Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today -100: December 28, 1911: Of bastards getting off scot-free

The owners of the Triangle Waist Company, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, are acquitted of manslaughter for the Triangle fire. Money well spent on the most expensive lawyer in New York, Max Steuer, who charged them at least $10,000 each, and money also well spent on the cheapest perjurous witnesses. Also, the judge’s charge to the jury set a ridiculously high barrier for conviction: they would have to find that the door was locked, that Harris & Blanck knew it was locked, and that the door being locked was responsible for the deaths. The judge, as it happens, had been the NYC Tenement House commissioner in 1905 and wound up taking the fall and being forced to resign following a fire which killed 20 people in a building whose fire escapes had been boarded over (which I know from a book; it is not reported by the NYT).

President Taft modifies an executive order regulating the practice of medicine in the Panama Canal Zone in order to allow Christian Scientists “healing.” The NYT castigates him for it.

Former President Roosevelt sent a furious seven-page refusal to attend a Citizens’ Peace Dinner, which I’m curious to read. He will only tell reporters that he’s not going because “I’m not hungry.”

Mongolian and Turkestan declare independence from China and are expected to be annexed by Russia.

The health officers of Lenoxdale, Massachusetts have banned kissing on New Year’s Eve because of a diphtheria outbreak. And they’re killing any dogs and cats found outside.

Headline of the Day -100 (Memphis Appeal, reprinted in the LAT): “Oyster Drowns a Duck.”

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