The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 28, 1939


Site Ed. Note: We include the piece below by Cam Shipp, Cash's friend, on another mutual friend to both, Jonathan Daniels.

A Passage With The Enterprising Jonathan Dan'ls

By Cameron Shipp

Jonathan Daniels, son of Josephus, father of Elizabeth, Lucy, Adelaide, and a new little girl whose name we didn't get, dropped by the other day on his way to make a speech to some young ladies in Greenville. A very productive fellow, this Jonathan, and full of interesting new enterprises.

It seems that the success of "A Southerner Discovers the South," which was one of the saltiest pieces of reading matter last year, has turned Mr. Dan'ls' eyes to New England. Again working for Macmillan, and possibly for the Reader's Digest, he will explore the Back Bay Brahman country this Summer, spending six months 'tother side of Boston discovering New England. What he discovers will probably make nervous literature for the Bostonians. It's an idea that smites us, this assigning a roiling-eyed Southern reporter on a mission of exploration among the damnedest Yankees.

Still another Dan'ls enterprise is a forthcoming Saturday Evening Post piece about Boss Crump of Memphis. We ran into tales about Crump a year ago while exploring the slums in his bailiwick, and innocently asking who the man was, were told: "Why, you can't get the lady you work for elected secretary of a local Parent-Teacher Association without asking Crump." The Boss decides labor strikes on their merits, and has just kept the CIO out of his city. They get rid of slums in Memphis by decree--virtually shove 'em off the bluff into the river when they are tired looking at them. But Dan'ls will probably tell you about that in The Post.

The talk veered around to George Nelson Page, a playmate of our hero when he was in Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship won by his first book, a novel, "Clash of Angels," published in 1930. George was a remarkable fellow himself, a Virginia Roman who gave up American citizenship, became a Fascist, and is now in charge of all radio propaganda under Mussolini. He is also productive, the father of three boys.

Mr. Dan'ls said he might stop by to see Elliott White Springs, who runs mills and is the author of those remarkable pillowcases you have been reading about in The News and The New Yorker. Mr. Springs, opined Jonathan, must be like those ancient and noble freebooters, who charged about Europe on conquest bent, then returned to their feudal estates to write epigrams about Fourteenth Century sonnet sequences. "Maybe I'll just drop in and say, 'Just wanted to look at you, Cap'n; might write a piece about you sometime.' Is he amenable?"

Mr. Dowd, the editor, said he was amenable. Mr. Dan'ls clapped on his enormous Homburg, under which those enormous tortoise glasses jut, tweaked his black tie, paid for everybody's coffee, and was on his way.

Let The Goldfish Try

The silly season seems to have got off with a bang this year at the first sign of Spring. This time it's live-goldfish-eating, an idiocy that surpasses even the pole-and-tree-sitting of other years. First a sophomore at Yale swallowed two the little finnies. Then a chappie at Franklin & Marshall gulped down three. And now Mr. Irving M. Clark, Harvard sophomore, has attained immortality by swallowing 24!

We don't particularly mind, except that it occurs to us that the goldfish may not think so well of the performance. Anyhow, time about is fair play. And so we hear and now propose a contest to see how many goldfish it takes to nibble up a live sophomore--with the distinguished Mr. Clark of Harvard down in the books as our favorite candidate for the first experiment.

The Forgetful Goddess

If we were the cops, we get discouraged and stop arresting people unless they agree to meet us at the jail.

If we were the two lower courts, we'd feel that the time consumed in hearing the evidence and handing down convictions based on the weight of evidence was frequently wasted.

For no matter how serious these may take the responsibility of enforcing the laws as they are written, all too many wrongdoers contrive to escape in the passageway that leads to Superior Court. By appealing, that is.

A standard method of evading the vengeance of the lower courts' law is to obtain a nollepros in the higher court. This is a means by which fourteen drunken driving cases out of twenty consecutive cases examined by The News had come off the docket. And now another method comes to light--the just-stay-at-home method. A year ago the cops arrested a bootlegger with fifteen cases aboard. County Recorder's Court sentenced him to 60 days on the roads. He appealed, and in Superior Court was given his choice between serving twelve months on the roads or serving from four to eight months and paying a $500 fine to boot. Later, his punishment was lightened to 60 days--in jail, not on the roads--and a fine of $250. The jail term was put off until Nov. 1, 1938, to give him time to harvest his crops.

Today, the convicted bootlegger has neither served his sentence nor paid all of the fine and costs assessed against him. In fact, he has another crop coming on, and as far as we are concerned he may harvest it in peace. But something, plainly, ought to be done about Superior Court. It's handing down awful verdicts and then promptly forgetting all about them.

An Alarming System of State Tariffs

"Customs Houses" At State Borders Constitute A Threat To Free Trade Between The 48 States

(Dull, We Are Afraid, But Important)

Next month--April 5-6-7--there will be held in Chicago, under the auspices of the Council of State Governments, a conference to attempt to deal with what is rapidly becoming one of the most serious threats to interstate commerce and the life of the nation that they have ever encountered--internal tariffs.

The Constitution (Section 10, Article 2) explicitly denies the states the right to levy internal duties on exports or imports, without the consent of Congress, save for strictly inspection purposes. And until recently, the courts have applied that rule rigidly. But ever since the depression began, state legislatures have been subjected to increasing pressure from minority groups bent on preserving the home market for themselves, and have been busily concocting statutes designed to circumvent the Constitution. And recently the Supreme Court has actually ruled in favor of some of these laws as (1) the Michigan law levying discriminatory taxes against beer made outside the state, on the ground that the language of the 21st Amendment suspends the commerce clause with regard to alcoholic beverages; (2) the Indiana graduated tax on chain stores, according to the number of units, and (3) the Washington "use" tax, making it illegal for Washingtonians to use products purchased in other states until the state sales tax has been paid.

These taxes which amount to tariffs now run into the thousands, and take all sorts of forms. Thus many states require out-of-state vehicles to pay state gasoline taxes on the quantity of fuel above a certain limit, usually about twenty gallons, contained in their tanks at the point of entry, and in order to collect them have actually established "ports of entry"--i.e., genuine customs houses. Others have established "inspection depots" for trucks at their borders, where a maze of regulations concerning license fees, size of truck bodies, trailers, etc. are enforced--with such serious delays for long-haul trucks that in some parts of the country they have had to cease plying. Twenty-one states have followed Indiana in her chain store tax; eight, including North Carolina, discriminate against foreign corporations in license taxes; six besides Michigan impose discriminatory taxes on out-of-state liquor. The dairy states have imposed "inspection" taxes of as much as five cents a pound--completely prohibitory, of course--on butter substitutes from outside. Florida uses the same "inspection" pretense to keep California citrus fruits out. And so on, ad infinitum.

All this, as Governor Loyd C. Stark of Missouri has pointed out, aids nobody but the few who secure the local market. On the contrary, it increases cost to the consumer, and dangerously slows down the flow of commerce through the nation. In the end, all concerned, even those who think they profit, lose through narrowed opportunity.

The conference hopes to be able to abolish such laws by agreement among the states, which in some cases have already begun to retreat. But there are still many difficulties in the way. And some authorities on the question, like Dr. Charles A. Beard, think it will be necessary for Congress to act in the case if we are to be saved from being "Balkanized"--i.e., made into a country with not one customs frontier but forty-eight. Congress has undoubtedly authority here, for the same section of the Constitution already cited specifically grants it complete control over all laws passed by the states even for "inspection" purposes.

Fancy Log-Rolling

It was bad enough when Congress, at the behest of the President, appropriates money hand over fist in order to get recovery going. There was something sincere about the spending policy, for all its profligacy, and the President was so convinced that he was on the right track that a number of solons, who knew better, began to half-believe that he might be right.

But those days have passed, mates, and wistful sincerity has given way to cynicism unabashed. Nobody any longer has the faintest hope that spending will do the trick. Instead of being a means to an end, spending has become an end in itself, to be continued, apparently, at all costs to the country so long as it supports the constituencies of Congressmen in the style to which they have grown accustomed.

That is the only explanation of the trading position which has been taken by a group of House members from the big cities of the land, who style themselves Liberals. They are quite frank about it. They will vote to appropriate $250,000,000 for farm relief if the farm bloc will covenant to vote $150,000,000 more for unemployment relief. And you and you, dear taxpayers, or your children, will someday have to foot this $400,000,000 bill for log-rolling.

There's An Idea!

In principle, it is all wrong--this tacking of 30 cents onto the cost of State automobile licenses to pay hospital expenses (up to $63) for anybody, regardless of his inability to pay, who is injured in a highway accident. For one thing, automobile taxes--and this is a tax--are high enough already. For another, it is a clear case of using the taxing power of the State to bestow "exclusive emoluments" not in consideration of public services, and is therefore, in all probability, unconstitutional.

But in a practical sense, the premium is small, whereas the benefits are large and not limited to those who come a cropper on the highways. It could help to reduce the cost of all hospitalization by making pay patients of the thousands of indigents who are injured in automobile accidents and rushed to emergency wards and given expert surgical treatment because, in simple humanity, they can't be turned away. In that respect, the bill has its points.

And if the House accede to the Senate's superior wisdom and enact the bill into law, it might not be at all a bad idea to tack on another quarter or so to the cost of licenses in order to reimburse the owners of bright and shining chariots when they get banged up by some jalopy whose operator is judgment-proof, conscience-proof and caution-proof. Indeed, the more we toy with the idea of adding a few cents here and there to the cost of automobile licenses in order to provide extraneous services, the more we wonder if there isn't some way the Legislature can include another dollar or so to take care of everybody's installment payments. Unless the chair hears objection, the motion is carried.


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