The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 2, 1939


Site Ed. Note: In "Maxine Is Comforted", Cash again takes a swipe at swing, a style of music for which he obviously held no affection. Incidentally, the German opera Martha, by Flotow, a lilting, buoyant piece of pleasant music to which the editorial fondly refers, and which you may in its entirety hear here, imagining the while Cash typing away "The House-Painter's Story" to it, has as its principal Lady Harriet of Durham, who, bored with court life as maid of honor to Queen Anne, retires to the country where, with her friend Nancy, she pretends to become a peasant girl. The two attend the fair at Richmond; there, two farmers, Lyonel and Plumkett, then hire them as servants...

One of the opera's familiar arias which Cash cites as a translated positive product of swing, "Ah So Pure", appears actually to have been by Connie Boswell with Bob Crosby & His Bobcats, released 1937, not Ms. Sullivan. A result perhaps originating with the mistake of the radio announcer emanating from Cash's old Philco.

Regardless of how you may feel about all that swing and jazz, we suggest, and Cash might have agreed, that it might have done the House members quoted opposite the column, as included below, a lot of good to add to their little play yet a little swing now and again, as opposed to that on which they swung as it was.

It reminds that carping in the wells about this and that, including that about the First Lady, as well as attacks on the Fourth Estate, are nothing if not hallmarks of the finest and sturdiest of American political tradition.

We do have to wonder though why it is that it seems almost always quite alright to pick on Democrat First Ladies in the most visceral fashion, the more outspoken and independent, the more likely to draw Republican ire, while should one dare say anything the least lacking in chivalrous politesse toward a Lady of the Republican ranks, the gentleman is no longer deemed such at all, but rather an ape of the lowest magnitude.

Well, we do wonder.

As to "One Swallow", what's wrong, Mr. Caashe, with payin' them little ladies a whole $2.54 a week for work? Why if 'tweren't for this heya job, them'd have none no how. You see our point. Why, back thar in the days that Gen'ral Johnston was forced to a-laid down his arms 'fore that thar Sherman feller over thar in them Duke woods, whar the rosemary grows and often shows in the springtime of our youthy glows, by the toolshed over yonder, why they'd been as happy as clams to have been paid any wage a'tall for their jobs. You do see our point, now? Let me interduce ye to ol' Colonel Plumkit, here, our gen'ral manager, and he can fill ye in. Lionel's gone to lunch. Wait, whar ye goin'?

You her or hee?

How To Earn 10,000 Smackers Per Annum

Congressional Record--House

Characters in order of their appearance:

Mr. Knutson, Republican from Minnesota.

Mr. Gifford, a Republican from Massachusetts.

Mr. Thomas F. Ford, Democrat of California.

Mr. Schafer, a Republican from Wisconsin.

The Gavel


Mr. KNUTSON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?


Mr. KNUTSON. Congress has been in session now nearly two months. Can the gentleman tell the House of any plan that has been submitted by this Administration in the last six years to put the twelve or fourteen million people who are out of work back to work?

Mr. GIFFORD. Oh, yes; there is a plan.

Mr. KNUTSON. What is it?

Mr. GIFFORD. The plan is the appeasement policy. They have appointed Harry Hopkins to apologize to business and beg the businessman to go ahead.

Mr. KNUTSON. Will that save the country?

Mr. GIFFORD. That is their plan. They dare not punish any longer, having 1940 to worry about.

Mr. KNUTSON. The gentleman undoubtedly read in the newspaper this morning or yesterday morning that Mr. Hopkins announced to the country that they were through now with the social experimentations and that they were going to work to put the country back on a self-supporting basis.

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. Will the gentleman yield at this point?

Mr. KNUTSON. No; I do not.

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. That is not what Hopkins said.

Mr. KNUTSON. The gentleman should get permission from the Chair when he interposes.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Gifford] has expired.

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike out the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I have just listened to the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Schafer] orate on a subject about which he apparently does not know very much. He says we have appropriated a certain amount of money for subsidizing the trans-Atlantic airmail. I wonder if the gentleman is opposed to that? The only reason, apparently, that he is opposed to it is that he says the First Lady of the Land wrote the insurance. Now, he knows and everybody knows that that is pure demagogic misstatement.

Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?


Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. I said that the firm of Roosevelt & Sargent wrote the insurance.

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. Of which Mr. James Roosevelt is no longer a member.

Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. From which firm the insurance agent, James Roosevelt, resigned as a partner and was supplanted by the First Lady of the Land, wrote that insurance, and it is not a lie.

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. The First Lady of the Land did not write that insurance and you know it.

Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. Then the newspapers must all be wrong and the gentleman right?

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. Yes. They are just like you. They are generally wrong. That is all that is the matter with the newspapers.

Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. Is the gentleman indicting the entire press of America?

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. I am--90 per cent of them; yes.

Mr. SCHAFER of Wisconsin. He is following the President then?

Mr. THOMAS F. FORD. Ninety per cent of them indulge in misstatements or half truths.

[Here the gavel fell.]

One Swallow

For the first object-lesson in enforcing the wage-and-hour law, the Government certainly picked a cripple. There was evidence to show that the employer was hiring women at $2.54 and $2.38 for a week's work, was falsifying his records and generally playing the Simon Legree to his mortal consciousness, if any.

But this one horrible example is no sort of proof that the wage-and-hour act is just what the doctor ordered. Fine and dandy that it caught this sweat-shop proprietor. But the law still remains, in its upper reaches, a needless vexation to honest employers, a nightmare to bookkeepers and a binder on the ambition of individuals to get ahead of their fellows. And by so much it needs amending.

An Excellent Choice*

Why, of course! There is hardly any doubt that James J. Harris, whom a committee selected yesterday to receive the Junior Chamber's medal for most outstanding service by a young man during the past year, was eminently entitled to the honor. His direction of the YMCA's building campaign alone qualified him, and besides, Jimmy is one of these energetic, competent chaps who is never too busy to lend a hand in community affairs.

He is, furthermore, a testimonial to how much the city owes to its non-native recruits. Indeed, if we were to have to get along without those Charlotteans who came originally from Goose Greek Township, Union County, from South Carolina, from Yankeeland and from Jimmy's native Georgia, only the husk of the Queen City would be left. For the spirit of it resides in these as much as in born Mecklenburghers.

High Cost of Americanism

The VINDICATORS, Bob Reynolds' lodge of 100-per cent anti-ism Americans, will probably draw a good part of its strength, if it ever attain any, from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and like organizations. These have a great distaste for the alien personality and creed, and they consider it their special assignment to stamp it out wherever it may lift its ugly head.

There is support for the statement, however, that Americanism as the veterans' organizations practice it, is more downright costly to the country as a whole than all the machinations of the uninfluential aliens within our gates. Aliens, for instance, after long insistence by Bob Reynolds and the veterans, have just been taken off relief, as perhaps they should have been. But if the veterans have their way, the saving will be nowhere near net. For the Legion even now is calling for attention to the widows and orphans of all deceased veterans irrespective of the date or cause of the veteran's death, and the V.F.W. is after a pension of $80 for all unemployed veterans regardless of any disability.

The Legion's latest pension grab, for which a bill is now before Congress, would cost $49,000,000 in 1940; the V.F.W.'s perhaps as much more. And that, on top of all the other hand-outs to veterans, is a pretty steep price even for Americanism.

Maxine Is Comforted

Maxine Sullivan feels all right now. And Maxine, a Negro singer of swing songs, got a little uneasy in her conscience over the protests of people who didn't like the fact that she swung "old-time" songs--apparently, that is "classical" and "standard" songs. And so she wrote to Mrs. Roosevelt asking her opinion. With the result that, as we say, she is feeling better now. For the First Lady, admitting that she couldn't imagine what the songs would sound like if swung, reported that she could nevertheless see nothing "wrong" in Maxine's activities, and that anyhow nobody could please everybody.

All of which, we guess, is all right. Maxine certainly isn't guilty of any moral wrong-doing in earning her bread by her monkeyshines, and she didn't invent the thing she practices. And yet, for all that, maybe there is something a little "wrong" in it. Obviously, it is wrong from the standpoint of aesthetics to swing Bach or Mozart or even Stephen Foster. And the substitution of the thin, squalling, distorted thing that is called swing for the old noble and natural measures--the continual dinning of such stuff into the ears of children in particular--is likely to debase and eventually destroy the public taste in music. There's only one consolation. The little ears probably never would have heard "Ah, So Pure" from the opera Martha, if Maxine hadn't swung it.

This Wild Ride*

Everybody talking about economy ain't gettin' any. The Senate is seeing to that. When the House lopped off $150,000,000 from the President's relief figure, the Senate inserted an invitation for the President to ask for more if he needed it. The House accepted the amendment, and the very next day the President asked for the balance.

The House likewise cut out of the annual appropriation to TVA some seventeen millions for new construction. The Senate put it back, and yesterday the House approved the Senate version. The bill goes to the President carrying every last cent requested.

And the total of those requests, it will be recalled, comes to more than $9,000,000,000 for the fiscal year 1939-1940, producing another whopping deficit for the tenth year in succession. And the expenditures for rearmament have just started. And 1941, the earliest date at which a change of administrations can be made, is two years off. And even then there is no guarantee that anything can be done about it.

So, it's hold on, everybody! We don't know where we're going but we're on our way.

The House-Painter's Story

Along with the decisive documents of the world, Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, the Edict of Nantes and the Treaty of Versailles, we properly place today the bitter and illiterate platform of a Bavarian house painter. It is an unpalatable admittance, but there is no getting around it. "Mein Kampf," by Adolf Hitler, is plainly the most important political document of the century.

Two American public houses are bringing out the book in unexpurgated form. Both editions are to be up in the thousands and probably will become best sellers. And while the whole frame of "Mein Kampf" hurts in the pit of the democratic stomach, it is virtually required reading for intelligent people. Even those who hate him most must read his story, and hate him the worse.

Much of it has already been translated into action. For this book, you know, is by the man who took Austria without a battle and who boldly seized what he wanted in Czechoslovakia after compelling the British Empire to go and sit humbly in the ashes of its glory. But it contains, besides, the abhorrent beliefs, the vindictive philosophy, the pseudo ethnology and the merciless ambitions of Adolf Hitler, the man who took up where Bismarck left off and who is succeeding where Wilhelm II failed.

Tar Heelia Settles Up

Back there seven or eight years ago before the default of this country's war debtors had lost its novelty, any hurried newspaper editor with a space to fill could always rattle off a few hundred words giving these foreigners hail Columbia. We ourselves dished out some pretty strong stuff about the dirty welshers, and the number of fulsome tributes we have paid to doughty "Little Finland" is exactly equal to the number of June and December fifteenths on which Little Finland alone has stepped up and laid cash on the line.

One day, however, it suddenly came over us that defaulting was a vice on which foreigners had no monopoly. It was something not to be told in Gath or published in the streets of Askelon, but North Carolina--yea, even Tar Heelia the virtuous--was stigmatized by containing more defaulting local governments than any other state in the Unions save Florida. In the middle of 1933, 62 of its 100 counties were in default and 152 of its towns and cities, not to mention a few dredging and special school districts.

But say this for North Carolina: it commenced at once, unlike the war debtors, to find its way out of default. It has not yet completely emerged, nor has the process been one invariably of paying every last defaulted cent. There have had to be adjustments, and bondholders have had to take substantial losses now and then or to wait for their money. But gradually local finances have been put in order until, as of June 30, 1938, the last date covered by the report of the Local Government Commission, only thirteen North Carolina counties and 49 towns are delinquent in their bonded indebtedness.

In two or three years more, North Carolina should be entitled to resume, without blushing, it's castigation of foreign defaulters.


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