The Charlotte News

Monday, December 5, 1938


Site Ed. Note: This Monday would see a visit to the state by FDR. He began the day with a breakfast in Columbia, S.C., greeting outgoing Governor Olin Johnston and incoming progressive Governor-elect Maybank. He would honor old Ben Tillman and wonder wherefore art not ye Cotton Ed Smith, who he failed to purge during the elections. Former governor and race-baiter, target of Cash in The Mind of the South, Cole L. Blease, was there, too. So was Senator James Byrnes, to be appointed by FDR in 1941 to the Supreme Court until he was needed in the war effort after only a year and resigned to join the Administration, eventually becoming Secretary of State upon the resignation of Cordell Hull in 1944. Also present at the breakfast was Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, and Harry Hopkins, WPA administrator.

That afternoon, the President and his entourage traveled via train to Sanford, N.C. for a rally. Just why Sanford, we can't say. Sanford is not an obvious stop on the itinerary of any politician visiting North Carolina. The Governor, Clyde Hoey, was from Shelby, so it wasn't one of those sorts of hometown homage stops apparently. It makes therefore the coincidence of another Governor's name in another time when another presidential visit would occur, as we have recently chronicled herein, interesting to note. (Terry Sanford, incidentally, was at this time an undergraduate senior at U.N.C., hailing from Laurinburg, also on the President's route up from Columbia. People gain inspiration from many a coincidence of this sort and do great things as a result, as perhaps did Governor Sanford.)

Later, in the evening, the President, a guest of the non-partisan Carolina Political Union, would speak in Woollen Gymnasium, a speech in Kenan Stadium having been cancelled because of rain. (Woollen Gymnasium is still extant on the campus, though in 1938 and up until 1965 was used as its primary basketball facility. North Carolina had not yet begun play that year and wouldn't until it played perennial and well-known rival Barton, capping the Bulldogs 59-17 in a rivalry which had already lasted one season and which would last yet another, the results being 47-20 and 49-32, respectively. The Wilson cagers, however, would likely get the last laugh on the hapless Spartans that year as the Spartans finished a dismal 10-11, coming off a swell 16-5 season and just in front of an even more swell 23-3 season. And, of course, we can't help but take the opportunity to congratulate the 2005-06 edition of the Spartans who just beat the Kentucky Coldcats 83-79 in Horsington, Ky. We should remark that the Spartan's opponent this Saturday presents a rematch from last year; last year, we were present at the game in Oakland, home of the Earthquakes; and we'd better not see the same thing again this year or we are liable to get mad and boycott the Spartans, come March--as we did not do last year. All of which reminds us that we once saw a really swell game in Woollen Gymnasium, January 2, 1963; the Spartans, led by a young coach and a pretty nifty ball handling guard, ran out the clock on a tenacious Yale team, winning 86-77. Well, we could go on...)

Also, you might like to read a first-rate synopsis of the fin de siècle and early portion of the 20th Century, the début de siècle, by Cash for the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of The News, appearing in a special section of the paper on November 15, 1938. This article is a 15-minute tour de force of fifty years, not to be missed. (It's in ".pdf" format for now because we are too lazy to dictate it; it's nice to look at the 1938 ads anyway. So be sure to scroll properly and not miss any of the print as some of it is separated by a big ad, not unlike that fifty years became, leading on to many other things since; read carefully.)

Then, once you have done with reading that, for more on The Gold Bug, go here.

For more on Tarantulas, go here.

For more on Henry Cabot Lodge and the Lodge family, as mentioned also below in "Streamlined Bostonian", go here, (and see the Heywood Broun piece from November 26, 1938), as well as "Fair Enough", July 8, 1939.

For more on Senator Key Pittman, go here.

And here's a thing for comparison we ran across, a sigle:

Compare it to this and this, "311" and the emblem for Lincoln Continental, squared, not that any of that is in the least related, of course, the sigle in this instance probably meaning wounded in the line of fire, or something similar to that.

While about it, it is interesting to note that among FDR's many travels was a trip to Texas for the centennial of that state, June 12, 1936. The President and the First Lady arrived by train at Union Station, at the railroad gantlet there, next to George Bannerman Dealey Plaza, a WPA project recently opened in 1935, named for the publisher of the Dallas Morning News whose offices overlooked that Plaza. From there they proceeded by Lincoln down Main Street to the Cotton Bowl where the President gave an address, broadcast nationally, to an enthusiastic crowd at the inauguration of the annual State Fair there. Afterward, he attended a ceremony at Oak Lawn Park, for the dedication of a statue to Robert E. Lee, subsequently renamed Lee Park. (The President also, somewhere along the line, flipped a switch which set off a dynamite charge in Austin to break ground for the new Main Building there, the same building in fact from which Cash would deliver his June 2, 1941 commencement address.)

In 1937, Colonel D. Harold Byrd, cousin to both the explorer Richard Byrd and his brother, Senator Harry Flood Byrd, (about whom you may read more here, here, and here), and a partner purchased the Southern Rock Island Plow Company Building at 411 Elm Street in Dallas. On July 4, 1939, Col. Byrd purchased his partner's share in the building. Eventually, the building became known as the Sexton Building, well-known locally for its large time-sign atop it, first advertising U.S. Royal tires, then in 1953 becoming a semi-permanent fixture for Ford cars "Made in Texas" until it started advertising Chevrolets. Then in 1962 the building became known by its more infamous name when the school textbook suppliers for northern Texas leased it.

Then, by pure coincidence, and we are certain there is no more to it than that, this DeMorenschildt fellow through this Mrs. Paine arranged for a self-professed Marxist defector to the Soviet Union, who failed in 1961 after his return to the U.S. to obtain a reversal of a D.D. from the Marines through application to then Naval Secretary John B. Connally, to have a job storing and shipping Scott-Foresman Company books to all the schoolchildren from this location.

And the fact that the sixth floor of that building, when examined with a 1963-era photograph, should you happen to find one, of the first floor of another building, both with their five arches, bearing otherwise some interesting architectural similitude, though situated over a thousand miles apart, the one, as it was in 1963 having one arch covered by Virginia Creeper, also known as woodbine or ivy, in such manner that the arch is hidden, looks square, the doorway there where the actor is thought to have entered, is just further stark evidence that coincidences do happen, no doubt.

Of course, there are a few other coincidences too, but we will leave those for later. But you might start, for instance, here, from the O.E.D., remembering never to underestimate your opponent: "1855 W. S. Dallas in Syst. Nat. Hist. II. 296 The hunters in the Southern States know that the moon is rising when they hear the Mocking Bird begin to sing."

Nothing particularly spooky about any of this really, in our opinion; all the result of quite human agency, we venture, quite deliberate human agency by design to confuse the viewer, hidden in plain view being the apparently operative principle to it all, as we have earlier suggested.

But then perhaps in his two months of employment there, Ozzie Harvey Lee, the Rabbit, aka A. J. Hidell, figured all these coincidences out and decided to make his point with a $12.78 World War II surplus Italian-Fascist rifle with a bent sight, purchased from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago.

That is, until one looks also at the evidence as originally adduced, which, candidly, we don't recommend. But if you do, again bear in mind that the solution to the enigma of it all is not in the horror. That will only, as it was designed to do, shock and confuse.

It helps, of course, also, to realize that which some very confused people probably tried to read in 1963, since they had apparently thought themselves smart enough to have gotten away with murder in 1941, and understand why these coincidences appear as anything but pure coincidence when compounded so severely over time with other events not previously factored into the mix of continuity through time.

We'll say it again. As to murder, the truth always will out, eventually.

We'll see.

Incidentally, in his speech to the AFL-CIO on November 15, 1963, President Kennedy was quoted by the Associated Press next day as having said:

"And they [who oppose the proposed tax cut, a youth employment bill, money for slum clearance, job retraining, and other such programs] are powerful and articulate. They are campaigning on a platform of so-called individual initiative. They talk loudly of deficits and socialism. But they do not have a single constructive job-creating program of their own. And they oppose the efforts we are making... No one gains by being admitted to a lunch counter if he has no money to spend; no one gains from attending a better school if he doesn't have a job after graduation."

The AP also reported that "Kennedy had come into the hall with a prepared speech. He wandered through it, jumping back and forth as he delivered it. He left out whole sections, salvaged some, and changed others. And he ad libbed at spots."

Meanwhile, as reported the same date by the Associated Press, Senator Goldwater, odds on favorite at the time for the Republican nomination in 1964, said in Pittsburgh before the Harvard Business School Association:

"A free economy cannot flourish under the shadow of a sword clasped by a heavy-handed government, ready to slice off incentives to work, to invest, and to earn... We cannot continue on a short-sighted course of having the budget pre-empt a rapidly growing proportion of our national income. That is, however, precisely what will happen so long as we wobble from one budget to another with no clear perception of where we ought to be going."

In stating his key principles of economic growth, Goldwater said:

"First, every man should be free to make his contribution to the production stream where his talents fit best. What he receives should be determined by his performance, measured impersonally in the market place.

"Second, every person ought to be free to try out any idea for a new product or new method. He should reap the reward if the idea survives the impersonal test of the marketplace, and he should take the losses if the new idea cannot survive this test.

"Third, these rewards tend to be temporary because of competition. Thus the fruits of new ideas have been transmitted widely and quickly throughout the economy."

Goldwater went on to say that despite "powerful capacity to generate economic progress," there has been "an insistent attempt in recent decades to turn our national philosophy around by 180 degrees."

Well, who could have disagreed with the Senator? Sounds like it came right out of a college economics textbook, in fact. In your heart, you know he was right. In your mind, you may have questions.

Another First Monday

It's inauguration day at that handsome Courthouse down East Trade way, though to most of the public officials who will take the oath and make neat little speeches of acceptance it is merely the beginning of another term. To James W. Stinson and Jack Spratt, respectively County Treasurer and Surveyor, it's an old story. They probably won't even dress up for the ceremony.

And to Chairman Henry Harkey and all but one of his fellow commissioners, to Clerk of Court Lester Wolfe, Sheriff Mack Riley and Coroner Dr. Fred Austin, the experience of being sworn in is no more novel than of being sworn at. Their one-sided renomination is proof, however, that to the great majority of citizens their service has been eminently acceptable.

Only in County Recorder's Court and the Township Constabulary do whole sets of new faces appear. To Judge Vance Howard, nominated after a close race and a contested election, to County Solicitor Hugh McAulay and to Constables Bradley and Bell, The News bids welcome and expresses its confidence that they will meet in every respect the high standards Mecklenburg County has grown to expect of its public servants.

Streamlined Bostonian

The graveyards up Massachusetts way must be full of moaning and heaving these nights. And if any moment you turn on the radio and hear that a host of sheeted spectres have just descended upon Faneuil Hall and are roaring from its rostrum, you need not be sure to smile tolerantly and dismiss it as merely another Martian hoax. For, indeed, masters, strange and inexplicable things are afoot.

The Boston Herald the day before yesterday published a dispatch the like of which has not been heard of in those parts since they hanged the witches at Salem. It said--believe it or not--it said that young Henry Cabot Lodge, Senator in Congress from the state, is going to make good on "Republican promises of co-operation with the Townsend Plan by introducing in the next Congress legislation aimed at raising old age assistance payments throughout the country from an average lower than $30 a month to a flat rate of $60!"

If this isn't calculated to start up the ghosts of all the old merchants and cotton-mill barons who have flourished in those parts for 300 years--the economic royalists par excellence of American history, then they can't be started. After that, we confidently expect to read in tomorrow's paper that old man J. Pierpont Morgan II has decided to take up where Huey Long left off and Share the Wealth around.

Beware That Conclusion

The Monopoly Committee is going to have to use care if it avoids giving half-baked information to the American public, which is notorious for reading while it runs. Last week, for instance, Dr. Willard Thorpe, an economist of undoubtedly conservative persuasion, told the committee that two-tenths of 1 per cent of American corporations hold 52 per cent of corporate assets.

There is no disputing the statistic, since it is reached by simple arithmetic. But the casual reader is likely to conclude without further thought that a handful of industrial giants have a monopoly on American wealth: and that isn't necessarily true. These corporations are owned by many individual stockholders--some 650,000 in the oft-cited case of American Telephone, for example. These stockholders own the corporations that own the country.

From which the hasty public will conclude obligingly that the country, after all, is safe as long as ownership is so widely distributed; and that isn't necessarily true either. While the number of stockholders is large, their holdings vary from a few shares to multiple thousands, and the small fellows, for reasons that are evident, seldom have any audible voice in management and policies. Not that we are hinting at a concentration of control; oh, no. That's for the Monopoly Committee to find out.

Parallel for Corsica

When Italy demands Corsica from France, it is very much as though Mexico should demand Texas from the United States. Indeed, the Mexican demand would, on the whole, be the more reasonable of the two.

True enough, there is a good deal of blood in Corsica that might loosely be called Italian. Sulla himself planted a Roman colony there 2,000 years ago. The earliest settlers were Greeks--Phocaeans from Ionia, fleeing from the Persian king--who found Alalia in 560 B.C. And afterward Lombards (a German tribe originally), Goths (also originally German), Vandals' Moor and Franks all overran the territory, and the people today are no more Italian in culture than they are Greek. We should not forget that Texas has considerable Mexican blood.

And so far as political claims go--Charlemagne added the island to the Frankish realm so early as the ninth century. Afterwards, during the Middle Ages, nominal sovereignty passed to the republic of Genoa. But the French were continually off and on its territory, and in 1767 the islanders, under the leadership of one Paoli, declared their independence of Genoa, and the next year, at their own invitation, were annexed by France. An independent brood, they have rebelled fairly often, but ever since they have continuously belonged to France. And so far as their culture is not their own peculiar vintage, it is today more French than anything else.

The case, you see, is almost identical to that of Texas. First, that state, with the active aid of the United States, declared itself a republic and made good its independence as against Mexico. Then, nine years later, at its own invitation, it was annexed to this nation. The main difference is that we have had Texas for only 93 years, whereas France has had Corsica for 170.

Nevadan Bearing Gifts

Senator Key Pittman's deep concern over the plight of the cotton farmer is touching to behold. Cotton Ed Smith and the Bankhead boys are only lukewarm friends to the cotton farmer in comparison with Senator Key, and what Secretary Wallace with all his AAA has done for the one-cropper is paltry to what Senator Key would do for him.

Senator Key, right off the bat, would pay him 13 cents a pound for cotton. This he would contrive by selling cotton abroad at 4.3 cents, which seems, we must say, a queer way to set about getting the American farmer 13 cents. But wait. This 4.3 cents would be in the form of silver bullion, which Senator Key would have the Government enter on its books at 12.9 cents and issue currency against it at that valuation. Thus the farmer's 13 cents, almost.

And from which part of the cotton belt, pray, does Senator Key come that he is so solicitous of the grower? From Nevada, the little reader will recall, which produces no cotton at all but mines a whale of a lot of silver. Do you see?

Who Has The Cure?

We are breeding up a "professional pauper class" in this country. That was what Mr. Carl P. Herbert, director of the St. Paul (Minn.) Bureau of Municipal Research told the National Municipal League Conference at Baltimore last week. And he went on:

"We're living beyond our means so far as relief is concerned. The total cost of the various forms of relief now approximate on the average the total tax collections for all local governmental purposes. It is self-evident that these costs are utterly beyond revenue-raising abilities of the cities... The people of this country must come to a realization that the cost of relief is eventually met out of the earnings of all the people who work and produce..."

All of which is undoubtedly true, and all of which, so far as it goes, is well and good. Nobody with any sense can view the staggering cost of the thing with equanimity, and even more alarming than the cost is the prospect of a professional dole class. But what does Mr. Herbert propose to do about it? Turn them out on their own, willy-nilly, with the knowledge that there aren't jobs to go around? He didn't seem to be in favor of that. Turn relief back to the states? There is a good deal in favor of that, but it is also to be said that the worst abuses of the present relief set-up have been perpetrated, not by the relief officials in Washington, but by state politicians. Provide jobs in private industry for the reliefers? How? It hasn't been done for ten years and there is no immediate prospect of its being done.

A diagnosis of the case is useful, yes. But a diagnosis which does not lead to a remedy is not enough.


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