The “Jungle” and The Birth of the USDA

Today in History, June 30, 1906:

The Federal Meat Inspection Act is passed by Congress.

After Upton Sinclair had published “The Jungle” about Chicago’s corrupt meat packing industry, President Theodore Roosevelt sent representatives to investigate the industry.

Despite the Chicago industry’s efforts to hinder the investigation, the investigators uncovered horrible practices. TR respected his investigator’s findings, and Congress acted to protect the public.

The USDA was born, and healthy meat processing practices were enforced. It may seem a mundane issue, but where would the health of our children be without these actions?

Nitti Didn’t Die That Hollywood Death…

Today in History, March 19: 1943:

Most of us are familiar with the scene from the “Untouchables” in which Elliott Ness pushes the incredibly evil Frank Nitti from the roof of the courthouse to his death, because Nitti is cajoling Ness about the death of his friend.

The truth?

Nitti took over the Chicago rackets after Al Capone went to prison. He tried to extort California movie studios, and, failing, faced prison time.

He had also married the widow of Edward J. O’Hare, Capone’s attorney. Facing prison, he decided instead to get drunk (.23 bac), to walk to a nearby railroad center, and commit suicide.

He tried to stand in front of a train, but his courage failed. He then shot himself in the head with a .32 caliber pistol…missed the first two times…and finally on the third time, succeeded.

O’Hare had turned state’s witness to save his family…his son Butch would become a WWII hero, and O’Hare International Airport would be named for him.