Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Today -100: September 30, 1920: It is not coercion

The White House has to admit that Pres. Wilson is not as recovered as they’ve been claiming, in order to explain why he won’t be making any speeches for Cox.

A German ambassador arrives in Paris, re-establishing diplomatic relations.

Harding’s train jumps the track in West Virginia.

A placard in Drogheda, Ireland warns that if any cop is shot, 5 Sinn Féiners will be shot. “It is not coercion. It is an eye for an eye.”

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Today -100: September 29, 1920: Of semi-official lynch law, eight men out, and something else for Samuel L. Jackson to have had it with

Sinn Féiners raid an army barracks at Mallow, County Cork and seize a large quantity of arms. Later, the town is burned, presumably by Black and Tans, although the article is short on details. A curfew prevents the Cork fire brigade coming to help put out the fire. The Black and Tan state terrorism is being denounced in English papers, the Times deploring “semi-official lynch law.” The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Hamar Greenwood denies that “the Government  connives at or supports reprisals.” The government totally connives at and supports reprisals. He also says there have only been a few reprisals and the damage done during them has been exaggerated.

The Cox campaign has been begging Woodrow Wilson to help, and WW has finally decided to... write some letters. Not about Cox. About the League of Nations.

8 players in the Chicago White Sox (7 still on the team) are indicted for fixing the 1919 World Series. Owner Charles Comiskey suspends the 7, so the team probably won’t be winning the pennant this year after all. The Yankees’ owners offer Comiskey the use of their players, but that would be against the rules. Two of the players have already admitted their guilt to the Grand Jury and implicated the others.

The annual (and possibly only) convention of the Industrial and Commercial Council of People of African Descent hears that there are negroes ready to take over agricultural work in California if/when Asians are barred.

Inventor Parker Bradley demonstrates a fireproof airplane. Fireworks were set off... inside the plane while it was flying?

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Monday, September 28, 2020

Today -100: September 28, 1920: Just a little trim

After a police barracks in Trim, County Meath (pop. 1,500) is burned by Sinn Féin fighters and its weapons seized, Black and Tans burn down 40 houses, the town hall, and many shops, and generally shoot up the place.

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Today -100: September 27, 1920: Of brewers, retaliation, and duels

Gov. James Cox accuses the Anti-Saloon League’s general counsel, the alliterative Wayne Wheeler, of being “a mere chattel of Republican headquarters.” Wheeler sent questions to both candidates, but... they were not the same questions. Harding is blandly asked if he stands by his votes in the Senate, while Cox is asked the trickier question of what he’d do if the Volstead Act were amended. Cox also accuses Harding of being a “brewer” (he invested in a local Marion brewery years ago).

The killing of a cop on the Falls Road in Belfast is followed, as was the custom, by the murder of civilians by death squads.

Many dead in student riots against Japanese rule in Korea.

Greenwich Village portrait photographer Nickolas Muray and artist Jacques La Salle were supposed to fight a duel (over what is not disclosed), at the site of the Burr-Hamilton duel no less, but it is called off when their seconds forget, or possibly “forget,” to bring the rapiers. I don’t know anything about La Salle except that he was probably pretty lucky, since Muray claims to have fought several previous duels and will fence at two future Olympics (and indeed have heart attacks while fencing in 1961 and 1965, the latter fatal).

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Today -100: September 26, 1920: Of flying kings, farms, nervous derangements, puzzling hunger strikers, and traveling men

Headline of the Day -100 or Possibly an Animated Film With Patton Oswalt Coming Out in a Year or Two: 

He even flies over Vatican City, the first time he has laid eyes on it. He could even see the pope.

Financier/philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff dies. Big in Jewish immigration charities.

Cox accuses Harding of having adopted his current position of total opposition to the League of Nations, reservations or no reservations, in a deal with Hiram Johnson for the latter’s support in the West. Cox will keep demanding to see the letter supposedly setting out this deal. To be fair, Harding’s position on the League has changed with every gentle breeze.

Asked by an audience member about bonuses for soldiers, Cox says he knows something better: “giving every one of the soldier boys who desires it a home and a farm.” Because everyone wants a fucking farm and everyone hates cash.

French former president Paul Deschanel checks into “a sanatorium for nervous derangement” (one of Napoleon’s old châteaus, in fact), where the NYT thinks he will likely be confined until he dies. In fact, he’ll be sent to a different sanatorium for nervous derangement, the French Senate, in January. The Times can now drop its previous discretion and reveal that since becoming president a few months ago, Deschanel has suffered from persecution mania, believing there is a conspiracy against him. Imagine what it would be like to have a president like that. Just imagine it. The first clue that something might be wrong was that he kept doing things like walking into canals and falling out of moving trains. Also the occasional public nudity.

Headline of the Day -100:  

46 days; the doctors think they should be dead by now.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Today -100: September 25, 1920: Of treaties, lynching lynches, sextraditions, and thrift

The Jones Merchant Marine Act passed in early June gave Pres. Wilson 90 days to inform foreign nations that the US was ending every treaty provision restricting the US from imposing discriminatory shipping rates and customs duties on imports. He refuses to do so, saying the law is unconstitutional, which it is.

John Lynch, a Sinn Féin member of the Limerick County Council, is murdered in the Royal Exchange Hotel in Dublin by a military death squad. The Dublin Corporation orders the coroner to hold an inquest, but Gen. Macready orders him not to.

Georges Leygues is selected as the new French prime minister (and foreign minister).

Headline of the Day -100: 

The sextradition was an obscure early-twentieth-century legal procedure.

Harding has a solution to the high cost of living: thrift. Also tariffs.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Today -100: September 24, 1920: Of world serieses, sacks, and internal matters

As the “Black Sox” investigation continues, rumors say the Chicago White Sox won’t dare cross the gamblers by winning this year’s World Series (the Sox are doing well this year).

The French National Assembly elects Alexandre Millerand president.

As British authorities claim to be reestablishing discipline in its security forces in Ireland after the Sack of Balbriggan, three more towns are sacked. Cops burn houses and shoot people. And Gen. Sir Nevil Macready, commander of the military forces in Ireland, says more such reprisals may be necessary if IRA guerilla warfare continues.

Harding says the US should officially shut up about Ireland, which is an internal matter for Britain. The Senate vote of sympathy for Irish aspirations during the Paris peace talks last year is as far as he thinks the US can go (he doesn’t mention that he voted against it). It’s also none of the League of Nations’s business, he says.

Cox says Republican agents are going around the country in advance of Cox’s campaign tour,  telling newspaper editors not to print news of his events and providing them embarrassing questions to ask Cox (such as Hey, aren’t you totally controlled by the liquor interests?).

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Today -100: September 23, 1920: Of trains, squares, and un-American elements

Gov. Cox’s train derails in Arizona. No one is killed.

Assistant (Illinois) State’s Attorney Hartley Replogle tells the Grand Jury that the 1919 World Series was “not on the square.”

FDR accuses Republicans of appealing to “the hyphenated vote” and “seeking the support of un-American elements in the electorate” and people who put other countries’ interests (he specifically names Italy) ahead of those of the US. Harding’s attacks on the League of Nations are evidently a sign of this.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Today -100: September 22, 1920: We are training our youth to recognize the evils of that race, which we do not detest, but which we will not endure

Headline of the Day -100: 

This is the Sack of Balbriggan and I believe the first time the NYT uses the term “Black and Tans” – the auxiliary police brought in to terrorize Ireland into submission. 150 of them destroy a town 22 miles from Dublin in revenge for a couple of cops killed outside a pub there earlier in the day. Dozens of homes, as well as factories and pubs, are burned, and two people shot and bayoneted to death, probably after being tortured to reveal the names of local Sinn Féin leaders. The B&T’s then leave, singing “Boys of the Bulldog Breed.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

University of California (i.e., Berkeley) President David Prescott Barrows gives an interview supporting California banning Asians from owning or renting land: “The doom of the United States is the possession of this region by Orientals”. He asks for the rest of the country to understand that California is on the racial front line. “[I]n order that America may lead we are training our youth to recognize the evils of that race, which we do not detest, but which we will not endure.”

And yes, UC Berkeley students are currently trying to get Barrows Hall “denamed,” mostly based on his History of the Philippines (1905), which says “the history of the black, or negro, race begins only with the exploration of Africa by the white race, and the history of the American Indians, except perhaps of those of Peru and Mexico, begins only with the white man’s conquest of America.”

Democratic presidential candidate James Cox, speaking in Long Beach, says he’d let California lead in forming national policy on the immigration of the Oriental races.

Police stop a crowd trying to lynch a black man who mugged a white woman for her purse, containing $5. In New York City, no less.

Poet-aviator-duce Gabriele d’Annunzio names his cabinet for the Italian Regency of Quarnero (Fiume). He will also be foreign minister. Fiume is celebrating its independence in the traditional manner, with an outbreak of bubonic plague.

The New York State Assembly again ousts 3 of the elected and re-elected Socialist members, but not the other two, who nevertheless resign, denouncing the Assembly as “un-American.”

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Today -100: September 21, 1920: Of women’s ages, occupations, black socks, and stupendous frauds

The Maine Supreme Court rules that women don’t have to reveal their ages (if 21 or older) to register to vote.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby defends the US invasion of Haiti in 1915 and subsequent occupation, which Harding is criticizing in order to undermine FDR.  Evidently it’s all been done for the benefit of the Haitian people and with their permission and will end soon (Spoiler Alert: 1934). And he denies handing over Haitian finances to the National City Bank of New York.

Speaking of that benevolent occupation, the US tells Haiti’s president, cabinet secretaries, state councillors etc that their salaries, which have been withheld since June, won’t resume until they show a less antagonistic attitude towards their American masters. Which I believe would be shown by agreeing to turn over the Bank of Haiti to the National City Bank of New York.

A grand jury in Chicago will investigate gambling in the 1919 World Series.

Harding calls the League of Nations a “stupendous fraud.” Stupendous frauds are the worst kind of frauds. He says the League has a dozen ambiguities in it, while the US Constitution had only one and one that led to the Civil War (whether or not states could secede). That is the oddest explanation of the origin of the Civil War I’ve ever heard – it was all because of... a loophole?

French Prime Minister Alexandre Millerand gives in to the pressure to take over the presidency from Deschanel. He really didn’t want to take the largely ceremonial position.

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Today -100: September 20, 1920: Of death wagons, hats, islands, duchess-nuns, and refuse

Major breakthrough in the investigation of the Wall Street bombing: they have identified the farrier who made the horse shoes of the horse (RIP) who hauled the explosives-filled “death wagon” (farriers put a mark on each horseshoe they make). But he can’t remember anything about the driver, even his nationality. So I suppose it’s also pointless to ask him the horse’s name. The wreckage is now a major tourist attraction.

Police say they have recovered a great number of hats at the scene.

The London Sunday Times doubts that Terence MacSwiney and the other Irish prisoners can really be doing proper hunger strikes. It’s been nearly 40 days after all. Visitors must be sneaking them food. MacSwiney issues a statement that God is keeping him alive to give the English “their last chance to pause and consider.”

Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting suggests that Sweden and Finland’s agreement to let the League of Nations decide ownership of the Åland Islands may have prevented a war. He also thinks the islands will be given to Sweden, because the majority of the population is Swedish and not Finnish like Finland claims (the League will give the islands to Finland, but require a large measure of autonomy, which continues to this day, and that they not be militarized).

The Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide of Luxembourg, who abdicated as the country’s ruler last year, goes into a Carmelite convent in Italy.

Samuel Shortridge, Republican running for the US Senate from California (Spoiler Alert: he will win), the brother of Clara Foltz, the super-impressive first woman lawyer in California, opposes letting in “the refuse of Oriental countries. The thought of it appals the calmest mind and disturbs the stoutest heart.”

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Today -100: September 19, 1920: Of new voters, Californians, and occupations

Democratic Party leaders in the South are scared:  white women have not been registering to vote, and black women have. It is believed that out-of-state Republicans are helping them, but election officials are doing their best to prevent black women qualifying, using literacy tests and whatnot.

The Census shows the population of California as 3,426,526, up 44% from the 1910 Census. It now has more people than Georgia or Indiana.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels angrily defends the 1915 invasion of Haiti against Harding’s charges, which were intended to damage then-Assistant Navy Secretary Franklin Roosevelt. Daniels says the Marines built roads (with forced labor, he doesn’t add), preserved order (by shooting people), introduced sanitation and saved Haiti from so-called bandits.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Today -100: September 18, 1920: God Almighty provided that the fathers of America should be white men

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. says that FDR is “a maverick. He does not have the brand of our family.” Wouldn’t surprise me if there was an actual brand, maybe a bull moose.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Harding accuses Franklin Roosevelt of being connected with the “rape of Haiti and San Domingo,” meaning that as assistant secretary of the Navy he had oversight of the occupation of those countries – FDR’s been bragging recently about having written Haiti’s constitution, which he didn’t. Harding says thousands of Haitians were killed by US marines since the 1915 invasion of Haiti “in order to establish laws drafted by the assistant secretary of the Navy, to secure a vote in the League.” FDR responds that there was no objection to those invasions at the time (in the US Senate anyway; there was quite a bit of objection in Haiti and San Domingo) and calls Harding’s statement “merest dribble” which won’t rouse racial hatreds as Harding intends or “deceive intelligent Americans.”

The British government denies planning to arm the Ulster Volunteers, although it says any citizen willing to help maintain order and allegiance to the King can be enrolled, Catholic or Protestant, which is not especially reassuring.

Circulars are found which suggest that the Wall Street bombing was the work of anarchists possibly associated with last year’s bombings.

Speaking in San Francisco, Democratic presidential nominee James Cox accuses Harding of being both a reactionary and the property of a Senate oligarchy which determines his course and censors his words. He also says Harding always reflects the views of the most recent delegation to Marion, Ohio, promising the country “a chameleon policy.” For example, Harding changed his mind for on the subject of Japanese immigration after receiving a delegation of racists from California (including racist Gov. William Stephens), whereas Cox’s view has always been that “If California does not desire her lands to come into the possession of Orientals, she may expect, in consonance with the established democratic principle, the genuine cooperation of the national government in the working out of a plan where by she excludes the Oriental settler. There is nothing evasive about this.” He also says “God Almighty provided that the fathers of America should be white men.”

In Sacramento, Cox says that the US is incredibly prosperous after 8 years of Democratic rule: “I am the only presidential candidate in all the history of America who ever passed from the salt water of the Atlantic to the salt water of the Pacific without seeing a tramp anywhere in this country.”

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Today -100: September 17, 1920: Boom

An explosion shakes Wall Street, across from the J.P. Morgan building. The ultimate death toll will be 38, mostly low-level employees, plus the horse pulling the wagon containing the explosives. Junius Morgan III is slightly cut on one hand. At press time, quite a long time after the explosion (noon), it’s still not entirely clear that this was an intentional bombing, although of course...

No responsibility will ever be taken and no arrests ever made. Investigations will suggest that the driver of the wagon got away.

The 5 Socialists who have been elected to the NY State Assembly and then expelled more times than I can count are... wait for it... elected to the NY State Assembly. This after the Democrats and Republicans agreed to run joint fusion candidates against them in each of the districts.

French President Paul Deschanel resigns. He is, as the French probably say, looné toons.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Today -100: September 16, 1920: Too much is heard of independence in politics

The Veterans of Foreign Wars call for the exclusion of all Japanese immigrants and amending the Constitution to prevent children of Japanese immigrants becoming citizens.

In a letter to the president of the Women’s Harding and Coolidge Club of NYC, Warren Harding says women should join the Republican party, but also that they should join some party: “Too much is heard of independence in politics. ... the fashion of parading independence is to be deplored. Cooperation and organization, of all human effort, require some sacrifice and concession upon the part of one individual’s opinion.” And then he lambasts the League of Nations, because the US “must be guided by her own conscience, and not by mortgaging that conscience to debtor nations.”

Connecticut Gov. Marcus Holcombe refuses to certify the ratification of the 19th Amendment by the Legislature, which he says was not legal because reasons.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Today -100: September 15, 1920: Of the 2%, fast mail, immigrants, and lynchings

Gov. Cox, doing his best Bernie Sanders, says the 2% are raising a $25-30 million fund to defeat him. He says no one knows where Harding stands on the League of Nations, including, probably, Harding himself (it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true).

There are reports, which may even be true, of rioting in Petrograd following news of military defeats, with commissars being drowned in the Neva.

The new transcontinental air mail service has its third and fourth fatalities, as the gas tank on a plane explodes. Some of the scattered mail is recovered.

Connecticut ratifies the already-ratified 19th Amendment.

Harding endorses an “America first” immigration policy to a delegation of anti-Japanese Californians, promising to admit only immigrants who can easily be assimilated. He avoids offending Japan by not referring specifically to Japanese people, only Orientals. Yeah I’m sure that’ll totally do it.

A man is lynched near Hartford, Alabama — hanged in a swamp, no less – for making remarks to a white woman. The shock twist: he’s white.

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Today -100: September 14, 1920: Dead as slavery

The Zionist World Movement tells Jewish organizations in Eastern Europe not to send Jewish immigrants to Palestine unless they can support themselves.

Deposed Bulgarian Czar Ferdinand is living happily in exile in Germany. Having recently been given access to funds which an English court decided belonged to him personally rather than to Bulgaria, he’s been buying up art and fending off people who want to help him invest that money in, for example, a machine that makes shoe polish out of smoke, or matches that will never stop burning.

In Maine elections, the Republican candidate for governor, Frederic Hale Parkhurst, scores a massive victory, for all the good it will do him. This is seen as indicating what might happen in the national elections in November. Some of the increase in the state’s Republican vote is attributed to the new women voters.

Cox repeats that the prohibition issue is dead – “as dead as slavery” – and it’s now just a matter of enforcing the law.

No fewer than 160 extras filming Man-Woman-Marriage file injury claims from horse-related accidents during a battle scene between men and Amazons, I guess.

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Today -100: September 13, 1920: Of ballot slackers, Fiume Day, and asymmetricity

Phrase of the Day -100: 

Some random pastor says some shit. My interest here is the phrase “ballot slacker,” which I haven’t come across before.

Fiume’s poet-aviator-duce d’Annunzio is holding an American steamer ransom for a “loan” from the Italian government of 200 million lire, which is the equivalent of some money. By the way, “duce,” which the NYT is translating as “commander,” is indeed the title he has given himself.

There’s a “Fiume Day” celebration for the anniversary of d’Annunzio’s occupation of the city at the City College Stadium in New York. Caruso sings.

A committee on recreation and rural health finds that farm kids are asymmetrical. 

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Today -100: September 12, 1920: Of non-issues and ponzis

Cox says prohibition is not an issue.

Charles Ponzi is finally indicted, on 68 counts.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Today -100: September 11, 1920: America has not failed and will not fail the American negro

A cop is killed in Tullow in County Carlow, Ireland, so the cops shoot up the town and burn buildings in retaliation. Must be some more of that law n’ order Lloyd George is preserving by keeping Lord Mayor MacSwiney in prison.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Gabriele d’Annunzio, poet, aviator, and now head of state (duce) of the Italian Regency of Quarnero takes the oath, on a balcony, as was the custom: “I swear on this sacred banner of youth, on this relic of heroic blood, and on my soul” etc. (never let a poet write his own oath of office). He asks the crowd if the new constitution is okay with them, and that’s evidently enough to ratify it.

Headline of the Day -100:  

“America has not failed and will not fail the American negro,” he says to a delegation of black people, whose response to that assertion is not recorded. Harding’s black cook comes out to watch. Does the NYT condescendingly employ dialect in quoting her? What do you think?

Cox opposes cash bonuses for Great War veterans, but does support assisting them to become home-owners.

The election board in a ward in Long Branch, New Jersey resigns en masse rather than go home to home to ask women voters questions they’d be “proverbially disinclined to answer” (I assume they think women won’t divulge their age).

Sacco and Vanzetti are charged with robbery and murder.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Today -100: September 10, 1920: Of regencies, delanos, and babes

Gabriele d’Annunzio, responding to mysterious “private news from Paris,” declares Fiume independent 3 days earlier than planned. The Fiume National Council, not agreeing with the poet-aviator’s constitution or his declaration of independence, resigns.

FDR’s uncle William Delano IV, a coal tycoon and horse fancier, is killed when his horse panics and runs in front of a train.

Incidentally, he was the son of William Delano II. There was, briefly, a William Delano III, 4’s brother. Giving a child the same name as a sibling who died in childhood used to be a thing. FDR and Eleanor had two Franklin Juniors.

Gamblers spread a false rumor that Babe Ruth is injured.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Today -100: September 9, 1920: Of earthquakes, lords mayor, and libel

Hundreds die in earthquakes in Italy, mostly in Tuscany. Towns and villages destroyed.

Lloyd George accuses Terence MacSwiney of having been involved in the assassination of cops. He says MacSwiney’s predecessor as lord mayor of Cork was murdered for not going along with IRA plans; he definitely knows that MacCurtain was killed by a police death squad.

The New Jersey Assembly votes 25 to 12 to ask for MacSwiney’s release.

Chicago Mayor Big Bill Thompson sues Lt. Gov. John Oglesby for libel for letters he sent to soldiers attacking Thompson’s patriotism and saying he attended seditious meetings.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Today -100: September 8, 1920: Of canes, walls, regencies, and fires

Headline of the Day -100: 

The British government will pay Catholics ousted from jobs in Belfast by Protestant violence. They will get the same unemployment pay as unemployed former military men.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Not in a Cask of Amontillado way, he’s actually building it himself out of logs he cuts so no one can see or photograph him cutting logs, which as we know is his favorite pastime. 

Poet-Aviator Gabriele d’Annunzio will declare Fiume (and some surrounding territory and islands) independent on Sunday. It will be called the “Italian Regency of Carnaro.” The regency thing means that the new country is being held in trust until such time as Italy agrees to annex it. D’Annunzio is supplying the state with a constitution that allows for a temporary dictator.

A Chicago grand jury will investigate whether gamblers fixed a baseball game between the Cubs and Phillies last week.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Why? What does he know?

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Monday, September 07, 2020

Today -100: September 7, 1920: Of trade-offs, drys, and sick men in sick rooms

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George supposedly said that he’d release Terence MacSwiney and the other hunger strikers if he received a promise that attacks on police in Ireland would stop.

William Jennings Bryan’s sole aim this November is to elect strong prohibitionists to Congress, enough so they could impeach a president who doesn’t adequately enforce the 18th Amendment. He thinks women voters will support this goal.

Democratic presidential nominee James Cox is visiting west of the Mississippi for the first time. He complains about Republicans attacking Woodrow Wilson, “a sick man in his sick-room.” At the Minnesota state fair, he meets Capt. John Smith, a Chippewa Indian who claims to be 132 years old and to remember when Washington was president.

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Sunday, September 06, 2020

Today -100: September 6, 1920: Of covers of mayoral courts, presidents, and tanks

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George rejects NYC Mayor Hylan’s plea for the release of his fellow lord mayor, Terence MacSwiney, saying he can’t interfere with the course of justice and law. Well, he did impose military courts on Ireland, including the one that sentenced MacSwiney, does that count as interfering with the course of justice and law? that probably doesn’t count, because reasons. The British Labour Party has also asked for MacSwiney’s release. The government responds that MacSwiney was “actively conducting the affairs of a rebel organisation under the cover of a Mayoral court,” and so could perfectly legitimately have been just taken out and shot. It also points out that since MacS’s arrest, a lot of cops have been assassinated in Ireland.

There are also 11 hunger-strikers in Cork Gaol, now on the 26th day of their strike, which the NYT notes is “a record for Irish political prisoners.”

Gen. Álvaro Obregón is elected president of Mexico.

Factories in Milan are on strike. The strikers have tanks. The article, sadly, does not explain how it is that they came to have tanks. It’s probably a funny story too.

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Saturday, September 05, 2020

Today -100: September 5, 1920: This campaign is for America

Harding denies targeting any appeal towards German voters: “This campaign is for America.”

The Tennessee State Senate passes, but the House rejects, a bill for poll taxes for women voters.

Most states will let women vote in November without requiring further legislation, but Mississippi’s attorney general says the four-month registration period stands. Georgia’s AG, in contrast, says that women can vote there even without registration, since they hadn’t had a reasonable opportunity to register. He says registration facilitates the vote, it is not a qualification for voting.

France splits Lebanon from Syria, the territory they’re running as a League of Nations mandate. Standard imperial divide and conquer stuff.

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Friday, September 04, 2020

Today -100: September 4, 1920: Of herrings, einsteins, and twins

Citing John Herring, editor of a Long Island German newspaper, the NYT says German-Americans are supporting Harding because of his opposition to the League of Nations and support for a separate peace with Germany.

So far 12,750 people have filed unpaid notes against Charles Ponzi. It looks like they’ll get back less than 30¢ on the dollar.

The Swiss are trying to lure Albert Einstein away from Berlin, where he’s been getting anti-Semitic abuse lately.

The Cornet family of Montilgnon, France sold their twin boys for $14. They blame the high cost of living. The kiddies were bought (one died at some point afterwards) by a woman who wanted to pass them off as having been fathered by 1) the husband she was in the process of divorcing, to extract a larger separation allowance, and 2) her rich lover, to extract a settlement.

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Thursday, September 03, 2020

Today -100: September 3, 1920: Of enthnographic borders, real Americans, raids, carefully planned anarchy, and plain people

Poland refuses the US’s request that it not attack Russia across the ethnographic border established by the Peace Conference between Russia and Poland. In other words, it won’t promise not to try to seize territory.

Warren Harding has been complaining that his front-porch campaign has made him miss his beloved baseball games, so the owners of the Chicago Cubs bring them to Marion for an exhibition game. Harding tells the team he likes baseball “just like every other real American.” And he’s also for “team play” in government.

Sinn Féin fighters raid an RAF base near Dublin and steal a bunch of military documents including the military plan for Ireland, as well as the current code and cipher.

Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, says appeals for clemency for Terence MacSwiney will be ignored: “None of the mercy which some seek to invoke for the lord mayor was shown the eighty policemen who have lost their lives in Ireland.” He says the current rebellion is the work of a small body of men who are trying “by carefully planned anarchy” to impose independence on the 80% of Irish people who don’t want it.

Carefully planned anarchy is the worst kind of anarchy.

What to Watch: D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (“A Simple Story of Plain People”), starring Lillian Gish, premieres. Honestly, not an especially good movie – structural problems, shoehorned-in unfunny comic relief – but Gish is good

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Today -100: September 2, 1920: A devil of a fix

The Tennessee State Senate refuses by a 17 to 8 vote to follow the lower house in attempting to reverse ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Harding refuses to discuss Cox’s charges of a Republican slush fund: “I haven’t noticed any signs of alarm in the country that it is being bought for the presidency.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

Transcontinental air mail is supposed to start up next week.

Richard Harron, the star of 220 films at age 27, including many D.W. Griffith films including Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Hearts of the World, “accidentally” shoots himself in his hotel room. He calls the front desk for help, saying “I’m in a devil of a fix, I’ve shot myself.” No one says “devil of a fix” anymore. Anyway, Harron is arrested in his hospital bed in Bellevue and if he survives (he won’t) he’ll be charged for not having a license for the gun with which he shot himself. This picture of him is from the 1913 Griffith short “The Yaqui Cur.”

What to Watch: “Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire,” directed by Robert Wiene, whose previous film was “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari,” premieres in Berlin. Haven’t seen it myself. What seems to be the only full-length version on YouTube is pretty low quality.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Today -100: September 1, 1920: Of take-backs, innate modesty, party-poopers, and suspended actresses

The runaway members of the Tennessee House of Representatives have returned from Alabama and force a vote to expunge the record of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The House votes 47 to 24, with 20 not present, The vote is legally meaningless, since the US Constitution makes no provision for “backsies.” In 1870 the NY Legislature attempted to take back its ratification of the 15th Amendment.

Gov. Cox has pointed out that the Republican platform showed no pride in the US having won the war. Teddy Roosevelt Jr. responds that that’s because it’s “not in good taste to praise your own achievements” (he also says it was Republicans that fought the war). The NYT comments that “It is well known that the innate modesty of that [Republican] party has always prevented it from mentioning its part in either the Civil War or the Spanish War. And boasting has ever been peculiarly abhorrent to a Roosevelt. Furthermore, the Republicans at Chicago were so absorbed in denouncing that they had no time or strength left for commending anybody – not even our soldiers. The great task of the platform was to bury, not to praise.”

Armed men raid a fancy-dress ball in Dublin, for the purpose of ordering British military officers out, as Irish people are not supposed to be consorting with the army of occupation. They also order ladies out who they think are dressed too scantily.

France and Belgium drop the idea of a mutual-defense treaty because of a cabinet crisis in Belgium. There will instead be a less formal non-binding military agreement.

Babe Ruth is suing to prevent the commercial showing of films of him playing baseball, citing the... Civil Rights Act?  The defendants say he is a public figure, just like the president, so he’s news. (He will lose.)

Actress Emily Marceau testifies against Metro Film Corp director Smythe Addison, who is charged with disorderly conduct. She had previously #MeToo’ed him and he retaliated during filming. She was hoisted on wire for a stunt scene involving fire and while she was suspended in the air he called a lunch break and went off with the crew for 2½ hours.

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