The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 14, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Speaking of basketball, here's our win-win-win-win advice to the N.C.A.A.: Next year, add fifteen more at-large teams to the field and have two play-in games per region for positions 13 through 20 on Tuesday and Wednesday. That way, losing from the field each year fewer good teams from the larger and more competitive conferences, while still maintaining the old college spirit of bye inclusion for those schools from the smaller conferences which have become champions, all win. Also, fewer flukes with respect to the top four seeds in each region would be likely in the first round, as the opponents will have been forced to play an extra game between their conference tournament and the first regular game versus the upper seed, making the lower seeds deservedly prove themselves one extra time against extra-conference, quality competition before facing an upper seed which has inevitably faced such competition all season. (If there be any fear that the extra game might season the lower seeded opponent to tournament play and thus provide some unfair advantage, not a proven factor in the one play-in game presently played to determine the opponent of the top overall seed, then even a double elimination for the top four seeds, if any, which are beaten in the first round, might be implemented, viz.: a top four seed losing in the first round would play the same opponent again the following interim day between rounds, Friday or Saturday, and the lower seed would be forced to beat the higher seed twice in succession to advance; the initially losing higher seed, if it wins the second game, would nevertheless still face the penalty, in advancing in this manner, of having to play three games in three days, while the lower seed would have advanced, if it wins all three, by three games in four days, with a fourth in five to go, and thus all's fair.) And the N.C.A.A. and the member schools and the networks and advertisers get that much more tv revenue. Win-win-win-win. Plus, having an upper seed would mean far more than at present and the whole tournament is improved in the end.

The NIT might not be so happy. But since not too many people follow it except the participant schools, what's the difference if 15 lesser teams make up its field?

The advice is free; take it for what it's worth. Too many good teams, as opposed to small conference champs in the field, for too many years as it is have been left on NIT turf.

It is offered without bias as our particular favorite school has for the past 32 years either decisively made the tournament field, or, in two years, decisively not.

Also, all transportation not by air for the NCAA games, ought be by hybrid buses. We have to make a visible start somewhere on the campaign against global warming; what better place than in college sports?

Meanwhile, we can't help but question the wisdom in the match-ups this year which has resulted in the Bruins versus the Bruins and, if all goes well for each in round first, Spartans and Spartans, Spartans versus Spartans in the second. This can hardly be fair, for, no matter who wins either, Spartans win, so too, the Bear. Surely you see our point.

We include the below couple of letters to the editor, the first from the Director, to explain why Charlotte could not precisely be pinned as murder capital of the country for 1938, the second to explain the difference in meaning to some somewhere of the addition to a letter in a name of one little short leg, and the consequent need therefore, even in the rendering of print from newspapers as much as 75 years old, for accuracy to the extent possible. So, since we try to subscribe to this latter notion in rendering these pieces, even though we didn't reprint the piece to which the letter refers, we offer its correction, as in the doing of it, it also conveys something of the author's take on the countryside of North Carolina during the days of and after the "so-called" Civil War. What the author, having been a toddler during it, called it, we could only imagine. But it was likely not very civil.

"The Real Villain" and "Alaska for the Reindeer" bring it all full circle in a neat chain, when considered a little.

Wherein We Are Balked Of Proof For A Hunch

Dear Sir:

In response to your letter of March 3, 1939, I regret to advise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not have available for distribution figures showing the number of murders in cities with more than 25,000 inhabitants, expressed in terms of the number of murders per 100,000 of population.

As you know, the "Uniform Crime Reports" bulletin includes the state crime rates for cities grouped according to size. However, figures showing the number of offenses per 100,000 inhabitants in individual cities have never been compiled.

I deeply appreciate your suggestion that such figures, if presented in the bulletin, would be valuable, and wish to assure you that it will be given careful consideration.


Director, FBI.


[Note: Our inquiry was prompted by the uneasy suspicion that in 1938 the Friendly City of Charlotte was the most murderous place in all the land. Actual comparison on a population basis with other likely murder centers such as Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans and Chicago showed Charlotte manslayers to be far more active, but since it would take a couple of certified public accountants, using logarithms and slide rules, to figure out the murder rates for the innumerable cities of more than 25,000 population, and since the FBI does not have this information, we shan't be able to prove or disprove Charlotte's pre-eminence in this respect.--Editors, The News.]

A Correction For An Earlier Day's Item

Dear Sir:

In your issue of March 3 appeared an item under the heading of "Earlier Days," credited to the Fayetteville Observer of March 3, 1864, in which is stated "that Harris Tyson, Esq. of Moore County, had presented to the Relief Committee in Fayetteville a barrel of flour for distribution among the indigent families of soldiers. Mr. Tyson never was a Secessionist but is an ardent supporter of this war for independence."

The foregoing has reference to Harris Tysor, not Tyson, as there was no Harris Tyson in Moore County during or after the so-called Civil War. Harris Tysor was a native of Portugal, coming to this country in early manhood and settling on the west side of Deep River, near where the town of Glendon now stands. In his day he was one of the foremost citizens of his section. He owned the mills on both sides of Deep River, manufacturing meal and flour; occupied the largest and best appointed country home, overlooking his mills; owned a large forest of longleaf pines; conducted a large farm, and on his own account, is believed to have built the first bridge that ever spanned Deep River in Moore County. He had three sons named, respectively, George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte and Jefferson Davis. It was Harris Tysor, not Harris Tyson, who contributed the flour mentioned in your item.


Bear Creek.

Rural Route 1.

P.S. I was born Aug. 3, 1862, one mile above Tysor's Mill on Deep River, was reared on my father's plantation there, and knew Harris Tysor well up to the time of his death in 1890.

L. P.

A Dusty Answer

Every rumor contributing to the animosity prevailing between the Fascintern and the democracies receives such wide circulation that it is a relief to set down, for a change, a report of good faith. The Senate Naval Committee, now discussing Guam, asked the State Department if Japan had violated the treaty forbidding it to fortify the Caroline and Marshall Islands, former German possessions over which Japan obtained a mandate and which lie all about Guam. The State Department replied that, so far as it knew, Japan had not violated the treaty.

This would be a little more reassuring if the State Department had left out the phrase "so far as it knew." Indeed, the State Department has no business not knowing. To find out for certain if these Pacific islands are or aren't being fortified ought to be child's play for any competent espionage service, and a competent corps of spies is about the only way this country can be sure, these tense days, that covenants are being observed. But there we go contributing again to animosity and misunderstanding.

That Mystery Again

Every week that goes by, a short item comes over the wires from Washington. It follows this form:

The Commerce Department reported today gold bullion imports from Columbia of $2,111,223 for the week ending March 10. Silver bullion purchases from Mexico totaled 2,172,760 ounces valued at $909,132.

Now, it's all right, as far as we are concerned, about Columbia's gold. Gold remains the standard unit of value, the blue-chip, and though there is some uneasiness that, with the United States having the lion's share, the rules of the game may be changed and gold demoted to commodity status, the best guarantee against this is mankind's age-long lust for and reliance upon the yellow metal.

But silver--silver has never made the grade as an accepted medium of international financial settlements. Silver is a monetary base only in those poorer countries which lack gold. The spread between silver and gold prices has widened tremendously since such recent days as those of the Great Commoner and his formula of 16 to 1. Gold is now quoted the world over at about 35 dollars an ounce, and silver brings a shaky 43 cents, with the United States acting as the only large taker at that or any price.

And why we should subsidize Mexico to the tune of a million dollars a week (not to mention other foreign and domestic producers) for silver that we don't need, can't use and may never dispose of, only the silver bloc in Congress can explain, and that lamely. Nevertheless, the item beginning, "The Commerce Department reported today..." comes over the wires each and every week that goes by.

More of the Same

The marker bill passed by the House at Raleigh yesterday is essentially of a piece with the absentee ballot bill already passed. To a certain extent, it may cut down the activities of professional markers in primaries. In the cities, it probably will do that. But in the rural districts, where the election laws are little observed anyhow, the officials will probably go right on winking at the professional markers.

You can make out a case, certainly, for allowing assistance to a man who is too ignorant to read the ballot for himself. But there are better ways to go about it than this. And somehow, we suspect that devotion to the franchise is not the real motive in this bill.

Moreover, like the absentee ballot bill, it applies only to primaries among fellow Democrats and not at all as to elections between Democrats and Republicans. There the professional marker will have carte blanche as always.

That is, precisely as in the absentee ballot bill, the Democrats think it necessary in this bill to be a little shamefaced about stealing from other Democrats--to make some vague gesture designed to give the appearance of virtue. But when it comes to stealing from Republicans--why, that, they confess by their whole attitude, they hold to be the very essence of right.

A Forgotten Promise

Last September when Mr. Bumble forced the Czechs to accept the Munich settlement, he hastened to attempt to conciliate opinion in the world by boldly announcing that once the Sudeten cession was made, England and France would guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the little republic. It is a pretty fair indication of how much faith anybody gave that promise that not even the Czechs have bothered to remind him of it, now that Hitler has embarked upon his scheme for detaching Slovakia from it and setting it up as a German puppet state.

The same shabby hypocrisy about self-determination which was used to justify the Sudeten rape will no doubt be trotted out now to justify this also. But the Slovaks never thought of attempting to set up a separate state until the Germans put them onto the idea. And indeed, the notion now seems to have the active backing of only the German minority in Slovakia and of a few self-seeking politicians like Tiso.

And what about the Czechs' right to self-determination? When Hitler completes this job, he'll have been surrounded on all sides. And it is apparently his purpose to force them to throw General Syrovy and all other patriot Czechs out of the Government, and replace them with Germans or toadies--in short, to deprive them of the last vestige of independence. But as things stand now, it looks as though he were going to be able to carry the deal through without so much as a protest from Britain and France.

Alaska For the Reindeer

The southernmost tip of Alaska, as everybody knows (well, anyhow the map knows it), is 700 miles from the nearest point of the United States, which is the state of Washington. This statistic is both interesting and pertinent in view of the fact that the Alaska Assembly has passed a law putting a tax of $10 to $200 on chain stores, based on the number of units in the chain "anywhere in the world." This may be the absurdity that brings this country to its senses and its sense of fair play towards chain stores. For what difference does it make to Alaska, pray, insulated against the peculiarly American institution of chain stores by not less than 700 miles of territory, much of it wasteland, if a store at Juneau has twins in Peoria and Terre Haute? Applying the same principle, if any, to the taxation of colonists, a man named Smith would have to pay a steep poll based on the number of relatives he left behind in the States, whereas a man named Puysingster would get off light for being the only bearer of this proud name anywhere in the world.

It may be that chain stores are iniquitous devices which sap the rugged individualism that produced so many small entrepreneurs in America (and a fearful business mortality rate). If so, there ought to be a full investigation of them, and perhaps they ought to be denied the right to do business at all. But capriciously to invoke the power to tax in order to destroy, and to put a penalty on efficiency in distribution and originality in merchandising--well, that is hardly cricket in the States and hardly advisable in the frozen north.

The Real Villain

"The participants in the demonstration did not have any complaints to make about specific landlords, and some of them stated they realized the position of the landlords and felt that some of them had done the very best they could for the workers under the circumstances... They were protesting not against any specific landlord or group of landlords, but against the condition in which they found themselves..."

Thus the Federal Bureau of Investigation's report on its findings in an inquiry into the case of the road-camping sharecroppers of Missouri.

Which seems to indicate that the sharecroppers have a good deal clearer view of their case than some of their sympathizers, who proceed on the assumption that the cotton landlord is invariably a villain. Of course that is nonsense. Cotton landlords are like any other group of people. Some of them are hard and grasping and ruthless. Some of them do cheat their dependents. But some of them land themselves in bankruptcy through their extension of credit to the shiftless. And the great body of them are reasonably honest and decent people.

The real villain in the piece is not the landlord but old King Cotton himself. Always a voracious tyrant who ate the life out of the land in short order and had then to be fed on greater and greater quantities of commercial fertilizer, he has never brought his subjects any great rewards since the Civil War. And now he is bringing to them so small a one that many thousands of acres of cotton land are being abandoned by their owners. The Old King is plainly dying, and a new one has not yet been found. That is a prime fact that explains the case of the sharecroppers.


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