Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today -100: December 17, 1909: Of fallen presidents, dead kings, trouble-making tin mills, immigrants’ children’s heads, and lowering standards


Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya resigns. To avoid further bloodshed and to avoid giving the US “a pretext for intervention,” he says, not because he was losing militarily.

The US has graciously decided to postpone demanding payment from Cuba of the $6,509,511 it claims Cuba owes the US compensate it for the expense of occupying Cuba.

US Steel responds to the declaration of war by the unions (2 days ago) by announcing a plan to dismantle its “trouble-making” tin mills (in the words of the president of the US Steel-owned American Sheet and Tin Plate Company) in Pittsburg altogether and build a new one in Gary, Ind. for $4,500,000.

A Immigration Commission report to Congress says that the children of immigrants look more like Americans. Actually, it only looked at Sicilians and Eastern European Jews in New York, but evidently the heads of the Sicilians’ children are no longer so long and those of the Jews are no longer so round and Jewy.

The British general election, called for January 1910, is in full swing, and many Conservative members of the House of Lords have been heckled and shouted down at election meetings. In part this is because it’s traditional for peers to keep out of elections to the other House, and in part because this election is largely about the constitutional position of the House of Lords, which has been screwing with the Liberal government’s bills for years (think Joe Lieberman), but went far beyond what most people considered its legitimate role to be when it rejected the budget, something the Lords hadn’t done for 250 years.


The suffragettes have also been actively heckling candidates, mostly Liberals. One jumped into Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George’s car and “upbraided and shook” him.

Leopold, the king of the Belgians, died.

Incoming Yale science and engineering students will no longer have to know Latin.

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