peril.”

Maryland Attorney General Alexander Armstrong says cops can’t make raids or arrests under the (federal) Volstead Act.

A large mob takes over the town of West Frankfort, Illinois, disarming the police, taking over the phone and telegraph lines, beating up people, and possibly killing a photographer trying to take pictures. They order all Sicilian residents, as well as the mayor and all the cops, to leave the town within 24 hours. It’s unclear from the story who the mob consists of, but they arrived by cars, so not locals. This was all precipitated by the discovery in the woods of two dead boys who had claimed to know things about a series of robberies. Several men arrested for the crime were spirited out of the jail before they could be lynched.

Human weathervane Warren Harding decides he will help push Tennessee to ratify the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, sending telegrams to Republican leaders, which is the very least he could do.

Charles Ponzi says he’s about to launch a $100 million world-wide project, and he expects the public to be investing $5 million a day by next week. Mass. Gov. Coolidge approves funds for a state inquiry into Ponzi’s scheme.

In a letter to the NYT,  the leaders of the Alabama Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage are so disgusted by the two parties’ positions on the Susan B. Anthony Amendment that they “demand” that the men of the South not vote for president this year. Blah blah blah weakened temporizing manhood blah blah hysterical womanhood. Susan B. herself “stirred the fanatical fury that put us under the rule of former slaves,” so yeah there’s racism too. “‘The Solid South’ is the white man’s Government, the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Uruguay legalizes duels, if approved by a court of honor.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Today -100: August 5, 1920: Of councils of foreign powers, cables, and generals

From his front porch in Marion, Ohio (the only place he intends to campaign until October, following McKinley’s strategy – he even has McKinley’s flagpole), Warren G. Harding gives a speech referring to the League of Nations as “a council of foreign powers [which] shall summon the sons of this republic to war anywhere in the world.”

Pres. Wilson orders a British ship laying a West Union telegraph cable into Miami harbor without US permission in order to connect Miami to Barbados and then to Brazil to be blocked by destroyers, by force if necessary.

Mexico Pres. Adolfo de la Huerta fires all the generals in his cabinet except the minister of war, making them ambassadors.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Today -100: August 4, 1920: Of armistices, magistrates, absent doctors, and smiling ponzis

Russia breaks off armistice talks with Poland, opting to try to capture Warsaw instead. It seems likely this will happen.

132 Irish magistrates have resigned recently, they say in protest, the British say because of Sinn Féin terrorism. After Protestant Belfast workers’ expulsion of Catholics from jobs in the shipyards and elsewhere, the South of Ireland is preparing to boycott goods from Belfast and Sinn Féin has warned bakers not to send bread to Belfast. SF also bans Irish people emigrating without its permission.

Woodrow Wilson’s doctor goes on vacation, leaving him with no doctor in attendance for the first time in nearly a year, because he’s just sooooo recovered (although the NYT says he looks much older than his age. Rude).

Headline of the Day -100:

Ponzi says he still has “mountains of money” to pay any claims.

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Monday, August 03, 2020

Today -100: August 3, 1920: You can only be free if I am free

Two men steal a plane in Maywood, Illinois, fly it four miles away and strip it for parts, and now I’m wondering whether this was the first plane theft.

Romania tells Russia to get its troops off Romanian territory or face the might of Romania.

A Chicago jury convicts William Bross Lloyd and 19 other members of the Communist Labor Party for conspiracy to overthrow the US government.  Their lawyer, Clarence Darrow (Lloyd is rich and can afford the best), had told the jury, “You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.” The prosecutor recited the Star-Spangled Banner.

At the Universal Negro Improvement Association convention, Marcus Garvey announces that he’s sent a message of greeting to de Valera, saying Ireland should be free just like Africa should. Garvey says “We are the descendants of a suffering people. We are the descendants of a people determined to suffer no longer.” “The other races have countries of their own and it is time for the 400,000,000 negroes to claim Africa for themselves.” Garvey’s followers are addressing him as “Your Majesty.”

In New York, two chauffeurs (which probably means cabbies) are convicted for disorderly conduct for driving along streets, asking women to join them in their automobiles. One is fined, one sent to jail for 20 days; the judge calls them “auto lizards.”

Lloyd George introduces the Irish Crimes Bill (aka the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920) to try Sinn Féiners by military courts-martial rather than civilian juries.

A mob in Center, Texas lynches a black man who supposedly confessed to the murder of a white woman.

Charlie Chaplin’s first wife, actress Mildred Harris, who he married when she was 16 less than 2 years ago, files for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty.

Charles Ponzi’s former publicity agent W.H. McMaster writes about Ponzi’s scheme in the morning paper, leading to another run on the company. Ponzi pays off the runners, and tells reporters that he has twice as many assets as obligations. He says McMaster doesn’t know the ins and outs of his business because “Nobody knows my business except myself. Nobody knows just what I have been doing, and nobody can say that I haven’t sent and received money from Europe during the last week or more.” The federal auditor says he hasn’t found any violations of the law, so far.

Percy Sholto Douglas, the 10th Marquess of Queensberry (not 9th, NYT), brother of Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas), dies in South Africa. He was in the military and the navy, a gold prospector in Australia, and a reporter and cowboy in the US, among other things.

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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Today -100: August 2, 1920: Of red armies, communist parties, and universal negroes

The Red Army is 75 miles from Warsaw. France really wants Britain to join it in issuing a threat of war to Russia if it doesn’t knock it off, but Lloyd George is not keen on the idea.

Britain holds a convention to form a Communist Party.

Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association also has a convention, in Harlem, although proceedings will move to Madison Square Garden. Delegates from all over the world will draw up a bill of rights for the negro peoples of the world and elect a “President of Africa, a leader for the negro people of America and a leader for the negro people of the world.”

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Saturday, August 01, 2020

Today -100: August 1, 1920: Of red armies, schemes, and sheep

Trotsky orders the Red Army to capture Warsaw before the start of armistice talks. Russia has postponed those talks twice.

Now that the run on his scheme is over, Charles Ponzi is thinking about going into politics.

Woodrow Wilson is going to sell off the White House sheep, 48 of whom have been employed keeping the grass cut.

Harding gives his first speech to pilgrims to his front porch in Marion, Ohio. It’s... quite boring.

Did I choose not to read a story entitled “Poison Gas for Whales”? Yes I did.

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