The Charlotte News

Friday, June 9, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Obviously, Hitler, not only lacking lumber, but also being much a capon without sack, had no appreciation for fine poetic muse such as exhibited by the young sporting American visitor discussed in "Picayune". Of course, Nazis never do. The lead, you see, substitutes for the lack of lead you don't.


Beal's Case Has To Do Only With His Guilt Or Innocence Of Murder

In the plea of Lawyer Louis Waldman, for Fred Beal before Commissioner Gill yesterday, there was one entirely superfluous contention. First, said Mr. Waldman, Beal did not commit the crime with which he was charged. Second, Beal is not the same Beal of 1929; "Beal the Communist firebrand is dead."

And under Mr. Waldman's own contention, that what he is asking is justice, not mercy, that last is gratuitous. If true, and it seems to be so, it is excellent general news. But it has nothing to do with the case in hand. If what was being sought were mercy, it would be germane. But for justice, no. Beal was not convicted as a Communist agitator--that is not a crime in North Carolina or anywhere else in the United States. He was convicted for conspiring to kill Police Chief Aderholt. Such is the legal case, that is. A great many people believe that in reality, anger and passion against his Communism was the thing that actually convicted him. And in fact the evidence for his guilt was gravely open to question.

It is reasonably sure that he was guilty beyond the reasonable doubt required by the law? That is the sole question in issue in the present hearing. And to bring the question of his reform from Communism into it is quite unnecessary. A Communist, too, is entitled to justice under our laws as written, quite as much as if he were a Republican or a Democrat or what have you.


MacLeish's Appointment Is Naturally Painful To Librarians

The opposition of Charlotte's Mr. Gourley and other librarians in the country to the confirmation of Archibald MacLeish as librarian of the Library of Congress, is of course simply the opposition of the professional to the amateur.

Mr. MacLeish's fame rests primarily on his poetry. But he has distinguished himself in other fields and, Mr. Gourley to the contrary notwithstanding, he is an excellent scholar--and so probably knows as much about research as he needs to know to hold the job. It is sure that he has had little or no administrative experience, and that the job calls for it. Nevertheless, given his intelligence, the chances are that he'll do very well by his task, once he has had time to get his hand in. Moreover, the appointment of literary men to Government posts is an old American custom. Hawthorne was a consul at Liverpool, Walt Whitman was a Washington clerk, and so on. In a country where grants and pensions to writers and artists have never been in favor, appointments to such jobs have stood in their stead.

Also, and though it is certain that such is not intended, the effect of opposition to the appointment from any quarter now is to lend aid and comfort to the unpleasant Mr. Thomas of New Jersey and other professional Red-hunters in their effort to smear Mr. MacLeish as a "fellow traveler of Communists"--and to set up a precedent for barring men of the slightest liberality of view from Government office.

Still, when all that is said, it is impossible not to feel a certain sympathy for the professional librarians in their indignation at the sight of a mere amateur walking off with this choice plum. It is as though lawyers had to see the Chief Justiceship of the United States Supreme Court going to a notary public.

Crime And Aliens

The Vindicator Peddles An Old Falsehood

In The Vindicator, official organ of the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds' great crusade to stir up hate against the aliens in America, we find a story under the headline: Can It Be Possible That Any Of These Might Be Aliens? The syntax there is a little mixed, you observe, but the intent of the story is plain enough. It makes much of the fact that some of the members of the murder ring at Philadelphia have names like Valenti and Petrillo and Favato. All obviously to the purpose of lending color to the old claim that aliens are mainly responsible for crime in this country.

It just isn't so. The South Atlantic states, as everyone knows, have the smallest proportion of aliens in the country. In not one of them is more than three or four per cent of the population composed of the foreign-born. And on the other hand, the East North Central group has the largest proportion of aliens. Yet, in the first quarter of 1939, according to the uniform crime report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the murder rate per hundred thousand of population in all South Atlantic towns of more than 10,000 population was 5, whereas that for the East North Central towns was less than 1--about .75, to be exact. And the figures for other crimes show much of the same thing. New York, with the largest proportion of aliens in the country, had 81 murders--or a little over 1 per hundred thousand people. Pittsburgh, swarming with aliens, had just 2 murders in a population of 700,000. Charlotte had 4--in none of which was there any alien involved. Memphis had 10 for 300,000 people. Atlanta had 20. And so it goes all along the line.

The Hon. Robert might easily find out these things if he cared to. But admittedly, it would not be so useful for fetching boobs.

Barrage on the Yen*

Hinting That There's More Than One Way To Make War

Not only with bullets is China defending herself from the brutal attack of her Japanese saviors. The war on the currency front is quite as grim if not so bloody. China has been winning that phase of the war, and the cost to Japan has been terrific. The yen, with which Japan must purchase supplies for her Chinese expeditionary force, has been spurned, and decrees to compel its acceptance at par have resulted only in further depreciation, whereas the Chinese dollar held firm.

Until the last day or so, that is. Then it began to skid. It went down, in terms of the American dollar, from better than 16 cents to 14 to 131/2. Only explanation of this drastic depreciation was that the stabilization fund, put up and operated by the Chinese and British Governments jointly, had been exhausted, and that sounded bad for China. But is it?

Currency depreciation is a prime form of inflation. Inflation means that it takes more and more money to buy goods. This plays old ned with family budgets, and what it plays with a whole army's budget is unpredictable.

We are positive, frankly, that China has gone in for mine-laying on the currency front, and we don't yet know if the Japanese yen too is being drawn through the ringer. But it looks distinctly like a possibility and an exceedingly astute move on the part of the Chinese-British manipulators.


That Spirit Of The Nazi Government Is Incredibly Small

One of the most striking things about the Nazi Government is its snarling littleness of spirit. It hounds a poor sick man into the grave because while in a Nazi prison camp, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead of exiling a Schuschnigg, already wholly helpless, it locks him up in a prison and allows his wife to see him only at rare intervals. Not content with robbing and imprisoning Jews, it invents new ways of visiting indignity upon them that an Iroquois savage would have been ashamed to practice. And when a Polish professor was to travel across Germany to France, he finds himself barred because he has delivered a lecture to the students criticizing the Reich.

But it has rarely done anything smaller than its present prosecution of the American youth, William Bardwell Curtis. The latter stuck his neck out, granted, when he wrote in a guestbook at Heidelberg the doggerel verse:

Der Führer has no wife,
The carpenter has no lumber,
The butcher has no meat--
This is the Third Reich.

If the young man had been sensible, he would have minded his manners or got out of Germany. But his foolishness does not change the fact that the action of the Nazi Government in taking up a student's prank is incredible. No other government which has existed in the modern world could be imagined in a role so contemptible and undignified.


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