Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today -100: October 12, 1911: Of tests of guessing, lynchings, patronage-grabbing, and dead whales

New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson says that President Taft’s administration of anti-trust laws is haphazard and unpredictable “and you cannot conduct sound business upon a test of guessing.”

Two negroes are lynched in Caruthersville, Missouri. One was supposedly a robber, the other supposedly “attacked” two white women. 75 masked men broke down their jail cell doors, shot them up and left them floating in the Mississippi. Mayor Garrett says, “I am not a detective. Unless a complaint is made by some one who can prove that a mistake was made in killing the negro, I will take no action. I do not favor arresting anyone on suspicion.” His commitment to the rule of law is an example to us all.

One of New York State’s responses to the Triangle fire was to establish an office of state fire marshal, to investigate all fires outside the city of New York. The new fire marshal immediately asked for, and was granted, exemption from normal civil service rules in the appointment of deputies. The NYT accuses him of adopting the spoils system as “part of the sweeping patronage-grabbing of the machine controlling the party in power.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Fight Over Dead Whale.” A beached sperm whale in Ocean City, NJ. “The Ocean City officials don’t know what to do with it, but refuse to permit anyone else to do anything in fear that they will miss something.” Scientists want the organs and skeleton, but haven’t been allowed to harvest them, while the thing rots and the city negotiates to sell the blubber for oil and the whalebone for corsets.

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