Friday, May 31, 2024

Today -100: May 31, 1924: Of checks, franks, and klan wreaths

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If by “check” you mean “death.” But he’s a Gurkha, thus the lack of dismay. Shamsherpun by name. He won’t be the last check.

Nathan Leopold, 19, and Richard Loeb, 18, are arrested for the murder of Bobby Franks, 14 (the murderers’ ages are reported correctly, but the NYT can’t make up its mind about Franks, despite having had days to get it right). Leopold, who doesn’t seem to know when to shut up, says the state’s attorney asked him if he’d ever read any works dealing with perversion; he answered that he’d read 16th-century bad boy and renowned homosexualist Pietro Aretino’s I Ragionamenti, which is about prostitution.

The Allies demand that Germany allow the resumption of inspections of its military, which Germany ended at the start of the Ruhr occupation. Germany says the provision of the Versailles Treaty allowing inspections has expired since Germany has toooootally disarmed, and inspections should now shift from the Allies to the League of Nations. The Allies refuse to believe that Germany has toooootally disarmed, with good reason, and say it’s up to them and not Germany to decide when the conditions have been fulfilled.

The German Nationalists give up their attempt to form a government in which they would have control over all the major positions and impose their own foreign policy and get control of Prussia. For some reason the moderate parties didn’t want to go along with that. So Pres. Ebert asks Wilhelm Marx to try again to form a new government.

In KKK Memorial Day news, a K.K.K. wreath is placed at the war memorial in Hicksville, Long Island, causing a kerfuffle since the parade there was organized by the Knights of Columbus, the 3 Hicksville Great War dead all having been members. That wreath was placed furtively during the parade, but in Binghamton, kluxers in kluxer regalia (but without masks) attempt to place a wreath on the local monument and are dispersed by a single Civil War vet, who threatens them with his cane, which is made from wood from the Andersonville prisoner of war camp.

Headline of the Day -100:  


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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Today -100: May 30, 1924: Of advanced thinkers, veeps, and kampfs

At the Senate DOJ Committee, Gaston Weeks, former Bureau of Investigation agent and con man, accuses Treasury Sec Andrew Mellon of large-scale authorizations of withdrawal of liquor from bonded warehouses, partly to fund the Republican Party’s deficit, and partly so banks could liquidate their frozen credits. And some other shit, but I stopped reading when I decided nothing Weeks says is worth giving credence to.

After having released a couple of teachers who were suspected of killing Bobby Franks (because of how well-written the ransom notes were), the Chicago PD arrest 5 more suspects, including Nathan Leopold Jr., who left his glasses behind at the dump spot. He immediately admits that those are indeed his glasses, but says he left them in the area, where he often roamed for ornithological reasons, the week before the murder. “Examination developed the fact that he considered himself an advanced thinker and that he professed atheism.”

Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover says he is not a candidate for the vice presidency.

Adolf Hitler announces that he is writing a book in his prison cell. He says his Beer Hall Putsch saved Germany from a dictatorship led by Gen. Hans von Seeckt but with industrial magnate Hugo Stinnes (who died last month) running things behind the scenes. Given that Stinnes was a major financial backer of the Nazis, I don’t know what the hell Hitler is doing here.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Today -100: May 29, 1924: Take the C Out of Cal

Fightin’ Bob La Follette strongly hints that he will run as a third-party candidate for president unless the D’s & R’s “cleaned house.” And the Farmer-Labor Progressive Party, which just allowed Communist delegates into its national convention, should also clean house. That’s a lot of clean houses.

The House votes 166-138 for a Navy bill that will build a bunch of new warships, the US having fallen behind the 5:5:3 ratio with Britain and Japan established by the Washington Treaty. Thomas Butler (R-Penn.), chair of the Navy Committee and sponsor of this bill, says “This navy of ours has run down,” so he had to violate the Republican commitment to economy. Also, everyone expects Coolidge to call another arms limitation conference after the whole Ruhr/German reparations thing is fixed, and, Butler says, we need to build more ships to force Britain to give up some of its ships, which would also mean scrapping US ships.

Rep. Sol Bloom (D-NY), who used to be in the sheet music business, demonstrates why he is no longer in the sheet music business by composing a campaign song for Al Smith entitled “Take the C Out of Cal and That Leaves Al (And Al Means Smith).”

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Today -100: May 28, 1924: This must be a Parliament and not the degenerate successor of Parliament

The new Reichstag’s opening session concludes with a sing-a-long, competing strains of The Internationale and Deutschland Über Alles (one point to the NYT for knowing that the latter’s melody was composed by Haydn). The Communists are especially loud (with cowbells and everything) when Ludendorff’s name is called.

There’s also a new Italian Parliament. Mussolini tells it that it’s the “very last parliamentary experiment.” If it “fails,” it will be replaced by something better. He does offer the possibility that Fascismo “may lead to a new period of splendor of Parliament,” but “This must be a Parliament and not the degenerate successor of Parliament.” Degenerate successors are the worst kind of successor. Or possibly the best kind.

The Methodist General Conference lifts the ban on dancing, theater- and circus-going, card-playing etc. Not that the Methodists now approve that sort of thing, mind you.

Grindell Matthews is going to France to discuss selling his Diabolical Ray, after Britain made him an offer, contingent on his proving its efficacy by halting a motor engine, a condition he finds insulting. His business partners attempt to serve him an injunction, but their lawyer arrives after Matthews’ plane has taken off. The US is also trying to get its grubby hands on the device, but they can’t find Matthews.

Russia is also said to have a death ray that can blow planes out of the sky, which explains the bellicosity of War Minister Leon Trotsky’s recent speeches.

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Monday, May 27, 2024

Today -100: May 27, 1924: Of exclusions, lynchings, and ostriches

Coolidge signs the immigration bill but says he’d have vetoed the Japanese exclusion provision had it been a stand-alone bill. So he dislikes racism, but not THAT much.

There’s still no deal on a new German cabinet. The Nationalists are demanding that Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (who was just elected to the Reichstag) be made chancellor, that a new president be elected, that participants in the Beer Hall and Küstrin putsches be amnestied, that all Jews who have entered Germany since 1914 be expelled, all German Jews to be put under special legislation, etc.

Two young black men are lynched in Fort Meyers, Florida after being accused of attacking white girls.

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Today -100: May 26, 1924: Of Leagues and parties unknown

Edouard Herriot, who takes over as French PM next week, says French foreign policy will be built on the League of Nations, the one sure hope for peace.

As reported here a couple of days ago, shots were fired in Herrin, Illinois at the car of KKK-paid dry raider Glenn Young’s car, wounding him and his wife. Now an alleged “gangster” (I assume meaning bootlegger), Jack Skelcher (which is a very bootleggery name), believed to be one of the would-be assassins, is shot dead by... well, none of the many witnesses to the shooting saw nuthin’, so the coroner’s jury rules he was killed by “parties unknown,” which are the worst kind of parties. One cop says he deputized 10 or 12 men to “investigate suspicious characters,” but won’t say who the deputies were.

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Today -100: May 25, 1924: Of Marxist corpses, death rays, true liberty, and colonies

Karl Marx’s grandson Jean Longuet rejects Soviet Russia’s request to transfer KM’s body from London to Moscow, saying Russia is totally misinterpreting his work.

Dr. T.F. Wall, lecturer in electrical research at Sheffield University, has also invented a death ray. We are entering a golden age of death rays. British newspapers have been demanding that Grindell Matthews not be allowed to hawk his own Diabolical Ray to a French company, so he has been called back for talks with the military. And Reinhold Wulle, the near-fascist German deputy, claims that there are no fewer than three German death ray patents.

Speaking of German inventions, the hot new thing in Berlin is mini-radios suitable for pockets, with headphones and an antenna in one’s hat.

Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III, wearing a general’s uniform, opens the Parliament with a speech praising Fascism, Mussolini’s militia, and the crackdown on The Duck’s enemies: “The Italian people wish liberty, true liberty, to be left intact, but they have clearly shown that they repudiate every form of degeneration of liberty and every form of license, just as they repudiate all weakness or tolerance because they wish all special individual and class interests to be subordinated to the general interests of the community.”

Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, the former governor of Togoland, is head of a colonization company aiming to establish a feudal dukedom in Dutch New Guinea, in which the Dutch colonial government would have no say and all laws protecting the 200,000 natives in the 200,000 square mile concession would be abrogated. However, the plan seems to have been scuppered by... people finding out about it.

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Friday, May 24, 2024

Today -100: May 24, 1924: This is a strictly commercial proposition

Bobby Franks was already dead when his kidnappers made their ransom demands, probably killed accidentally when he was gagged. The ransom letter resembles one in a recent (unnamed) detective story.

NYC Mayor John Hylan orders an inquiry into why John D. Rockefeller Jr’s daughter Abby received only a suspended sentence for speeding (29 mph on 10th Avenue).

Glenn Young, who was paid by the Ku Klux Klan as a dry raider in and around Herrin, Illinois, and his wife are wounded in a drive-by shooting.

The Senate votes 56-5 to approve the Borah report confirming that the indictment of Burton Wheeler (D-Montana) was a frame-up designed to derail his investigation of then-attorney general Harry Daugherty and that he was never paid to lobby the Interior Dept.

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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Today -100: May 23, 1924: As you no doubt know by this time, your son has been kidnapped

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Bobby was actually 14. More on this later....

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Today -100: May 22, 1924: Of fishy rays and chlorine

Columbia U. physicist W.L. Severinghaus says the story about the “diabolical ray” invention sounds “fishy.”

Coolidge enjoyed the chlorine yesterday so much he does it again. His wife Grace joins him, although she doesn’t have a cold, just for shits and giggles.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Today -100: May 21, 1924: Of diabolical rays, klunerals, chlorine gas, and Jewish dissection

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Grindell Matthews, less a Mad Scientist Extraordinaire than a British con man with a history of “inventing” devices that he won’t explain and can’t demonstrate, claims to have invented a Diabolical Ray (It’s not a death ray or an ice beam, that’s all Johnny Snow) that can direct (somehow) an electric current that can destroy enemy planes, making them burst into flames, and paralyze warships (and their crews) within a radius of 4 miles.

In Long Island, NY, the Ku Klux Klan hold a large funeral for a Southampton constable killed in a shootout with bootleggers.

Pres. Coolidge, still suffering from a cold/hay fever, is put in an airtight room into which chlorine gas is pumped for 45 minutes. Sure, why not.

There have been pogroms in Transylvania, with a dozen Jews allegedly killed. Students government officials and secret police are said to have been involved.

At Budapest University, med students demand, maybe not seriously, that 4 Jewish med students be killed and dissected. The complaint is that the Jewish students have benefited from the dissection of dead Christians but Jewish communities bury their dead poor rather than making them available to med schools.

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Monday, May 20, 2024

Today -100: May 20, 1924: Meat juice

Under the Bonus Bill, which has just gone into effect after the Senate overrode Coolidge’s veto 59-26, 3 million+ veterans would receive insurance policies and 389,000 cash of $50 or less. Only vets ranked captain or below in the Army & Marine Corps or lieutenant in the Navy are eligible. What Congress hasn’t done is come up with a way to pay for all this. Rep. Victor Berger (Socialist-Wisc.) suggests making France pay its war debt.

AT&T has figured out how to send photographs over the phone wires. A picture taken in Cleveland was reproduced in New York in a mere 44 minutes (the photo had to be developed at each end).

Medical science is gaining in leaps and bounds. The latest cure is for tuberculosis, and it’s... meat juice!

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Today -100: May 19, 1924: If ever I get the chance to tell my story, I’ll rip the innermost circles of Washington wide open

Charles Forbes, the incredibly corrupt former director of the Veterans’ Bureau, now under indictment, says he’s being “framed” and now “they” are literally trying to murder him. “If ever I get the chance to tell my story, I’ll rip the innermost circles of Washington wide open.” Or go to prison, one or the other.

Pres. Coolidge has hay fever, or “rose fever” as they’re calling it.

Newly elected Reichstag deputy Reinhold Wulle of the National Socialist Freedom Party, the party standing in for the banned Nazi Party, claims that former kaiser Wilhelm approves the election gains of the fascists and gives visitors to Doorn silver swastikas and copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a translation of Henry Ford’s anti-semitic writings. Dunno if any of this is true.

Hanover voters reject a plebiscite on whether to call a referendum to become a separate province independent of the state of Prussia.

At the Paris Olympics, French spectators hiss the American flag and are “unjustly incensed” when the US rugby team beats the French team, despite the former being mostly college students new to the sport. American spectators are attacked with canes, as was the custom.

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Now playing:

The Marx Brothers open on Broadway for the first time. Groucho plays Napoleon, I guess. The four brothers are all billed under their real names (Julius, Adolph, Leonard, Herbert), but their stage names are pretty well known from vaudeville. The “She” is Lotta Miles, a name Florence Reutti adopted when she was doing tire ads. Lotta Miles, geddit?

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Today -100: May 18, 1924: Incidentally

The incoming French government, whenever it does come in, plans to reduce military service from 18 months to 9 (this doesn’t affect the 1/3 of the French military that comes from the colonies).

The House of Representatives votes to override Coolidge’s veto of the Bonus Bill 313-78, with 3/4 of the Republicans voting for the bonus.

Russia will expel 100,000 bourgeois high school and college students to make room for proletarian and peasant kids.

Mussolini and Czech Foreign Minister Edvard Beneš agree on a treaty of friendship and whatnot between Italy and Czechoslovakia. Mussolini was worried that France has been gaining too much influence in the Little Entente.

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Friday, May 17, 2024

Today -100: May 17, 1924: Of taxes and dead suns

Coolidge threatens to veto the tax-cut bill if his veto of the Bonus Bill is overridden.

German Chancellor Wilhelm Marx and Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann refuse to resign, denying that Nationalists opposed to the Dawes reparations plan represent a majority.

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Okay, that’s not the astronomical body, but South China President Sun Yat-sen, whose death has been reported, wrongly, for days.

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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Today -100: May 16, 1924: Patriotism which is bought and paid for is not patriotism

Pres. Coolidge vetoes the Bonus Bill. He points to its considerable commitment of funds for years to come and the threat to tax cuts. He says “Our first concern must be the nation as a whole. This outweighs in its importance the consideration of a class [i.e., veterans] and the latter must yield to the former.” Vets might argue that they’ve already “yielded” quite a bit to the nation as a whole. He says nothing is owed to able-bodied vets because they were just doing every citizen’s “first duty.” “The gratitude of the nation to these veterans cannot be expressed in dollars and cents.” Well not with that attitude, mister. In fact, even trying to pay money for patriotism is an “unworthy indignity which cheapens, debases and destroys it.  ... Patriotism which is bought and paid for is not patriotism.” Veterans, he says, don’t even want it, “All our American principles are opposed to it. There is no moral justification for it.”

I especially like how he refers to a bonus for vets as a “gratuity.” And how he presents stiffing them as a matter of principle.

James Foley says he can’t be Boss of Tammany Hall after all after suffering a not-at-all-fake nervous collapse and getting a doctor’s note.

NYC Mayor John Hylan refuses a licence for child actors in Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Chillun Got Wings,” which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the play’s inter-racial marriage . So the director reads out the scene. The demonstration some thought might protest the opening night does not occur, although one audience member leaves behind a pamphlet entitled “The Ku Klux Klan.”

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Today -100: May 15, 1924: Of wheelers, zebras, Bosses, and toughs

The Senate committee investigating the indictment of Sen. Burton Wheeler (D-Montana) exonerates him, saying the legal services he contracted to provide Gordon Campbell of Montana were related only to lawsuits and not to any matter before government agencies. The charges against Wheeler were trumped up by then-attorney general Harry Daugherty to derail his investigations of Dirty Harry’s shenanigans.

Abyssinia’s Prince Regent Ras Tafari, the future Emperor Haile Selassie, arrives in France, bearing gifts: lions and zebras. Pres. Millerand plans to keep 2 of the zebras at his country house.

James Foley is elected new Boss of Tammany Hall, whether he likes it or not.

Smith College suspends 3 students for smoking. In a tea room. Not even on campus.

The inquiries into both Teapot Dome and Dirty Harry Daugherty’s Justice Department are winding down. The last witness at the former, the chief petroleum engineer of the Bureau of Mines, is named Frederick B. Tough.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Today -100: May 14, 1924: Of cooks, circuses, and Klandiana

And this is what happens when you hold the Olympics in Paris: cooks in hotels and restaurants will strike on opening day.

Calvin Coolidge, who it is difficult to picture attending a circus, attends a circus. Evidently he’s really loved circuses since he was a child. He does not eat any peanuts or laugh at the anti-Prohibition jokes, but is observed to applaud most at the bareback riding, trained dogs, and trapeze artistes. His wife likes the clowns. Reporters like counting how many times Coolidge claps at the circus.

The Indiana Ku Klux takes control of its own policies, effectively but not formally seceding from the klannish mother ship. It elects D.C. Stephenson Grand Dragon. Stephenson sues Imperial Wizard Hiram Evans and other national Klan leaders for libel and slander (the details of which are not listed in the NYT), asking $200,000 in damages. Also, the Democratic nominee for governor Carleton McCulloch, who also garnered that hopeless nomination in 1920, says the Republican primary showed that the R’s have been captured by the Klan (Fact Check: true).

In the French parliamentary elections, Blaise Diagne is re-elected for the part of Senegal that’s officially part of France. A negro, as the NYT feels obliged to clarify. He is also mayor of Dakar.

Also, Communist Jacques Doriot wins a seat from Saint-Denis (Paris). He is currently in prison for protesting the Ruhr occupation and inciting troops to disobedience. His election will ensure his release. ....Aaaand later he’ll become a fascist.

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Monday, May 13, 2024

Today -100: May 13, 1924: Philatelists of the world unite!

Rep. John Langley (R-Kentucky) is found guilty of conspiracy to sell whisky, 1,400 cases of it, in 1921. His role in the scheme was to get  the KY prohibition commissioner to authorize the release of that whisky. Langley will be sentenced to 2 years.

Russia complains to Poland about persecution there of the Orthodox Russian church.

Soviet Russia is launching the “Philintern,” an international stamp-collectors association. Possibly because they’re pissed at how many fake Russian stamps are circulating.

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Today -100: May 12, 1924: Of slow-ass radio waves, left cartels, and German days

Capt. T.J.J. See, US Navy astronomer and professor of Mathematics and Being Wrong, has “proven” that radio waves are slower than the speed of light (165,000 miles per second v. 188,000).

France’s governing alliance, the Bloc National, loses the parliamentary elections (and 77 seats) to the Cartel des Gauches, an alliance of the Radicals (who aren’t radical), the Socialists (who aren’t socialist) and a few smaller left-wing groups, but not including the Communists, who get nearly 10% of the votes but fewer than 5% of the seats. PM Raymond Poincaré is definitely out, and probably President Alexandre Millerand as well. Future PM André Tardieu is defeated, but André Marty (Communist), who was sentenced by a court-martial to 20 years for his role in the Black Sea Mutiny, is elected from Paris. The unexpected victory of the left or center-left, whatever you want to call it, is partly a reaction to Poincaré’s Ruhr policy and partly to the decline of the franc and the introduction of new taxes.

German nationalists hold a “German Day” in Halle, with 70,000 goose-stepping vets (some of them in top hats, frock coats and white ties, to the NYT’s amusement) reviewed by acquitted insurrectionist Gen. Erich Ludendorff. Police deny permission to Communists to hold a rival “Worker Day” and violently repress their attempt to hold one anyway, killing 11.

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Today -100: May 11, 1924: Humanity toward Humanity

A cross is burned on the grounds of a Catholic church in Armonk, New York, presumably a Ku Klux Klan warning against building a new chapel.

The Italian Fascists are divided over tactics between those who want Fascism, now that it’s won, to disarm and “become absorbed by the nation,” and those who want it to remain a revolutionary minority and impose its policies by force, if necessary, and to kill Socialists and Communists. These Fascist tendencies are called the Legalists and the Savages.

Eugene O’Neill, “popularly regarded as America’s poet laureate of gloom,” denies that his new play “All God's Chillun Got Wings,” which stars Paul Robeson and Mary Blair as an interracial couple, advocates intermarriage: “I am never the advocate of anything in any play – except humanity toward Humanity.” He says the characters represent no one but themselves.

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Friday, May 10, 2024

Today -100: May 10, 1924: Burned

The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) wants a referendum on the Dawes Plan, which they support but which the parties on the far left and far right that did so well in the Reichstag elections do not.

William Burns, head of both the Burns International Detective Agency and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation, resigns the latter post 2 days after admitting that he sent agents to dig up dirt on Democratic senators.

Burns will be replaced, on a (ahem) temporary basis, by 29-year-old J. Edgar Hoover.

The House of Representatives votes 191-171 to reject Coolidge’s request to postpone Japanese exclusion 8 months. And now I understand why he wanted that: so he’d have time to negotiate with Japan on ending the Gentlemen’s Agreement rather than do it unilaterally.

Louisiana hangs 6 Italian men for a single murder committed during a bank robbery. One stabs himself several times with a pocket knife – “where Lamantia had concealed the knife no official could learn.” They hang him anyway, sitting in a chair.

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Thursday, May 09, 2024

Today -100: May 9, 1924: Organized rascality is the worst kind of rascality

Worries of a Communist threat in Germany, mostly by encouraging strikes in the Ruhr and elsewhere. The KPD opposes the Dawes Plan on reparations as “enslavement” of Germany. The government worries that France will continue to demand coal reparations at the same levels during the strike and then seize the mines for non-compliance, which does sound very much like something France would do.

Tammany fails to elect a new Boss, and appoints a committee of 7 – including 3 women – to recommend one.

Sir James Craig, prime minister of Northern Ireland, says rather than draw the border with the Irish Free State so that Catholic areas in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh would go to the Free State, the Catholics in those areas should be “swapped” with Protestants in the South.

Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge has a plan for an entirely new World Court. Possibly he doesn’t know that there already is a World Court, established by, you know, the World, with 45 member nations.

Canadian Sen. J.D. Taylor charges that there is “organized rascality” in the National Railway and Steamship Depts.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Today -100: May 8, 1924: Of delays, skullduggery, and klandidates

Acceding to Coolidge’s request, Congress will delay the ban on Japanese immigrants 8 months, until March 1925 (Spoiler Alert: no, it won’t). I’m not sure how this is supposed to mollify Japan. He waited to request this delay until after the California primary.

William Burns, head of the Bureau of Investigation, admits to the Senate DOJ committee that former attorney general Harry Daugherty ordered him to send agents to Montana to investigate Sen. Burton Wheeler and assigned other agents to follow witness Gaston Means.

Klan-supported candidate for Indiana governor Ed Jackson wins the Republican primary.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Today -100: May 7, 1924: It must be rather jolly to be a king

Pres. Coolidge opposes an amendment to the Senate tax bill making tax returns public. However, he’s not specifically threatening to veto the bill; in fact, as a policy he never says in advance whether he’ll veto a bill because it would look like he was trying to dictate to Congress.

Sir James Craig, prime minister of Northern Ireland, says he won’t appoint a representative on the boundary commission. Why such a rush to establish the border between NI and Free State?, he asks. If settlements, treaties and such are to serve reconciliation, they must be signed in their hearts, not on paper, he says. Also, it’s not a political subject, but a matter for the Empire, he says. He really doesn’t want a border agreement, does he?

There is controversy over Charles Sims’s portrait of King George V, possibly because they make him look like a can-can dancer (“paint me like one of your French girls.”) The Daily Express says he looks like a short-sighted man who has mislaid his glasses. The London Times, however, thinks he looks like “it must be rather jolly to be a king.” George is in fact not jollified by the painting and will return it to Sims. The Royal Academy will cut out and burn the head part, then later the rest. The picture below is a surviving version of the original.

England has the first performance of German opera since the war, Wagner’s Das Rheingold, conducted by Bruno Walter. It’s well-received.

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Monday, May 06, 2024

Today -100: May 6, 1924: Of elections, flu cures, and georges

German elections (counting is still going on): While the outcome is presented as a victory for implementation of the Dawes Plan and a consequent de-escalation of hostilities with France, and the coalition government is likely to continue in office, its constituent centrist parties all lose votes. Parties on the right and left which reject the Weimar Republic increase their share of the vote, the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP) getting 19.5%, the Völkisch Freedom Party (DVFP), standing in for the banned Nazis, 6.5%. The Communists (KPD) gain significantly with 12.6%, quadrupling their seats, while the Socialists (SPD) drop to 20%. The NYT says the extreme right didn’t do nearly as well as expected; the NYT will consistently underestimate the threat from the extreme right for the next decade.

The Army tests chlorine gas as a cure for influenza in horses and mules. And it works!

Sens. George Pepper, George Moses, George Norris, George McLean, and Walter George join the Society for the Prevention of Calling Pullman Car Porters “George.”

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Sunday, May 05, 2024

Today -100: May 5, 1924: Of music masters, smoke screens, and imperial shoes

Edward Elgar is named Master of the King’s Music.

The Army’s Chemical Warfare Service gets a large bomber to lay down a smoke screen over lower Manhattan. This would be useful in a war to hide the city from an enemy fleet. But not from planes, which rather easily penetrate the smoke because it’s, you know, smoke.

In the first legislative elections in Southern Rhodesia last week, the government of Sir Charles Coghlan (Rhodesia Party) wins 25 or 26 of 30 seats. Only whites are allowed to vote (which is presumably such a given that the NYT story fails to mention it).

Condescending Headline of the Day -100:  

This is the royal tour led by Abyssinia’s Prince Regent Ras Tafari, the future Emperor Haile Selassie.

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Saturday, May 04, 2024

Today -100: May 4, 1924: I am for economy

Pres. Coolidge issues his first veto, of a measure to increase pensions to veterans of the Civil War and Mexican-American War and some of their dependents, War of 1812 widows, etc. “I am for economy,” he says. This isn’t the main Bonus Bill, but is a pretty clear indicator of his plans for that one.

NYC Mayor John Hylan opposes Tammany Hall’s plan to make Surrogate (judge) James Foley its leader. This may be another step in Hylan’s ongoing fight with Gov. Al Smith, who favors Foley.

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Friday, May 03, 2024

Today -100: May 3, 1924: Of conditions of violence, avoiding offense, mah-jongg, bigamy, and huge airships

Coolidge bans the shipment of weapons and ammo to Cuba at the request of its government, which is currently fighting a rebellion in Santa Clara province (the US will still sell munitions to the Cuban government). The State Dept statement says Cuba brought “the condition of violence existing in Cuba formally to the attention of the American government.” As long as it was formal.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The Senate officially changes the name of “mah jong” to “mah-jongg,” in the course of fixing a 10% tax on mah-jongg sets.

It looks like British holders of $120 million in Confederate bonds may not be able to redeem them.

Paul Adolphe Tholome is convicted of bigamy in Paris, but his lawyer’s plea that he was patriotically helping France, which needs babies, and the fact that it was his first offence, persuades the jury to release him.

Headline of the Day -100:  

 Says it’d be like all steampunk and stuff.

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Thursday, May 02, 2024

Today -100: May 2, 1924: The Butler will do it

Coolidge appoints William M. Butler chair of the RNC. Butler is a lawyer who ran Cal’s primary campaign. (I was slightly startled to see the headline on this, thinking the Butler referred to was Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia U. president and sort of Taft’s running mate in 1913) who can be found elsewhere on the front page because of a kerfuffle over his coming out against prohibition.)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt says Al Smith won’t enter any primaries in states which have a favorite son candidate. Smith is basically ignoring all primaries in those states which have primaries (I’m feeling too lazy to look up how many that is). FDR also denies that the late Boss Murphy had any secret deals in non-NY states for delegates. Murphy tooootally had secret deals for delegates. Orville Poland, lawyer for the Anti-Saloon League, says FDR is a “false front,” his selection an attempt to give “a garb of respectability” to the anti-prohibition Smith.

Kurt Jahnke, who organized sabotage in the US during the Great War, is running for the Reichstag, as a Nationalist of course. He’s attacking Count Johann von Berstorff, who was the German ambassador to the US before the US entered the war and is currently seeking re-election, as a traitor for providing Jahnke insufficient support back then for fomenting strikes in US ports.

France is also having elections. Only 2 parties, of many, mention women’s suffrage in their platforms, and one wants it introduced only piecemeal. The Christian Socialists want universal women’s suffrage; they have 1 deputy in the outgoing National Assembly.

Former Indiana Gov. Warren T. McCray begins his prison sentence. He says, “I am facing the decree of fate with courage and fortitude and sublime confidence in my individual integrity of purpose.” One of his fellow prisoners aboard the train to the federal pen in Atlanta decides not to face the decree of fate with courage and fortitude and sublime confidence in his individual integrity of purpose, and escapes out a bathroom window.

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Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Today -100: May 1, 1924: Of ex-governors, Christian democracy, Mays Day, and prisoner exchanges

Former Indiana Governor Warren T. McCray, who resigned yesterday, is sentenced
to 10 years in prison & a $10,000 fine for mail fraud.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt agrees to head Al Smith’s presidential campaign. With that done, Smith says he can now take himself “out of the picture” and focus on governoring.

Smith’s competitor for the D. nomination William Gibbs McAdoo calls for a return to the “Christian democracy” of his father-in-law Woodrow Wilson, saying that materialism and the influence of money are eroding the tone and quality of American citizenship.

The German government bans May Day demonstrations, but the Communist Party says scheiß drauf.

Leon Trotsky says Japan is on the eve of a revolution, although one like the 1905 Russian Revolution rather than the 1917 ones. He denies Russia plans to invade Poland.

Russia exchanges 107 Poles in its prisons for 36 Communists in Polish prisons, 19 of whom are Jewish. 3, however, preferred prison in Poland to life in Russia. Most of the Poles held by Russia, including 6 priests, were in prison for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda; some were held without charge. The article fails to disclose what the Communists in Poland were charged with.

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