Friday, December 31, 2021

Today -100: December 31, 1921: But the Brits are too smart to fall into that trap, right?

The Indian National Congress fails to declare independence as some expected. It wants the blame for starting warfare to fall on the British.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Today -100: December 30, 1921: To be fair, are we sure Gandhi couldn’t do those things?

Headline of the Day -100:  

France’s refusal to go along with limits on submarines (indeed, France plans to triple its sub tonnage) was thoroughly predictable, but Britain in particular was sure it could be browbeaten into accepting limits for some reason. There’s some hope remaining that France will join an agreement not to use submarines against civilian commercial ships. France would also have blocked any attempt to limit land forces, so no one tried. So the only thing the Washington Conference has accomplished is to limit the number of capital ships, which is disappointing but not nothing. Anyway, everyone hates France now, as is the custom.

The embezzlement charges against Illinois Gov. Len Small are dropped, along with the charge of operating a confidence game, but the charge of conspiracy to defraud the state of $2m remains. The embezzlement charge is gone only because the foreman of the grand jury signed the indictment in the wrong place; the con game charge is quashed because a typist left out a word. Pretty sure some money changed hands to ensure those mistakes. Other charges were dropped because prosecutors failed to prove an element of the crime.

The Indian National Congress gives Gandhi sole executive authority. He says “If non-violence is given up India will never attain her liberty.” That’s about it for quotes from Gandhi in the NYT, but they do give plenty of space to the Westminster Gazette account of ignorant Indian villagers who believe Gandhi is magic and can stop bullets, heal illnesses, re-grow severed limbs, and cause cotton to grow on trees.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Today -100: December 29, 1921: Prison and Presidents can’t scare me

A huge crowd welcomes Eugene Debs back to Terre Haute. Placards include “Everybody smiles now” and “Prison and Presidents can’t scare me.” He’s even greeted by the (Republican) mayor, who kisses him on the cheek.

His house is still around, by the way (4 bedrooms, 1 bath), but not currently for sale. Update after some more googling, during which I discover that residents of Terra Haute are called Terra Hautians, which seems a little fancy for Indiana: Oh, wait, it’s a museum now.

Russian Rumor of the Day -100:  Cannibalism. Lots of cannibalism. And infanticide. Lots of infanticide.

The Indian National Congress re-affirms the non-violent policy championed by Gandhi. Opponents had tried to get the call for “legitimate and peaceful means” changed to “possible and proper means.”

Four San Francisco-based federal prohibition agents have recently gotten sick from bad brandy, which they totally had to drink to check evidence.

A man in Ontario breaks 21 windows in order to get a nice warm jail cell for the winter. The magistrate sentences him to a nice warm jail cell for the next 40 winters.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Today -100: December 28, 1921: Of air attacks, Chicago-style murders (deep-dish, I guess), and storm orphans

The British authorities in Egypt threaten that if nationalist crowds form in Suez, they will be attacked from the air, first with smoke bombs, then shells and machine guns.

The Irish Horse Breeders’ Association adopts a resolution in favor of ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, so that should pretty much settle that.

The Chicago murder rate is up to almost one per day. And on Christmas the city set a record for the most hospitalizations due to alcohol poisoning. Deaths from alcohol are also way up.

Mexican Pres. Obregón denies spreading anti-US propaganda in Central America.

Premiering today: Orphans of the Storm. Gishes! All the Gishes! Will Lillian be guillotined during the French Revolution? Will Dorothy regain her eyesight?

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Monday, December 27, 2021

Today -100: December 27, 1921: I trust that the notoriety he has received may not be commercialized

Eugene Debs arrives in DC. After he talks with Attorney General Harry Daugherty (“I volunteered no advice to him and he asked none,” says Daugherty; “I trust that the notoriety he has received may not be commercialized”), he hops over to the White House and speaks with Pres. Harding for half an hour, about what we do not know. Debs says he’ll work for “the freedom of political prisoners and the cause of all prisoners,” although for how long depends “entirely on how long I will be out.”

There’s a lynching in Key West with some backstory we’re not getting: coffee shop owner Manuel Head is beaten by a group of masked men (Klan?); some time afterwards he shoots and kills a “prominent resident.” He holds off a mob until the authorities arrest him, only for deputies to lose him to another mob (lots of mobs in this story), who tie him to a telephone pole and shoot him to death.

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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Today -100: December 26, 1921: A shallow, howling, whining minority has had its way

France will stop branding its conscripted Vietnamese soldiers, a practice supposedly resulting from the soldiers taking “advantage of their baffling similarity in appearance” to go AWOL.

A condition of Eugene Debs’s release is that he has to “confer” with Attorney General Daugherty, for some reason, so he’s taking the train to Washington (update: the warden gave him a railroad ticket to DC; he had been intending to go to his home. He exchanged the Pullman ticket for a day coach and donated the difference to Russian relief). He has no comment for the reporters waiting for him at the prison gates except that the 2,300 political prisoners still in prison should also be released.

The NYT seems a tad upset about Debs’ release. After all, “He sought to murder the State.” “A shallow, howling, whining minority has had its way.”

Knight Dunlap, professor of experimental psych at Johns Hopkins, “invents” the chronoscope, which can measure intelligence and tell if people are guilty of crimes.

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Saturday, December 25, 2021

Today -100: December 25, 1921: Only mildly merry

There are nationalist uprisings in Egypt against British rule, the Egyptian government has resigned, revolutionary leader (and future prime minister) Zaghlûl Pasha has been forcibly deported, and the British are preparing to slaughter whoever they need to slaughter to restore “peace.” As was the custom.

Colombia ratifies the treaty with the US giving them $25m in compensation for the US stealing Panama.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Because isn’t it always.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Friday, December 24, 2021

Today -100: December 24, 1921: Of mock Santas, debses, and fermented wines

Pres. Harding commutes the sentences of 24 political prisoners, including Eugene Debs. He also pardons 5 soldiers who killed a former British officer in Germany. The pardon statement cites Debs’ age (66) and poor health and says he wasn’t as “rabid” in his expressions as some others, but probably got a harsh sentence because of his prominence. Some of the 24 are Wobblies who “have either expressed full penitence or are booked for deportation”. Many political prisoners remain in prison.

And Labor Secretary J.J. Davis orders the release of 1,100 immigrants being held for deportation at Ellis Island. However they’re only being released for 90 days, with no idea what happens to them after that. Half of them are Hungarian. Most or all were detained not for anything they’d done wrong but because their national quotas had been filled (the US is still blaming unscrupulous steamship companies).

Rumor of the Day -100:  Ex-kaiser Wilhelm, whose wife died in April, is going to marry the widow of an officer killed in the war. He won’t. I gather his courtiers are parading many possible brides in front of him.

Xmas-y Headline of the Day -100:  

Prohibition authorities are considering banning fermented wines from Christian and Jewish religious ceremonies, which they claim don’t require them, and substituting fruit juice or maybe a Snapple. This is mostly aimed at Jews, as there has been a bit of abuse of the regs allowing Jewish families 10 gallons of wine a year.

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Today -100: December 23, 1921: We do not care to assist in obtaining cheap notoriety for anybody

At the Washington Conference, Britain makes its case for banning submarines, saying 1) they’re ineffective as defensive weapons, 2) their chief value is against unarmed merchant ships, which is like totally inhumane. No one else agrees that subs have no legitimate uses, especially France.

The Theatre Owners’ Chamber of Commerce decides that none of the 600 movie theaters it controls will show “The Lonely Trail,” a movie actor Fred Beauvais wrote and stars in, because Beauvais was co-respondent in a divorce suit. Says the Chamber’s secretary, S.A. Morrass, “We do not care to assist in obtaining cheap notoriety for anybody.” Cheap notoriety is the worst kind.

Rep. James Aswell (D-Louisiana), last seen here 3 days ago defending lynching, demands that negroes be banned from the Congressional restaurant, after 4 are seen eating in the presence of their betters. The restaurant agrees to the ban.

The Dáil Éireann debates some more about the treaty before adjourning until 1922. What strikes me is that the debate is entirely about whether Ireland is getting powers demanded by the oath to the republic that so many took and what powers the king can exercise and so forth, and barely a word, at least in the NYT accounts, about Ulster and the division of Ireland.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Today -100: December 22, 1921: Of candles, armies, raids, and dimes

The Hardings planned to put lighted candles in the White House’s windows for Xmas, but the general agent of the Underwriters’ Laboratories telegrammed that that would be fraught with danger, so they gave up the idea.

The new Lord Chamberlain, the Duke of Atholl, is the only person in Britain allowed to keep his own private army. This is still true in 2021, although the last couple of dukes have actually been South African. Queen Victoria gave the dukedom this right for some reason.

The Dry Police raid a hotel where a dinner is being given to Massachusetts Gov. Channing Cox to informally announce his candidacy for governor (not re-election, NYT, he’s governor now because Calvin Coolidge left the office), even though the federal prohibition director for New England, who is at the dinner, had authorized the liquor to be transported for the “personal use” of someone who claimed to live in a room in the hotel, a room which guests of the dinner kept slipping up to for some reason. The raid seems to be part of a power struggle within the prohibition office.

A local reporter briefly interviews John D. Rockefeller at a railway station in Savannah, Georgia. At the end, Rockefeller asks him if he’s married, because he wants to give him something to remember him by, then gifts him with six shiny new dimes, one for the reporter, one for his wife, and one each for his parents and parents-in-law.

Hatred, coming in 1922!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Today -100: December 21, 1921: Speaking of insular

Pres. Harding evidently doesn’t know what his negotiators are up to, saying that the Four Power treaty (US, Britain, France, Japan) guaranteeing everyone’s ownership of colonies (“insular possessions and insular dominions”) in the Pacific does not also apply to the islands of Japan proper. He subsequently learns that his negotiators did agree to that interpretation, and says he’s okay with it.

Or maybe there wasn’t a revolution in Portugal.

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Today -100: December 20, 1921: I broke my oath of allegiance to the republic because I believed it to be the lesser evil

Headline of the Day -100:  

Someone sent an anonymous note, so lots of people gathered to see the possible explosion, because they hadn’t invented Netflix yet. This comes just after the arrest in Warsaw of a suspect in the September 1920 Wall Street bombing (who didn’t do it).

There’s a revolution in Portugal, as was the custom.

The Dáil finally debates the Anglo-Irish Treaty not behind closed doors. Arthur Griffith defends the treaty as “good enough.” Éamon de Valera accuses him and Collins of “subverting the republic.” Erskine Childers points out that the Irish Constitution would depend on an act of the British Parliament and that the king could veto Irish legislation. Robert Barton says he and Gavan Duffy, members of the delegation, only signed because Lloyd George threatened war unless every member signed and recommended passage by the Dáil; “I broke my oath of allegiance to the republic because I believed it to be the lesser evil.” Michael Collins denies having been bluffed into signing by the British.

Southern Democratic congresscritters filibuster a rule to limit debate on the anti-lynching bill. They claim the bill violates states’ police powers and would actually increase lynching and assault. James Aswell (D-Louisiana) says “The bill will protect the assaulters of women from the mob. ... It will encourage the criminal by making him think the danger of speedy death is removed.” More than one speaker uses the phrase “black beasts.”

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Today -100: December 18, 1921: Of pugsleys, kings, certain amendments, freer and more indulgent conduct, and a bigamy fat joke that’s just sitting there

Alliterative high school student Pearl Pugsley of Knobel, Arkansas sues the school board over its ban on cosmetics.

The Albanian commissioner to the US denies having asked Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte to become king of Albania.

The Dáil Éireann is debating the Anglo-Irish treaty behind closed doors. So we hear that Éamon de Valera has “suggested certain amendments” without hearing what they are.

NY Archbishop Patrick Hayes, the guy who sicced the cops on Margaret Sanger last month, issues a Christmas pastoral to be read at all 300 Catholic churches in New York denouncing birth control and “the freer and more indulgent conduct, more particularly amongst the younger members of the female sex.” Particularly. Pagan philosophy blah blah Herod blah blah unclean abomination blah blah. He also doesn’t like divorce, and says women should measure their lives by the number of their offspring, not the number of husbands.

A long letter to the NYT from Eugene O’Neill responds to complaints about the happy ending of Anna Christie. But are there really ever endings? he asks.

A possible explanation for why Bambina Maude Delmont, who swore out the initial complaint against Fatty Arbuckle, wasn’t a witness at his trial: she has now plead guilty on a charge of bigamy, and received a year’s probation.

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Friday, December 17, 2021

Today -100: December 17, 1921: Of ratios, crowns, twangs, fake gold, peelers, and old old old lawsuits

France wants more warships than the 5:5:3:3:3 ratio would give it, 3.5 say. It doesn’t have nearly that many ships now, and isn’t in financial shape to build them, but it might be able to in the future and it doesn’t want a lower limit than Japan has (it might also be using this as leverage for it to keep submarines, which it considers the little guy’s weapon of defense; Britain wants to ban submarines altogether). Also, it has all these colonies all over the world and needs a bunch of ships to keep them in line. Italy of course wants whatever France gets. And Britain says if France and Italy get more ships, it wants more ships.

Albania tentatively offers Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, great-grand-nephew of Napoleon I, who lives in New York, the Albanian crown. He’s unsure whether he wants it, because Albania is kind of a mess.

VP Coolidge has an operation on his nose to relieve his breathing, and it has removed his Yankee “twang.”

The Houses of Commons and Lords easily approve the Anglo-Irish treaty.

Prof. Irving Fisher of Yale, an economist, thinks Germany might pay off reparations by having its chemists make artificial gold out of baser metals. So.... alchemy?

19 Klansmen, some of them prominent Austin, Texas businessmen, are arrested for murder of one Peeler Clayton, stockman. It’s unclear what they had against Ol’ Peeler.

The court of Nancy, France, settles a lawsuit between the towns of Charcillat and Meussia over ownership of a wood, dividing it between them. The lawsuit began in 1230.

Composer Camille Saint-Saëns, dies at 86.

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Today -100: December 16, 1921: Of treaties, chains of circumstance that spell ruin, and prohibition

Éamon de Valera wants the treaty to go to a referendum, which treaty supporters do not want.

Rep. John Elston (R-California) commits suicide, drowning himself in the Potomac. He left a note saying “I am in a chain of circumstances that spell ruin, although my offense was innocently made in the beginning.” Don’t know what that all means, although his friends will claim it really read “although my offer was unconditionally made” and that his suicide was because of depression after failing to get Congress to authorize a naval base for Alameda.

Chicago Police Chief Charles Fitzmorris orders the police to enforce Prohibition, you know, really enforce it this time.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Today -100: December 15, 1921: Of treaties, ratios, and lynching trees

Éamon de Valera explains that the Irish negotiators of the treaty failed to submit it to the Dáil before signing it, as their instructions required. I’m still not hearing his specific objections to the treaty.

René Maran, from French Martinique, wins the Prix Goncourt for his novel Batouala, set in French Equatorial Africa. Maran is the first black person to win the award. Its criticism of French colonialism will lead to it being banned, as was the custom. And the NYT spells his name wrong, as was the custom.

Japan accepts the 5:5:3 naval ratio, after some fiddling to allow it to keep the destroyer Matsu, which the Japanese are very fond of for some reason.

Tarrant County, Texas orders the “lynching tree” near the county jail in Forth Worth cut down following two lynchings in the last year in which people were hanged from it.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Today -100: December 14, 1921: Of bad government, wildcats, juries, and censuses

Former Boston Mayor James Curley is elected mayor again, defeating the “good government” candidate. Curley is the corrupt government candidate.

A white man who attacked an 8-year-old girl is lynched in Waco, Texas.

Marshal Foch really is taking that wildcat he was given by the Montana branch of the American Legion back to France with him. Her name is Theodora, which is a delightful name for a wildcat.

The Iowa Supreme Court upholds women’s right to serve on juries. (The one-sentence story doesn’t make clear if that means they’ll be obligated to serve on the same terms as men. In New York, for instance, women could volunteer but could not be forced onto juries until the 1970s, which explains Twelve Angry Men.)

Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover approves the idea of a new census in 1925, saying 1920’s census reflected an “abnormal” population shift into cities, affecting reapportionment, which he claims is now reversing itself. Don’t know how a new census would change that. Also, the census didn’t affect reapportionment because there hasn’t been a reapportionment, and won’t be.

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Monday, December 13, 2021

Today -100: December 13, 1921: Of borahs, ratios, and citizenship

Sen. William Borah (R-Idaho) starts a debate in the Senate over the not-yet-signed Four Power treaty on the Pacific, claiming that even though it doesn’t require the four imperial powers to come to each other’s aid militarily in case of aggression, the US would be bound “morally” to do so, and that’s not okay with him. Borah will also oppose the naval reduction treaty if it doesn’t ban submarines and poison gas.

The Washington Conference adds France and Italy to the naval limitation thingy. So the ratio is now 5:5:3:3:3.

Despite mass arrests of anyone who might mar the Prince of Wales’s tour of India, almost everyone (natives anyway) boycotts his parade/procession/whatever in Allahabad.

Pres. Harding refuses to see the delegation which came from Porto Rico to demand the recall of Gov. E. Mont Reily.

In 1918 Congress extended to Asians the practice of granting citizenship to members of the military. Now, the Harding Administration, looking for a test case, cancels the citizenship of a Japanese Coast Guard steward who has served for 8 years.

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Today -100: December 12, 1921: Of disarmed nations, lynchings, and male and female degenerates

Headline of the Day -100:  

Yay! Germany will never be a military threat again!

G.A. Rau, the Columbia student reported missing after he went to a KKK meeting, turns up, claiming that four men in masks tied him to a tree and whipped him. He displays some torn clothing but not the actual alleged injuries.

Prof. Lawrence Morris of the Allegheny Vocational School for veterans is found dead, shot in the chest with, mysteriously, a filled-in application form for the KKK in his pocket.

A black strikebreaker in the San Antonio stockyards who shot two striking picketers last week and was then beaten up by strikers, is seized by a mob from the hospital and lynched.

The new Archbishop of Baltimore, Michael Curley, has some shit to say (at a confirmation, no less) about birth control, and while Catholic officials a hundred years later still oppose birth control, do they call its advocates “male and female degenerates who would fly in the face of God the Creator and make life one great sin and orgy of passion”?

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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Today -100: December 11, 1921: Communism’s loss...

The League of Nations mints its own coin. Just one of them, a gold franc, the monetary unit on which the League’s budget is based. So a totally notional non-currency currency, but for some reason they needed one (1) real-world coin. It’s worth about 2¢ US.

G.A. Rau, a Columbia U. student, went to a KKK meeting in Brooklyn intending to denounce Imperial Kleagle E.Y. Clarke, to his face, and then... vanished. Police thinks it’s a publicity stunt, but he is reported as a missing person by his Delta Phi frat brother Chester A. Arthur III, who is also a Klansman and, yes, grandson of the president. Over his life, Chester 3 (he called himself Gavin) founded a commune, prospected for gold, hawked newspapers, taught at San Quentin, and was an astrologist, a sexologist, an astrological sexologist, and a gay rights activist (he was bi, married 3 times).

In addition to the 4-power treaty on the Pacific coming out of the Washington Conference and the 5-power naval limitation treaty, there will be a 9-power treaty dealing with China, respecting its territorial integrity and neutrality.

Anatole France isn’t a Communist anymore.

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Friday, December 10, 2021

Today -100: December 10, 1921: I don’t want to become bald like most Canadian statesmen

Britain releases some of its IRA internees. As a trainload of them reach Thurles station, some bombs are thrown, injuring 3 of the internees and some people on the platform. This may have been intended as a greeting, gone a bit wrong.

The committee investigating American history textbooks for the NYC Board of Education finds that they’re prejudiced in favor of the British point of view. A member of a local school board complains that her son was taught that John Hancock was a smuggler (John Hancock was totally a smuggler).

During the Senate investigation of charges made by Thomas Watson (D-Georgia) that there were dozens of executions of US soldiers without courts-martial during the Great War, Watson complains, loudly, that Gen. George Cocheu was looking at him funny. He calls the general a “lantern-jawed dog” and a “bull-jawed brute” and threatens to slap him.

Canadian MPs normally wear hats in Parliament, doffing them when rising to address the chair. The newly elected first woman MP, Agnes Macphail (whose name the NYT still hasn’t figured out how to spell), for whom that would be a more difficult procedure, says she’ll simply do without a hat. “I don’t want to become bald like most Canadian statesmen.”

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Today -100: December 9, 1921: Dead again

The guy who commanded the U-boat that sank the Lusitania is reported to have been killed by the crew of a Paraguayan warship he was in command of, mutinying because of his Prussian ways. This is nonsense: Walter Schwieger was killed in action in 1917.

Éamon de Valera comes out against the Anglo-Irish treaty, along with 2 other Cabinet members (that’s 3 out of 7). He does not explain his problems with the treaty.

The US, Britain, France and Japan form a compact not to attack each other’s colonies in the Pacific, and to mediate before going to war. This will officially end the Anglo-Japanese alliance that made the US so nervous. And the agreement not to attack without warning will reassure Japan, allowing it to assent to the 10:10:6 naval ratio with Britain and the US, which are stubbornly refusing Japan’s proposed 10:10:7.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Today -100: December 8, 1921: Of strikes, coups, and sheep glands

There’s a strike at Chicago meat-packing houses against a 10% wage reduction, and rioting of supposedly 100,000 people. The “women folk” of the strikers place themselves between the strikers and the mounted police. They use pepper against the cops and their horses, and children scatter tacks ahead of the motorcycle cops. Cops shoot into the crowd, as was the custom. A black scab is thrown into the grossly named sewage stream Bubbly Creek and paving blocks are thrown at him until he drowns.

There’s a military coup in Guatemala. The deposed president, Carlos Herrera, himself in power as the result of a 1920 coup, completely voluntarily (while imprisoned) surrenders his powers to a 3-general junta.

Medical Science of the Day -100:

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Today -100: December 7, 1921: Of free states, states of the unions, and poisonous viruses of foreign propaganda

The British and Sinn Féin come to a deal, or at least the latter concede after Lloyd George threatens behind closed doors to unleash the army on Ireland. Ireland will become the “Irish Free State,” a term we haven’t heard before. It’s the same as the dominion status, like that of Canada or Australia or South Africa, that Lloyd George has been offering, but it’s not called dominion status because that sounds to the Irish like it implies subordination. “Free state” and “republic” are evidently the same word in Gaelic, saor statt, or there is no word for republic, or something. The Free State even gets its own military. The oath of members of the Dáil will be to the Constitution of the Free State, and to be “faithful” to the king, whatever that means. Neither the Free State nor Northern Ireland are allowed to establish a religion, or discriminate against a religion.

The State of the Union Address. Harding says “there are growing assurances of the permanency of the peace which we so deeply cherish.” So that’s good. He wants flexible tariffs, cooperative agricultural marketing to prevent the demographic drift to urban areas, irrigating arid lands for veterans, etc. He supports workers’ rights to organize, but wants to eliminate strikes, lockouts, boycotts, or anything else that would make that organizing effective.

In Canadian national elections, the Liberals, led by Mackenzie King, defeat the Conservatives, knocking them into 3rd place behind the Progressives. Prime Minister Arthur Meighen loses his parliamentary seat, as do ten other cabinet members. The election was largely fought on the issue of tariffs. Agnes Macphail (Progressive-Ontario) is elected the first woman MP in Canada (women have been eligible since 1919).

NYC Mayor John Hylan demands an investigation of new history textbooks: “The school children of this city must not be inoculated with the poisonous virus of foreign propaganda which seeks to belittle illustrious American patriots.”

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Monday, December 06, 2021

Today -100: December 6, 1921: Of deals, commencements, and lynchings

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George has come to some sort of agreement  with Sinn Féin.

Oakland High School students threaten to boycott commencement because a Japanese student, Yuki Furuta, will be a speaker, having received higher scores than any student in the school’s history.

Two black men are lynched in Oconee County, Georgia, for supposedly helping a man try to escape a posse.

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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Today -100: December 5, 1921: Of oaths, hung juries, kleagle koups, international Jews, and crashes

Sinn Féin rejects the British government’s latest proposal because of its continuation of partition and insistence on Dáil members taking an oath to the king (they’d accept an oath to the Dáil itself, which would collectively acknowledge the king as head of the Empire, but without an individual oath to the king).

The Fatty Arbuckle jury deadlocks 10-2 in favor of acquittal and is dismissed. Jury foreman August Fritze says that juror Helen Hubbard refused to consider the evidence; the other guilty vote wavered throughout deliberations. Fritze says the prosecution case was “an insult to the intelligence of the jury,” calling on the jury to substitute guesses for evidence.

More than 50 Ku Klux Klan kleagles, which is the official title for “people unembarrassed to call themselves ‘kleagle,’” meet in Philadelphia to discuss forming a breakaway Klan.

Henry Ford explains that it was actually a couple of Jews on his Peace Ship in 1915 who convinced him that “the International Jew” was behind the war. He says the Dearborn Independent will continue exposing the Jews, who were also behind the Civil War.

The Berlin and other German stock exchanges crash.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Today -100: December 4, 1921: Of goblins and tomatoes

Headline of the Day -100:  

The ongoing power struggle in the KKK.

Headline of the Day -100:  

CSI: Astoria

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Friday, December 03, 2021

Today -100: December 3, 1921: I can’t recall all the names

The Dutch parliament passes women’s suffrage 68-16.

The Louisiana Legislature wipes out many of the laws discriminating against women, allowing them to take public offices on an equal basis, to serve as executors, notaries public, arbitrators, etc etc. Husbands now have to get their wife’s consent before selling or mortgaging the family home. Many forms of legal discrimination (property rights, guardianship of children, jury service) remain.

Helen Ferguson Drexler, 22, confesses to having married 16 men, all in the military, for their spousal benefits. “I can’t recall all the names,” she says.

First successful flight of a dirigible (a US Navy craft) using helium, which is less blow-y-up-y than hydrogen.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Today -100: December 2, 1921: Of food riots, nickels, and candy

Riots in Vienna. Fancy hotels are raided and the guests, including Americans!, robbed. Also stores, cafés, etc. The police are blaming Communists, but the riots seem to be entirely a reaction to the skyrocketing price of food.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The trial of Fatty Arbuckle today was as wild as a Fatty Arbuckle party. The ADA says Arbuckle should be convicted just for failing to call the doctor after Virginia Rappe’s “injury.” Fatty’s lawyer attacks the prosecution for holding witnesses in custody and terrorizing one who refused to testify that Rappe had said “He killed me.” And defense witness Irene Morgan has supposedly been poisoned by a man who gave her candy – twice. She got sick both times.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Today -100: December 1, 1921: Of bluebeards, prohibition, and lynchings

Henri Landru is found guilty of 11 counts of murder and sentenced to die by guillotine. Landru’s lawyer had suggested that any of those people might show up anytime, since missing people can’t be declared legally dead until 30 years have passed. He even suggests that they’re alive because Landru sold them into white slavery.

The Prohibition Party decides not to dissolve itself despite, you know, Prohibition. It adds to its agenda demands for the expulsion of foreigners who violate prohibition and the disfranchisement of citizens who do so.

A mob in Ballinger, Texas lynches a 15-year-old negro.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Today -100: November 30, 1921: Of re-starts and buckleys

Northern Irish PM Sir James Craig orders Lloyd George to come up with a whole new proposal, not including an All-Ireland Parliament, by next week or the Irish negotiations will be over. It’s almost like LG gave Ulster all the cards when he pledged not to “coerce” it. Presumably the British would have to coerce Sinn Féin into accepting this new proposal, and indeed the complete division of Ireland, before offering it to the North.

William F. Buckley, the future father of right-wing “intellectual” William F. Buckley, Jr., is expelled from Mexico for criticizing the government (presumably over oil).

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Today -100: November 29, 1921: The Charlie Chaplin of the cinema of crime

Henri Landru’s prosecutor warns the jury against regarding him as a comic figure, “the Charlie Chaplin of the cinema of crime”. Chaplin will of course play a version of Landru in Monsieur Verdoux.

Fatty Arbuckle, who only wishes someone would compare him to Charlie Chaplin, testifies in his defense at his trial. Virginia Rappe was already sick when he found her on the bathroom floor, he says.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Today -100: November 28, 1921: Of bores

Sen. William Borah (R-Idaho) says Harding’s plan for annual international conferences is just a League of Nations under another name, and therefore requires Senate approval.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Today -100: November 27, 1921: Of harsh words

Fascisti and others riot in Turin and Naples against France after (false?) reports that PM Aristide Briand used “harsh words” against the Italian delegation to the Washington Conference. 

Witnesses at Fatty Arbuckle’s trial say that Virginia Rappe was prone to attacks of a medical nature and frequently tore her clothes when in pain, as she did on the night she died. The prosecution’s case is looking weaker and weaker.

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Friday, November 26, 2021

Today -100: November 26, 1921: Of regents, teeth, low-down dives, pigs, and five Wellesley girls who don’t believe the Bible

Harding plans to follow up the Washington Conference with annual conferences of world leaders to set the world right, because I guess no one told him that the League of Nations already exists. 

Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito, 20, is named Prince Regent of Japan due to Emperor Yoshihito’s continued infirmity.

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More riotous scenes in the Prussian Landtag. They began a day ago when the Communists were outraged to discover that rightist deputies were cheating in voting on new parliamentary rules. Today leftist deputies (landtaggers?) deploy sneezing powder, whistles and stink bombs to express their displeasure. Communists offer a resolution to permit smoking in the chamber, since smoking is permitted “in all other low-down dives.” After it’s voted down, they light up anyway.

A bomb is thrown through the window of Lithuania’s finance minister (and former prime minister) Ernestas Galvanauskas, who is wounded.

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Not sure what the French marshal is supposed to do with these gifts. Bring them back to France? I mean, after his menagerie is reduced to one extremely fat wildcat.

Speaking at Carnegie Hall, William Jennings Bryan accuses US colleges of churning out “infidels, atheists, agnostics, higher critics and other varieties of skeptics.” Why, there’s a professor at Bryn Mawr who’s an unbeliever, he says, and “in the last nine months I have found five Wellesley girls who don’t believe the Bible.”

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Today -100: November 25, 1921: The Stove of Doom

It’s Exhibits Day at the Henri Landru trial. The famous stove, in which the authorities think Landru disposed of so many bodies, is shown off, as are the remnants of women’s clothing and, presumably, women, found in it. Landru says that when he’s acquitted, he’d like to start a new life in America.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Today -100: November 24, 1921: Of undersea flora, tunnels, poor stranglers, and naval spectacles

Asked about Britain’s belief that the largish submarine fleet France is demanding it be allowed to keep is aimed at Britain, Prime Minister Aristide Briand points out that Britain wants an awful lot of capital ships considering it’s a friend of the US, allied with Japan, and its possible enemies, Germany and Russia, have no fleets at all. “Perhaps the English want their capital ships to fish for sardines. Well, we want submarines to study the flora at the bottom of the sea for the benefit of our botanical societies.”

D.W. Griffith, being D.W. Griffith, proposes to Navy Secretary Edwin Denby that before ships are scrapped in line with the Washington Conference agreement, they be “used for a few weeks in arranging a naval spectacle for a motion-picture drama, in which the activity of the fleet serves as a powerful climax of a drama which has for its theme the closer brotherhood of all mankind, also illustrating the futility and the stupid and terrible uselessness of war?”

44 Sinn Féin prisoners tunnel out of Kilkenny Prison.

Britain and Afghanistan sign a treaty to prevent Russia opening consulates on the Afghan border.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Today -100: November 23, 1921: It will burn anything

At Henri Landru’s trial, a woman who lived with him for some months in his villa in Gambais and lived to tell the tale says he once pointed to the famous stove in which he is charged with burning the bodies of his victims and said “The draught is excellent, it will burn anything.” She says Landru was loving and attentive. Three psychiatrists testify that Landru is perfectly insane. One of the shrinks addresses the theory going around that Landru somehow hypnotized his victims into some sort of amnesia so that they’re currently wandering around France unaware of their former names; yeah, that’s not a thing, he says.

Bomb-throwing in Belfast.

39 of the 58 members of the Porto Rican Assembly sign a request to Pres. Harding to remove Gov. E. Mont.

The German government denies French PM Aristide Briand’s charge that the German military and police are retaining the officers of the old army as a nucleus around which to rapidly build a future German army while keeping, for now, within the limits of the Versailles Treaty. Briand is not wrong.

At the Washington Conference, everyone agrees that Manchuria is part of China.

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Today -100: November 22, 1921: Of dead POWs and moral isolation

64 of 100 Indian insurgent prisoners (Moplahs) being transported in a closed railway carriage in the Madras district suffocate to death. The official story will be that the ventilation panels had been painted over and no one noticed.

At the Washington Conference, French Prime Minister Aristide Briand announces that France will reduce mandatory military service from 3 years to 18 months. He asks France’s allies not to leave it in “moral isolation.” Britain’s Arthur Balfour & US Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes say they won’t, probably.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Today -100: November 21, 1921: Of hunger strikes, fiery fruit, and shimmies

Gandhi says participants in Bombay riots (still ongoing, although the Prince of Wales’s tour has moved on) should go home, repent, and implore God for forgiveness. And he’ll be fasting until peace is restored. It’s always fun when Gandhi hunger strikes against other Indians.

The Atlantic Fruit ship Tanamo arrives at port in NYC, on fire. E. Mont Reily is on board, and the arson is believed to have been aimed at the unpopular Puerto Rican governor.

Henri Landru was just a plucky underdog serial killer of women to the French public until it also turned out that he killed the dogs of one of them, and Paris doesn’t like him anymore.

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Today -100: November 20, 1921: Psych 101 (or however many women he killed)

Henri Landru, asked why he pretended to be a suitor for marriage to soooooo many women when he was already married, says “Perhaps I wanted to have an opportunity of a study in psychology.”

Gandhi is upset at the rioting on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Bombay, and will undertake a weekly 24-hour fast as penance.

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Today -100: November 19, 1921: Of beer, birth control, borders, and lynchings

The Senate votes 56-22 to ban medical prescriptions for beer, eliminating that loophole in Prohibition. Attempts to stop dry agents raiding private residences were watered down, and will now require a warrant.

The birth control meeting shut down by the NYPD on the Catholic bishop’s say-so and rescheduled by Margaret Sanger is held, this time guarded by the cops.

After being dragged before the League of Nations Council, Yugoslavia and Albania solemnly pledge to stop fighting over the border that the League set for them without bothering to consult either party.

A black man charged with assault on a white woman is lynched in Helena, Arkansas.

Henri Landru gives the address of one of the women he’s alleged to have murdered. Well, it’s actually her address in 1915, but after he was supposed to have murdered her, at the Hotel Du Mans, whose guest registers no longer exist and whose owner is dead.

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Today -100: November 18, 1921: Of ships and spontaneous, whole-hearted welcomes

Britain won’t agree to the proposed limitations on British, Japanese & US ships until limits are also set for those of France and Italy. France wants to keep all its ships because of course it does. Also, Japan wants 70% of the number of capital ships Britain and the US will be allowed rather than the proposed 60%. And there’s a lot of talk about submarines.

The Prince of Wales arrives in Bombay (Mumbai) with a procession, as was the custom, and a riot, although in a different part of the city. The NYT correspondent Percival Landon (I believe actually reporting for the London Times) says Princey (this is the future Edward VIII) is greeted with “real and universal enthusiasm” and that while Gandhi arrived in the city “determined to challenge the spontaneous, whole-hearted welcome of the Indians of every race, religion, caste and color”, Bombay “has completely and contemptuously ignored him and all his works.”

Henri Landru dramatically claims that tomorrow he will produce one of the women he is accused of killing, or at least give her address. He doesn’t say which one. Since the prosecution has no physical evidence, much less a dead body, if he can disprove just one of the 11 murder charges – which really he can’t because he totally killed all of them and a whole lot more – the whole trial would likely fall apart.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Today -100: November 17, 1921: Of cannibals, circumstantial evidence, and beauty pageants

The Senate committee investigating the US occupation of Haiti hears from P.M. Pilkington, a manager of the American Developing Company, that Haitian bandits ate a Marine.

At the Landru trial, prosecutors admit that they’re basing their case for a conviction and capital punishment on the 11 murder charges entirely on circumstantial evidence, but a shitload of a lot of it.

Colorado Gov. Oliver Shoup declares martial law in Huerfano County to deal with a strike against the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, which announced a 30% wage cut in 13 coal mines on one day’s notice. The company says it won’t employ strikebreakers and hire guards, making me suspicious that they intended to provoke a shutdown for reasons of their own. This is the company responsible for the Ludlow Massacre in 1914.

British forces claim to have killed 700 Moplah rebels who attacked a garrison post. Er, that’s in India.

18-year-old Anna Niebel is suing congresscritter Manuel Herrick (R-OK) for breach of promise. She says he approached her when she was a beauty pageant contestant and offered to marry her. He wrote to the other 47 contestants as well, promising that if they married him they’d be First Lady within 8 years. Herrick claims he was only doing research for a bill he introduced banning newspaper beauty contests. In an interview next month, he will claim to have received hundreds of marriage proposals and he’ll compare women to smallpox, saying that “beautiful girls are a curse” and homely girls are “wholesome,” and that he wouldn’t give two cents for women, “they’re silly, giddy, and empty headed.”

Herrick was elected almost accidentally: incumbent Dick Morgan died on the day of the filing deadline, leaving Herrick, who had run against him in 1918 receiving 56 votes, as the only Republican on the ballot during the 1829 Harding/Republican landslide. He will lose in the 1922 primary – and in 1924, 1926, 1928, 1930 and in California in 1948. As a teenager he tried to rob a train and was committed to a lunatic asylum, not for the last time (he thought he was Jesus reborn, like his mother always told him he was) (and thought Jesus was a train robber, or something???).

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Today -100: November 16, 1921: Of formulae, armistices, and ink

At the Washington Conference, Britain and Japan agree – in principle – to Harding’s formula (5:5:3) for naval reduction (although Britain has some thoughts about submarines).

Benito Mussolini tears up the armistice between the Fascists and the Reds signed in August.

In court, French serial killer Henri Landru complains that the Washington Conference is getting more play in the press than he is.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Today -100: November 15, 1921: Of submarines, mutts and jeffs, Americans and other white people, music hall turns, and smiles

At the Washington Conference, Britain wants submarines outlawed. Or at least sharply limited.

The Supreme Court rules that syndicated cartoonist Bud Fisher rather than the Hearst newspaper chain’s publishers owns the characters Mutt and Jeff.

Gen. Eli Cole of the Marine Corps tells a Senate committee how in 1917 the Marines coerced the Haitian president into dissolving the Constituent Assembly. He says martial law will be necessary as long as the US is occupying Haiti (Spoiler Alert: until 1934) because “venal” Haitian courts would allow Haitians to kill “Americans and other white people” with impunity.

French serial killer Henri Landru, now in the second week of his trial, has signed a contract to give monologues in a music hall (if acquitted, of course) for 2,500 francs a week, which is the equivalent of some money. A reporter covering the trial for a Toulouse newspaper left the courtroom, saying it was driving him crazy, and then shot himself.

The Cherokee are suing Texas in the US Supreme Court, claiming 1 million acres in East Texas acknowledged to be theirs by the 1822 treaty with the Republic of Texas.

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Today -100: November 14, 1921: Of birth control, mutineers, and Fascists

NY police halt Margaret Sanger’s birth control meeting and arrest her, along with Mary Winsor. The order to ban the meeting came from a police commissioner before a single word was spoken. The subject of the meeting: “Birth Control: Is It Moral?” Sanger says she believes the “influence of the Catholic Church” was behind the ban. And she’s right. The archbishop called the cops on her. The charges will be dismissed tomorrow.

Paris’s 20th Arrondissement votes a plurality for Monsieur Badina, currently serving a prison sentence for the 1919 Black Sea mutiny, to the municipal council. This is the second Black Sea mutineer in a row elected to the council (André Marty’s election was annulled). There will have to be a run-off since he fell shy of an outright majority.

The Italian government seems to be persuading delegates to the Fascist congress to leave Rome, which is still under more or less general strike.

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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Today -100: November 13, 1921: We have no sordid ends to serve

The Washington Conference begins. Harding welcomes the delegates “with unselfish hands.” His hands, not theirs: “We harbor no fears, we have no sordid ends to serve. We suspect no enemy. We contemplate or apprehend no conquest.”

The US puts forward proposals for the disarmament conference: a 10-year pause in navy ship-building, with the US immediately scrapping 30 capital ships, Britain 19, and Japan 17, leaving them with 18, 22 and 10 respectively. New capital ships in the future to be limited in size (which certainly has nothing to do with US ships having to be small enough to go through the Panama Canal, perish the thought). The US would have to get rid of quite a few destroyers, presumably selling them off, so the naval arms race would might not be stopped so much as transferred to, say, South America. There’s no provision for naval aircraft, since commercial aircraft can fairly easily be converted to military use. 

Walther Nernst wins the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on thermochemistry – not for his work on poison gas during the war.

Japanese Finance Minister Baron Takahashi Korekiyo is named prime minister following the assassination of Hara Takashi last week.

Margaret Sanger announces the opening this Wednesday of a birth control clinic in NYC, the first such clinic in the US.

Russian Minister of War Leon Trotsky says Poland is preparing to attack Russia again.

The Landru trial: Henri Desiré Landru is questioned about entries in his notebook showing that when he took one of his many fiances to the country – the last time she was ever seen – he bought a round-trip ticket for himself but a one-way ticket for her. There’s nothing worse than a cheap-ass serial killer.

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