The Charlotte News

Sunday, April 23, 1939


Site Ed. Note: The other editorial of this date, "Megalomania At War", added previously is maintained separately.

Gad-about gad-bee Mr. Davis did not invent the proposal for Basic English of 850 words, mentioned at the end of "A Disappointment". It was developed--a second cousin to Esperanto, the basic common language proposed in 1888 by a Polish linguist, Ludwig Zamenhof--between 1925 and 1932 by C. K. Ogden, a British scholar. It consists of 650 nouns, 100 adjectives and 100 assorted other words.

The intended benefit of these basic international languages was to effect greater communication between otherwise disparate countries and cultures, in the hope of bringing the world closer together. Ultimately, the same effect seems to have largely resulted from the spread through the world of standard English, especially since World War II.

Example in Basic English: Come and get you language.

A Hold-Out

Man Who Knows How To Fix It Is Mum

Mr. Robert Taft, Senator in Congress and candidate for the Republican nomination to the Presidency of the United States, told a "Republicans-on-the-March" audience at Washington Thursday night that the New Deal has "reduced us to a tremendously dangerous situation," with more unemployed in February than the average for any month in the last four years, and national income for 1938 some 14 billions less than in 1928, though the population has increased 10,000,000 since then. Then he went on to say that it was plain that,

"The New Dealers don't know what to do to change the present situation. Not a new idea has appeared since Congress met in January."

Mr. Taft cannily leaves out of account the part Republican policies played in creating the situation in the first instance, and ignores the case of the national income under the late Dr. Hoover. But let that go. Nobody in his senses questions that we are in a devil of a spot. And so let's suppose that Mr. Taft is right in everything he says, wholly right--and where are we? Why, here. Mr. Taft has himself been a member of that same Congress which he says hasn't had a single new idea since January. Mr. Taft and a lot of his fellow Republicans. Yet it is clear from Mr. Taft's words that he means to leave the impression that he and his fellow partisans know what the New Dealers don't know: what to do to change the situation. And if that is true--why haven't they had some ideas in that Congress? Is it really quite fair to hold out on the nation like that? And isn't it about time men who crave to be President and who know how to fix things up began to let the country have a peep at the secret they hold?

A Disappointment

A Trusted Correspondent Leaves Us Hanging On Tenterhooks

A correspondent whose communications we always seize with the greatest eagerness--quite unable to wait until we can get the envelopes open--is Mr. Charles Davis. Charlie lives just now at Bass River, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But he modestly lists the fact that he is also of New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

What explains our zeal for his communications is eagerness to find out who he's for for President at a given moment. Months ago we got our first communication from Mr. Davis. That time he was, he said, heading a movement to draft Mr. Hoover for President. And we were almost tempted to join up, not because we cared for Herbert but because we were intrigued by Mr. Davis's arguments and especially by the picture of the fine house which he said was going to be national headquarters. But then a month or two later we got another communication announcing that he was going to head a movement to draft somebody else--Arthur Vandenberg, we believe--with the same house still to serve as headquarters. And after that again, he suddenly arrived with the somewhat startling news that he was going to head a movement to draft Franklin Roosevelt for a third term, with the same house still down as headquarters. And the last time we heard from him until yesterday, it was still the same house, but Jack Garner had got to be the man who was to be drafted.

Yesterday, though, something strange happened. We avidly tore open his communication to see what politician was inside the shell this time--only to discover that Mr. Davis was propagandizing to us for Basic English: a scheme to throw away the dictionaries and replace them with a vocabulary of 850 words. We don't understand it. Is Charlie going to let us down and not head a movement to draft John D. M. Farley for President?

Coal Shortage

It's Time That Strike Quarrel Was Settled

Like ourselves, most people will probably be a little startled to see that the coal trouble which has been figuring more or less obscurely in the news has developed to the point that the great Eastern cities are beginning to suffer from a shortage of the fuel and that prices are going up. Most of us have known vaguely for the last six weeks that there was a strike in progress in the eight states making up the Appalachian area, but the seriousness of the situation has gone largely unnoticed because of the emphasis on exciting war news from Europe.

Actually, however, the mines in the area are completely idle, and 330,000 miners are out of work. And in addition to the miners, many thousands of workers on the Eastern railroads which haul the coal of these mines, are also out of employment. The operators describe the shut-down of the mines as "a strike" on their part against the striking CIO. John Lewis calls it a "lock-out." What the argument is mainly about is the United Mine Workers' demand for a "union shop with penalty clauses." The last refers to the imposition of penalties on miners who get involved in strikes "outside the contract"--that is, strikes not called by the UMW.

Representatives of the Federal Government have been observing the dispute, without bringing active pressure for settlement. But now they seem to be preparing to exhibit more vigor. It looks about time. A coal famine with Summer coming on is not as serious a prospect as it would be if Winter were at hand. But it is serious enough. For it promises seriously to disrupt industrial production and to make an already bad economic situation a great deal worse.


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