Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today -100: December 12, 1909: Of sending in the Marines, pancakes, inter-racial banqueting, and marionettes

The NYT is quite confused about what orders the US marines in the region of Nicaragua might have received (and the Taft admin has felt no particular obligation to explain its policy to the public). Gen. Estrada has asked the US consul for some marines to help him break the government siege of Bluefields, on the pretext of protecting American citizens resident in the town. An editorial is surprisingly anti-interventionist, given the paper’s previous anti-Zelaya coverage, noting that the US has “intervened savagely in defense of men attempting to dynamite a troopship” and that the rebels “possess scarcely more of the forms of government than a lynching party.”

The Civic Forum will hold a municipal banquet at which the newly elected city officials will speak. The headline: “Municipal Dinner to Be Inter-Racial.” Also invited: every clergyman in the city and NY’s only woman aeroplanist, Lillian Todd.

Pres. Taft met the 85 supervisors of the Census and warned them sternly against using their offices for political ends (most of the supervisors were recommended by members of Congress).

John D. Rockefeller has placed an order for 100 pounds of buckwheat flour to be sent to his daughter’s house. “Pancakes for the Rockefellers,” the headline says, but that seems like mere speculation. More developments as they occur. Occurred. Whatever.

The shirtwaist strike arbitration failed right at the start, the manufacturers being unwilling to talk about recognizing the union.

In a sign of the times, an Italian marionette theater, the last remaining one in NYC, is being displaced by those new-fangled moving pictures. The story is oddly moving. “So the seven fat volumes of marionette poetry, all the old Italian romances, have been taken up the Parisi tenement. One by one, the hundreds of dolls, those his father and grandfather had, will be put away or sold, and Signor Parisi will open a moving-picture show, too. ‘One must eat and live,’ he says.”

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