Al Capone

Photo Of The Day

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Meet the Man Who Got Congress Its Booze During Prohibition

One day in March 1925—five years into the absurd experiment called Prohibition—a dapper man named George Cassiday strolled into the office building of the U.S. House of Representatives, carrying a briefcase and wearing a spiffy light green hat. The cop at the door recognized Cassiday, which wasn’t surprising. Nearly everybody on Capitol Hill knew Cassiday. He was Congress’ favourite bootlegger, working out of the House Office Building, delivering booze to dozens of congressmen, who found a strong drink soothing after long days spent listening to tedious political blather.

On this day, however, the cop stopped Cassiday, inspected his briefcase, found liquor, and arrested him.

When reporters heard that a bootlegger was busted in Congress, they called the House sergeant-at-arms, who described the miscreant as “a man in a green hat.” The next morning, Cassiday became famous across America as “The Man in the Green Hat,” a living symbol of congressional hypocrisy and the follies of Prohibition.

Cassiday pleaded guilty and served 60 days in jail. When he got out, he learned that he’d been barred from the House Office Building. Obviously, he needed another place to work. So he moved to the Senate Office Building. He sold booze there for five years, until 1930, when he was arrested delivering gin to the Senate. This time Prohibition agents confiscated Cassiday’s “little black book,” containing the names of his illustrious customers.

In October 1930—two weeks before the congressional election—the Washington Post announced that it would publish a six-part series written by Cassiday, revealing the juicy details of his adventures as Congress’ “official bootlegger.”

“It will be,” the Post promised, “an astonishing story.”

And it was.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: FBI.

Photo: FBI.

Al Capone was a Notorious Gangster

Then He Got Syphilis and Went To Jail

 Capone’s criminal record in 1932.

Born of an immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York in 1899, Al Capone quit school after the sixth grade and associated with a notorious street gang, becoming accepted as a member. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader and among the other members was Lucky Luciano, who would later attain his own notoriety.

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Photo Of The Day

“Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone,” February 1931.

“Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone,” February 1931.

Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen during the Great Depression, Chicago, 1931

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Rob Hosking on Dotcom and his likely effect on Labour’s vote

Rob Hosking at the NBR opines about the effect of Kim Dotcom on NZ politics and correctly surmises that it is Labour who will be most affected.

Disaffected and disengaged youth, we are told, will be flowing to the polling booths to vote for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party on September 20.

The “visionary” of the party will act as a beacon to 18 to 25 year olds who are utterly turned off by politics, the theory goes.

The people claiming this are mostly 40 to 50-year-old political obsessives, so I’m not sure I give this theory much credence.

Certainly Mr Dotcom – or Mr Schmitz, or Mr Kimble, or Mr Tim Jim Vestor, to give him the other names he has adopted over a long and somewhat ill-starred career – has excited some people, but the folk getting most breathless seem to be a small group of excitable journalists, along with a group of folk who are keen for something – anything – that will make a better job of opposing John Key’s National government than the current official opposition is doing.

It is not clear what Mr Dotcom is going to deliver, apart from a major disruptive factor.   Read more »

A contrary opinion on decriminalisation of cannabis

Medical marijuana is shown in a jar at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle

Medical marijuana is shown in a jar at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle

Last week I blogged about a top UK cop and his call for an end to the war on drugs.

There are of course many opinions and his is just one. Not one to only present one side of the argument on anything here is another, also from the UK.

I don’t happen to agree with him, his views take the extreme and ignore the successes of decriminalisation…nonetheless it is worth hearing the other side of the debate on de criminalisation of cannabis.

In the small Mexican town of Los Reyes last week, a bag containing the severed heads of three men was left beside a roundabout. They had been killed by gangsters as a warning to local people who had established self-defence squads to protect themselves from the brutal violence associated with the country’s war on drugs. Over the past three years, an estimated 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico. If ever there was a country that had cause to believe it was losing the fight, then here it is. So why haven’t the Mexicans alighted upon the solution proposed at the weekend by Mike Barton, the chief constable of Durham, and decriminalised drugs?  Read more »