The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 2, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Though we can't find that hillbilly song about the groundhog's hide in the churn, nor can we report ever having tried or heard of anyone else trying to eat groundhog, we can report prospectively that Punxsutawney saw and so. (If he didn't, then blame the clouds or his eyes, not us.)

The reference to candles comes from the idea that the day derives from Candlemas, February 2, based on the purification of Mary and the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, that a sunny day on such means a longer cold.

Just of whom representative, in the Pennsylvania indigenous German transversion of the tradition, be the Groundhog, and whom the Shadow, we couldn't exactly propose to say.

All in all, it seems like we've been here before.

We include the letter to the editor below from that ever-sententious, abstentious Tillie Eulenspiegel. (Why she seemed to think that the editorial appeared on Tuesday, rather than as it did on Wednesday, and managed somehow to get a letter to the editor in and printed the following day, we couldn't say. Apparently, Tillie had some form of psychic power also--or some mysterious in at The News, which, either way, probably should have prompted Bob to contact Martin to get some alienists afoot to investigate her.)

A Lady Hastens To Cheer Robert, Bronx Fashion

Dear Sir:

I note with interest the story in Tuesday's News about Senator Robert R. Reynolds' plan to form an organization, 5,000,000 strong, composed of members of patriotic and fraternal organizations, for the purpose of keeping out aliens and abolishing "isms" in the United States. (Ism going to start with jingoism and nepotism, Bob?)

Well, anyway, I'm thrilled to death with it and herewith state my intention of starting the Women's Auxiliary. And I bid to be president, now.

The men are going to call themselves The Vindicators and are going to wear a cute feather in their hats and have a button. We're going to call ourselves The Anti-Alienation and Abolitionisms. No, now, darn it, I can't decide between that and The Anti-Alienist and Abolitionisms. Maybe Anti-Alienist would be safer. Oh, well, just so we get rid of the alienists and abolish the isms.

Instead of wearing hats with only one feather, like the men, I have already commissioned Lily Dache to make up a darling little model (from a design of my own, of course) in a cross between an Indian war-bonnet and an inverted nest, if you know what I mean.

We are going to wear triple-gored skirts (any color but red) and brown shirts, except for the few from Bob's hometown who will naturally want to wear silver shirts, and straight jackets with the new long wrap-around sleeve. Snappy uniform, don't you think?

A new organization like mine naturally needs publicity. I will greatly appreciate anything your paper may do for me in this line. I'll do anything anybody else will to get publicity.

Yours in the footsteps of Robert R. Reynolds.



Let's Have a Look

In 1929, a special election was called in Charlotte, and after a period of much discussion pro and con, not to say exposition, exegesis and expostulation, the citizens went to the polls and voted to replace the commission form of government with Plan D--the mayor-city manager form. Plan D set forth explicitly and in detail the organization of the city government--who was to have what authority, what restraint there was upon the exercise of it, and so on.

There is now being prepared for the City Council's consideration a new City Charter, which ultimately may be submitted to the Legislature for adoption; and it is entirely possible that changes could be wrought by the means of this Charter which would alter Plan D-- would make it, that is, Plan D-Minor or something to that effect. And of course the City Council would never think of revising Plan D, which the people adopted by their ballots, and only after thorough discussion, without publication in toto of the proposed Charter and free discussion upon every point therein by those most affected--the people of the city.

If, to the contrary, the City Council has neglected to think of making the proposed Charter public and giving the people of the city a chance to examine it and consider its effect, let this serve as a gentle reminder.

A Groundhog Report

Whether the groundhog actually saw his shadow or not we couldn't testify--having no mind to set up in the weather prophet business. But since writing an editorial about it is one of those things we seem supposed to do, we will report that he certainly addressed it--his shadow, that is.

"Did you hear that song about us?" he inquired.

"Nope. How did it go?" said the Shadow.

"Like this," said the Groundhog.

Meat in the skillet,
Hide in the churn,
If that ain't groundhog
I'll be durn!

"It's what those curious creatures that go around on two legs in the face of sense and reason, call 'hillbilly,'" he explained.

"Whoever heard of such nonsense as that," said the Shadow. "Meat--our meat--in a skillet and hide--our hide--in a churn. You'd think they'd have better taste. Or logic, anyhow. Everybody knows our meat isn't meant to fry, and as for putting our hide in the churn, I thought they were a finical race."

"It has something to do with something they call magic, I think," said the Groundhog. "I can tell you they are a credulous sort, up to believing the most preposterous things. And as for logic, how do you suppose they ever got around to tying us up with their old feast of blessing the candles, and the state of the weather for the next six weeks?"

"Bah," said the Shadow.

"Besides," said the Groundhog, "you should hear swing!"

Fur. Nt.: Said the Grauntligne to the Groundling, "What's with those mercurial swings in your eponymous scion's microphone, not to mention his ratings?" Retorted the Groundling, "O it offends mee to the Soule, to see a robustious Pery-wig-pated Fellow, teare a Passion to tatters, to verie ragges, to split the eares of the Groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise."

Test For A Judge

Whether the Hon. Floyd H. Roberts of Virginia, is or isn't fit to be a Federal District Judge, we haven't the faintest idea. We never heard of the gentleman until he was nominated by the Administration, and we have been unable to find out much about him since. He isn't listed in Who's Who, which seems to indicate that he hasn't yet any great record in the world. But that in itself has never been any ground for holding a man unfit for a judgeship. And on the other hand, we observe that Governor Price was happy to go to Washington to testify for him. That, however, may mean nothing but that he happens to belong to Governor Price's faction in the Democratic Party. What strikes us more forcibly than anything else in his favor is that Senators Glass and Byrd, who are bitterly fighting his confirmation, are apparently not arguing at all that he is unfit for the job, but only that he is "personally offensive" to themselves. And if that is all, then we think the Senate might do very well to go on and confirm him. The Senate has often, indeed, assumed to decline to confirm judges on such grounds but it plainly has no business doing it. A judge's job is not to please Senator Glass or Senator Byrd or Governor Price or any other politician, but to administer the law as fairly and equitably as he knows how. And the sole question that ought to be considered is his equipment to discharge that function--not whether somebody dislikes the cut of his jib or wouldn't ask him to dinner.

Site Ed. Note: For a quotation from Mein Kampf re The Big Lie theory, see the note associated with "Not So Silly", August 4, 1939.

Wholly In Order

In "Mein Kampf" Adolf Hitler lays down two propositions: (1) that impudent falsehood is an excellent instrument of diplomatic policy, and (2) that even the most impudent falsehood will get itself widely believed if repeated often and emphatically enough.

It is apparently on that basis that he proceeds at present. As Miss Thompson points out in her column to the right, he seems to be trying to set up in the world the thesis that, since the Nazis and Fascists will make war if they are not given their whole way, whoever opposes them in having their whole way is a "war mongerer!" Vide his charge against the President.

Mr. Roosevelt has done exactly nothing in selling planes to France and Britain, nations at peace, which is not the privilege of a sovereign nation to do. Germany and Italy can buy them here too, if they can find factories able to fill their orders and the foreign exchange to pay for them. But certainly, the President has been moved by other considerations than commercial ones, precisely these considerations: that the intentions of the Berlin-Rome Axis toward Latin-America are manifest, and that he thinks it advisable to make it plain to Hitler that we shall not take the destruction of the Monroe Doctrine lying down, war or no war.

Maybe that goes beyond the sentiment of the nation. Maybe it doesn't. But in any case whatever, it is clear that Hitler has no other cause of complaint than this: that, in pursuit of our entirely legitimate rights and interests, our policy promises to make him a little less able to hi-jack Britain and France--and so to get himself in position to hi-jack us.

They Deserve It

Mr. Charles G. Powell, chairman of the State Unemployment Compensation Committee, says the Federal Government hasn't got that power. And probably it hasn't. But for once, we almost wish it did have.

We are talking, of course, about the power to cut off the Federal Social Security money in retaliation for the Legislature's having abolished the merit examination requirement in the compensation act as originally adopted. There is no excuse whatever for this action. Not even the excuse that, after all, the employees who have been on the job for six months are now familiar with the routine, and that a new set would have had to be broken in all over again. For, under the merit examination clause, any incumbent would only have had to make a grade of 70 to hold his place against all comers--a provision that would have amply taken care of everybody in the least degree competent.

Right and Left Hands

The only substantial difference between the Senate and House relief bills not adjusted in conference is that House provision to prohibit sectional wage differentials of more than 25 per cent. This clause was eliminated by the Senate, and doubtless will be when put again to the House, where the preponderance of representatives from populous industrial states is greater.

And all the little solons from those areas, you may lay to it, would cheerfully vote to eradicate this limitation, thus legalizing a differential in WPA wages that runs up in some instances to a hundred per cent or more. And later on in the session the same sectionalists will turn thumbs down, still cheerfully but fortified with an admixture of righteousness, on any differential at all in industrial pay scales under the Wage & Hour Act.

As a result of which the South will have been pushed and pulled about as much as usual, told in one case that it cannot enjoy the industrial advantage of a moderate wage differential, and in the other cooly-paid in WPA wages less than half of the standard prevailing in industrial states.


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