The Charlotte News

Friday, December 29, 1939


Site Ed. Note: That is, Ernest L. Meyer; so sorry, our err.

Incidentally, we understand that the President has asked for the opposition to the war to supply an alternative plan to his own new strategy. Well, we would initially be forced to observe, sir, that it was not the opposition which got us into this mess to begin with, but rather your own stubborn insistence on waging pre-emptive warfare in an unprecedented manner against a country about which you and your top level advisors obviously knew close to nothing. Perhaps, you do understand now that which Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and Joe Stalin gathered from harsh experience over sixty years ago: that is that the swiftest and mightiest and even the most deadly accurate bombs do not necessarily win wars, especially on someone else's home turf.

That said, however, we shall take up your gauntlet thrown down and offer this as a solution: Bring home the troops in six months and let the Iraqis henceforth continually earn democracy and freedom for themselves the same way we did and every other country on earth which has freedom worth having freely has for time immemorial. They aren't third graders, after all, not really.

Just as we suggested to you, now fully four years ago this month in fact.

Also, while we're providing you with this alternative strategy, we should indicate, though we don't mean to be officious intermeddlers, that you ought maybe look into having your ranch house strapped down. Having considered it some, we think it probable that the armored vehicle wouldn't be so hot really in a tornado. It's probably not that expensive to perform the conversion. Just go down to the building supply, pick you up some good steel straps, the ones with the holes for the nails pre-drilled in them, fasten one end to your vertical surface of your mudsill with a good long screw, and then run each one, nailing it as you go, along your stub wall, up to the sides of your floor joists, nailing each one real good right there, several times; then repeat that around your perimeter, inside of course, every four feet or so. Then the house will probably stay put better than the truck.

There now, that way you can relax and enjoy your last two years in office without unpleasant interruptions, either from God, the People, or Congress. Iraq will be happy. And we'll be happy. And we'd bet you a strapped down house that the soldiers and their families will be happy, too.

We don't mean to be impertinent--but, otherwise, sir, you could find yourself...

On A Bus

Concerning An Evening's Beauty And A Lady's Boast

The woman on the bus was a nice, motherly looking sort of fifty or so. She was talking to the driver who had stopped at an intersection (Trade and Graham) and was then proceeding cautiously around the corner. She said:

"I turn that corner a whole lot faster than that! I whizzed around it yesterday, and there was an old man who swore at me and threatened to have the cops right after me!"

She chuckled. The men who rode with the Six Hundred at Balaklava chuckled like that, telling the tale to their grandchildren at the fireside.

The evening sky was mackereled over in that fashion which calls for ducks against it. There were no ducks, but once a plane towered through the gathering gloom, its pilot lamp winking cheerfully. The blue shadows of Winter twilight deepened in the hollows of the woods and slowly enveloped the hills. On the horizon, the sentinel fringe of trees faded into a nebulous lacework, floating between mist and darkness.

The earth was beautiful with a cold and stately beauty, that still somehow invoked thoughts of bright fires and the laughter of children, was at once lonely and cozy. But for 500-odd scattered all about America that beauty was lost forever, so long as the world should last. They were dead in traffic accidents at the Christmas season.

The nice, motherly woman chuckled again, told her neighbor with relish:

"Yessir, he shook his fist at me, and said he'd have the cops right after me!"

Site Ed. Note: There's one more thing, having got through reading that.

A long, long time ago, back somewhere in the dim ages of time, we used to live thirty miles away from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. And, we had duty each evening, right in front of our picture window. We had to stand as sentry there each evening, with our rifle to our shoulder, our pistol to our side. We don't remember the caliber of either one, but we do recall that both fired only silver bullets. We used to practice our aim by blowing out the radio tower lights in the distance. We got real good at that, honing our skills ever increasingly each evening, though the targets were miles away and never appeared any closer.

Bang, out they'd go. Bang again, out they'd go.

But finally, we got so good at it, we started to take pity on the lights; withal, we saw the futility in the whole operation after a time, because every single time we would hit one of those lights and knock it out, it would come right back on within a second or so. It was just plain frustrating. That's when we realized it, right there in the shadow of Fort Bragg, at the height of the coldest winter in the history of mankind: War, hot or cold, serves no purpose except to create more war, hot or cold, if not now, surely later.

Some contend that we lost in Vietnam, later on after our sentry duty had ended. But the truth of the matter may be that we all won on that occasion, this time around; and as long as we maintain that putative lesson, we need not ever fear losing or not winning some other war, only to avenge not winning some past one.

For that is what Germany did which got it into the fix in which it stayed for nigh on half a century and more. We would not wish to repeat their mistake.

Happy MLK Day.

Incidentally, that brings to mind an examination we undertook of yet another picture about three weeks ago, again one we had seen for decades, yet without having ever noticed the lost little girl, in between the railing posts, on the motel balcony, at the corner turn.

But today is not the day for that. We'll show you tomorrow.


Italy Long Ago Showed Germany The Way Here

The Director of Commercial Treaties in the Belgium Foreign Office is in Berlin to see about the question of continued Belgian imports of German coal.

Germany supplies Belgium about 1,500,000 tons of coal annually. But Belgium is in her turn an exporter of coal, and last August, when the Polish war was already on the fire, made an agreement to furnish France with 4,000,000 tons of coal in return for 6,000,000 tons of French iron ore. She has been living up to that contract--with the result that German coal has been going, indirectly at least, to aid the French in manufacturing arms with which to kill Germans!

It seems incredible that the Germans have let it go on, even more incredible that they will agree to continue the sale. Nevertheless, it is not by any means unthinkable.

When Russian and German air fighters were clashing every day in the sky over Spain during the Franco-Loyalist war, Italy kept right on selling oil to Moscow. Indeed, she even sank the ships which burned the oil as fuel, by disguising her submarines under Franco's flag and at the same time cut off some of the British competition for the Russian oil trade by working on Britisher tankers in the same fashion.

And as if that were not enough strain on credulity, she also on at least one occasion supplied the Loyalist Government itself with a large consignment of guns and supplies--used, of course to kill Italian soldiers...

Silly Stuff

Which Is, However, Somewhat Less Than Pure Comedy

The Silly Season sometimes operates in the time between Christmas and New Year's Day as well as in August when the Dog Star is up to his tricks instead of wandering around away down under the horizon somewhere.

Among all the assorted drunks and crackpots, silliest deed of the season was perpetrated by a body of men who are presumably sober. The City Council of Cambridge, Mass., has decreed that the words "Lenin" and "Leningrad" must be banned from all printed literature in Cambridge.

That, if you don't observe the fact at first, extends to old John Harvard's University in Cambridge, with its library of which at least 33,000 volumes must contain these fatal words. That ought to build a bonfire which would make Mr. Hitler's best efforts in that direction look feeble. And not [indiscernible words], a daily newspaper [indiscernible word] in the place.

[Indiscernible words] anything so senseless. The city solicitor at Cambridge has already pointed out that the ordinance is unconstitutional. Even so, this is the entry for our money in the Winter books of the Silly Season Derby.

Site Ed. Note: Well, roll up...


The Bolos Treat Communism As A Definite Religion

At the University of Wisconsin Mr. Earl Browder, captain-general of Bolos in the United States, stuck fast to the strict party line. The ruling classes of England and France, not Lord Hitler, are responsible for the war, he said. And the Russian expedition against mighty Finland is purely defensive, he said again.

It sounds mad, for before September, Mr. Browder spent his time squalling that Hitler was the greatest menace of history, denouncing aggression, demanding a united front of England and France with "Democratic" Russia to put down Hitler and aggression. But it is not inexplicable, despite the fact that Browder is not a fool.

Bolos are all sorts of people. Some of them are men with hearts like Heywood Broun's who have looked at the world as it is and turned away, sick. Some of them are men full of savage bitterness and hate for the injustices the world has done them--or for what, in their intense egotism, they imagine to be injustice (often it is merely that they don't like to work or that they simply cannot bear to see other men occupy higher roles than their own). Some are outright crackpots. And some--perhaps the majority--are simply poor dumb klucks who have never quite found out what anything is about and who live in a fog.

But all of them have one thing in common. Having turned away from the orthodox other-worldly religions of the world, they have nevertheless retained the attitude of complete surrender. For all of them Marx is the messiah, Stalin's Russia the word made flesh, every utterance issuing from Moscow, however absurd, a divine revelation to be received in simple ecstatic faith as contributing to salvation.

Mr. Browder is merely exhibiting the orthodox Red mind.

Joe Garibaldi*

For more years than many of us have lived, the firm of Garibaldi & Bruns, Jewelers, has done business at its store a few feet from Independence Square. And for almost as many years, probably, the Joe Garibaldis have lived at 228 East Park Avenue.

To the business establishment, Joe Garibaldi as senior partner gave the first half of a name which was widely known for integrity and excellence. And to the life of the community, he contributed in like quality.

Courteous, sociable, positive in his views and keen in his interests, Joe Garibaldi was a beloved character of the city. When in 1934 he retired from active business and began to gratify his desire for public service in a wider sphere, the same distinctiveness brought him the friendship of men prominent in North Carolina's affairs, and his popularity was great.

In him met the environmental traits of a Southerner of the United States and the hereditary traits of a Southerner of Europe. The ones complemented without ever obscuring the others, and the whole went to compose a personality which was warm and helpful to the very end of his 75 years last night.

Ernest Carlen*

The distressing information reached The News this morning that one of its younger and most valued employees, Ernest Carlen, was killed in an automobile accident in Alabama during the night. Mrs. Carlen, his wife of two years, was injured to a degree that at this writing is undeterminable.

A friendlier, more accommodating, more trustworthy man than was Ernest Carlen would be hard to find. His status in this organization was secure and promising. Modest rather than spectacular, quiet rather than assuming, a doer rather than a talker, this young fellow was one to have banked on.

Indeed, we may be sure that in the tangle of vehicles on an Alabama highway last night, Ernest Carlen's life and his wife's well-being were [indiscernible word], if by other than simple [indiscernible word] to some other's [indiscernible word] out recklessness, not to his own. He was not that kind.

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