The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 6, 1938


That Gallon Law

It's all right by us, but the purpose of that law cooked up by the South Carolina Assembly to limit individual possession of liquor to one gallon seems to spill over into the fourth dimension.

Is it for the speakeasies they're gunning for--the cafes and restaurants that keep a stock on hand to dispense by the drink? It doesn't seem likely to get 'em, for even a gallon of stock will do very well when you can replace it all over again by walking across the street or around the block to a liquor store. It doesn't even seem calculated to cut down the night-trade very much, since a restaurant can have a gallon on hand for each and every employee.

And as for general temperance--that can't be it. For is it likely, little comrades, that even a South Carolina gentleman is going to consume more than a gallon between sundown and sunup, the only time limit he'll have to encounter?

Still, it's all right by us, if South Carolina wants it that way. But it's plainly going to make law breakers out of all those perfectly nice people who like to have their cellars well-stocked, without any considerable law-observance in return.

Any Old Port

Everybody agrees that one of the main troubles with the railroads, the thing that keeps them in hot water in all except the very lushest times, is their fixed charges. They have issued bonds far in excess of any prudent appraisal of their properties; they have issued bonds for equipment, and refunded the bonds time and again long after the equipment had been worn out. In periods of prosperity, they have paid stock dividends instead of retiring their fixed indebtedness. In periods of depression, many of them have taken refuge in Section 77-B, but not any of them have ever emerged from that haven with capital structure pared to the bone. In fact, none of them has emerged at all.

Wherefore it is interesting to note that the Administration, greatly alarmed at the plight of the railroads, is giving serious consideration to--lending them more money. Not only that: the House has already decreed that the customary ICC certification of ability to repay is not a necessary condition of such loans, that this discretion shall be vested in the RFC which is empowered even to lend money to roads forced into receivership because they can pay interest on the money they owe already.

It doesn't make sense save under one theory, the theory that any old port will do in a storm. But this storm has been coming on for years.


Aside from the identity of the criminal or criminals, there is little mystery about what happened to the two California women found murdered in the desert near El Paso this week. The central fact of the case here has been known for at least 50 years--since the publication of Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis--and has been studied at great length in recent years by such authorities as Dr. Wilhelm Stekel of Vienna. These unfortunates simply encountered a sadist of the first order--that is, a degenerate whose sexual impulses take the form of a will to inflict torture and to kill.

The appalling thing about such cases is that they are probably largely preventable. In all probability, this man or these men have already been in the hands of the law on charges indicating such tendencies. And if some such scheme as that once proposed for New York by Al Smith was generally adopted--the scheme under which a board of psychiatrists would examine all convicted criminals and impose sentence with a view not to their immediate crime but their psychopathic potentiality--they probably would not have been at large. But perhaps an even better preventive scheme is that one advocated by Dr. Karl Menninger, which would have a competent psychiatrist attached to the staff of the schools. It would cost a considerable sum, to be sure, but these aberrant tendencies invariably show up in childhood, are then easily spotted, and may often be overcome.

A Famous Victory

Mr. Neville Chamberlain's policy is working so marvelously that he has at length succeeded in persuading Mr. Mussolini to agree to remove his troops from Spain. That is what Mr. Anthony Eden succeeded in persuading him to agree to do on a dozen occasions. But there is this difference: that Mr. Eden always got him to agree to remove them before the so-called civil war was over, whereas he tells Mr. Chamberlain flatly that he will not remove them until the struggle is finished.

In short, the British lion, having had its tail many times ignominiously twisted, now has its nose rubbed in the dirt. That Mussolini actually means to take his troops out of Spain once Franco is victorious is so nonsensical on the face of it that it seems entirely unlikely that even Mr. Chamberlain--already slated as the greatest sucker in history--can really believe it. Franco has won, not with Spaniards but with Moors, Germans, and above all, Italians. And it is impossible that he should be able to rule a people as bloody and fanatical as the Spaniards, as full of hatred toward him for his murders, without a huge Italian army to keep them in check.

If Mr. Chamberlain's "realistic" policy keeps on working like this, two more years of his rule should see England safely established as a third-rate power.

From Pillar to Post

Chairman Pat Harrison of the Senate Finance Committee probably looks upon himself these days as the man of business's dark hour. Having been ditched by the New Deal in the contest for the majority leadership, he lost all compunction about yessing Mr. Roosevelt. He even reverted to type, which in his case, as a long-time member of the Senate minority, is the type of a characteristic dissenter.

And Senator Harrison has dissented not only from the tax bill as the Treasury wrote it, but from its modified form as the House passed it. The bill his committee reported out to the Senate has eliminated all trace of the undistributed profits tax, "with the view," as the committee puts it,

"...of going even further than the House bill in an effort to stimulate and encourage business."

Well, it sounds fine, but what form does this stimulation and encouragement take? Why, an 18% normal tax on corporate profits--the highest-rate in more than 20 years' income tax history. Not only that, the double taxation of dividends and the confiscatory surtax rates imposed in the 1936 Revenue Act are continued, so that altogether business and investment capital labor under a load which has been shifted slightly but weighs fully as much as before. On some businesses it will be even more onerous.

Sign Him Up

Vice-President Garner, we think, will do well to go ahead and appoint Senator Calvin Bridges, Republican of New Hampshire, to the post on the TVA investigating committee for which he hones and pants. It is obvious that the gentleman has but one objective in mind in his eagerness for the appointment--to wit, the making of partisan capital out of the investigation. And it is perfectly true that the great champions of TVA, like Senator Norris, have voluntarily eliminated themselves from consideration for a place on the committee, and that the body as already constituted cannot very well be accused of having been made up with a view to a white-washing.

Nevertheless, the country can be trusted, we believe, already to have taken the measure of the brash Senator and to discount his sizzling partisanship. And, on the other hand, a good hater makes an excellent investigator. If the TVA has nothing to hide, then the Senator's most determined efforts to make it appear that it has are unlikely to convince any large number of people. And if it has--he'll do the nation a service in uncovering it. In any case whatever, he promises to be useful in convincing everybody that the agency has really been thoroughly investigated...


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