The Charlotte News

Monday, May 19, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Combine the first two editorials of this date and it sounds somehow like an early fifties B-grade horror show. Large mosquitoes, monoplanes with single guns and buzzing engines, which catch the giant sleeping--perhaps, on a quiet, sunny Sunday morning in Hawaii, just afore 8 bells "all is well", three bells in the afternoon watch, Washington War Time... But, Mr. Hull's exhortation to awake would finally achieve notice.

And here is a thought which is far cheaper and less intrusive to our liberties than "orange alerts" and the like-- and, in the bargain, likely more effective in aiding special vigilance at certain times.

According to Jewish tradition, time began on the 24th day of Elul in year 1, corresponding to August 22, 3760, B.C.E. It was then, according to tradition, that God said, "Let there be light." In the year 2001, C.E., the 23d day of Elul fell on September 11--as it were, the anniversary of the eve of creation. While we don't presuppose the ability to read the minds of those who commit untoward acts against their fellow man, it does appear that such acts as befell the country on September 11, 2001, as well as other such acts through history, by their nature, are most usually immersed in some form of symbol which is significant to the belief system of the perpetrators. We might guess that in that the perpetrators achieve the ability to dodge truth and instead elevate the act to something more than the crime they intend. The date, the day of the week, or sometimes the time of day, can be quite significant; it usually corresponds with something which the perpetrators regard as anathema. In another guise, it may be that which appears insignificant in the common understanding of the culture but is to the perpetrators sacred or at least supposed as mystically endowed with good fortune in the event. Such, for example, may have been the case in another tragic episode for the country which fell at one bell in the afternoon watch, Central Time, on the first day of Sagitarius, the Archer, the only double-doubleday in the year, and a century after some other things. It is a thought worth keeping.

And while we're about disclosing a few odd thoughts, here's another. Though it won't make good sense quite yet if you are reading these editorials in chronological sequence, a somewhat linear way of doing things, we will suggest it now anyway and you will catch up to it double-quick enough. It is entirely possible that President Roosevelt did not move Thanksgiving back a week in 1939 merely, as was publicized and criticized at the time, to accommodate a longer Christmas shopping season, as urged by the National Dry Goods Association. Though not so attributed, it is quite possible that the President was trying also to be sensitive to the Jewish holiday of the celebration of the lights, commemorating having enough oil from a small amount to light the lights of celebration for eight days upon the expulsion of the Syrians from Judea, the holiday of Chanukah, which every few years begins its eight days in coincidence with Thanksgiving when the latter is celebrated on the fourth (or the last, as it was originally) Thursday of November. But, had it been promoted thusly by the Administration, given a divided country on the question of Nazi Germany at the time, one cannot truthfully say how such a reason might have been received. The extension of shopping season struck enough people in hollow tones, however, that it was reversed at another time. You will have to find out when that was. While seeming at the time insignificant enough, it can be a truly sad thing, in the long run, to explore. So beware.

And remain holy on the holidays. Said General Washington to the Hessians...

Air Attack

It Will Soon Be Upon Us Unless We Take Precautions

One of the most efficient little fighting machines of the air is that turned out by the Culicidae family. A high-winged monoplane with a single gun, this model can nevertheless inflict great punishment. It is particularly effective against the civilian population.

Its high-frequency engines give out a most terrifying sound. One of them can banish all thought of sleep. Against it interceptors are futile, and gas barrages of little avail save to pollute the atmosphere.

But like all attack ships, the Culicidae contraptions have their limitations. In flight range they are confined to about 500 yards. For that reason, the best defense against them is to counter-attack their base airdromes, which are certain to be somewhere in the neighborhood, usually in tall grass or swampy bottoms. Better still, strike at their factories.

For the Culicidae breed in tin cans, old automobile tires, gutters, neglected birdbaths--in every receptacle where water collects and stagnates. And if your own and your neighbors' premises are free of such hatcheries, you all will escape the armadas of mosquitoes which can make the cool of a Summer's evening unbearable.

This is the season to inspect. One tin can consigned to the garbage man now may prevent a thousand mosquitoes and will surely please Mr. Otway C. Fogus, superintendent of the City Sanitary Department, whose annual Clean-Up Campaign begins today and lasts all week.


The Sleepers

Mr. Hull Again Tries To Arouse Nation To Peril

"Either the spread of lawlessness in the world must be brought to a halt, or we shall soon find ourselves surrounded by aggressors and compelled to fight, virtually alone and against great odds, for our national existence."

Thus, admirably, Mr. Hull sums up in a single sentence what we really face, why it is imperatively necessary to go all-out for the saving of the British command of the Atlantic.

The tragedy is that many people are so fast asleep that the Cabinet officers have to go along repeating this over and over again, in what may yet prove to be a vain effort to arouse them before it is forever too late.

They say we are not attacked, these people--meaning apparently that they refuse to observe Hitler's own words as to his purposes with regard to the Americas, that they refuse to heed the evidence of what is already happening in Latin America. Attack, as they insist on defining it, means only the landing of men on these shores. They'll probably get that soon enough if they cling to the definition.

They insist also that this is merely a war to save the British Empire. Which, if it were true, would still make it imperative for us to intervene. The simple fact is that we have been able to live in peace and co-operation with the British Empire, and that all the evidence says that we shall not be able to live in peace with a German Empire, inspired by the spirit of Prussian militarism and Pan-Germanism.


Farm Grab

This Measure Calls for A Presidential Veto

The Farm Loan Bill now before the President for signature is going to be a stiff test of his candor and courage.

The details of this legislation you will find discussed in Mr. Clapper's column on this page today. The heart of the thing is that the loans on cotton are to be pushed up from 9 cents to 12 1/2 cents, on wheat from 65 cents to 96 1/4 cents, and on corn from 61 cents to 70 cents.

It is one of the boldest pieces of political cynicism ever perpetrated by the Congress.

There is no legitimate justification for it. On the contrary, it is plain that the great national defense spending calls for stirring retrenchment in domestic spending, else this nation is going to come out of the prevailing crisis with a national debt that can mean nothing but national bankruptcy, with ruin for everybody and above all ruin for the farm program.

It is plain also that, if that bankruptcy is to be avoided, we must resolutely head off inflation--such as ran wild in the last war and eventually ended in the Great Depression.

Rising living costs are no excuse. They have actually risen only moderately. And the largest part of the rise is explained by the higher prices for what the farmer sells. Indeed, a good deal of it is explained precisely by the upsurge in the prices of agricultural commodities based on nothing but the expectation of this increase in loans.

The bill contradicts the whole "parity" principle, on which the agricultural loan programs have been based, and cooly proposes to give the farmers a thumping subsidy.

It constitutes a wide-open invitation to a great increase in the production of these agricultural commodities--at a time when the Government already has 13,000,000 bales of cotton on its hand and wheat and corn enough to feed the world.

But far worse than this is the fact that, as Mr. Clapper points out, it encourages inflation.

If and when this bill becomes law, the cost of living will certainly begin at once to scale up. Labor will then have grounds to demand higher wages, and incidentally strikes will undoubtedly become much more numerous, with the result that the defense effort will be still further slowed down. Higher labor costs will inevitably demand higher prices, and the upshot of it will be that the farmer's advantage will be only temporary. Then we suppose there will be new demands for bigger and better loans--say 25 cents on cotton and two dollars on wheat.

Yet, in spite of all these plain facts, the House voted overwhelmingly [remainder of editorial presently unavailable].

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