Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Today -100: February 28, 1923: Of quotas, voodoo fire extinguishers, and women’s suffrage in Japan

Syracuse University’s student council considers asking the U. to limit the number of Jewish students. Chancellor Charles Wesley Flint tells them to fuck right off. The council was particularly incensed that Jewish students showed insufficient interest in sports. 10% of Syracuse students are Jewish. (The senior council will deny having ever suggested any such thing, it was just a discussion, in a secret session, and anyone it shouldn’t have been leaked, how’d you even hear about it? So that’s okay then.)

Headline of the Day -100:  

A general punch-up in the Japanese Diet postpones a vote on women’s suffrage.

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Monday, February 27, 2023

Today -100: February 27, 1923: Of obscenity and statues

The NYT says that NY State Supreme Court Justice John Ford’s crusade for the censorship of books “looks merely ridiculous, but it isn’t.” This crusade is strongly backed by the clergy, and the proposal is that any naughty passage in a publication makes the whole thing obscene, legally speaking.

Atatürk says statues are okay now. When Mohammed banned them, he says, there was idolatry around, which is no longer a problem. He says modern nations need art.

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Sunday, February 26, 2023

Today -100: February 26, 1923: Of ruhrs

Headline of the Day -100:  

France occupies more of the Ruhr, and yes they’re using non-white troops, although supposedly it was an accident that 200 Martiniquais were sent. Gen. Degoutte had them removed when he found out about it.

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Saturday, February 25, 2023

Today -100: February 25, 1923: Of world courts, unsubsidized ships, and smoking

Pres. Harding asks the Senate to allow the US to join the World Court. The real question is why he left it so late, with only a few days left in the 67th Congress and senators (especially R’s) are suspicious of the Court and need to be won over.

Congress has killed the ship subsidy bill that Harding really really wanted.

Protest meeting in Salt Lake City against the anti-public-smoking law, which has recently been enforced against the sort of people who don’t think laws apply to them.

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Friday, February 24, 2023

Today -100: February 24, 1923: Of sati and Ruhr outrages

A woman in India commits suttee/sati at her husband’s funeral. She was 25-ish. Didn’t she know the British outlawed this kind of thing? Anyway, 6 villagers (all male) were arrested and tried. 3 were acquitted, 3 sentenced to 4 years.

The German embassy in the US claims the French are using non-white troops in the Ruhr and billeting them in private homes. France denies this.

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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Today -100: February 23, 1923: Of mayfields and women’s suffrage


Germany forbids Germans in the Ruhr paying taxes to French/Belgian occupiers, It says if they do they’ll still owe those taxes to Germany.

The losing candidate in the Texas election for US Senate files a contest to prevent Senator-Elect Earle Mayfield from taking his seat on the grounds of excessive campaign spending and intimidation and voter fraud by the Klan.

The Philippines’ Senate votes unanimously in favor of women’s suffrage, if approved by a referendum... of women (I don’t think any country ever had such a referendum).

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Today -100: February 22, 1923: Of opera, klux weevils, helicopters, and spanking

Lithuania shells the Polish border.

Here’s a first: a pro-opera demonstration, after the French occupiers ban “William Tell” in Bochum in the Ruhr.

Speaking of opera, I’ve been noticing a bunch of Wagner operas being performed in NY. I guess the anti-German-music thing is over.

Louisiana Gov. John Parker says the Ku Klux Klan is worse than the boll-weevil.

New helicopter record: the US Air Service’s De Bothezaat helicopter stays in the air for 2 minutes and 45 seconds, reaching 15 feet in the air, which I believe is also a record. The helicopter is slowly approaching its most important moment: the opening credits of MASH.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Today -100: February 21, 1923: Of prohibition, the rules of war, and divorce Italian style

The NY Legislature votes 78-64 to ask Congress to modify the Volstead Act to allow light wines and beer.

Pres. Harding thinks it will take 20 years for complete prohibition to take hold.

The rules of war are being rewritten by a Jurists’ Commission at the Hague. They will now ban the bombing of open towns from airplanes to terrorize civilians. Pfew.

The usual in the Ruhr: expulsions of officials, arrests for not saluting or for refusing to stamp French orders or publishing derogatory articles; strikes in response, etc.

Fiume, over which so much fuss was made for no very good reason, has finally found a function as the Reno of Italy. A recent court decision requires Italy, which grants no divorces itself, to accept divorces given to Italians by another country, which includes Fiume.

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Monday, February 20, 2023

Today -100: February 20, 1923: Of invasions, mediation, and white people

Poland denies having invaded Lithuania.

Parliament discusses the Ruhr. It rejects former prime minister Lloyd George’s proposal for the government to ask the US to mediate.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Therefore, the Supreme Court says, they are excluded from US citizenship. The Court says the words “white person” in the law must be understood as they are in common usage, not through “scientific” study of the race of any individual.

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Sunday, February 19, 2023

Today -100: February 19, 1923: Of invasions and occupations

Poland invades Lithuania, killing Lithuanian troops.

In Essen, French soldiers go from shop to shop demanding to buy one of whatever goods the place sells and arresting any shopowner who refuses to serve them. After the first few, they have at least temporarily broken the boycott.

The authorities in Gelsenkirchen refused to pay the 100 million mark fine imposed by the French, so soldiers are sent to city hall and the railroad station to steal any cash they can. They collect 105 million marks and don’t plan to return the extra 5 million.

The German minister of education snuck into the Ruhr in defiance of the French ban; in future, France says, any community visited by a minister will be heavily fined.

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Saturday, February 18, 2023

Today -100: February 18, 1923: No kluxers

Louisiana Gov. John Parker will not appoint members of the Ku Klux Klan to any state position.

The 10-day amnesty for Irish rebels to surrender expires.

The first issue of Weird Tales hits the stands.

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Friday, February 17, 2023

Today -100: February 17, 1923: Of governors, undreamed of splendors, and memels

Puerto Rico’s governor E. Mont Reily resigns. Because of ill health and definitely not because of all the corruption and the fact that every single person in Puerto Rico hates him. Although he says he’s too sick to do his job, and has been since December, he wants his resignation not to come into effect until April 1.

The French arrest the Essen police chief after an incident at a beer house which refused to serve some French and Belgian soldiers and called the cops when the soldiers started to serve themselves. Anyways, two soldiers and the cop get shot, and the French raid the police station. Elsewhere in the Ruhr, newspapers are shut down, cops are arrested for not saluting Frenchies, private autos are requisitioned, and the burgomaster of Oberhausen is sentenced by a French court-martial to 3 years for sabotage for refusing a French order to supply electricity to the railroad station after the French occupied it (3 years rather than the 10 possible under the, ahem, French law under which he was tried, because he was obeying the orders of the German government). The burgomaster of Dortmund (a name I can never read without thinking of Donald E. Westlake’s character John Dortmunder; just me?) is also imprisoned for ignoring French orders.

A Belgian military court tries Duisberg prison authorities for refusing to accept prisoners arrested by the Belgians. The prison staff are now on strike and the prisoners have had to be removed. 

The lower house of the Idaho Legislature votes to ban Japanese people leasing lands.

King Tutankhamun’s inner tomb is opened, “revealing undreamed of splendors.” Undreamed of splendors are the best kind of splendors.

The Council of Ambassadors awards Memel to Lithuania, which is good since Lithuanian forces occupied it weeks ago.
Abel Gance’s film La Roue is released. A reminder that I haven’t seen the super-long restoration yet.

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Today -100: February 16, 1923: Of speed, veterans, diplomatic liquor, and ungentlemanly behavior

New airplane speed record: 234 mph, by Joseph Sadi-Lecointe, who will set a bunch of records, join the Resistance, and be tortured to death by the Gestapo in 1944.

Charles Forbes resigns as director of the Veterans’ Bureau. For his health and definitely not because he is being investigated for embezzling from the Bureau on a massive scale or because he was caught selling off medical supplies, was ordered by Harding personally to knock it off, and did not knock it off.

Treasury Sec. Andrew Mellon refuses to tell the House Judiciary Committee about the liquor being brought into the US by foreign diplomats. Supposedly most D.C. bootleggers have diplomatic sources.

A bill before the German Reichstag would ban newspapers reporting on French and Belgian horse races, in retaliation for the Ruhr occupation.

A female anti-prohibition group met NY Gov. Alfred E. Smith. Afterwards, they complain that he failed to rise from his chair to greet them. This is, naturally, front-page news.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Today -100: February 15, 1923: Of crown jewels, fines, tombs, and masks

At the National Cemetery in Brooklyn, infantry with machine guns ward off onlookers as the grave of Navy Messman James Jones is dug up, because it supposedly has the Romanov crown jewels in it. It does not.

France fines the Ruhr town of Gelsenkirchen 100 million marks, which is the equivalent of some money, after German police clash with French gendarmes. Gelsenkirchen is refusing to pay. The French also arrest the mayor (burgomaster) of Essen.

Given the King Tutankhamun thing, British MP William Leach inquires whether Egyptian citizens have asked if they can ransack the tombs of British monarchs in Westminster Abbey. And H. Rider Haggard wants the mummies left where they were found – after being examined and  photographed and whatnot – and the tomb sealed with concrete.

The South Carolina House of Representatives rejects a bill banning the wearing of masks, 83-24. “The vote was preceded by a debate, in which the Ku Klux Klan was heatedly attacked and defended.”

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Today -100: February 14, 1923: Whoever is ill needs castor oil

In Essen, the Germans cut off power to the Kaiserhof Hotel, which French engineers are using as their hq. The French threaten to shut power to the whole city if it is not restored.

NY Gov. Al Smith pardons the last 4 political prisoners convicted under the “criminal anarchy” law.

Headline of the Day -100:  

“I know I left it around here somewhere,” he says.

Hearings in the Connecticut Legislature on the Birth Control League’s bill allowing medical personnel to give “scientific information” on birth control  – as Margaret Sanger puts it – to poor women just as they now do for their wealthy patients. It is noted that the bill would not change laws “bearing upon certain forms of interference with maternity”. Ya know, the NYT hadn’t always been incapable of using the word abortion; here’s a 1901 article for example.

Like the Communist Internationale a few days ago, the Italian Fascist Party bans Freemasons as members, because there can only be one form of obedience, one hierarchy (Mussolini, who proposes this, seems to forget that in addition to the Fascist Party there is also a little thing called the state of Italy, to which Italians might owe obedience). The article suggests that Mussolini is kissing up to the Vatican with this move.

Anti-Fascists boycott municipal elections in Arona in northern Italy. The Fascists respond with threatening posters, as was the custom: “Whoever does not vote is ill. Whoever is ill needs castor oil.”

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Monday, February 13, 2023

Today -100: February 13, 1923: Of burning crosses, assassinations, and bananas

The Ku Klux Klan burn large crosses simultaneously (11:40 pm) in 3 Long Island towns. The one in Freeport is located outside the Municipal Auditorium, where negroes are celebrating Lincoln’s birthday.

Vice President Calvin Coolidge celebrates the day and Lincoln’s “principle of the right to individual freedom” by opening a hospital at Tuskegee, Alabama exclusively for black veterans, who for some reason have had trouble getting treatment at other VA hospitals in the South. The doctors and nurses will, of course, all be white, but with black nurse-maids so that the white nurses won’t have to come into (shudder) physical contact with the black patients. At least that’s the plan...

The IRA assassinate Dr. Thomas O’Higgins, father of Irish Home Affairs Minister Kevin O’Higgins (who will be assassinated in 1927) and brother-in-law of Governor-Gen. Timothy Healy. Several armed IRAers came to his house demanding admittance, but he told them he’d had a communication indicating he shouldn’t. Oh, can we see it, they asked, so naturally he let them in...

Honduras bans immigration by negroes to work on the banana plantations.

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Sunday, February 12, 2023

Today -100: February 12, 1923: Of clear fields, exports, and legs

Republican Party leaders, mostly senators, hold conferences which seem to result in Sen. Hiram Johnson agreeing not to run for president in 1924, clearing the field for Harding, should he happen to be alive.

The Turks reverse their reversal, giving Allied ships 3 days to get out of Smyrna.

France says it will ban all exports from the Ruhr to Germany proper. So that’s most of Germany’s steel and iron, to say nothing of coal.

In Essen, Germans throw stones at a restaurant where French and Belgian officers are eating. A movement is growing to refuse service to Frenchies & Belgies, who are threatening to close all establishments which don’t serve them.

Some idiot says he’s invented an automobile with legs.

In other leg news

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Saturday, February 11, 2023

Today -100: February 11, 1923: Of refugees, dangerous excitement, helicopters, x-rays, and Communist-Freemasons

51 Armenian refugees from Turkey are deported from the US despite a writ of habeas corpus issued on account of the likelihood of their being persecuted because of their religion. Immigration Commissioner for the port of New York Robert Tod and other immigration officials knew of the writ, but as it hadn’t been served before the ship sailed due to some hiccup, they didn’t bother doing anything. It’s unclear whether they’ll be returned to Turkey and probable death, or an overcrowded refugee camp in Greece, where they might starve. When served the writ, Tod said Armenians are dirty and he’d do nothing for them.

France and Belgium ban German politicians from the Ruhr, in response to the recent visit by Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno, which “has had the effect of producing dangerous excitement”. Dangerous excitement is the worst kind of excitement.

A Spanish helicopter ascends 25 meters.

Italy ratifies the Santa Margherita treaty, ceding territory in Dalmatia to Yugoslavia. The thing they’ve been bitching about since the end of the war. Mussolini tells the Chamber of Deputies the treaty is absurd and counter to Italian interests, but Italy isn’t in a position to renounce it. Yet, he adds ominously.

Wilhelm Röentgen (not von Röentgen, NYT), inventor of the X-ray, dies at 77.

The 4th Internationale’s order that Communists quit the Freemasons is causing difficulties in France. Trotsky calls Freemasonry counter-revolutionary, blah blah blah Jewish lawyers etc.

Harold Lloyd marries Mildred Davis, his leading lady in the forthcoming Safety Last! and other films, although she’ll stop acting after this. She’s 22, he’s 29. They will remain married until her death in 1969.

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Friday, February 10, 2023

Today -100: February 10, 1923: Of ultimata, refugees, war debts, and monkey guards

Turkey backs down from its ultimatum for foreign warships to leave Smyrna harbor, pending negotiations.

The US deports 90 ethnic Greek and Armenian refugees from Smyrna, with 60 to follow, because the immigrant quota for the fiscal year has been reached and Labor Secretary James Davis refuses to make an exception, ethnic cleansing or no ethnic cleansing.

The House of Representatives passes the British deal. Britain will repay its war debt over 62 years. (Actually it was a bit later.)

The IRA reject the Free State’s surrender amnesty ultimatum.

In Paris, a monkey named Caleb traps a burglar in a storeroom, locks him in, and waits for his owners to come home and call the police.

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Thursday, February 09, 2023

Today -100: February 9, 1923: I hope I have a little bit of sense yet

An explosion at a Phelps-Dodge coal mine in Dawson, New Mexico kills 100+ miners and traps 122 more, who might or might not be alive (update: looks like . Phelps-Dodge says the mine was well sprinkled and not gaseous. Same.

NY Gov. Alfred E. Smith says any stories about him running for president next year are “bunk.” “I hope I have a little bit of sense yet.” Oh yeah, he’s running.

Turkey may or may not be spreading mines to keep out of Smyrna the foreign warships it told to keep out of Smyrna.

The Irish Free State generously offers rebels 10 days to surrender, or else, and will suspend executions for that period. This after they got IRA deputy chief of staff Liam Deasy to call for surrender, in exchange for not executing him.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Today -100: February 8, 1923: Of sabotage, plots, lost islands, and trustworthy witnesses

France threatens the death penalty for sabotage in the Ruhr, with railroad equipment, say.

Turkey demands that foreign warships leave Smyrna. Britain and France say nah.

Italy claims all those Communists it arrested were part of a plot, financed by Moscow, for a simultaneous rising against the Fascist regime. Sounds like horseshit.

The South Pacific “lost island” of Bardoo is rediscovered by a survey ship. It is ruled by a white Australian woman missionary, Ethel Zahel, as “high priestess and supreme ruler.” ....Okay, I’ve done the google thing now and this is Badu, which is less than 40 miles from Queensland, not sure how it was lost. Known for shells and headhunting, not necessarily in that order. Zahel left Badu when Australia and Japan went to war after Pearl Harbor.

Chicago Alderman John Lyle accuses the Chicago PD of stealing cars, then collecting rewards when they “recover” them.

The federal grand jury investigating Marcus Garvey calls as a witness against him none other than Ku Klux Klan Imperial Giant E.Y. Clarke. Evidently they met and talked about something or other.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Today -100: February 7, 1923: Of bitter opposition, boy kings, moral resistance & hostile bayonets, and bunnies

Headline of the Day -100:  

Hiram Johnson and Fightin’ Bob La Follette are expected to challenge him in the primaries. Bitterly, I guess.

They’ve just figured out that King Tut was a boy. Not much was known about him before his tomb was opened.

12,000 people died from automobile accidents in the US in 1922.

France is trying to recruit Poles in the Ruhr to work as strikebreakers in the mines. So Germany orders them to either become German citizens or return to Poland.

German Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno visits the Ruhr and says the resistance is going swimmingly. “This moral resistance is the result of the spontaneous resolve of a people fully conscious of its human rights and determined not to bow down before hostile bayonets.” Hostile bayonets are the worst kind.

The Italian Chamber of Deputies ratifies the Washington disarmament treaties. Since Mussolini told them to, they do it without debate or objection.

Mussolini is using the Communist Internationale’s declaration of anti-fascist struggle as an excuse to arrest hundreds of Communists and seize their funds.

Mississippi Governor Lee M. Russell prevailed last year in a lawsuit brought by his secretary after he impregnated her and forced her to get an abortion. Former (and future) Gov. Theodore Bilbo, who failed to show up to be a witness, is now arrested for contempt. 

Dr. Bunnie McKoin, the former mayor of Mer Rouge, Louisiana, who fled to Johns Hopkins after stirring up those Klan murders, is asked by Johns Hopkins to fuck off.

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Monday, February 06, 2023

Today -100: February 6, 1923: I do not mind the threat of shooting

The French arrest the chief of police in Essen and expel him from the area for issuing an order to his cops not to salute French officers or the French flag.

George Sigerson resigns as Irish Free State senator. He says he doesn’t mind threats of being shot – he is 87, after all – but the threats to burn his house amount to a threat to his family. (Update: I don’t think he does actually resign).

The House Immigration Committee adopts proposals to halve the number of immigrants allowed in and to ban altogether Chinese, Japanese and low-caste Hindus. The State Department has offered no objections. Actually, the new quotas would affect some countries a lot more than others – the Albanian quota, for example, would go from 288 down to 4, while the quotas from Britain and northern European countries would increase (probably: there are contradictions in the story).

New York State Supreme Court Justice John Ford is so angry that a circulating library allowed his daughter to check out a copy of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (Ford is 61, so how old must his daughter be? article doesn’t say) that he wants the library prosecuted and may demand the Legislature pass a law to “stop this sort of thing.” Why, “I may be an old fogy...” I’ll just stop you there, judge: you are.  (Update: his 1941 obit says he went on to found the Clean Books League, which unsuccessfully lobbied for a bill to censor such “printed depravity.”)

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Sunday, February 05, 2023

Today -100: February 5, 1923: Of crown princes, occupations, and klokards

The Lausanne Conference breaks up in failure. Turkey refused to honor the corrupt concessions the old Ottoman government gave foreigners and refused to allow foreign legal advisors to control the arrests and searches of foreigners. The Turks point to all the territorial concessions to which they did agree.

Former crown prince Wilhelm of Germany is meeting monarchist conspirators from Germany near the border. The Netherlands is not happy that he’s abusing the terms of his asylum.

The French occupation of the Ruhr and Rhineland is going swell. In Ingelheim, French troops start shooting after two coal trains ram into each other, mistakenly thinking it was sabotage rather than what happens when you try to run trains during a train strike. And in Bilke, a French soldiers trips and accidentally shoots a young German girl dead. In Essen, French troops fire machine guns over the heads of a Communist meeting. And French soldiers occupy railroad junctions in order to cut the line between Frankfort and Switzerland, in retaliation for Germany stopping the running of express trains through Germany between Paris & Prague and Paris & Bucharest, ostensibly due to a shortage of coal, i.e. the French coal blockade of Germany. And a tuberculosis sanitarium in Sankt Blaslen in the Black Forest is forced to expel its French and Belgian patients. The German government is sending money to the Ruhr to prop up the resistance. Indeed, they’re printing money as fast as they can, which may have consequences later.

Greece informs Britain and France that it will go to war with Turkey, again, if the latter continues to claim Karagatch. Britain & France are expected to tell Greece to simmer down.

The Rev. Dr. Oscar Haywood, the Ku Klux Klan’s national Klokard (lecturer), is in NY and challenges Thomas Dixon to a debate. He also says that the Mer Rouge Klan did not murder Watt Daniels and Thomas Richards, who in fact merely “disappeared”; those two dead bodies found in Lake La Fourche were actually cadavers stolen from a medical school.

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Saturday, February 04, 2023

Today -100: February 4, 1923: America knows nothing of love, food or art

At the League of Nations, Lithuania threatens war with Poland, something about a neutral zone. The League Council responds that any use of force will be met with a blockade.

Isadora Duncan finishes her tour of the US and says she’ll never be back. The bootleg liquor she found to be especially bad (“would kill an elephant”). “I would rather live in Russia on black bread and vodka. ... America knows nothing of love, food or art.” Also, she doesn’t even know where the Bronx is (don’t ask). In other words, she faced a press hostile to her politics and love life, lost money on the tour and cut it off early.

Two black men are lynched in Milledgeville,  Georgia. Alleged robbers, they shot one of a posse pursuing them.

NYT Index Transcription Error of the Day -100:

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Friday, February 03, 2023

Today -100: February 3, 1923: Of fascist colonial wars, ruhrs, war debts, small cottages, and Bruces

NYPD Commissioner Enright ends the stationing of cops in cabarets, restaurants and dance halls to enforce Prohibition, patting men down for hip flasks and tasting their drinks. Owners of those establishments agree to enforce it themselves and to stop serving at 2 am.

Mussolini’s first colonial military action: he sends troops to Libya to put down some rebellious chiefs.

Germany calls off the railroad strike in the Ruhr and the Rhineland. Ruhr coal mines are still closed.

The US and Britain come to an agreement on Britain’s war debts to the US. Something about bonds. Harding is strongly opposed to the idea put forward by some congresscritters to use the money for a bonus for veterans, because fuck those guys.

Sir Horace Plunkett says “a small cottage will do me for the rest of my days.” To which the IRA replies, probably, “Yeah, we can burn that down too. Easier, really.”

The Communist International and Soviet trade unions announce a fund for a “world-wide” fight against fascism.

Headline of the Day -100:  

He’s the Commonwealth Treasurer and is also in charge of the sheep dip.

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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Today -100: February 2, 1923: Of radical trolley workers, bagwells unbagged, and suspended animation

Headline of the Day -100:  

And yes it is the phrase “radical faction of trolley workers” that drew my eye.

The IRA release Sen. Bagwell. Or he escaped. For some reason, he’s not talking.

An assassination attempt on the Bulgarian prime minister and several cabinet members, which will somehow not make it into the NYT.

The Phoenix, AZ coroner orders that George Stevenson be buried, because he is dead. For the last 8 days his family have insisted that he’s actually in suspended animation. Stevenson was a doctor and he had... theories.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Today -100: February 1, 1923: Of blockades, memels, imperfect storms, and bagwells bagged

France stops all coal shipments to Germany from the Ruhr and plans to continue doing so until Germany agrees to all French demands on reparations and beyond. This is in response to Germany’s failure to pay the most recent reparations.

The Entente orders Lithuania to remove its troops from Memel.

Frederick Storm, who is both the exalted cyclops (that’s the best kind of cyclops) of the Yonkers, New York Ku Klux Klan and kleagle of Westchester County, is convicted of possession of a blackjack and put on probation.

The IRA kidnap the aptonymical Sen. Bagwell, a Unionist. The Irish Free State threatens reprisals, as was the custom, unless he is released within 48 hours. There is some discussion in the Dáil about whether lawless violence is the correct way to respond to lawless violence.

The IRA blow up Sen. Sir Horace Plunkett’s home, Kilteragh, near Dublin, as was the custom (it’s the second time).

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