Thursday, December 31, 2020

Today -100: December 31, 1920: Don’t know when he’ll be back again

Headline of the Day -100:  

Actually, he hasn’t, yet. Where will he go when he does leave? Possibly to Ireland, possibly to South America, possibly to a palace in Venice. He’s given up his powers to a council and is not part of the negotiations of the terms of surrender.

The House Census Committee discusses negro voting rights in the South, and by “discuss” I mean Southern congresscritters yell at NAACP witnesses who talk about violence committed against blacks during last month’s election. Samuel Brinson (D-NC) explains that the “intelligent negroes” in his district agree with the whites that ignorant negroes should be stopped from voting for the safety of the country. At the end of the hearing, a photographer comes in to take a group picture, but Southern-fried members refuse to be photographed with black people in the background, so they go into executive session to take the picture.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Today -100: December 30, 1920: I regret that death has once again passed me by

Fiume surrenders after a last stand involving sniping, concealed machine guns, and hand grenades. Poet-Aviator d’Annunzio issues a proclamation saying that he had offered his life for Italy “hundreds of times smilingly in my war, but it is not worth while to throw it away in the service of a people who could not be distracted even for a moment from their Christmas greediness while we were assassinated by their government.” In that proclamation or possibly a different one, he says “I regret that death has once again passed me by, thus prolonging my shame of being an Italian.” I believe the takeaway here is that he hates Italy and Christmas. 

A federal judge rules that whisky confiscated in Philadelphia shall be distributed among hospitals at $3 a gallon.

The deadline issued under martial law for everyone in Ireland to turn in weapons has expired, and, surprisingly, no one has turned in weapons.

The French  Socialist Party splits after the majority votes to join the Third Internationale.

Woodrow Wilson turns down an offer from a newspaper syndicate of $150,000 for his first post-presidency article. He says no article is worth that much.

Blog posts are totally worth that much, and there’s a PayPal link right on this page. Just saying.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Today -100: December 29, 1920: Work or eviction

Italian troops now occupy half of Fiume. Talks are going on and a temporary suspension of – I think not fighting, just the Italians bombarding Fiume – agreed upon.

47 federal Prohibition agents in New York City are fired. Some of them have been buying cars and diamonds lately.

Former Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon has set a record for membership in the House at nearly 44 years. John Dingell’s 59 years is the current record, and his were consecutive, where Cannon lost a couple of times. He was first elected to the House in 1872. He’s hoping to reach 53 years to beat Gladstone’s record in Parliament. He won’t.

The Circuit Court in Pikeville, Kentucky, allows the Auburn Coal Corporation to evict 27 families of striking miners from their company homes. Work or eviction, the company says.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Today -100: December 28, 1920: Of fine deaths, malicious injuries, deportations, broken atoms, and blums

Italian forces push back d’Annunzio’s legionaries to within a mile of the center of Fiume and capture the railroad station and the Public Gardens. The town is under bombardment. The ships that defected to Fiume from the Italian Navy are being sunk. The poet-aviator has 4 bridges blown up and roads mined.. He clearly intends to bring Fiume down in rubble on the invaders’ heads, so it’s all very dramatic. One Paris newspaper says, “A poet is having men killed in order to have a fine death for himself.” Repeating his wartime feat, d’Annunzio drops leaflets from his plane on Italian troops asking they desert.

The British Parliament passes a law making local Irish councils responsible for paying compensation for IRA “malicious injuries” as a priority over all other budgetary items. The IRA responds by demanding that rate collectors either resign or hand over their collections.

Preliminary talks flounder immediately when the British demand that all IRA weapons be handed over as a condition of any truce.

Rep. Julius Kahn (R for Racist-CA) says Japan can be satisfied by California passing a law banning all foreigners, not just Asiatics, from owning land. In exchange, Japan would ban all its citizens from emigrating to the US. I think I detect a big ol’ racist loophole, which the NYT does not point out: Asians are barred from ever becoming citizens of the US, but other immigrants (Kahn, for example, came from Germany) can.

Mariane Duszak arrived from Poland with her 3 children aged 5 to 7 to join her husband, but she fails her literacy test and they’ll be deported, after the kids get out of the hospital for measles, because of that immigration law passed over Wilson’s veto.

German engineer Willi von Unruh has invented a device that can break up the atom. He’s demonstrated it in his house, and been offered £1 million if it can be removed and tested, but he refused. Anyway, he’s in jail now, and it’s beginning to look like his wooden box with copper plates can’t actually split the atom after all.

The Allies are considering how to deal with Germany’s refusal/inability to disarm right-wing paramilitary groups in Bavaria, preeminent among them the Einwohnerwehr (“Citizens’ Defence”). The French previously ignored the growth of the groups because they hoped Catholic Bavaria could be split from Germany, possibly by a wooden box with copper plates, but now realize that Bavarian right-wingers want to restore the Wittelsbach monarchy in Bavaria and then impose it on Germany as a whole.

The French Socialist Congress is debating Lenin’s conditions for joining the Communist Internationale. Léon Blum wants to stay out and remain plain ol’ Socialists. This is the first mention I’ve noticed in the NYT of the future prime minister, so hi Léon!

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Today -100: December 27, 1920: Of monks, dishwashing, lynchings, and celibacy

Edward “Monk” Eastman, possible real name William Delaney, who was leader of the Eastman Gang in NYC until he went to prison in 1904, a petty criminal after his release from prison, then a soldier in the Great War (for which Gov. Al Smith restored his citizenship), then a petty criminal again, is killed in a fight over the division of bootlegging profits, shot by one of his gang who was also a prohibition agent (which is not known yet). In 1903 Tammany Hall decided to end the gang war between the Eastman Gang and the Five Points Gang by having Eastman and Paul Kelly have a boxing match, which came to a draw after 2 hours.

Contrary to predictions in the press, Calvin Coolidge did NOT wash the dishes after Christmas dinner.

A black man who killed a cop in Jonesboro, Arkansas during a raid on a game of dice is taken from jail and lynched.

Pope Benedict says the Church will never change the requirement of celibacy for priests.

Romania decides not to intern those Jewish refugees.

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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Today -100: December 26, 1920: This loafing, thieving and prowling around has got to stop

Japanese Foreign Minister Count Uchida tells the Diet that a new US-Japanese treaty will probably abrogate California’s racist land laws.

Klan members wander around Columbus, Georgia, handing out circulars warning “Undesirables, both white and black, we are after you. We know you! Take warning! This loafing, thieving and prowling around has got to stop. Ku Klux.” 

A movie is shown to the inmates of Sing Sing’s death row and, because the NYT does NOT know how to write a human-interest story, we don’t know what film it was.

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Friday, December 25, 2020

Today -100: December 25, 1920: We have spoken and written too much

Woodrow Wilson orders US military rule in Santo Domingo to be relaxed. The proclamation refers to the “friendly purposes of the United States in the employment... of its military force” in the DR. So it was friendly 4 years ago and now it’s relaxed. A commission of “representative” Dominicans will be appointed to come up with an election and rewrite the constitution. With an American veto, of course.

Poet-Aviator-Duce d’Annunzio is issuing increasingly desperate-sounding proclamations to the people of Fiume: “We have spoken and written too much. If our words are not made good we shall lose our honor, having already lost all else. There is but one duty – resist.”


President-Elect Harding issues a normal human greeting: “Like every normal human being I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.”

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Today -100: December 24, 1920: Good for Taft

A white man is lynched in Fort Worth. He’d killed a cop while drunk.

And an old black preacher accused of killing a black girl is lynched in Purvis, Mississippi. The sheriff says blacks lynched him.

Civilians are leaving Fiume as the Italian blockade has cut off the food supply. Poet-Aviator-Duce d’Annunzio has placards posted saying such traitors are subject to the death penalty.

Lenin calls for electrification of Russia. Which will cost so much it will require foreign capital and timber exports.

The Soviets are reportedly planning to abolish the right of private ownership of books.

The NAACP asks for the KKK to be banned from using the mails.

Former President Taft denounces the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford specifically for spreading them. He says anti-Semitism has no place in free America.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Today -100: December 23, 1920: Of tariffs, legionnaries, klan parades, and dukes

The House of Representatives passes “emergency” tariffs on imported agricultural products. But they aren’t expected to go anywhere in the Senate.

An article on Harding’s possible Cabinet picks mentions that he will have to take geographical balance into consideration. Have recent presidents done that?

The Italian military finally seriously clashes with Gabriele d’Annunzio’s forces in several places outside Fiume, where the poet-aviator-duce has sent small groups of “Legionnaires” in order to disrupt the Rapallo Treaty. The Italian commander has suggested civilians might want to leave Fiume, nowish.

Headline of the Day -100:  

In Jacksonville, Florida.

The former duke of Brunswick (ex-kaiser Wilhelm’s son-in-law), who left precipitately at the end of the war, demands back pay of 250 million marks, which is the equivalent of some money. He asserts his right to several castles, forests, the national library and the national museum, some horses and carriages, etc. Tomorrow, Brunwick’s premier and justice minister will say he gets nothing because he abdicated.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Today -100: December 22, 1920: Of sharpshooters, propellers, hip liquor, home rule, and narrow-chested bigots

In more anti-crime performance theatre, the NYPD sends 20 ex-army sharpshooters out cruising the city with repeating rifles. Patrolmen are ordered to stop gabbing with each other.

The son of Secretary of Commerce Joshua Alexander, Walter Alexander, a former miliary pilot in the reserves, walks into an airplane propeller, dying instantly. Evidently he was always absent-minded.

Russia is about to invade Estonia, maybe?

Romania orders the internment of 12,000 Jewish refugees from the Ukrainian pogroms.

Headline of the Day -100:  

While federal dry agents are threatening to arrest anyone with a hip flask celebrating New Years in Chicago, Chicago PD Chief Charles Fitzmorris says Chicago cops will be too busy dealing with real crime.

Parliament passes the Irish Home Rule Bill, though it only comes into effect when the British government, um, feels like it. And it won’t come into effect if either the North or South of Ireland don’t accept it. It provides for two bi-cameral parliaments, North and South, and a Council covering the whole island.

I’m not sure why everyone was so sure that De Valera was returning from the US onboard the Aqitania, but it was searched by the crew, searched when it arrived in France, and is searched again in Southampton. No De Valera.

The British ban bars in Palestine. Gov. Ronald Storrs also bans stucco and corrugated iron.

William Simmons, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, writes to NY Assistant District Attorney Alfred Talley, asking whether in an interview Talley described the Klan as “narrow-chested bigots” (I think it was actually narrow-minded) for whom there is no room in New York. Talley replies, yup and I was talking specifically about you guys. Funnily enough, the first Google search result for “talley ku klux klan” is a Trump judicial nominee, Brett Talley, who praised the first Klan’s Grand Wizard. 

The only other thing Alfred Talley, later a judge, is known for is once debating Clarence Darrow on capital punishment. Reading that made me realize I’d never heard Darrow’s actual voice. Here it is. Closer to Spencer Tracey than Henry Fonda.

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Today -100: December 21, 1920: Of returning kings, bankers, and crime

Ex-and-current-or-is-it-still-future King Constantine is back in Greece. He says he will use the Greek army to foster good relations with the Allies, whatever that means. He will also foster ancient Greek culture, which probably means... well, you can write your own sodomy joke.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt will have a new job at the start of the year: running the NY office of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland.

There’s a crime wave in New York City, hold-ups and the like, so they’re hiring  more police, searching people found outside late at night, and eliminating cops’ lunch breaks. The American Legion is offering to supply ex-servicemen as emergency posse members, or something.

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Today -100: December 20, 1920: Of considerable confusion, population explosions, and unknown bodies of men

When the order of Daniel Cohalan, bishop of Cork, excommunicating anyone guilty of murder, ambush or kidnapping, is read out in St. Fibar’s South Church in Cork, “a majority of the congregation left the church amid considerable confusion.”

The military commander in the Kerry district says IRA prisoners will be used as human shields on army transports.

Prof. Raymond Pearl of Johns Hopkins predicts the US population will reach 197 million by the year 2100, which is the absolute maximum the continent can support.

A Jacksonville, Florida real estate guy, John Bischoff, is tarred and feathered by “an unknown body of men” (my guess: Ku Klux Klan) after writing to a local paper complaining about its anti-German editorial policy.

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Today -100: December 19, 1920: Of searches, mandates, bandit-on-bandit banditry, outposts of white civilization, and isolated incidents

The German army begins searching every house in Germany for arms, per the Versailles Treaty.

The first Assembly of the League of Nations adjourns until next September. The Council has decisively won every power struggle with the Assembly, so fuck you, small countries. The Assembly passes an act that countries holding mandates are not allowed to raise troops or exploit them. Balfour responds that Britain intends to do whatever it wants in the mandates no matter what the Assembly votes now or in the future.

Pancho Villa, retired from the rebel business, asks the government to protect him from the bandits who keep stealing his horses.

California Gov. William Stephens asks congresscritters from the West Coast to support California’s racist anti-alien land laws, saying the West is “the outpost of white civilization and must stand as a unit to resist the encroachment of the Japanese and other Oriental races.”

The US Navy Court of Inquiry into the killings of Haitians by US Marines finds, totally believably, that there were only two “isolated acts” and the marines involved in them were punished. It also finds that the invading Americans were greeted as liberators etc. Harding repeated the accusation of indiscriminate killings during the campaign, so he and the military may be off to a rocky start.

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Today -100: December 18, 1920: When is he coming?

Headline of the Day -100:  

But he won’t say what it is. He did just have lunch with William Jennings Bryan, though, and Bryan is pushing a plan for countries to agree to hold referenda before going to war.

House Republicans decide that reapportionment should increase the size of the House of Representatives to 483. This would mean no state would lose a seat, while 25 would gain (5 for California, 4 NY, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, etc). Naturally, this plan would mostly benefit Republicans. The caucus rejects Rep. Tinkham’s move to investigate black voter suppression in the South.

Supposedly, police auxiliaries in Ireland are driving around with the mayor of Kilkenny as a hostage to prevent attacks.

Sidney Catts, the governor of Florida and a reverend, threatens to shoot Big Joe Earman, the editor of the Palm Beach Post, due to the latter’s “tyranny, arrogance and big-stick bossing” (big-stick bossing is the worst kind). “When is he coming?” responds Earman. The paper had taken the reverend governor to task for reinstating a state’s attorney who drank up the evidence against a bootlegger.

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Today -100: December 17, 1920: Of mandates, veeps, race riots, anonymous letter writers, and concentration camps

The League of Nations Council’s big powers refuse to let the Assembly know anything about how they plan to run the former Turkish colonies (Mesopotamia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) as mandates. Similar opacity reigns over the mandate system in the former German colonies, with France already planning to break the mandate rules by raising troops in its African mandates and Britain by trying to monopolize oil production in Mesopotamia.

Bulgaria, Finland, Luxembourg and Costa Rica are admitted to the League. Armenia is rejected, as are Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. French rep René Viviani explains that the Covenant calls for mutual defense and who would defend the Baltic states? No one, that’s who.

Calvin Coolidge agrees to sit in the Cabinet. No VP has ever done this before, and Harding had to pressure him into accepting. Also, Coolidge says he doesn’t need an official residence (there wasn’t one until 1974).

The Senate votes for a bill against strikes, which is brought up suddenly without notice when opponents are not on the floor. It outlaws writing or speaking or advising or persuading anyone to engage in a strike in a common carrier that disrupts commerce between states or with foreign countries or threatens strikebreakers.

A race riot in Independence, Kansas has resulted in 2 deaths and several wounded, possibly fatally. It started when a black man held up a grocer. Hundreds of white men then searched the houses of every black family in town looking for him, leading to gun fire from both races.

Notices signed “Ku Klux Klan” appear in Anniston, Alabama, threatening “Reds, undesirables and anonymous letter writers.”

The US orders the deporation of Soviet Russia’s unofficial ambassador to the US Ludwig Martens because he is affiliated with an organization seeking the overthrow of the US government by force and violence. That organization: the Russian government. No one is suggesting Martens did anything bad himself.

The Boston Election Department says women are going to have to re-register if they want to vote next year. This year they were only required to give their age and obviously the Election Department needs to know their height and weight as well.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The British Labour Party commission that investigated conditions in Ireland reports that the burning of Cork was definitely done by Crown forces deliberately targeting valuable properties according to a preconceived plan. Also, the fires were started after Black and Tans forced the Corkonians indoors.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Today -100: December 16, 1920: The name Wellington Koo will never stop being funny

The League of Nations Assembly elects China to the League Council, which up to now has been exclusively populated by European or North & South American countries. Japan is not best pleased, since this is one step in Wellington Koo’s plan to use the League to lever Shantung out of Japan’s control.

The Assembly votes to admit Austria to the League. France is not best pleased.

Romania is preparing for war with Russia over Bessarabia.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Today -100: December 15, 1920: That’s a lot of whoops

Argentina says it won’t withdraw from the League of Nations... because it never joined the League of Nations. 

Black and Tans beat up a couple of priests in Cork, one of whom is late Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney’s brother. Evidently a coincidence. They make him kneel and try to force him to write “To hell with the Pope” on the pavement, but they’d neglected to bring writing materials. Meanwhile, MacSwiney’s widow Muriel visits the US Congress.

The Labour MPs (PLP) in Westminster reject Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood’s claim that government forces were not behind the burning of Cork, citing the findings of Labour MPs who visited Cork. They demand a proper independent inquiry, not one by the military. The current lord mayor and the 2 MPs representing Cork call on Corkonians (no, really, that’s what they’re called) to boycott the military inquiry.

Rep. John Small (D-NC) has for years bought a suit of clothes for each new child of constituent R.C. Bland, a farmer. Informed that he’s now on the hook for a 14th kid since this all started, Small says the deal is off when he retires at the end of this session of Congress. Bland, 65, has had 34 kids, 15 by his first wife and 19 by his second, 26 of whom are still living. He says it’s easier to raise children after the first ten, since the older ones help out. One time 14 of the children had whooping cough at once.

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Monday, December 14, 2020

Today -100: December 14, 1920: Of war laws, corks, and immigration pauses

The House of Representatives votes to repeal most of the laws which were enacted for “the duration of the war.”

In Parliament, Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood refuses demands for a civilian investigation of the burning of Cork, because Cork is under military control.  He insists the military couldn’t possibly have been responsible (the Black and Tans were) because they don’t even have incendiary bombs. He also says the military and police actually helped put out the fire (they did not, and shot at firemen and cut fire hoses, which Greenwood denies).

The bishop of Cork says he’ll excommunicate anyone ambushing Crown forces.

The House of Representatives passes an immigration bill banning new immigration for a year (it was originally 2 years, so that’s something, I guess), but letting in siblings of resident aliens.

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Today -100: December 13, 1920: Of arson, big navies, trucking, and African farms

Much of Cork, including the Town Hall, is burned down in retaliation for an ambush in which 3 military police are killed. There’s also looting.

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels says if the US doesn’t join the League of Nations, it should begin a 3-year program to build 88 new ships. If it does join, the present navy is good enough.

When he leaves office in 3 weeks, NY Gov. Al Smith will join a trucking company as director.

Olive Schreiner, South Africa women suffragist leader and author of The Story of an African Farm (1883) and other novels as well as Woman and Labour (1911), dies at 65.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Today -100: December 12, 1920: Of disarming, hobos, experimenting in college, and mimetic satirists

The League of Nations disarmament commission agrees to ask members not to increase their military spending in 1922 and 1923 over 1921 levels, but Japan says it can’t reduce its military and naval spending while the US is increasing its.

A police raid in Dublin finds a bomb-making plant in a bicycle repair shop.

At the big hobo convention in Toledo, Ohio, two rival hobo organizations clash, with Gus Gramer, the Grand Dictator of the Social Order of Hoboes, accusing the International Brotherhood Welfare Association of “usurping the rights of the regular hoboes,” but they ultimately resolve their differences. Just what are the rights of regular hobos?

Headline of the Day -100:  

Goucher College in Baltimore.

Enrico Caruso bursts a blood vessel in his throat during Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. He actually tries to continue singing, but fails. He’ll make a couple more attempts at concerts, but his career is over.

By coincidence, in a Sunday NYT interview with Charlie Chaplin, the “mimetic satirist,” as he calls himself in preference to “clown,” describes having met Caruso once, and it did not go well.

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Friday, December 11, 2020

Today -100: December 11, 1920: Of blockades, unauthorized uniforms, bombs, and is there a doctor in the house

The League of Nations Assembly decides that each nation may decide whether or not to participate in blockades. So the League is now essentially toothless. This is another Big State/Small State conflict, with the big states wanting sole control, through the Council, of when to impose a blockade.

Martial law is declared in Cork, Limerick, Kerry, and Tipperary. Irish people must hand in weapons and “unauthorized uniforms” or face the firing squad. But Lloyd George offers safe passage to London to any Sinn Féin MPs whom he does not deem criminals.

Someone throws a bomb at the Romanian Senate, killing a senator, a bishop/senator, and the justice minister, and wounding others. The government will use this as an excuse to arrest every communist they can find.

Federal prohibition enforcement agent Benson Laverty is sentenced to 18 months for extortion. Laverty says he was drunk at the time he took $200 from the owner of a road house in Queens, which may not be the defense he thinks it is.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Today -100: December 10, 1920: Ireland has always wished for peace, but Ireland is not the aggressor

Huh. The NYT only finds out about the Treaty of Alexandropol between Armenia and Atatürk’s renegade Turkish nationalist forces more than a week after it’s signed. Armenia gives up more than half its territory.

Bulgaria will join the League of Nations, despite being on the Wrong Side of the war.

Five men are executed at Sing Sing in a sing-single day, “one of the most trying days the prison officials have ever endured.” I hope the prisoners apologized for putting them through such a trying day. Two were insane and/or of “feeble mentality.”

In a letter to the Irish Bulletin, Michael Collins says that in the absence of Sinn Féin leaders De Valera (in the US) and Griffith (in prison), others “rush in to talk of a truce and willingness to have peace. Ireland has always wished for peace, but Ireland is not the aggressor. Her acts of force are acts of self-defense.”

Three “gangsters” accused of murdering a sheriff and a couple of detectives are lynched in Santa Rosa, California.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Today -100: December 9, 1920: Of occupations, periods of quiet, bootleg evils, women students, and disarmament

The British military evicts Dublin city government departments (treasury, public health, etc) from their buildings to use them as officers’ barracks. Subtle.

Britain blocks the Villard Committee, a US group investigating conditions in Ireland, from sending investigators there. The British Embassy says the truth about those conditions can’t be established until after the Irish insurgency has been crushed and there’s been “a period of quiet.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

Cambridge University rejects allowing women students equal admission, with degrees and everything. They’ll have to wait until 1948.

The Greek government asks Constantine to abdicate the throne he doesn’t currently occupy in favor of the crown prince.

In Massachusetts elections this week, all women candidates for local office failed.

Woodrow Wilson declines the League of Nations’s offer for him to send a representative to its disarmament commission because, he points out, the US is not a member of the League of Nations.

Ohio Gov. Cox offers, if Harding wants to leave the Senate now and get on with president-electing, to replace him with a Republican, former Governor Frank Willis, who is senator-elect for the other seat. Harding says he wants to talk to Willis first. Also, Willis’s father is dying, so maybe not the best time.

Also dying: Augusta Victoria, the former kaiserin of Germany (i.e., Wilhelm’s missus). The Reichstag is discussing whether or not to pass a sympathy resolution when she does. The Socialists are opposed.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Today -100: December 8, 1920: I thank no one for refraining from murdering me

Woodrow Wilson’s last State of the Union Address calls for Philippines independence, a loan to Armenia, tax reform, federal licensing of corporations engaged in interstate commerce, and rehabilitation and training for disabled vets, but nothing about the Peace Treaty (it’s still unknown whether he intends to re-submit it to the Senate).

Warren G. Harding leaves his card at the White House.

Several members of Dublin city council, supposedly IRA members, are arrested. From hiding, Michael Collins, head of the IRA, denies reports that an agreement to start peace talks includes a guarantee of his safety. In fact there is no such agreement, he says, and his personal safety “does not matter and does not count as a factor in the question of Ireland’s rights. I thank no one for refraining from murdering me.”

The Jersey City police chief orders all suspicious-looking negroes who are out at night rounded up. There have been no fewer than 3 crimes committed by black people recently “and it has got to stop,” says the chief.

Woodrow Wilson’s getting a Nobel Peace Prize, presumably because he kept us out of war. Wait...

Rep. Isaac Siegel (R-NY) objects to the bill suspending immigration for 2 years having passed through the Immigration Committee without a hearing. He says the bill is the result of Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic propaganda. He wants immigrants “Americanized” from the minute they arrive, and for them to be steered away from the big cities.

A bill in the Philippines Territorial Senate would require the wearing of trousers in public, under penalty of 5 years in prison. The senator proposing it says “The appearance of half-naked pagans is a most shameful exhibition, and is capitalized by the opponents of Philippine independence as demonstrating the incapacity of the Filipinos for self-government.” The government would distribute trousers free.

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Monday, December 07, 2020

Today -100: December 7, 1920: Of oligarchies and censorship

Harding is back in Washington. He visits the Senate to say goodbye (he’s not planning to resign as senator until next month) and give a little farewell speech, in which he says there is no such thing as a “Senatorial oligarchy” (there is totally such a thing as the senatorial oligarchy). Yesterday, he sounded ambivalent about reports that Wilson wanted to meet with him, saying he hadn’t actually received an invitation. Today, Mrs. Harding has tea with Mrs. Wilson at the White House but their husbands do not meet.

I didn’t know that Harding was the first senator elected president.

The Pennsylvania Board of Censors bans movies that glorify crime or make criminals fascinating or alluring.

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Sunday, December 06, 2020

Today -100: December 6, 1920: Of lynchings and attempted lynchings, pockets, and kings

A black man is lynched in Holdenville, Oklahoma.

An attempt to storm the Wise, Virginia jail to lynch a black man is thwarted by the sheriff, who has a machine gun mounted on the jail. One of the lynch mob is killed. Good.

The police in Macroom, County Cork, issue a proclamation banning men from appearing in public with their hands in their pockets, on pain of being shot.

The Greek plebiscite massively supports the return of former king Constantine, ousted by the Allies in 1917. The ballot is not secret.

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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Today -100: December 5, 1920: Of soviet republics, high heels, and moonshiners

Russian troops capture Armenia’s capital Yerevan. Armenia is now a Soviet Republic.

Argentina withdraws from the League of Nations until its demands are met for restructuring the League to remove the structural dominance by the big states and its status as a Great War victors’ club.

The 19th annual convention of the Massachusetts Osteopathic Society decides to seek a law against high heels.

An “expedition” of Federal prohibition agents into the Kentucky hills results in a major gun battle with moonshiners.

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Friday, December 04, 2020

Today -100: December 4, 1920: Of motorcycles, breeding places of iniquity, elementary duties of civilization, and simple spelling

Headline of the Day -100:  

In response to complaints from Canadian Christian missionaries operating in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, Japan says it only burned churches and schools if there was proof positive that they were “breeding places of iniquity.” Also, soldiers had to execute villagers without even a court-martial, but took utmost care to avoid indiscriminate massacres. So that’s okay then. Also, if British missionaries keep supporting Korean malcontents, Japanese Buddhists are entitled to assist anti-British elements in India.

British Prime Minister Lloyd George says his political opponents are using the Irish reprisals as an excuse to attack him and that while “the police are discharging those elementary duties of civilization,” they are entitled to the support of every honest citizen, and Liberals should really be denouncing Sinn Féin.

The announced day for Fiume’s war on Italy to commence has come and gone without any actual war.

The Allies tell Greece, two days before the plebiscite, that if Constantine becomes king again, all financial support will end.

Republican NY Gov.-Elect Warren Miller wants the Socialists elected to the Assembly to be allowed, this time, to take their seats.

The Navy reverses a 1905 order allowing simplified spelling (“thru” for “through,” etc).

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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Today -100: December 3, 1920: Of women’s work, champagne, bets, Jewish suffrage, and immigration

Speaker of the House Frederick Gillett offers the sole woman rep, Alice Robertson, the job of running the House restaurant. 

That’s not even slightly subtle, is it?

Countess Constance Markievicz, the first woman elected to the British Parliament, is being tried by court-martial for promoting the murder of police and military in Ireland and inciting disaffection (disaffection in Ireland? unpossible!). They claim when arrested she said she had once murdered English soldiers (presumably during the Easter Rising).

60,000 bottles of champagne are coming from France, authorized by the US government for medicinal purposes.

Britain, France and Italy send Greece a note saying they really don’t want Constantine restored to the throne.

Clarence Burk is joining the army because he lost a bet with his brother that if Cox lost the election, he’d enlist for 3 years. Had Cox won, his brother would have had to join the navy for 4 years.

This may be a rumor: the Hungarian political parties agree to deprive Jews of the vote.

The House Immigration Committee approves a bill to pause immigration for two years except for relatives of aliens currently residing in the US and seeking US citizenship.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Today -100: December 2, 1920: IT’S WAR!

Headline of the Day -100:  

This is the poet-aviator’s response to Italy ordering the military men who’ve defected to Fiume to return to their units. Italy is also threatening a blockade, and it sounds like they might actually mean it this time. D’Annunzio’s announcement pencils in the start of that war for two days later. What sort of monster starts a war on a Friday?

Former kaiser Wilhelm demands one billion marks, which is the equivalent of some money, in compensation for the loss of lands, his civil list allowance, and an art gallery. Some of those properties actually belong to the Prussian/German state.

General Alvaro Obregón is sworn in as president of Mexico, using his left hand because he lost part of his right arm, shot off or something, which will naturally lead to a debate over whether that even counts.

Philippines Governor-General Burton Harrison says the Philippines are ready for independence.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Today -100: December 1, 1920: Of burnt cork, secret meetings, mediation, and ponzis

Buildings, businesses, and Sinn Féin clubs are being burned in Cork, although two attempts to destroy the City Hall fail. Uniformed men in masks (is that a new thing?) prevent firemen from putting out fires by, you know, shooting at them. Corkahoovians are fleeing the town, while those who stay are showing increasing incidents of heart disease, admission to insane asylums, goiters, and St Virtus dance among children.

There’s a “secret meeting” of 3,000 Irish people, admission by password, at the Central Opera House, New York City. It forms the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic; everyone has to sign a pledge of support or be ejected, although it sounds like only one woman was.

Woodrow Wilson agrees to the League of Nations’s request to mediate between Armenia and Atatürk’s renegade Turkish nationalist forces.

Eugene Chafin, Prohibition Party candidate for president in 1908 and 1912, dies ten days after setting his clothes on fire trying to light a gas heater.

Charles Ponti pleads guilty to using the mails to defraud, and is sentenced to 5 years.

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