The Charlotte News

Friday, June 17, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Also, the whole page (almost) for the date. But before you look at it, answer yesterday's question: "Does a tank car loaded with helium weigh more or less than when empty?"

And don't go out and get the tare on an empty and then load one with helium, weigh it, to get the answer. The answer is actually on your chart of the elements, as well the understanding that weight is determined by mass and gravity, not the atmosphere surrounding the object.

By the way, going back to yesterday's note of interest, were the Boy Scouts here engaged in riotous living? Idolatry? Yes, we think so. But they were also children; and, hopefully, when they became men, they walked as men, and understood and saw.

Fetish Worship

Boy Scouts of Newark--the scene of the rotten-egging of Norman Thomas--had to be ejected from the post office building there Tuesday. Reason was that they had formed a ring around the great bronze seals of the United States set in the floor and were blocking the passage of citizens. And the reason for that conduct is that they had read in a handbook that to walk on a seal is just as unpatriotic as to drag a flag in the mud.

The worst of it is that there exist adult idiots who believe the same sort of thing and teach it to young innocents. Walking on a seal is no more injurious to a sane patriotism than walking on the graves of the old monks and canons planted about the cloisters and cathedrals of Europe is injurious to a sane religion. Seals and flags are not fetishes, with some magic virtue inherent in them, but simply symbols. And a sane patriotism does not attempt to show devotion to them by making their bronze or bunting sacred and taboo, but by respecting and supporting the things they symbolize. As for instance, the right of Norman Thomas or John Lewis or anybody to free speech in near-by Jersey City.

Who's Balky Now?

Declare to goodness, it does look as though both of North Carolina's Senators could get together every now and then. One of them is always opposing the President and the other backing him up, so that the net result, while it is characteristic of North Carolina, is nil.

Yesterday, again, one of them opposed him and the other backed him up. The business in hand had to do with a bill continuing give-away interest rates on farm loans, which the President had vetoed because he said it would cost the Treasury a batch of money and wasn't necessary. One of the North Carolina Senators voted to uphold the veto, as he had voted to uphold the President's veto of the Bonus, as he had voted to uphold the President's veto of the 1934 Independent Offices Appropriation Bill (a handout to the veterans), as he had voted for the World Court, which the President proposed and Father Coughlin opposed.

And this Senator who has so staunchly upheld the President in these critical decisions is, as you must have surmised by now, Bailey--Senator Josiah William Bailey. It is quite true. As is the corollary, that the Senator who has voted to override the President in these critical decisions is Reynolds, Robert Rice. Yep!

Second the Motion

It gave us a kind of a start when we read that the American Medical Association, in convention at San Francisco, had "forged a new weapon designed to restrict group hospital insurance." We guessed immediately that it couldn't be the kind of hospital insurance which merely took care of the hospital fees themselves: no doctor in his senses can possibly object to that. Rather it must be the kind which provides for payment of the doctor's fees in addition. But even so--what was wrong with that? And wasn't a good deal more than half of the membership of the association itself on record as favoring it? Had the minority which opposed it on the ground that it might reduce the doctor's income somehow got into the saddle?

But then we read on and found that what they wanted to restrict was simply a provision in some of these insurance policies that the patient must accept the doctor assigned to him by the insurance company or association. Wherefore we breathed a sigh of relief for being delivered from having to pan our favorite body of professional men. Obviously the medicoes were right. The relation between doctor and patient is, among other things, a personal relation. And we ourselves don't want any one of them working on us whom we don't thoroughly like and believe in, any more than we want to have our preacher, our wife or our golf clubs picked out for us.

Catching Harold Up*

To the reporters at Le Havre who saw him and bride off on the Jie de France, Secretary Ickes remarked that he was anxious to get back to Washington to "find out what's going on."

Well, Harold, a lot has happened in the romantic interlude of your absence, but you will find it pretty easy to pick up the trend of events. They are about as they were in 1934--which is to say that there's a big recession going on and a big counter-reactionary spending program about to start. The Treasury is still being plunged deeply into the red and the Congress that has just adjourned made larger appropriations than any New Deal Congress. That, of course, means it appropriated more than all prior Congresses except two in war times, and one of those was a tie.

This Congress also enacted a wage-and-hour bill, Harold, and while it is supposed to be a sort of magic cure-all and a blessing to the underprivileged, nobody, not even the administration, we believe, has the slightest idea whether it's going to work out well or badly or only so-so. And besides that, this Congress changed the tax laws around, but they didn't reduce taxes, Harold, and the chances are they won't be able to as long as they keep spending money the way they are now.

The President had pretty much his own way in this Congress, Harold: a circumstance with which the approaching elections and the timeliness of Federal spending may have had something to do. But a great many of the boys frankly deplore his measures and impugn his motives, and that same low regard extends into a considerable body of the populace. All the people one knows have long since begun to mistrust and some to hate him, and all the people one doesn't know apparently are still crazy about him. Anyhow, he still commands a majority in all the cross-section polls.

And outside of that, Harold, business has been lousy and almost as many men are out of work as in the darkest days of the Hoover Administration. The banks are sound and the country's expectations more sanguine than they were back there when Roosevelt first came in and gave new life to our broken dreams of 1929. But candidly, Harold, the most of us are skeptical about his ability to do it again. We think that once upon a time he was Moses himself, Harold, and that like Moses he will have to give way to an Aaron before we ever lay a foot inside the Promised Land.

Presto Change!

Six weeks ago, the Mexican Government handed over the Mexican National Railway, which includes most of the mileage operated in that country, to its 46,000 workers. A one-time office boy, Salvador Romero, became general manager, which was in the best railroad tradition. But there tradition disappears, for Romero's first moves were to separate all high-salaried officials from the pay roll and to fire a number of workers, probably office workers.

These economics, however, were more than offset by a decline in revenue which came about largely because of the panic Mexico has been undergoing since the expropriation of foreign oil properties and Signor Cedillo's bold uprising. To make up for this deficiency, General Manager Romero has now boosted freight rates all along the line. Charges on foodstuffs, raw materials, etc., went up five to twenty per cent, and the mining industry, which is Mexico's largest, was notified that it would have to pay a 43 per cent increase. The mining industry promptly said it would be ruined.

Well, we don't know about that, since it is the custom in every country to cry ruination whenever charges of any kind are raised. Before one can assume that rates are now too high, he would have to know that they went too low before they were raised. But this appears to be incontrovertible: that there is no sudden magic in worker-operation, and that the workers who cheer for it in the expectation that they were getting a boon will have to begin paying for that boon in the form of higher living costs due to higher freight rates.

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