Sunday, March 31, 2024

Today -100: March 31, 1924: Of leaguers, women’s platforms, and highly colored handkerchiefs

French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré is ready to allow Germany into the League of Nations. He has conditions, of course, including accepting the Dawes Commission’s plan on reparations and inspections of its military.

Awkwardly, Harry Daugherty is still running to be a Coolidge delegate to the Republican National Convention. He says he has no personal feelings against Coolidge for firing him.

At the Democratic National Convention, Eleanor Roosevelt will head the committee writing the planks on welfare legislation, a “woman’s platform.”

Bavaria threatens the death penalty for anyone who reacts to the imminent verdict of the Hitler-Ludendorff trial with rioting, unlawful assembly etc. Oddly, displaying the verdicts in cafés, shop windows etc is also verboten. Do they expect to keep it a secret?

Fad of the Day -100:  

I wonder if “young bloods” are also copying Prince Edward by falling off horses?

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Saturday, March 30, 2024

Today -100: March 30, 1924: Of hangmen, bombing cannibals, and well-behaved women

John Ellis retires as Britain’s Chief Executioner after 23 years. He’s officiated at 203 hangings. His fee was 50 shillings, plus another 50s for good conduct, meaning he wasn’t allowed to stay at a public house when traveling to an execution as previous executioners did, charging a commission for attracting commission to pubs. Ellis, 49, gives no reason for quitting, but will attempt suicide later in the year. Suicide being illegal, he will be criminally charged. He’ll succeed in 1932. For now, he breeds chickens, but has to get someone else to wring their necks.

New laws passed in 1923: South Dakota bans peyote & mescal. Pennsylvania bans archeological fakes. Oregon bans schoolbooks which undervalue the contributions of the Founding Fathers while North Carolina requires school courses in “Americanism.” Oregon requires aliens who own butcher shops, run hotels, resorts, etc etc to display a card showing their nationality and those of their employees. North Carolina has a Peeping Tom act. Several states ban KKK-like masks and hoods, and there are a shitload of new prohibition laws.

Headline of the Day -100:  

Dr. Alexander H. Rice will lead an expedition, including his wife Eleanor, into parts of South America never seen by the white man (if a tree falls in a rain forest and no white man hears it, does it make a sound?). He won’t actually bomb any cannibals, no doubt to his disappointment.

The NYT Sunday Book Review has a review of Della Thompson Lutes’s The Gracious Hostess. Is the review by a man? Of course it is. Is the headline for the review “Compendium of Information for Well-Behaved Women”? Of course it is. Did I stop reading the review after I realized that headline wasn’t the title of the book? Yes I did.

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Friday, March 29, 2024

Today -100: March 29, 1924: I’d rather be right here in Atlantic City than anywhere else

Pres. Coolidge finally fires Attorney General Harry Daugherty, who writes an open letter defending himself. He warns of “government by slander, by terrorism and by fear” and calls the campaign against him a conspiracy of “powerful individuals and organizations” (which he does not name) responsible for violent strikes and of other “powerful individuals and organizations” he was investigating for graft during the Great War.

Coolidge had been planning to let the investigation play out and letting Dirty Harry having his say, but the final straw was his refusal to turn over documents to that Senate DOJ committee investigation, documents relating to his siccing the Bureau of Investigation on Sen. Thomas Walsh after he started investigating Teapot Dome (I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s been revealed to the public which documents Daugherty withheld). Bureau of Investigation head William Burns is also expected to be ousted (he will be; incidentally, Burns has continued running his own private detective agency all the time he has headed the proto-FBI).

Where does a disgraced former attorney general go? Atlantic City baby! He tells reporters there that everything said about him was a lie, and anyway the Senate committee didn’t have legal authority to investigate them. He doesn’t use the words “rigged” or “witch hunt,” but you get the idea.

Sen. Kenneth McKellar (D-Tenn.) introduces a resolution for the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Treasury Sec Andrew Mellon is holding that office in violation of the law forbidding treasury secs to engage in trade or commerce. The law applies to several Treasury positions. They also can’t own a sea vessel. Republicans complain that the D’s are going after the Cabinet one by one by one.

Headline of the Day -100:  

J. Van Vechten Olcott, former NY congresscritter (1905-11) and current lawyer, tells the Senate DOJ Committee that he was offered a federal judgeship – for $35,000, to be distributed “among the boys.” It’s not clear that the lawyer he spoke with actually had the ability to make him a judge, or who “the boys” might be. Anyway, he turned him down. Olcott is in the witness seat when the news of Dirty Harry’s resignation is heard.

The US Senate Committee on Territories and Insular Possessions is considering holding a plebiscite in the Philippines on independence – in 1935.

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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Today -100: March 28, 1924: Not to prison but to Valhalla

Rep. John Langley (R-Kentucky) is indicted for his part in a large bootleg operation, getting the prohibition commissioner to authorize the release of whisky.

French PM Raymond Poincaré unresigns a day after resigning.

Gen. Erich Ludendorff, giving his closing statement at the Beer Hall Putsch trial: “The world’s history sends me, who has fought for the Fatherland, not to prison but to Valhalla.” He says if the nationalistic movement fails, Germany will face “the menace of enslavement to France.” He is followed by Hitler, who compares himself to Bismarck and Wilhelm I.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Today -100: March 27, 1924: Rules rules rules

NYPD Commissioner Richard Enright puts out a booklet of do’s and don’ts for cops: don’t discuss police business with your family; don’t talk to females except on official business; don’t lean against walls; don’t shoot too many people, etc.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Today -100: March 26, 1924: Of war criminals, impeachments, and tiges

A French court-martial in Nancy sentences a bunch of German military people to death for ordering arson, pillaging and/or assassinations at the start of the Great War.

The Senate votes unanimously for a resolution to impeach Clarence Chase, collector of customs at the Port of El Paso, a day after he took the Fifth before the Teapot Dome Committee. Chase is former Interior Sec. Albert Fall’s son-in-law. Chase tried to get Price McKinney to say falsely that he’d lent Fall $100,000 to cover up Fall’s bribe-taking. While the Senate is debating impeaching him, Chase resigns, but Treasury Sec Andrew Mellon refuses to accept the resignation. (He’ll accept it tomorrow).

The Coolidges’ lost cat Tiger (aka Tige) is found at the Navy Building.

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Today -100: March 25, 1924: Of contumacy, tigers, pretty good-sized navies, and swirrflügers

The Senate votes 72-1 to pursue contempt (contumacy) charges against Harry Sinclair for refusing to answer questions.

The Coolidges’ cat Tiger (aka Tige) has disappeared and the Secret Service has gone on the DC and, for some reason, NYC radio stations to ask for the public’s help. More as it develops.

Curtis Wilbur, the new secretary of the Navy, is asked if he’s a Big Navy man; “Well, I am for a pretty good sized navy.”

Raimund Nimführ, an Austrian inventor, says he’s invented a plane with pulsating wings which can take off and land vertically. Now he just needs someone to finance his giant flying vibrator. It will be started in the 1930s but never completed. It will be pleasingly called Swirrflüger (say it out loud: Swirrflüger, Swirrflüger, Swirrflüger), meaning whirlwings.

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Sunday, March 24, 2024

Today -100: March 24, 1924: Of attorneys generalses, indigestion of immigration, ein volk..., and duels

Coolidge just can’t make up his mind on whether to fire Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty now or wait for Senate hearings to come to some sort of conclusion. At the White House, he consults, yet again, with Republican senators. I think it looks bad to be talking only to Republicans, but no one seems to be commenting on that. The senators want Dirty Harry out because of his nefarious associates and because he’s spending all his time defending himself rather than attorney generaling. Sounds like they don’t also mention that he’s a corrupt weasel.

John Quinn, head of the American Legion, and Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, will publish a statement calling for a halt to all immigration. Gompers says the opposition of alien-born citizens to immigration restrictions just shows why immigration restriction is needed, because their opposition is based on loyalty to the country of their birth and not to the US. Commander Quinn says the melting pot has become impotent, which is an interesting mixed metaphor, and the US is “suffering from indigestion of immigration.”

The German National People’s Party (DNVP or Deutschnationale Volkspartei) adopts the slogan “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Kaiser” for the forthcoming Reichstag elections. The party is calling for restoration of the monarchy, the centrality of Prussia in the German state, repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles. It promises to “fight everywhere against the destructive spirit of the Jews.” Spoiler Alert: it will get 19% of the vote.

The minister of war of Argentina fights a duel with another general, the head of the military in Buenos Aires. The latter was standing in for a major who had criticized the army, but was of too low a rank for the war minister to duel.

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Saturday, March 23, 2024

Today -100: March 23, 1924: Of 75,000 somethings, melting brown eyes, and reckless riding

Harry Sinclair refuses to answer questions before the Senate Teapot Dome committee, saying that since the matter is now before the courts, the committee has lost its jurisdiction. They threaten to have him arrested for contempt.

Will Hays, the current film czar, who was chair of the RNC in 1920, denies that Harry Sinclair gave 75,000 shares to the Republican deficit-elimination fund. 75,000 dollars, maybe.

French PM Raymond Poincaré wants a mutual-protection treaty with Britain, although PM Ramsay MacDonald favors using the League of Nations to control a neutral zone along the Rhine.

The NYT Book Review reviews Ronald Firbank’s “Prancing Nigger,” which is evidently the title suggested by the British author’s publisher for the American edition of “Sorrow in Sunlight.”

Charlie Chaplin has found his leading lady for The Gold Rush, Lita Grey. “She is dark, and, according to enthusiastic information that has reached this department, is the possessor of ‘melting brown eyes, ivory skin and red lips.’ All these features are said to be characteristic of the Spanish race.” Yeah, and she’s also 15 years old, so knock off the perving. Oh, and here’s a quote from Chaplin (who used her as an extra in The Kid) himself: “I was surprised one day to observe how this little girl had bloomed into a beautiful young lady.” She will actually be replaced as leading lady in The Gold Rush after becoming pregnant with Charles Jr.

Headline of the Day -100:  

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Friday, March 22, 2024

Today -100: March 22, 1924: Back to 1920

The Senate Teapot Dome committee will soon hear whether the Republican National Committee’s large deficit after the 1920 elections was made good with 75,000 shares of Sinclair oil stock.

More news from the 1920 election oozing out: Oklahoma oil man Jake Hamon’s attempt to buy the nomination for Harding so he could become secretary of the interior and authorize his own Teapot Dome lease, a scheme thwarted by his mistress shooting him dead. The beans about this are about to be spilled by Al Jennings, the actor, preacher, 1914 Democratic candidate for governor of Oklahoma, and train robber, not necessarily in that order.

At the Senate hearings about Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty, John Gorini of the Alps Drug Company of New York testifies that he paid $200,000 in graft to associates of Daugherty to get permits to withdraw whisky (for medicinal purposes, of course) from bonded warehouses at a rate of $15 a case. The NY Prohibition Director also got a cut.

At the Beer Hall Putsch trial in Munich, Prosecutor Ludwig Stenglein asks for an 8-year term for Hitler, 2 years for Ludendorff, and 1 to 6 for the other 8 defendants. He claims Ludendorff was only let into the full plan at the last moment (bullshit), so he’s just an accessory rather than a full treasonist.

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Thursday, March 21, 2024

Today -100: March 21, 1924: You won’t have Winston Churchill to kick around any more

Winston Churchill loses the by-election in the Abbey division of Westminster, coming in 43 votes behind Conservative Otho Nicholson, who will now succeed his late father. At one point Churchill is announced as the winner; when the returning officer checks his figures and announces that Nicholson had actually won, Winnie drops his cigar. Churchill says he could have won if he’d had two or three more days.

Oscar Underwood blames the Ku Klux Klan for William Gibbs McAdoo’s victory in the Georgia Democratic presidential primary.

Honduran rebels, er I guess they’re the government now, fire on the US bluejackets. The de facto government says it was a mistake but asks that the US remove its troops from the country. The ambassador says no, fuck you very much. He claims the troops are there to protect American lives and property.

Germany doesn’t believe denials that the new French-Czechoslovak Treaty has secret clauses.

A House of Representatives election committee recommends not allowing E.W. Cole to take his seat. Texas should have gotten an extra seat in reapportionment after the 1920 census, but that reapportionment, required by the Constitution, never happened, so Texas just went ahead and held an at-large election in 1922 for the extra seat.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Today -100: March 20, 1924: Of rebels, oil, retreads, and undiplomatic relations

Honduran rebels capture the capital, Tegucigalpa. The US sends in some troops, as is the custom.

Bids totaling $15m are made for oil leases on Osage Indian land in Oklahoma. I’m sure that will go well for everyone concerned.

William Jennings Bryan hints that if the Democratic Party can’t find another candidate for president, who he insists would have to be Dry and Progressive, because the country is Dry and Progressive, he’d be willing to be drafted. He doesn’t sound like he really expects it.

China orders the Russian envoy out of the country after he arrogantly gives China 3 days to recognize Russia. China wants Russia to withdraw from Mongolia.

Virginia Gov. E. Lee Trinkle signs into law the “Eugenical Sterilization Act” for the sterilization of people in insane asylums.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Today -100: March 19, 1924: We deserved to be shot if we had any other intention

The Soldiers’ Bonus Bill passes the House 355-54. It would provide $50 for short-termers and $1 a day for longer-serving soldiers for each day of home service and $1.25 overseas, to a maximum of $625, in the form of a 20-year endowment policy. It would cost $2 billion with a b over 20 years. Coolidge is expected to veto it.

In the Senate, Pres. Coolidge is accused of, among other things, watching a screening of the Carpentier-Dempsey fight at the home of WaPo publisher Edward McLean, which is a crime.

Questions are asked in the House of Commons about the Prince of Wales’s habit of falling off horses. The subject has also been much discussed in the papers.

At the Beer Hall Putsch trial, Hitler proudly proclaims that his intention was to march on Berlin and overthrow the Republic. Co-defendant Ludendorff denies having had any such plans. The prosecutor upbraids Hitler for the serious consequences of the putsch, to which he responds, “Naturally it had serious consequences. That was the idea. We deserved to be shot if we had any other intention.”

Eugene O’Neill complains about the “irresponsible gabble of the sensation-mongers and notoriety hounds” complaining about his play “All God’s Chillun Got Wings,” which hasn’t opened yet but will star Paul Robeson and Mary Blair as an interracial couple. He asks for a fair hearing by people who’ve actually seen it performed and says it will offend no one. He is wrong about that, of course.

The Senate votes 63-7 for a constitutional amendment to move the presidential inauguration to January from March.

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Monday, March 18, 2024

Today -100: March 18, 1924: Of finks, goats, and scab dinners

Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty accuses Roxie Stinson, the witness against him at the Senate committee, and her representative A.L. (ahem) Fink, of trying to blackmail him He says they wanted $150,000, later dropped to $50,000, to hand over incriminating documents & leave the country so she couldn’t be forced to testify.

Former Justice Dept special agent Gerald Holdridge accuses William Burns, head of the Bureau of Investigation, of undermining the investigation of the bribery involved in the illegal distribution of Carpentier-Dempsey fight films in 1921, which he says involves Daugherty. Asked if he believes Burns & Daugherty are both crooks, he says, “I do.” Holdridge says he and other agents were reassigned and transferred (one to Haiti!) to stop their work. The scheme involved “goats,” men who would be arrested in each state for the showing of the film and pay a small fine, with the collaboration of the local prosecutor and judge.

Sen. Frank Willis (R-Ohio) proposes limiting presidents to a single term. The vote is 70-4 against.

Walter Cohen, a black man twice rejected by the Senate for the post of controller of customs at the Port of New Orleans and twice recess appointed, is confirmed in a closed-door session. He’ll get back pay for all the months he worked without pay.

Headline of the Day -100:  


Premiere of the film The Thief of Bagdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks, so shirtless it’s almost sarcastic, with a surprise appearance by Anna May Wong

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Sunday, March 17, 2024

Today -100: March 17, 1924: Of raw materials

Commerce Sec Herbert Hoover calls for legislation to prevent foreign monopolies on imported raw materials. He thinks such monopolies exist in sisal, potash, raw rubber, tin, mercury, quinine, etc.  He wants to create joint buying organizations, which will certainly pass along their savings to the consumers, why would you doubt it?

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Saturday, March 16, 2024

Today -100: March 16, 1924: If you are elected, it will be quite unintentional

Aviator-poet Gabriele D’Annunzio is named Prince of Montenevoso, coinciding with Fiume being formally annexed to Italy.

The Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) falls off a horse, twice, or possibly two different horses, as was the custom. The second time his horse kicks him in the head. He “was winded and dazed.” And then the horse kicked him in the head.

And the German former crown prince attends a screening of Fritz Lang’s film Die Nieberlung, which is being considered some sort of nationalist signal.

F.C. Quimby, head of a film company, testifies to the Senate committee investigating the DOJ that half the profits for the illegal showing of films of the Carpentier-Dempsey boxing match in 1921 went to 3 men representing themselves as friends of Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty: “Jap” Muma, who works for Edward McLean, publisher of the Washington Post; William Orr, former secretary to Gov. Charles Whitman; and Ike Martin, owner of a Cincinnati amusement park.

George Bernard Shaw writes to Fenner Brockway, the Labour candidate standing in the Westminster by-election against, among others, Winston Churchill: “Westminster once elected John Stuart Mill, but it has never recovered from the shock of finding that it had elected a really good man. If you are elected, it will be quite unintentional.”

Gen. Otto von Lossow is fined for storming out of the Hitler-Ludendorff trial and refusing to return to the witness stand.

The Federal Council of Churches says there were only 28 lynchings in the US last year, taking place in only 9 states. So, um, yay? 26 of the victims were black.

China and Sweden establish diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia. (Update: er, possibly not for China).

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Friday, March 15, 2024

Today -100: March 15, 1924: Of vicious piffle and truly royal sports

Gaston Means, a former Bureau of Investigation agent, con man, forger, blackmailer, probable murderer, and so much more (he will die in prison after conning a millionaire out of a huge sum of money because he said he could get the Lindbergh baby back), who is currently under indictment for fraudulently selling glass coffins through the mail, as one does, testifies to the Senate committee investigating Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty. He says Dirty Harry received $100,000 from a Japanese bank. He says that his agents broke into and searched Sen. Robert La Follette’s office after the latter began investigating Teapot Dome. He says he conducted an undercover investigation of Treasury Sec Andrew Mellon at Pres. Harding’s request, something about permits for whisky. Oh, and so on. Some of it may even be true.

Treasury Sec Andrew Mellon calls Gaston Means’s testimony “vicious piffle,” which is the worst kind of piffle.

Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty denies all the charges against him made by Roxy Stinson. He says she blames him for her dead ex-husband Jess Smith having failed to make her his sole beneficiary.

Richard Halsey, the immigration director for Hawaii, commits suicide after being accused of complicity in the smuggling of Chinese into the territory.

A teacher in Grant, Colorado writes Pres. Coolidge inviting him to a lion hunt, which she calls a “truly royal sport.” But Coolidge, filthy commoner that he is, declines.

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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Today -100: March 14, 1924: Of dissolutions, injunctions, and bumpers-and-friends

German Chancellor Wilhelm Marx dissolves the Reichstag after a fight over the government’s special powers. And since no Reichstag means no parliamentary immunity, the police arrest 17 Communist deputies.

Coolidge appoints Curtis Wilbur, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, as secretary of the Navy. This is his first appointment, the rest of the Cabinet still consisting entirely of holdover Harding appointments.

The federal court for Wyoming issues a temporary injunction against drilling at Teapot Dome by Harry Sinclair’s Mammoth Oil Company, in response to a government petition asserting that the lease was made after bribes to Interior Sec. Albert Fall and false claims by Fall to Harding.

The Teapot Dome Committee questions Teddy Roosevelt Jr. about sending in marines in 1922 to eject trespassers of the oil-extracting variety  from the Teapot Dome region when he was assistant Navy secretary. He says it was done at the insistence of Interior Sec Albert Fall, allegedly with Harding’s approval. Sen. Thomas Walsh suggests they sent troops rather than go through the courts because that would have brought legal scrutiny to the lease. Col. Roosevelt admits having asked Harry Sinclair to give his brother Archie a job.

Roxy Stinson, ex-wife of Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty’s “bumper and friend” (whatever that means), Jess Smith – the bagman who had no government job but had a desk outside Daugherty’s office and who committed “suicide” in mysterious circumstances last May – spills the beans to the Senate committee investigating Dirty Harry: secret meetings, oil speculation, payoffs to facilitate the illegal circulation of films of the Carpentier-Dempsey boxing match, bribes for pardons, illegal withdrawal of liquor from government-bonded warehouses, etc. Some of it may even be true.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Today -100: March 13, 1924: More tempest in a Teapot Dome

The House of Representatives authorizes an investigation of the Chicago federal grand jury charge that two congresscritters took bribes to facilitate pardons from Daugherty’s super-corrupt Justice Dept.

At the Senate Teapot Dome Committee, Washington Post publisher Edward McLean admits that last December his friend Interior Secretary Albert Fall asked him to say that he’d lent Fall $100,000 as a cover for the bribes Fall had taken from oil companies, though Fall told him it had nothing to do with Teapot Dome. McLean did tell the lie he was asked to do, evidently without asking what was going on if it wasn’t Teapot Dome.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Today -100: March 12, 1924: Utterly impossible

Coolidge asks Congress to cut federal taxes 25% by March 15th so people filing on or by that day can take advantage of it. Congressional leaders say it’s impossible to do it by then.

The Dictator of Bavaria at the time of the Beer Hall Putsch, Gustav von Kahr, insists at the Hitler-Ludendorff trial that neither he nor Gen. Otto von Lossow could possibly have worked with Hitler because “We considered Hitler, Hitler’s followers and Hitler’s plans as utterly impossible.” Says he took Hitler showing up at the Bürgerbräukeller with a revolver and a mob as a comedy over which he was laughing secretly.

The German sense of humor is a mysterious thing.

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Monday, March 11, 2024

Today -100: March 11, 1924: Of peculiar and natural functions and swashbuckling little ward politicians

Government lawyers will, finally, file suit for an injunction against Harry Sinclair operating the Teapot Dome oil leases and Doheny for his leases. The lawyers will have to travel first to Cheyenne, then to LA to do so.

The US Supreme Court upholds the NY law banning night work by women in restaurants (except as singers, actors or cloakroom attendants). Justice George Sutherland says the law is not unreasonable or discriminatory because it’s hard to sleep in the day in large cities, which is more dangerous for women because of their “more delicate organism,” and night work “threatens to impair their peculiar and natural functions, and... exposes them to the dangers and menaces incident to night life in large cities”.

Gen. Otto von Lossow, the former illegally appointed chief of the Reichswehr in Bavaria, testifies at the Beer Hall Putsch trial, calling Hitler a “swashbuckling little ward politician”.

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Sunday, March 10, 2024

Today -100: March 10, 1924: The miasmic air of scandal is the worst kind of air of scandal

The congressional hearings on Harry Daugherty and the Justice Dept begin this week, starting with rumors that DOJ agents and oil men have been stirring up revolution in Mexico.

The NYT quotes unnamed people in touch with the thoughts of Americans who say there’s a “reaction” against “the prevailing tendency to tear down honorable reputations through the circulation of rumors and open accusation.” Albert Fall, Dirty Harry Daugherty, those sorts of honorable reputations? The article, which reads more like a “NYT Pitchbot” editorial than a front-page news article, exults that Coolidge’s reputation has not been damaged. The Senate, it says, not entirely unfairly, has accomplished nothing this term since “Its atmosphere has been so permeated with the miasmic air of scandal”.

Oil tycoon Edward Doheny says the naval reserve oil leases were signed with the authorization of Congress and navy secs Daniels & Denby also knew exactly what was going on. Doheny mocks Sen. Thomas Walsh, chair of the Teapot Dome Committee, and “his fellow-howlers, who are too busy wind-jamming to stop to learn the truth”. He also deploys the always delightful phrase “flim-flam.”

Eleutherios Venizelos leaves Greece, saying he was mistaken to believe he could help the country.

Germany, which will have elections soon, asks France to restore freedom of speech and the press in the areas it occupies.

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Saturday, March 09, 2024

Today -100: March 9, 1924: Of naming names

Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty refuses to name the 2 congresscritters identified by the Chicago federal grand jury as involved in the corruption at the Veterans’ Bureau until such time as he personally sees evidence that convinces him of their guilt, because justice.

That said, the names are pretty widely known. Rep. Frederick Zihlman of Maryland says he wants his name cleared and will testify whenever & wherever. The other is Rep. John Langley of Kentucky, who will be arrested for something else entirely later this month.

The House Census Committee gives up attempting to reapportion the House’s seats, you know, the thing they were supposed to have done 3 years ago according to the Constitution. John Rankin (D-Miss.) and E. Hart Fenn (R-CT) support doing nothing because the 1920 census showed a shift of population to the cities, which is scary.

Eleutherios Venizelos, who rode in to rescue Greece from itself but then had a bunch of heart attacks, is riding back out again. And Prime Minister Georgios Kafantaris and his cabinet are forced to resign by the Army for refusing to abolish the monarchy in advance of the referendum on whether to abolish the monarchy.

The latest New York newspaper/police obsession:

She’s been robbing chain stores and pharmacists for weeks.

Philippines newspapers suggest that Coolidge is backing the much-despised Governor Leonard Woods to keep him from coming back to the US and running for president against him.

The Soviet Union bans the buying or kidnapping of women to be brides in Turkestan, Khirghizstan, etc. Also bigamy and child brides. Also, murderers won’t be able to get out of legal consequences by paying bribes to their victim’s family.

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Friday, March 08, 2024

Today -100: March 8, 1924: Of duels and petroleum boots

French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré challenges Deputy De Launay to a duel over remarks he made in the National Assembly. The seconds call the thing off after determining that he misheard those remarks.

Sen. James Reed of Missouri thinks William Gibbs McAdoo can’t win the presidential election: “no man wearing boots filled with Mr. Doheny’s petroleum can carry a State in the general election.”

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Thursday, March 07, 2024

Today -100: March 7, 1924: Everyone’s a fucking drama queen in this courtroom

Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty will be ousted within 48 hours... is something that has been said before, and is now said again.

The prosecutor in the Beer Hall Putsch trial storms out, complaining about the insults from alliterative defense lawyer Karl Kohl about his failure to prosecute high Bavarian officials implicated in the putsch. He turns the prosecution over to his assistant, who asks for an adjournment.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Today -100: March 6, 1924: Evidence that something is yet lacking in development of political consciousness and capability

Pres. Coolidge says the Filipinos are not ready for independence in a letter to Speaker of the Philippines House of Representatives Manuel Roxas, currently in the US as part of a mission to demand... independence.  Coolidge congratulates the independencers for talking about using “all lawful means in our power,” such moderation being of course a tribute to the progress the Filipino people have made under US auspices. Anyway, without US “protection,” the Philippines couldn’t maintain its independence in this wicked world. The Filipino mission to the US, he says, is actually “evidence that something is yet lacking in development of political consciousness and capability.” So if they ask for independence, they’ve proven they’re not ready for it, got it. Another sign of Filipino “unpreparedness for the full obligations of citizenship”: complaining about, and resisting, the high-handed tactics of Governor Gen. Leonard Wood (who was, of course, not elected by the Filipino people), who Coolidge thinks is doing just great, having discussed it with people who are almost certainly all white. He does hold out the hope that if there is a time when independence would be better for the Filipino people and if they still want it, the US will grant it. If. If.

The Michigan Supreme Court upholds the Michigan State Normal School for “upholding some of the old-fashioned ideals of young womanhood” by expelling a student for smoking. This rule, which the student says doesn’t even exist, is not applied to male students.

The left wing of the British Labour Party revolts over, of all things, irrigation in the Sudan, which amounts to subsidizing of private enterprise.

German Deputy Carl Craemer says he’s too busy to take up the 3 duel challenges by the deputies he called traitors, but he is willing to repeat the statements outside the Reichstag and they could try to sue him for libel. Some joker puts out toy guns in the Reichstag.

France and Britain both suggest candidates to replace the caliph deposed by Turkey, candidates, obviously that they think they can control and who can tamp down discontent in their colonial empires. France is offering the Sultan of Morocco, Britain King Hussein of the Hedjaz (Saudi Arabia).

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Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Today -100: March 5, 1924: Of high traitors, crims, and misinterpretations

Ah, so Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty’s mysterious trip to Chicago was so he could testify to the grand jury investigating bribery at the Veterans’ Bureau, which fingered two (still unnamed) congresscritters.

Also, there’s an Assistant Attorney General Crim. John Crim. That’s his name. He’s refusing to give the Senate committee investigating the Vets’ Bureau the names of the congresscritters.

The Beer Hall Putsch trial holds a secret session to examine how Reichswehr weapons were handed over to Hitler’s followers.

Carl Graemer of the German People’s Party (DVP) refers to Albrecht von Graefe of the German Völkisch Freedom Party (DVFP) as a “high traitor” (that’s the worst kind of traitor) for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch.  Von Graefe and two other right-wing deputies challenge Graemer to a duel – they even give him the convenient option of dueling with all 3 of them at once.

Winston Churchill officially announces that he is running in the by-election in the Abbey division of Westminster. I think he’d expected the Liberals and the Tories not to run candidates against him so he could run an anti-“Socialist” campaign as a “Constitutionalist,” but both parties, and Labour, will run their own. The Liberal will be a man much persecuted during the Great War as a conscientious objector, the unfortunately named James Duckers. The Tory will be the Otho Nicholson, nephew of the MP who died.

Mexican Pres. Obregón sets the next presidential and legislative elections for July 6, saying the rebellion has been quelled enough to hold them.

The NYT says the proposed bill to make the Philippines independent will be “misinterpreted” in the colony as suggesting that the Philippines will actually be made independent in the near future. Meanwhile, Secretary of War John Weeks thinks it would be better to set a date; he suggests 1949.

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Monday, March 04, 2024

Today -100: March 4, 1924: Where is the pain?

The Chicago federal grand jury which indicted Charles Forbes, the ex-director of the Veterans’ Bureau, failed to name the two congresscritters it says took money from the Bureau. Rep. Jasper Tincher (R-Kansas) will demand those names.

Professors from Northwestern, Columbia, and Antioch transmit thoughts on radio station WJAZ, you know, psychically: numbers, animals, food, “Ouch, it hurts... where is the pain?” And listeners hear/feel the thoughts, so it must be real.

Turkey deposes the caliph (who is the cousin of the deposed sultan) and abolishes the caliphate. The caliph will be exiled to... Switzerland, along with his harem (Update: actually, he leaves his harem and eunuchs behind, whether from choice or not is not clear). Religious teaching is also banned. There is no longer an ostensible head of the Muslim world. Britain is worried about what that means for India.

In the Beer Hall Putsch trial, the testimony for the defense, which evidently precedes that for the prosecution, has concluded, following super-long speeches by Hitler & Ludendorff, who blame Bavarian officials Dictator Gustav von Kahr, Gen. Otto von Lossow, and police chief Hans Ritter von Seisser for sneaking out of the beer hall after initially agreeing to back the putsch, thereby ensuring the putsch’s failure. I’m not sure how admitting to attempting treason but failing because of “betrayal” amounts to a defense. That said, they did have their own plans for marching on Berlin and overthrowing the Republic, so...

One of the accusations Ludendorff made at the trial was that the Vatican backed the Entente during the Great War. Not so, says the Vatican.

Russia is going to put a bunch of professors on trial for plotting against the government and spying for Poland.

Ku Klux Klan endorsements play a significant role in the elections of the (Republican) mayors of Saco & Rockland, Maine.

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Sunday, March 03, 2024

Today -100: March 3, 1924: Of primaries and independent & constitutional candidates

NY Gov. Al Smith withdraws from the Illinois primaries after his name was filed without his permission. Evidently his strategy is to avoid all the primaries, which will then choose favorite son candidates with no chance of winning the national vote, who will give him their endorsement at the national convention after they see they have no chance of winning the national vote. I can see nothing that could go wrong with this strategy.

Winston Churchill, who lost his seat at the last general election, will stand in the Westminster by-election as an “independent and constitutional” candidate, which I guess means no longer a Liberal but not yet ready to rejoin the Tories. He’s positioning himself as an anti-Socialist.

Seán O'Casey’s play Juno and the Paycock premieres at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

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Saturday, March 02, 2024

Today -100: March 2, 1924: Of demoralized parties and automobiles

The NYT says the Republican response to the Teapot Dome and other scandals shows a demoralized party, “men who had lost their nerve,” “panic-stricken,” “an attitude of surrender.” Congressional Republicans fail to show any support for Coolidge, who they’d prefer be replaced.

An automobile “census” finds there are about 18,241,477 cars in the world, 15 million of them in the US (11% of which are trucks). Behind the US, in order, Britain has 655,000, Canada 642,000, France 460,000, Germany 152,000.

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Friday, March 01, 2024

Today -100: March 1, 1924: Of bribery, hotel butterflies, and freedom of the German nation

US Marines intervene, as was the custom, in the conflict in Honduras between the 3 competing presidents.

Charles Forbes, the ex-director of the Veterans’ Bureau, is indicted by a federal grand jury for waste, fraud, and... debauchery. Also indicted is contractor John Thompson, who paid bribes to Forbes.

By a 282 to 72 vote, the House of Commons passes the second reading of a bill to equalize the terms for suffrage between the sexes, reducing the age for women to vote from 30 to 21. The Duchess of Atholl, who was anti-suffrage back in the day but then got elected to Parliament, opposes the bill, saying young wives wouldn’t have time to study politics. She then gets into a discussion with Rhys Davies over the relative merits as voters of traveling tinkers and “hotel butterflies.”

At the Beer Hall Putsch trial, Erich Ludendorff gives a political, anti-Semitic speech: “We want a Germany free of Marxism, semitism, and papal influences.” “Freedom of the nation cannot be expected from [the Jew].”

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