The Charlotte News

Sunday, July 10, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "The Untouchable" tends to dispel Professor Morrison's mistaken impression that Cash "was quite obviously not himself" when in his latter days he wrote "Report from Mexico". In both instances, three years apart, he was very much himself.

Cash often wrote out his petty frustrations, rather than acting on them, and by it believed that so doing would encourage others to do likewise; or, for those less inclined to their own original creativity, by the reading of sympathetic frustrations, defuse tendencies to act on them.

Thus, Morrison's theory of probable suicide, essentially resolving into the old fallacious principle, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, putative symptom having been the seemingly dissociative inditement suggesting socking the cop in the jaw quick before help would have a chance to come up, was not one thoroughly researched.

In fact, it was only Cash's more typical than not sardonism at work; as in "The Untouchable". Hardly a precursor to suicide.

Indeed, while we have not as yet been herded to the corner by the passing mail truck, we have recently, and in a low-crime area, by a speeding cop car, (no doubt speeding to rescue the helpless kitty perched perilously on a limb, threatening, by the broom of Mrs. Partington, to hang its poor self); and, even apart from that, there have been a few other cops on whom we would like to plant a good sock or two, right in the mouth.

But, we shall leave all that to the disgruntled mail carriers.

Besides, if you wait long enough, most of that ilk, those in need of the little piggy-cloak to the woolly jaw, oblige the deed themselves.

If You Please, Jimmy

Jimmy Roosevelt, the up-and-comingest insurance man in these United States, subject of an article published in the Saturday Evening Post under the title of "Jimmy's Got It," meaning that Jimmy has taken away lush insurance accounts from agents who had handled them satisfactorily for years--Jimmy is going to let Collier's publish a reply, a factual account of his insurance activities.

It is well, and we look forward to reading it. And there is one statement in the Post's article that we hope especially will be dwelt upon in Jimmy's Collier's article, which is the statement that Franklin's son and Dan Roper's son split between them the commissions on Transcontinental-Western Air's diverted insurance accounts. We have no slight idea that Roosevelt pere and Roper pere, in whose department supervision over airlines is vested, would ever trade the Government's favor for a mere insurance commission, but if TWA even thought of using the sons to get in right with the fathers, that would be almost as bad.

So, come Jimmy. Tell us why TWA should switch its account and why first commissions were split between Roosevelt fils and Roper fils.

Site Ed. Note: For a recap of a particularly memorable Presidential visit to Fort Bragg, (named for General Braxton Bragg, born and raised in Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina, hero of Buena Vista, sometime goat of the unreconstructed for the plight of the Confederacy--especially after the loss in the Battle above the Clouds at Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863), go here.

The market to which the piece makes reference, whether for trade in slaves, as it appears to have been, or, as sterilized history would suggest it, rather for that of the product of farm commerce and municipal business, may be viewed here.

Federal Outpost

The old plank road that used to run through Fayetteville from Wilmington to Raleigh, or the other way, if you choose, is resounding again these days to the rumble of caravans. They are Uncle Sam's, and they are bringing in stores of treasure and raiment for the Fayettevillians.

In fact, Fayetteville has become almost an outpost of the Federal Government. By reason of Fort Bragg, it is an army cantonment. By reason of PWA's vast expenditures and previous vast expenditures by army engineers, it is an inland port. By reason of the decision to place the veterans' hospital there because of the proximity of Fort Bragg, it becomes a Federal medical dispensary. And the old slave market, which Fayettevillians patiently explain is not an old slave market, looks on cheerfully at all these anachronisms and these welcome intrusions, pitying the departed shades of Cumberland, who used to gather there to trade among themselves, for not ever having experienced the unalloyed delight and profit of trading with Uncle Sam.

Of all the places in the United States which are not, strictly speaking, Federal property, Fayetteville probably has received the richest boons from the New Deal. And it suits us immensely, and we can assure you without fear of contradiction that it suits Fayetteville.

H. Fish: Revolutionist

Ham Fish, the old Harvard lineman who represents a silk stocking New York district in Congress, has been up to his ancient tricks. For years and years Ham has waged a determined if always losing fight to put the rollers under the Bill of Rights by exempting from its provisions all and sundry who don't agree with Ham Fish. And last week Ham went as a delegate to the constitutional convention New York is holding at Albany, and promptly got busy with a proposal that all people who want a change in our form of government be refused the right to vote.

Presumably his idea is to keep down revolution. But if he had paid a little more attention at Harvard to History I, he would know that there is no surer way to make revolution than the method he proposes. So far as Reds go, they are above everything else exhibitionists, loving to shock people with their talk and to register protest by voting in dramatic minorities. They usually do grow dangerous only when somebody is so silly as to attempt to gag them. But what is a great deal more important than that is this: Such laws as Ham proposes have everywhere and always been used, not to shut up Reds but to shut up the demand for reforms required by new conditions. And that ends in revolution because there is no other way out.

Worse and More of It

Mecklenburg County's Budget Estimates for 1938-39, advertised in The News a day or so ago, show an enormous increase over the two preceding years in tentative allotments for the Poor Fund ($390,420), Old Age Assistance ($179,088, one-forth of which the County must provide), and Aid to Dependent Children ($74,340, one-third of which is the County's share). In these three items alone is $467,972 in charitable charges on Mecklenburg County, a strain on any man's budget.

And yet, despite the evident onerousness of these benefits and the necessity of raising the tax rate to take care of them, the County has other obligations which it can hardly refuse in humanity to meet. Dr. Seay, superintendent of the tuberculosis sanatorium, told the Commissioners the other day that 25 Negroes on the waiting list of his institution had died in the past year--before they could gain admittance and treatment. (Only 39 of Charlotte's 30,000 Negroes, of a race which is peculiarly susceptible to tuberculosis, can be cared for in the Sanatorium's Negro ward, and that only by crowding.) And before that Mrs. Stella Patterson, City policewoman, had said that some place to segregate diseased Negro prostitutes simply had to be found, that the number and diseased condition of them was appalling and would shock the public's sensibilities if they but knew of it. (There is no place at all in Mecklenburg County to take Negro prostitutes out of circulation while they are being treated.)

Verily, these are neglects which the County, however its budget goes up, simply must correct. To be candid, we don't know where the money is coming from, but we know what happens to diseased human beings.

Site Ed. Note: Good idea, indeed. Pay a whopping annual fee to lock out a patent. The fee should be paid as a tax in fact, proceeds of which go to establish government research programs on developing inventions which will utilize the same technology as the locked-out patent, but with sufficient difference to be separately patentable. Had it been, we might not now be watching Santa's cap melting down apace--since undoubtedly the light, indestructible vehicle body made of soy, with a virtually perpetual motion engine, gyroscopically balanced, running on silicon plates, not oiled bearings, powered only intermittently, between coasts, by an initial thruster engine firing on gasahol and vegetable oil, would have long ago become the norm.

Unused Patents

Senator King, a member of the Monopoly Investigating Committee, yesterday came out with a demand for legislation making licensing of unused patents compulsory.

It looks like a good idea. The charge has often been made that the big monopolistic corporations regularly buy up all patents in their field or which threaten to impair the market for their products, and shelve them, thus destroying competition and increasing the extent of their monopoly. It is plainly true in several instances which come immediately to mind. But whether it is generally true, or how far it may be true, we don't know.

Nevertheless, the proposed law seems a good one. And less for the end of discouraging monopoly than for something else. Patents which represent improvements over what we have known belong, in some sense, to the whole people. That is, if a man invents, say, a motor which will run more cheaply than existing ones it is obviously a potential boon for everybody. And no private interest should be allowed to lock up and hold off that boon indefinitely for its own profit.

The Untouchable

In the quiet morning, the mail truck came around the corner and barely missed killing the unsuspecting pedestrian who thought the green light meant he could go across in safety.

The unsuspecting one pulled his nerves together and went on, mumbling to himself.

"What," he addressed himself rhetorically,--"what if the thing had killed or crippled me, could I, or my heirs and assigns, have done a thing about it? Not a dang thing, pal, not a dang thing! You know very well that the Federal Government is like all other governments, and that you can't sue it without its august consent. And try and get that consent. Just try and get it!"

"Ah, well, at least there is one recourse left you, fellow? Granting that he didn't quite kill you, you could have climbed into that truck and punched the driver in the nose? You could have relieved your feelings in decent human fashion, and at the worst gone decently down to police court and paid a $25 fine for simple assault? Oh, yeah? That would have been "assaulting a Federal employee in the discharge of his duty," and they'd probably have tucked you away in Atlanta for a year and a day! (It might have been worth it, at that, eh, chum?)"

Site Ed. Note: Also, the rest.

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