The Charlotte News
Friday, October 4, 1940
Defense, Not Politics, Brings The Air Base to Charlotte
The most pleasing single thing about the decision of the War Department to locate an air base here is that it has been done without pressure politics on the part of the city and its leaders.
Mayor Douglas deserves a great deal of credit in the matter, to be sure. And his foresight in acquiring the 408-acre-tract, instead of being content with the smallest possible area for the airfield, had a great deal to do in making up the Government's mind the site was a good one. And he has constantly called attention to the advantages of the location.
But of pressure politics, in the dubious World War sense, there has been none. Army men came here, looked the place over, turned in their report, and the War Department made its decision without any wire-pulling. Charlotte has been selected as an air base purely with regard to the merit of the location for training and defense.
And that being so, we can look to the advantages for the city with unalloyed pleasure. Altogether, $1,600,000 is to be spent on the base. And nearly 2,000 officers and men will be added to the population, bringing a big payroll with them. That is certain to mean increased employment and business--added prosperity all around. But it is not only business, of course. The air corps represents the flower of the army, and it will be pleasant to have these men among us. And not the least consideration will be the satisfaction of feeling that Charlotte is actively engaged in doing its part for the national defense.
Win or Win
Belated Disclosure of How Huey Long Got His Money
The late Huey Long is too well-known now as an unscrupulous rogue and defrauder for any additional evidence to do more than complete the characterization. Even so, the Federal Government's indictment of James A. Noe, former Long ally whoo deserted Brother Earl when the ring began to crack, shows how Huey operated.
One of Huey's crusades was against the big oil companies which were working wells in the state. He manipulated the tax against them so as to favor their domestic competitors. A couple of his henchmen, Noe and Seymour Weiss, took advantage of this policy to found the Win Or Lose Oil Co. which for a trifling consideration leased valuable State oil lands.
The Win Or Lose was a winner from the start. In 1935 Noe and Weiss paid themselves salaries of $92,500 apiece, and it is on that account that the Government has indicted both of them for income tax violations. But not, as might first be assumed, for failing to report the income.
The Government charges that the $185,000 which the Win Or Lose Oil Co. charged up to managerial salary in 1935 was not salary at all but a division of the spoils, sort of a dividend, between the partners in the shady enterprise. Although Huey was not even a stockholder, the Government is prepared to show that in the division of the swag his share was $70,660.62--for the one year alone.
They ought to take down that heroic statue of Huey which stands on the grounds of the capitol at Baton Rouge and erect an oil derrick in its place. And put iron bars around it as a symbol of what Huey escaped.
Concerning a Dispatch About A Celebrated Lover
In London and Berlin the bombs continued to fall, and in Cincinnati the World's Series grew still more serious. But the news item that fixed the attention of millions of Americans--mainly female--to the exclusion of all this was a little one in the inside pages, to the effect that the Duke of Windsor has summoned a chiropodist from Miami to Nassau to treat "a bad and painful corn."
Great matters before this have hung upon corns. Dr. Gill Wylie filled in for a famous chiropodist on an occasion and went over to New Jersey to work on the corns of Buck Duke, who had a celebrated collection of them. The young doctor was an enthusiast for his idea of water power in Dixie and talked at length to Buck as he pared away. And that, they say, is how the Catawba began to be harnessed.
Still, it does not seem to us likely that anything very great will come from this one. And for all that, millions hung breathlessly upon the dispatch. And truly, it is a wonderful and busy thing to think upon--the ex-royal foot with a corn. The epidermis of the great lover indurated and hardened like that of any ordinary mammalian biped. Even as ours and yours.
Sometimes we think that the newspapers of the time go too far. Maybe that dispatch ought not to have been published. Romance fails sadly in this world, anyhow. And it must have given all those girls a shock to read the ex-kingly foot had a corn. Or do even corns become romantic when they are attached to the feet of an ex-king of England and a great lover?
End of Road
Chamberlain Passes as Most Tragic Failure of Times
It has been evident for some time that Neville Chamberlain was not going to return to active duty in the Churchill Cabinet and that he would probably be eased out after a decent interval. For even his Conservative following had plainly begun at last to realize that he had no place in the Government.
So long as he remained, there was bound to be some lingering suspicion that appeasement might still be resorted to again.
It is his unhappy fortune to stand in the popular mind of the world as the inventor of the disastrous policy which culminated in Munich, destroyed France, and threatens to destroy Anglo-Saxon civilization, just as it was the unfortunate Mr. Hoover's fate to be blamed for all the policies which resulted in the great American Depression. In point of fact, it is hardly fair in neither Mr. Hoover case or Bumble's.
Stanley Baldwin was the actual inventor of appeasement, and Halifax and Hoare were far more active exponents of the thing in its early days than Chamberlain. When he came into office as Prime Minister it had perhaps already gone too far to be changed.
The fact remains however, that he did not want to change it, and threw himself into carrying it out with the most confident faith and zeal. What his motives were we do not certainly know. There are those who say that it was the genuine passion for peace on the part of a man of limited vision and obtuse stubbornness. There are others who say that it was cynical calculation of the commercial interest of himself and his rich compatriots. Quite possibly, and even probably, it was a mixture of the two.
At any rate, he passes from the stage a tragic and broken figure, the greatest failure of modern times.
Ships and Planes There Can Make Us Trouble
The French airplane carrier, with a hundred American-made planes on her decks, and the French cruiser now lying at Martinique face us with a nice problem.
The President called in the French Ambassador the other day to propose that the planes be sold back to the United States. The Ambassador refused, on the grounds that the terms of the Armistice, which the Vichy Government signed with Germany, forbade it. The Vichy Government had already brusquely turned down proposals that the two ships be interned in the United States until the end of the war.
Yet the presence of the ships may make trouble at any moment. Their commanders and the Governor of Martinique are rigidly loyal to the Vichy Government, which in turn is the willing stooge of the Nazi Government. In reality, the ships now at Martinique are under Nazi orders and in effect represent so many units of the Nazi navy stationed there. At present the British are keeping a close watch on them. But with the coming of Winter they may be able to slip out and away--to aid the Nazis against Britain as French warships have been used at Dakar and perhaps eventually to be turned against ourselves.
Worse, if the ships continue at Martinique and we should go to war, the ships would be immediately available for sea and air attack on us in our own waters and along our coast.
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