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Archive → November 11th, 2017

How to Beat the Richest of the Rich

By Luke Burgess
Written Nov. 2017
There’s still a piece of Archie Bunker America in East Baltimore.

It’s a neighborhood of about 500 row homes built in the early 1950s to provide cheap housing for the local steel and other manufacturing industries.

At the time, four out of five manufactured products in the U.S. contained steel. And a streetcar running down the main corridor (Eastern Ave.) took residents to the once-powerful Bethlehem Steel.

Each of the row homes was capped with a brick that has a very distinctive orange-ish/copper color every Baltimorean knows. Show this photo to anyone from Charm City, and they’ll know exactly where this neighborhood is located:

bayview

Today the neighborhood is crowned with the complimentary name Bayview.

But before the real estate marketers came to town, it was simply called “A to K” — referring to the alphabetical naming of the streets:

Anglesea, Bonsal, Cornwall, Drew, Elrino, Folcroft, Gusryan, Hornel, Imla, Joplin, and Kane.

But it’s just one of these small Baltimore streets I want to point out to you today: Drew St.

Drew is a small, quiet, two-block road that runs straight through Bayview; yet the man this street was named after was anything but small and quiet.

The Man Who Beat Cornelius Vanderbilt… Twice!

Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce you to Daniel Drew.

Daniel DrewHe was one of the slipperiest, slyest, and cleverest investment barons ever to walk down Wall Street.

He lived a real-life Gangs of New York and managed to beat the legendary Cornelius Vanderbilt at his own game… twice!

Daniel Drew was born in 1797 to a cattle drover outside of New York City. When Drew was 15 years old, his father died, and he was forced to take over the cattle business to support the rest of the family.

It was a tragedy that probably shaped Drew into the take-no-prisoner investment baron he became later in life.

As a young man hungry for money to support the family, Drew moved to the city in 1820 and began to operate the famous Bull’s Head Tavern on Bowery St.

Even though the original building was moved, the Bull’s Head was already a landmark by the time Drew began to run the tavern.

George Washington himself established a temporary headquarters there in November 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War. And it was later owned by local butcher Henry Astor, the patriarch of the Astor dynasty. So the tavern was often frequented by other cattlemen and butchers doing business in New York. It was the Facebook of its time.

Operating the Bull’s Head Tavern gave Drew access to all types of businessmen and allowed him to form partnerships and expand his wealth.

bulls head tavern

Some time in 1834, Drew stepped into the steamboat business. And that was quite a gamble.

You see, steamboating was controlled by a monopoly owned by the powerful Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Hudson River Steamboat Association. And only few had the balls to stand up to Vanderbilt and his cartel. But Daniel Drew had a plan…

Drew leased a steamboat from the HRSA named the Westchester. And then he began a price war.

Initially, fare on the Westchester and other steamboats was $2 (about $50 today). But Drew cut the Westchester’s fare in half to $1 in an apparent attempt to steal customers from other boats.

In response, Vanderbilt’s HRSA steamboats also cut their fares to $1. And the two continued going back and forth, lowering prices all the way down to $0.10.

By November 1834, steamboat fare was completely free. Operators made money by selling passengers food and drink — which was, of course, substantially increased in price.

drew steamboat

In the wake of the price war, Vanderbilt agreed to sell the Westchester steamboat outright to Drew. And why not? Vanderbilt wasn’t making as much money with the price war going on.

Want to take a guess what Drew did after he owned the Westchester instead of just leasing it?

He jacked its fare back up to $1.

Vanderbilt was pissed. He fell right into Drew’s trap. But there was little Vanderbilt could do. Besides, at the time, Vanderbilt was becoming more involved in railroads, which was clearly the future of passenger transport.

But he wasn’t done dealing with ol’ Daniel Drew just yet.Over the next 20 years, Drew expanded his wealth operating a brokerage firm in New York. And in 1857, he became a member of the board of directors of the Erie Railroad.

erie railroad

Drew used his board position to manipulate the price of Erie stock, and the company eventually faced bankruptcy.

One major shareholder of Erie was particularly displeased about this: Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Nevertheless, Vanderbilt was forced this time to team up with Drew to rescue Erie from bankruptcy. But Vanderbilt had enough of Daniel Drew. It was time for revenge.

Around this time, Drew also became a director of the New York and Harlem Railroad. And again, Drew began trying to manipulate the price of the railroad stock by selling it short.

But Vanderbilt and his associates were ready. They bought every share Drew sold and pushed NYHR stock up from $90 to $285 in five months. Drew lost $500,000… that’s equivalent to over $13 million today.

But Daniel Drew didn’t go down without a fight.

Between 1866 and 1868, Drew conspired with fellow Erie Railroad directors James Fisk and Jay Gould (two other famous Wall Street wolves) to issue stock in an effort to stop Vanderbilt from gaining control of the company.

Vanderbilt was unaware the three were increasing the outstanding shares and kept buying the stock. As a result, Vanderbilt sustained heavy losses and eventually conceded control of Erie to the trio.

Daniel Drew, a roughneck cattle drover, went toe-to-toe with Cornelius Vanderbilt’s steamboat and railroad cartels — the meat and potatoes of the Vanderbilt dynasty — and he ultimately won… twice.

But every great rise seems to always be followed by a great fall.

In 1870, Fisk and Gould betrayed Drew. The two ended up manipulating Erie Railroad stock’s down, costing Drew $1.5 million… over $30 million today.

Then the Panic of 1873 wiped Drew out completely. By 1876, Drew filed for bankruptcy, with debts exceeding $1 million and no viable assets.

In 1879, he died dependent on his son for support.

Summarizing his life, Henry Clews wrote:

Of all the great operators of Wall Street… Daniel Drew furnishes the most remarkable instance of immense and long-continued success, followed by utter failure and hopeless bankruptcy.

The elementary moral of the story here is clear: There’s no honor among thieves.

But I see a much more optimistic truism in the story of Daniel Drew…

America really is the land of opportunity.

An uneducated cattle drover born into very little can rise up to challenge the country’s richest and most powerful… and ultimately win twice. Sure, Drew died broke. But he had one hell of a ride. Much better, I’d say, than a life of cattle droving.

If you live in America, that same opportunity is there for you as well. It’s only a matter of whether you take it.

Will you?

Are you going to drove the cattle?

Or take the bulls by the horns?

drew st

 

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Luke Burgess

Source: Will County News

Weaponized Mosquitoes to Be Released in 20 States

Weaponized Mosquitoes to Be Released in 20 States

 

The lab-grown, EPA-approved male insects are infected with bacteria that renders females infertile upon mating.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for MosquitoMate, a Kentucky-based biotechnology company, to release its bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in several parts of the United States.

The EPA approval was first reported by Nature on Monday (Nov. 6), and confirmed by the company. The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Quartz.

We are excited to announce EPA approval, please read all about it and thanks to @NatureNews for the great announcement! https://twitter.com/NatureNews/status/927596115473698816 

The company’s lab-grown mosquitoes, which it calls ZAP males, are infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, naturally occurring in many insects, but not in Aedes aegypti, a vector for viruses such as yellow fever, dengue and Zika. When bacteria-infected males mate with uninfected females, the females produce eggs that don’t hatch. In addition, infected mosquitoes are less likely to spread disease.

According to Gizmodo, the EPA on Nov. 3 registered MosquitoMate’s mosquito as a biopesticide, with a five-year license to sell in 20 different states. Entomologist Stephen Dobson, CEO of MosquitoMate, told Gizmodo that the company could start selling the infected mosquitoes next summer via contracts with government bodies and direct to homeowners, beginning with Lexington, Ky. and expanding to nearby areas like Nashville, Tenn. Quartz reached out to MosquitoMate for comment, and will update when we hear back.

The permitted states include mostly those similar weather conditions to Kentucky, New York, and California, states where the company earlier conducted trials—as well as Washington DC. In April, the company began a 12-week field trial that involved releasing 20,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Stock Island, in the Florida Keys. The male mosquitoes don’t bite, which should make the release of these insects sound less alarming.

Other countries have been using lab-produced mosquitoes to reduce their populations. In China’s southern city of Guangzhou, scientists used a similar method to control the insects’ population by building a mosquito factory that produced millions of Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes last year. Brazil has used the bacteria-infected mosquitoesin its campaign against the Zika virus.

Brazil has also tried the use of a different kind of lab mosquito, one that is genetically modified, which has faced resistance in the US.

Echo Huang is a reporter for Quartz, where this article was originally published.

Source: Will County News

Humane society rescues more dogs from alleged puppy mill near Peotone: ‘Some were painfully skinny’

Humane society rescues more dogs from alleged puppy mill near Peotone: ‘Some were painfully skinny’

Mike NolanDaily Southtown

The South Suburban Humane Society took possession Monday of another five dogs from a property near Peotone where 48 dogs had previously been rescued from alleged squalid conditions, according to the group’s chief executive.

Emily Klehm said that the society has received more than 500 inquiries from people hoping to adopt the dogs, which were removed from the property Oct. 26 and Friday.

She said the society hoped to have the first group of about five of the “healthiest and friendliest” dogs available for adoption by Friday, with additional tentative rounds of adoptions scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 1. She recommended that anyone interested in providing a home for one of the rescued dogs should follow the Humane Society’s Facebook page for updates.

“Our intention is that every single one will be placed in a home for adoption,” Klehm said. “We want them to go to forever homes.”

Of the initial 48 dogs rescued, one died and the remaining animals have been placed with foster volunteers for proper care and nutrition. Some of them had to first be tended to by area veterinarians, and Klehm said she was unsure whether the five additional dogs would go directly to foster homes or need to be seen by a vet.

Klehm said there was no running water in the home where the dogs were kept, and that there “was just filth and feces everywhere.”

All of the dogs are small, popular breeds, including Yorkies, dachshunds, Chihuahuas and pugs, according to Klehm. She claimed the property owners were allegedly operating an illegal puppy mill and profiting from the sale of the dogs.

She said that there is “really a range” of conditions among the dogs, with some that are “relatively healthy” as well as a couple of animals that are paralyzed.

“Some were painfully skinny,” Klehm said.

When the dogs were brought to the society in Chicago Heights and offered food, “they started fighting each other for food,” Klehm said, leading staff to speculate that when food had been put out for the animals at the property where they were kept, the more dominant animals edged out the others.

Some of the dogs are as young as 31/2 weeks, several are 2 to 5 years old while some are more than 10 years old, she said.

“Everyone is at a different level of need,” Klehm said of the dogs. “Some are friendly and somewhat social.”

However, there are also “a few you can’t pick up, you can’t touch. They’re just terrified,” she said.

Klehm said the Humane Society has been deluged with phone calls and emails from people interesting in adoption since Chicago-area media first reported about the rescues.

Still, she cautioned those hoping to adopt one of the dogs that some of the animals “may never be house-trained because they always went wherever they wanted in the house” where they were kept, while others “may always be fearful of people.” The younger the dog, the better the chance of them being house broken or to become more social, she said.

On Oct. 26, the Humane Society removed some dogs from the property after paramedics responding to the location discovered the conditions. At that time, staff saw the property only from the outside, but when they returned this past Friday, “we insisted on going inside the home,” Klehm said.

Until learning Monday that there were additional dogs, she said the Humane Society, after the follow-up visit, believed all of the animals had been recovered. Klehm described it as “a strange situation,” and that “we’ll deal with it as it comes.”

The home where the dogs were kept has since been declared uninhabitable by Will County officials. It was unclear whether charges will be filed against the owner of the property. A message left Monday with the Will County sheriff’s police seeking comment was not returned.

Contributing: Freelance reporter Frank Vaisvilas

mnolan@tribpub.com

Source: Will County News