The Charlotte News
Friday, August 30, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Robert & Company, the subject of "Chip Again", was and is a large Georgia architectural and engineering firm which built during 1941 what became the Lockheed-Martin facility at Marietta. By the 1950's, it was the largest such firm in the South.
The Sillies Perform About As Usual in the Season
The dog star burned ominously over the flames in London and Berlin.
But in Tulsa Oklahoma, the dogcatcher lost his job. Charge was that he had mistaken four men and women, somewhat the worse for a contest with J. Barleycorn, for pooches and carted them all off to jail. Whether he himself was drunk or sober does not appear.
In Charlotte, N.C., the amiable dogcatcher was locked up for 60 days. That he was not only d. but d.d. did appear. And he's a good dogcatcher, too.
At Fort Myers, Fla., two black men appeared to register as aliens, inquiry developed that they hailed from Georgia. Which was perhaps not illogical at that.
In Berlin, Germany, the population adopted a new goodnight greeting, bolona. Translated, it means "bombless night." The sound, however, seems to make the better sense.
In London, appeasement broke out again when carriers were unable to deliver mail at an address because of a tough dog. Now the carriers take along dog food to feed Herr Hitler.
In Charlotte, N.C., the thermometer hung in the nineties and the humidity was not far behind. In Washington D.C., and New York, N.Y., people complained of temperatures around 50 degrees.
Altogether the dog star seemed to be doing as well as to be expected with Homo Sap co-operating as usual.
Britain Approaches Decisive Hour With Good Chance
With the beginning of September at hand, the hour of Britain's most decisive test cannot be far away.
There are those who suggest that Hitler prefers to wait until October on the ground that the fog blanket over England will enable his planes to operate without interference from anti-aircraft fire. But that scarcely seems to make sense. The fog, if it hides the planes, will also hide their objectives. Moreover, the bombing of England can be decisive only if it is a preliminary to invasion.
And weather conditions in the Channel in another month--perhaps earlier--will make invasion far too dangerous to be undertaken even by a man as reckless is Hitler is. Further still, there is little fog over Germany in the Winter, and the prevailing winds will favor the English bombers.
Hence, if Hitler hopes to win the war this year--as he must, if he is to fulfill his explicit promise to the German people--he must complete the job in the next three or four weeks.
It is too early yet to say that he cannot and will not do that. It is more than probable that he still has some surprises up his sleeve. But, so far as the available evidence indicates, he still has his work cut out for him.
The British plainly aren't anywhere near being "softened up" yet. And they have certainly given the morale of the German people (smugly sure that they were safe) a terrific shock in proving that they can deliver blow for blow, up to and including the holy city of Berlin itself.
At present the British chances are at least 50-50, so far as the case may be judged. And if the country does not begin to crack in the next ten days or two weeks, the odds in its favor will begin rapidly to rise.
Wheeler Makes It Clear He Would Yield, Not Fight
Burton Wheeler at least is honest enough to make it clear where he stands. He was holding forth in the Senate concerning Sir George Paish, who he said had told him that he (Paish) got this country into the last war and was going to get it into this one. And in the course of his report, he had to say (Congressional Record, Aug. 28, 1940):
"I said to him, 'I'm perfectly willing to do anything I can to help Great Britain, but I will never vote to take a ship that, in my judgment, will lead us into war, and I will never vote to put this country into war, regardless of what the people of the United States want. I would not vote to send this country into war under any condition." (Emphasis ours.)
That is quite candid. And it must be assured that Mr. Wheeler has weighed his words before launching them. He has constantly maintained hitherto that his obstructionist tactics in the Senate, his effort to block all aid to Britain, to head off the draft, etc., were based on the belief that the country was not in danger from Hitler and his world revolution.
But now he goes further and confesses that his convictions are far more fundamental. The statement that he would not put this country into war under any conditions is tantamount to saying that he would have it surrender tamely to Hitlerism rather than fight.
That illuminates a good deal. It is Senator Wheeler's right to take this position, of course--though there would be doubt about his right to ignore the will of the American people if it came to a showdown. But in any case whatever, the people are entitled to understand exactly where he stands.
His Career Illustrates an Inconsistency in the New Deal
Why the White Knight that Mr. Roosevelt likes to think he is doesn't do something about Chip Robert is one of those queer contradictions between the high ideals of this Democratic Administration and its political malpractices.
No longer ago than the Chicago convention was Chip re-elected Secretary of the Democratic National Committee. It was freely rumored that the committee didn't want him. Who, then, or what, compelled the committee to take him?
It isn't as though Chip hadn't had to be separated from public office before. He so took Mr. Roosevelt's fancy that after that historic March 4, 1933, he was made an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury--in charge of public building despite the fact that Robert & Co. was an engineering firm interested in construction jobs.
Later, Chip's duties were altered. Instead of public building he was given the minor assignments of supervising the Mint and the Government Printing Office. In January, 1936, he resigned.
Jim Farley took him into the Democratic organization, and from that time on Chip has been under almost continuous fire.
Biggest outburst came when the Georgia Legislator got up to declare that a Robert & Co. contract with the State Department of Public Welfare was "degenerate, contemptible--stealing of the taxpayers' money." (Chip dared him to make those remarks without the protection of legislative immunity from suit. He did, and Chip sued for slander. But later he withdrew his suit, taking the naive position that his name had been cleared.)
Secretary Ickes, in charge of Public Works Administration, refused to pay Robert & Co. its $36,000 fee for this job, at the same time denouncing lobbying for PWA projects. Whether or not the fee was ever paid, or why the Democratic Party did not dismiss an official denounced for lobbying by a Cabinet member, our file does not show.
At any rate, Chip and Secretary Ickes were at it hammer and tongs again when it came out that an application for a loan and grant with which to build a "boys' dormitory" at the University of Georgia was in reality for a fraternity house for the Sigma Nu's, Chip's lodge. The contract was canceled.
And now Senator Bridges of New Hampshire has introduced in the Congressional Record a table, which lies before us, showing that Robert & Co. has been granted fees of nearly one million smackers on defense contracts. Over and over again in this list appears the name of Robert & Co., for construction jobs ranging all the way from aviation facilities to officer-of-the-day quarters.
With Chip as an officer of the Democratic National Committee, the little reader may draw his own conclusions as to the ethics of these latest transactions between a reform Administration and one of its hangers-on.
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