The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 12, 1940



Still At Large

Getting Calcutt Doesn't End Corruptibility of Law

Judge R. Hunt Parker certainly poured it into Joe Calcutt, the slot machine king. A smacking $10,000 fine--probably the largest ever handed out in North Carolina--and a twelve-month road sentence that will go awfully hard with a man who, through his industrious and rapacious little machines, has been enabled to lead the life of Reilley.

Joe Calcutt undoubtedly had it coming to him. That was indicated both by his plea of guilty and by his past brushes with the law. And while the slot machine is a much maligned contraption (it neither solicits nor compels suckers to part with their coins), the concentration of wealth and influence in the hands of such men as Joe Calcutt is always dangerous and should be resisted by all legal means.

Judge Parker addressed himself to the anti-social character of Calcutt's operations, and then went on to say a most curious thing. It was this:

"I know and everybody else knows that this business has been built up by a corrupt alliance between crime and law, and the law must be vindicated."

Begging His Honor's pardon, if he means that Calcutt has made accomplices of law-enforcement officers or that the Legislature has yielded to his temptations, the abasement of the slot machine king vindicates nobody or nothing. The corruptibility that Calcutt worked on his still there.


British Worry

Future Course of Hoover Plainly Causes Concern

In a broadcast to the United States last night, Ronald Cross, British Minister of Shipping, followed up the announcement of Lord Lothian that Britain cannot and will not let food pass to nations conquered by the Nazis.

It undoubtedly testifies to a great deal of uneasiness on the part of the London Government as to what Herbert Hoover will now undertake, since his request has been denied. Lothian's praise of his work in the last war was clearly designed to soothe and placate him. But he is a stubborn man and, according to Washington Merry-Go-Around, he has boasted that he means to bring the British to heel on this.

More than that, he hates the Roosevelt Administration with consuming passion, and would unquestionably take great satisfaction in feeling that he had forced it to reverse a decision, all on impeccable moral grounds.

It is to be hoped, however, that sober second thought will restrain him. To attempt to go through with this will put him in the astounding position of saying that he knows better than Britain's own Government what its war policy should be, and that he, and not the Administration of Washington, is best equipped to make the foreign policy of the United States. And it will saddle him with a moral responsibility fit to appall anybody.

Lord Lothian said that, in view of the record, there are no possible Nazi guarantees which can insure that food sent to these nations will not aid the Nazis, and that judgment is borne out by the overwhelming testimony of both events and observers who are in position to know. In view of that, it is plain that, as Minister Cross says, it is a choice between the lives of Britishers and those of the unfortunates in the hands of Hitler.

Worst, it may well prove to be the straw which decides the difference between victory and defeat for Britain--the straw which eventually decides the fate of the United States and all Western men for centuries.


A Distinction

This Plan Seems Aimed at Suppressing Public Eating

Apparently, it is the idea of the Broughton plan for the elimination of the sales tax on food to encourage people to stay by the fireside. For it applies only to "food for home consumption." That is to say, people who eat in restaurants are going to have to go right on paying through the nose.

And, the only rational purpose for such a distinction we can think of is the desire to keep eating in public down.

Is it supposed that people who eat in restaurants are mainly aliens from infidel parts and so fair game? Or that it is only the well-heeled, rolling in diamonds and furs and long, black automobiles, who dine in such establishments? Both suppositions are, of course, nonsense.

A large part of the eating in public places in towns like Charlotte is done at lunch--not only by prosperous businessmen but by thousands of stenographers and clerks whose lunch-time is much too short to allow them to go home and whose pay is scanty. And for the remainder, the majority of it is probably explained by: (1) poor young men and women who have come to the city to try to make their way; (2) unmarried persons of all ages; (3) and traveling salesmen. A few of these people are well-heeled. Most of them are not.

Supposing one of them spends a dollar and a half a day for his meals in a restaurant--a conservative estimate--he'll probably distribute it so that his sales tax on each dollar will count up to at least four cents. That adds up to $22.28 the year. A pretty steep penalty for having to eat in public instead of behind the family arras.


Counting Up

How It Looks All Depends On the Method Used

The Italian High Command was modest about it, and so let "authoritative sources" in Rome reveal those figures about Italy's naval record up until December 10. According to them, 37 British warships and 33 British merchant ships had been sunk, as against 23 Italian warships. And 56 British warships had been damaged as against only four Italian warships.

Which sounds impressive, but still will bear examination. To begin with, the term "warship" includes everything from a mine-sweeping trawler on up. To get the full effect of their announcement, the Italians should have told us what classes and types of ships were sunk and damaged. It really is asking us to swallow a lot to suppose that 56 British fighting ships were damaged while only four Italians were hit.

Moreover, the past record suggests several very pointed things about the method of computation used in arriving at these figures. For example, they undoubtedly include:

The battle cruiser Hood, and the two British battleships which on July 9 the Italians reported "crippled" in an engagement off Punto Stilo.

The battle cruiser, Hood, "crippled" in the Western Mediterranean in August, the British battleship sunk in same engagement.

The heavy cruiser of the Neptune (Ajax) class sunk, the heavy cruiser of the York class and an airplane carrier "crippled" off Malta, as reported October 13.

The British heavy cruiser and six merchantmen sunk in the Red Sea, as reported October 21.

The two British battleships, the three heavy cruisers, and the airplane carrier "crippled" off Sardinia, as announced on October 29.

There is only one flaw in all of this, save that the Hood was knocked off twice within a month: that the British whittle all these claims down to no battleships or aircraft carriers, a damaged cruiser of the York class, one damaged destroyer, the Kimberley. And that there is collateral evidence which suggests that the British are telling the approximate truth. The report of Mr. Larry Allen of the Associated Press, for instance.

Mr. Allen was on board the Ajax when the engagement off Malta took place. He reported that no cruiser of the Neptune (Ajax) class was sunk, that no airplane carrier was damaged, and the Italians lost three destroyers instead of the one they claimed. Eye-witness testimony remains the best testimony, a good bit better than "authoritative sources" in Italy, at any rate.

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