The Charlotte News

Sunday, June 4, 1939



St. Nick Is Safe

Douglas And Harkey Surely Will Not Bite The Hand That Feeds Their People

Mr. Bulwinkle, making ready to vote on the President's requested $1,500,000,000 WPA appropriation for the coming year, has written Mayor Douglas and County Chairman Harkey and asked them three questions. No. 2 best puts the gist of the whole matter. Here is No. 2:

"In the event that no appropriation is made by Congress, can your county and the cities in your county take care of the relief?"

Messrs. Douglas's and Harkey's joint answer to that one is going to be easy--"Heavens no!" or "Hell, no!" according to their manner of emphatic expression. Indeed, without aspersing Mr. Bulwinkle's sincerity in putting the question, we believe it might fairly be paraphrased in such terms as would contain their own answer. That is, shall we shoot Santa Claus?


Back Up, General!

The Federal Government Has Right To Enforce Its Laws, Too

General Old Ironpants Johnson climbs considerably far out on a limb today in the column to windward, we think. He is entirely right in saying that it is the proper business of the states and local communities to clean up their own corruption. And we ourselves have remarked that it is ironic that men who are guilty of all sorts of major crimes can be got at only through the Federal income tax laws.

Nevertheless, to argue that the Federal Government is guilty of usurpation and tyranny when it steps in to enforce its laws in communities which won't enforce their own, is to go much too far. It might be--if it exacted penalties out of proportion to the crime actually committed against itself. And it is possible to argue that it did just that thing when it went into Chicago to get Al Capone and so break up the rackets which worked hand in glove with Chicago's corrupt government.

Frank Murphy has not the slightest business interfering in Kansas City or Jersey City or New Orleans or Philadelphia or Chicago or New York without authority. But when he has reason to believe that the income tax laws have been violated by the Pendergasts and Hagues he has not only the right but the duty. And so long as the criminals are punished only with regard to their proved crimes against the United States, it doesn't matter that his (Murphy's) real motive is to give gang-oppressed communities more decent government than they have had. After all, corruption anywhere is ultimately the concern of every citizen of the United States as a whole. And States Rights, as meaning the right of criminals to get completely away with it, isn't a very defensible doctrine.

Lady's Spirit

The British Clawsses At Least Have Their Points

The British Clawsses did right well by themselves Thursday. At least one member of them did. She was the wife of Lt. Commander G. H. Bolus, of the submarine Thetis.

In the cold, mean street before the great gates of the Cammell Laird shipyard, a crowd of women and girls, relatives to the crew of the Thetis had gathered to wait for news. Already the navy had been hunting her for nearly fifteen hours, and, though she had not been found, it was certain that she encountered disaster. Perhaps, even probably, every man of the crew was already drowned as deep as Sir Patrick Spens. Some of the girls, who had planned to dance that night with the men from the ship, cried. The older women waited with gray, impassive faces. Then the great lady came among them, briskly assuring them that the ship would be found safe and sound and that their men would come back, joking with the girls, urging them all to go home and rest. "Bless 'er head," said the old Cockney women as she passed. Her husband was in that ship, too--is there yet--, and all of them knew well that fear clutched her heart, also; that she was merely making brave words.

The British Clawsses have come in for a great deal of criticism in recent years. It has been said that they are incompetent to rule and that all they are good for is to make a mess of things. And, perhaps, there is more than a little truth in it. But they nevertheless have their points--some of which go far to explain why the common people still continue to put faith in them. And one of them is this--that they know jolly well how to take it.


On Sharon Road For Some Enterprising Reporter

It seems somehow a reflection on our own initiative that a story should come out of Raleigh relating what a prominent Mecklenburgher thinks of Roosevelt. But so it did. Raleigh newspaper men got Senator Cameron Morrison, better known locally as the good neighbor out on Sharon Road, to say that he was not for any Democratic Presidential prospect who would "repudiate the Administration of President Roosevelt."

We've wondered more than once what Senator Morrison thought of the New Deal. Really thought, that is. We knew it stood to reason that, being a strong party man, he could be counted on to swallow most any dish, no matter how distasteful, as long as it appeared on the menu as Soufflé á la Democratic Party. We knew beyond doubt that his recollection of the old stirring Red Shirt days would never let him entertain a notion that, even in certain extraordinary circumstances, such as the Jonas Reynolds Senate campaign, the Republicans more nearly represented his views and the Republican candidate his idea of what a Senator ought to be. But still, we wondered what he really thought of Roosevelt and the New Deal?

And we are wondering still, for the mere fact that he would never repudiate nor tolerate the repudiation of a Democratic Administration simply confirms what we had already taken for granted: his loyalty and his regularity. So the significant story is still there to be written. What does Senator Morrison really think of Roosevelt and the New Deal?

Versatile Man

The Hon. W. Lee O'Daniel Can Pass More Things Than Biscuits

The Hon. W. Lee ("Pass the Biscuits, Pappy") O'Daniel by the Grace of God and hillbilly band Governor of the late Republic of Texas turns out to be a canny and perhaps not unhumorous man. For this time, instead of passing the biscuits, he has passed the buck.

In his screwball race for Governor he passed out among others a screwball notion of putting everybody in Texas who is 60 or over on the old age pension list. And when he came into office he immediately passed that one right on to the Legislature. The boys took a look around, saw the woods swarming with menacing old fellows, and began to sweat. They didn't really want to do it. In the end, though, they did pass a bill which put everybody on the list who had reached 60 and who owned no more than a city or country homestead, personal property of $1,000 for the single and $1,500 for the married, $360 in cash, and $1,000 in insurance--and they were numerous enough to give Texas a total of 178,552 such pensioners. That one they handed up to the governor--but--but--they pointedly neglected to pass any revenue bill to pay those pensions apparently on the theory that the Governor would refuse to sign the pension measure and send it all back to them again. With the natural result, of course, that all those old people who stood to benefit under it would probably get shooting mad at Pass the Biscuits, Pappy and forget all about the Legislature.

Alas, the Hon. W. Lee did sign it. Not to do so, he said gently and with his tongue plainly in his cheek, "would indicate that I question the sincerity and good intentions of those 151 legislators." Besides, he went softly on, 151 legislators were quite enough to pass any revenue bill. And so there--the boys have it, straight back in their laps--with all the old fellows glaring hotly down upon them and grimly waiting. Clearly, they are going to have to find that revenue.


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