The Charlotte News
TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 1938
Gene and the Record
Said old Gene Talmadge of the red galluses at a fish-fry in rural Georgia yesterday:
"I can't run for Governor, but I'm going to get somebody to, who will not be content merely to change the name of the administration, but to change the whole machine, cut down patronage, and reduce taxes."
A sort of archetype of the promising politician in action--that Speech. And how much faith may we put in it? The astonishing thing is that we may put a good deal. For old Red Galluses was once Governor himself, for two terms, and when he was Governor--.
He indubitably reduced the automobile license tax, and claimed to have saved $7,500,000 annually on general taxes. And he certainly did have some astoundingly small budgets, though his foes claimed it was only by putting off until tomorrow what plainly should have been done yesterday, by closing schools and poorhouses, and starving lunatic asylums, etc.
He changed the name of the administration. In fact, he made it exceedingly smelly in the world, even for a state that has had several regimes which did not emulate the rose, by his utter disregard of legality in the conduct of his office.
He changed "the whole machine," to be sure--by the simple device of replacing it with a Talmadge machine.
And patronage? That he reduced it noticeably seems doubtful. What he did was mainly to throw out the henchmen of his enemies and fill their jobs with his own. But let us not carp about that. An average of three out of four--that's practically perfect, messires, for a promising politician.
Japanese Rear Admiral Tota Ishimaru, retired, writes an article in a Tokyo magazine in which he assures his countrymen that the Nipponese battle fleet "is superior in quality to the United States fleet right now."
If the Admiral is talking about ships, it may be admitted at once that he isn't far wrong. The United States presently has afloat 15 battleships, 28 cruisers, 3 aircraft carriers, 40 destroyers, and 29 submarines, which are not rated as over-age, and which total 869,230 tons. The Japanese have 9 battleships, 28 cruisers, 4 airplane carriers, 82 destroyers, and 48 submarines, which are not rated as over-age, and which total 708,158 tons. Most of the Japanese battleships are younger than ours, the last of which was completed in 1923. And what is of the first importance, the slowest Japanese battleship is faster than the fastest American battleship.
But the Admiral perhaps overlooks something. Navies are not merely ships, they are also men. And among the men nobody counts quite so much as the gunners. And the fact is that, in open competition, the American gunner hits his targets oftener than any other gunner in the world, whereas the record at Shanghai seems to indicate that the Japanese gunner is likely to hit almost anything but his target.
*A Whale of a Difference
We are much obliged to one J. W.Skipper of Gastonia, who got himself brought into court in Charlotte for breaking its law against doing business of an unnecessary nature--which is to say not filling station, soda fountain, newspaper or like business--on Sunday. This fellow, whom the police arrested, was selling pottery; and most of us could wait from Sunday until Monday to buy pottery. In fact, speaking for ourselves, we could cheerfully wait until Thursday.
But if it were a baseball game on Sunday afternoon, it couldn't wait until Monday. The fans would be busy Monday at their ordinary callings. Besides, there is the very practical question of what they would be doing, in the lack of a baseball game to go to, to while away Sunday afternoon. It could be a whole lot worse. Satan finds mischief .. .
And the offending pottery-seller points up very nicely the difference between Sunday operation of businesses of a strictly commercial nature and those dispensing recreation and amusement. From the standpoint of the operators there is, perhaps, no difference, inasmuch as both are motivated purely by the hope of gain. But from the standpoint of their customers there is a whale of a difference. There is a demand, of some extent, at least, for Sunday baseball. There is none at all, so far as we know, for Sunday pottery.
*An American in Decline
These are getting to be sad, lean days for the old horse-trader, whom Charles Dickens once took to be the only authentic American. The rule of caveat emptor--a sucker is made to be taken--was solidly established in the law of ten centuries and in the economics of Adam Smith, which in those naive times was thought to be immutable. And within that rule, the essential horse-trader, got up in a thousand guises, found large room for the lining of his purse.
But caveat emptor is only a pale wisp of a ghost now. Fair trade practices have him by the throat. And the State is crowding and hustling him into an ever-narrowing space. At this moment, they're having a great uproar in Baltimore over the methods of second-hand automobile dealer--hoary methods inherited in straight line from the old hoss swapper by these, his most direct descendants.
And in New York City, the municipal authorities are closing in on another of his striking modern incarnations--the street auctioneer of phoney bankrupt stocks. Hereafter, before he can sell the credulous those marvelous $150 solid gold watches for $4.75 or those $300 prism binoculars from Germany for $1.40, he'll have to let them be passed around and examined. He's an agile fellow, this auctioneer, and the suckers are invincible suckers, and so we'd hesitate to prophesy that even this means his extinction. Still, the going is plainly getting mighty tough for the genus horse-trader.
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