Saturday, December 18, 2010

Today -100: December 18, 1910: Of invasion, grand old Republicans, airplanes, and women smoking

Taft gives a speech publicly refuting those leaked reports of his secretary of war and army chief of staff and denying that the US is in any imminent danger of being invaded by some European power if it doesn’t immediately increase the size of the standing army to 400,000 or more: “There is not the slightest reason for such a sensation, because we are at peace with all the nations of the world and are quite likely to remain so.” But he does want an international court and fortification of the Panama Canal.

In Russia, five newspapers are confiscated and their editors will be prosecuted for lèse majesté for publishing a speech made by Vladimir Purishkevitch in the Duma about police attacks on student meetings and the cruelties inflicted on political prisoners (since Purishkevitch was a right-wing anti-Semitic crazy, I’m not sure what this is about, and I don’t have more details about the speech).

Samuel Parker, 80, one of the founders of the Republican Party and a friend of Abraham Lincoln, retires from his government job in Cook County. And the NYT -100 really needed to watch its spacing, since “whoretired” might really be “who retired,” and might really be something else entirely.

Orville Wright says that aviation is now safer than automobiling, that planes will soon be built capable of carrying ten or even twelve passengers, and that people (rich people) will soon use planes for cross-country trips.

At the new Ritz-Carlton, a woman smoked in the dining room, blowing smoke-rings. A waiter informed the head-waiter, who informed the manager, who merely observed the violator of social mores without chastising her. So, will women be allowed to smoke in the public rooms of the New York Ritz-Carlton, as they are in the one in London? The Times sent a reporter to ask the vice president of the Ritz-Carlton Company. He insisted that “American women know best what is the correct thing to do in a public restaurant, and I would never dream of posing as an arbiter of etiquette. ... I cannot presume to teach American women anything at all.”

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