The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 20, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The rest of the day's pleasantly provoked Phantasie Carnaval... There are only the provoked and the agent provocateurs. Better to be among the provoked. The provocateurs wind up in bunkers with guns at their temples as armies close in on them.

Cheer for a Rescue

To have the Legislature enact a bill to enable Charlotte Township to vote on the question of liquor stores seems set for endorsement by the Young Democrats at their meeting tomorrow night. And that they will have the hearty support of The News goes without the saying. This is straight down our own alley, for all along we have maintained that the rule of local opinion is the only rational one in the liquor dispute. And this Township, masters, is wet--was wet on June 1 last year, by a vote of 6,646 to 5,488.

It ought to be wetter now, seeing the activities and untouchability of Mr. Robert Taylor--seeing that the contention that prohibition, so-called, can still be enforced after 30 years of failure is nonsense.

On the basis of the experience of Southern Pines and Pinehurst, the plan looks perfectly legal. And the drys can be beaten, and they must be beaten. We hope and trust they can be beaten for the sake of turning the revenues from liquor out of the pockets of bootleggers into the coffers of the municipal hospital--that some plan can be worked out to put the scheme proposed by Mr. Lassiter into effect. But in any case whatever they must be beaten, if we are ever to have any order in the sale of liquor and are to keep a crime ring from fastening itself around the neck of the town.

Look at the Ledgers*

In spite of the American Medical Association's horror, the Federal health program recommended by a Presidential committee doesn't look anything like socialized medicine. The Government would simply extend present public health services, with greater concentration upon certain diseases; make grants, as PWA is doing now, to build hospitals and maintain free beds in hospitals; and play the patron to research. In case of illness, one would still be permitted to call one's own doctor, and pay him or put him off, according to the state of one's purse.

But in spite of the desirability of such a health program--or undesirability, if it should turn out that way--discussion of it is wholly academic. Positively. Let the President's committee be realistic about it and turn from the utopian consideration of public health needs to Secretary Henry Morgenthau's coldly practical ledgers. Let them remember, before we all upset ourselves arguing over a public health program costing $850,000,000 annually, that this is the eighth successive year in which the Government has spent billions in excess of its income, and let them observe further that this year shows signs of being worse than any. Already, in its first sixteen days, Mr. Morgenthau has had to put out $309,396,112.51 more than he has taken in, and there are 349 days left. At that rate--well, let the committee figure it out for itself.

Czech Provocations

Nazi spokesmen have it on the best authority that big bad Czechoslovakia is plotting to try to run over Germany again. The next two weeks they say are going to be awfully busy ones for the foreign correspondents. But, no--there won't be any war.

"There will be provocative acts, but at the head of our Government is a man who declines to be provoked."

Good, silent, strong old Adolf! Bless him! The bulwark of peace in Europe! His forbearance is positively startling when you observe that the Nazis seem to imply that:

1--A refusal to dismember the Czechoslovakian Republic by giving the Sudeten Germans the status of the Irish Free State.

2--Refusal to repudiate the Czechoslovakian alliance with Russia and France, and leave the republic wide open to Adolf's announced intention of absorbing her.

In Bib and Tucker

The town will be measurably less picturesque and quaint--ah, measurably. No more funny little shacks set in crazy rows along creek bottoms and in the red ditches which answer for roadways. No more huge old warrens swarming with human guinea pigs. Brooklyn and Black Bottom and Skeeter Hollow and Blue Heaven got up like Main Street. With clean, neat little houses, with solid roofs over them. With open, paved streets, lighted by the stars. Even the ducky little backhouses gone. And the pumps. As commonplace as Myers Park or Dilworth or Elizabeth--or Peoria, Illinois. Just another piece of dreary American standardization, fit only for living in and hardly at all for picture postcards or candid cameras. That, or a small something of that, if the slum clearance scheme goes through.

And as our Mr. Shipp has pointed out in Collier's, gone, too, will be the City's tax revenue from these properties, for that is one of the conditions of the grant. But still, it will have its compensations, we rather guess. For gone with squalor ought to be the town's unpleasant distinction as the most murderous burg in the United States. And a good part of our tuberculosis, and typhoid, and colitis, and syphilis and gonorrhea. Gone with tax revenues ought to be a good part of the things which levy heavily on tax revenues. And life ought to be a lot safer, and so, in the end, cheaper for all of us.

One housing project won't do all that, of course, but there's nothing like making a start.

Take This In!

Something incredible came out in the open in Superior Court here yesterday. A magistrate was removed from office for embezzlement and malfeasance--and that wasn't the incredible thing. He was sentenced to a year on the roads, suspended on condition that he make good the claims against him and pay court costs--but that wasn't the incredible thing. The incredible thing was that the judge added as a further requirement for suspending sentence that the defendant go to Dix Hill, the State Hospital at Raleigh for the treatment of insane patients and inebriates, and stay there until he was cured.

Take that in and take in all that it implies, if you can! Take it in that the State allowed a fit candidate for Dix Hill to sit in judgment over its citizens, to decide civil actions, to decide people guilty of crimes without benefit of jury, and to make them pay fines or to send them to jail! Take it in that the State had commissioned a man in such acute need of drydocking to be its arbiter, its just judge, its first point of contact between the law and the people, usually poor and ignorant, who are charged, oft times maliciously in jaypee courts, with violating the law!

And after taking that in, if you can, take this in--that the State did nothing about revoking its agent's commission until he kept some money that didn't belong to him and was brought into court like any of the people who had been brought into his court! Take all that in, messires, and you will have got a pretty good idea of how the State commissions justices of the peace, in wholesale lots, turns them loose to practice on the public and thereafter either forgets about them or indifferently washes its hands of them.

All to Lose

They were holding a hearing on charges of election frauds in Halifax County. Before the County Board of Elections appeared one Rodney Glasgow, registrar of Littleton Precinct.

On cross examination by Chairman Andleton, the witness admitted he had followed the advice of a lawyer rather than that given him by the County Chairman in performing his duties on primary day. He further admitted that the lawyer had entered the polling place as a marker before being called and had during the day done about as he pleased.

Chairman Andleton asked him why he did not carry out the law and have the man arrested, and Glasgow replied: "A man has to live with these people."

The answer goes straight to the heart of the case. The State's election laws plainly need reforming, for as they stand they constitute an open invitation to fraud. But revising the laws won't make elections completely honest, since their enforcement would depend then, as now, largely on a lot of small fry poll officials who would dislike exceedingly to offend any persons of political or other importance.


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