Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Today -100: December 7, 1910: Of colonies, lynchings, scapegoats, a really long State of the Union Address, and the Bathtub Trust

Secretary of War Jacob Dickinson, who recently visited the Philippines, of which he is overlord, if I understand the organizational structure of 1910 US colonialism correctly, says the desire of the Filipinos for independence is “very general,” but tough shit because they simply won’t be ready for it in the present generation. But he sees many signs of progress: 493 miles of railroads, education, less headhunting, everyone’s learning English, lepers are being sent to a leper colony, etc.

Two negroes who allegedly burned a barn are lynched near Monroeville, Alabama.

The coroner’s jury in Newark is investigating the fire that killed 25 female employees of the Wolf Muslin Undergarment Company last month. The company’s vice president testifies that the forewoman, Anna Haag, who conveniently died in the fire, was completely and entirely to blame.

Taft delivered his State of the Union Address, at 27,651 words the longest ever (a record still unbeaten), possibly because he insisted on summarizing every damn thing that happened everywhere in the world in 1910. Lots of stuff about arbitration of border disputes, tariffs, etc. Typical sentence: “All these tariff negotiations, so vital to our commerce and industry, and the duty of jealously guarding the equitable and just treatment of our products, capital, and industry abroad devolve upon the Department of State.” The reading-out of the document in Congress emptied the place out, with only a dozen congresscritters remaining to the end, and those mostly talking amongst themselves. The reading in the Senate took half the time as in the House, because of “liberal skipping.”

Taft wants the next (Democratic) Congress to give him a new banking law, federal incorporation of businesses, Panama canal fortifications, and subsidies for American shipping, especially to South America. He does not want any new legislation regulating corporations, saying “we can stop for a while” and just enforce the existing ones. He wants Alaska to be ruled by a commission appointed by himself, the same system as the US uses in the Philippines. His proposed budget for fy 1911-12 is $630,494,013.12, $52,964,887.36 less than for fy 1910-1, not counting Panama Canal expenses. A $50 million budget surplus is expected.

The US has arrested Juan Sanchez Azcona, former member of the Mexican Congress, opposition journalist, and a revolutionary leader (later Madera’s secretary) on trumped-up Mexican charges of obtaining money under false pretenses.

The Justice Dept indicts the “Bathtub Trust,” 16 companies and 32 individuals which control 85% of the enamel ironware bathtubs, sinks and lavatories made in the US.

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