Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today -100: February 17, 1911: Of reciprocity, bribery, and train theft


Although Secretary of State Knox denied yesterday that the reciprocity treaty with Canada has anything to do with annexing Canada, Rep. William Bennet (R-NY), an opponent of the measure, introduces a spoiling resolution, intended to embarrass the Canadians or something, calling for Taft to begin negotiations with Great Britain on the annexation of Canada by the US.

A former NY state senator turned lobbyist Frank Gardner is being tried for bribing State Sen. Otto Foelker in 1908 to vote against bills banning racetrack gambling (he was brought from his sickbed after an appendectomy and carried in to vote on a stretcher, and the bill was defeated by one vote). Foelker, now a member of Congress, is the chief witness against Gardner and was cross-examined today. His honesty came into question. For example, he took the Regents’ Examination in his late 20s as a prerequisite for being admitted to the bar. The exam was given in the Grand Central Palace. Which entrance did he use? 42nd street. There is no such entrance. “Parlez-vous Fran├žais?” Not so much, although he scored 100% in his French exam. He scored 95% in logarithms and 98% in syntax, although on the stand he could not even define either term. In other words, he paid someone to take the test for him, someone currently in jail for taking tests for people. Foelker says the man was just his tutor. Gardner will be acquitted and Foelker’s political career is over.

A bunch of Industrial Workers of the World in Washington state, intending to go to Fresno to “attempt to enforce their alleged right to speak on the streets” (the NYT doesn’t explain what that’s about) steal a train from Southern Pacific. Wobblies were so fucking cool.

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