The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 28, 1938


Site Ed. Note: In the jungle, the mighty jungle, catch us if you can. If you can, you may have read far too much. If not, keep on reading. Or, as an alternative to that, hop inside a dime taxi and head for 16 Parkside Lane in San Francis-co. We recommend the former.

And, candidly, if you have heard of Charles Herty, you were, until today, one up on us. Though we are glad he found a cheap means of producing more paper for the chase. We try to avoid its use by shaving in the dark. Opinings, however, we do offer aplenty. It's the American way.

So here's another: the Devil came from Kansas; where he went to we can't say, but when he left he turned a whiter shade of pale, whiter than the yeller of the hay.

And the pine remaining fit to print...even in a fighter's raid of hail.

Mid-Season Silliness*

With the end of the rains and the reappearance of the sun, the Silly Season is on again, full tilt. From Indiana alone come a couple of contributions which would do credit to a whole region. In Green Castle prisoners tried to chisel their way out of jail, tapped a water main and had to call for the jailer to keep from drowning. And over in Warsaw, a fellow who owns a lion and is trying to teach it to ride an aquaplane, gave the poor beast a sleeping potion so that he could cut its toenails. The lion slept for a week straight.

Even here in Charlotte traces of balmy behavior are to be found. Yesterday afternoon, for example, the City Council finally passed a dime-taxi ordinance expositing the remarkable principle that the more cabs you operate, the less liability insurance each cab has to carry. Next thing, the insurance agents will be telling us that the more children we have the less protection we need.

No Kindness, This*

The City Council did the cause of the dime taxis no favor yesterday in refusing to increase the bond required and in turning down the Junior Chamber of Commerce's proposals for inspection of all cabs every 30 days, refusals of license for drivers who cannot get insurance from a reliable firm, and revocation of the license of a driver who violates two traffic laws or drives in a dangerous manner.

As matters stand now, the case is exactly where it was when the whole row started, save that the casuals have perhaps been eliminated by the provision, that the cabs must be painted and actually covered by such bond as is required. One of the operators is reported to be planning to put a "fleet" of cabs into operation today. How many that may be we don't know. But suppose it is ten--then, the insurance coverage of each cab is only $640, or virtually none at all. And the refusal to provide for inspection and to lay down reasonable requirements for a driver's license is simply to leave the public at the mercy of the operators.

We have said it before but we say again: These cabs have a useful function to perform, but they can perform it only if and when they are made genuinely safe for the public. And not to require them to be made so when they are entering on what is probably their last chance to prove themselves, is not to favor them but to stack the cards against them.

Lame Excuse*

The City Council yesterday hurriedly rejected a request by the Park and Recreation Commission that it be allowed to erect ten benches along the sidewalk in front of the First Presbyterian Church. The reason offered in explanation of the action is that the sidewalk there is too narrow, and somebody might get hurt on the benches.

And that seems to us about tops in lame excuses. The sidewalk there is, in point of fact, one of the widest in the downtown district. More than that, the heavy pedestrian traffic passes along the other side of the street and this particular stretch of sidewalk is never congested. More than that again, we can't imagine pedestrians deliberately walking into benches in broad daylight. And at night, the block is one of the best lighted in town. The argument here adds up to an argument that it is impossible to place benches anywhere downtown, which is absurd.

But now we are arguing as though we believe that this reason given was the real reason why the Council took its hasty action. And, of course, it isn't. The real reason is exactly the same reason that caused it not so much as even to consider the current question of turning the old cemetery into a park. Somebody, some mystically-vested interest, mightn't like it.

The Kansas Bogeyman

It goes without saying that we hope the Rev. Gerald Winrod, of Wichita, who proposes to save the nation's soul through the Gospel of Hate, is soundly trounced in the race for the Republican nomination to the Senate in Kansas. Whether or not the fellow is actually getting huge sums from the Nazi regime in Germany, he is certainly cut to the Nazi pattern. And if it is true that rich anti-New Deal interests are backing him, then they deserve all that President Roosevelt has ever said of them, and more.

But if the worst happens and he actually lands in Washington, we shall still refuse to believe too much in him as a menace heralding the destruction of the Republic. After all, if Jew- and Catholic-baiting and attempts to put down all dissent are typical of the Nazis, they have also been present in the American scene, as native products, from the days of the red Federalists and Know Nothing Parties right on down to those of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's. Nor will the Rev. Gerald be any new phenomenon in Congress. Long before him, the Tom Watsons and the Tom Heflins have howled there against the Catholics, as the Ham Fishes have roared for the gag-rule. And Jew-baiters have not been unknown.

Yet the nation has survived. If the American people have sometimes seemed in danger of succumbing to these poisons, they have always presently remembered how to laugh, and recovering their reason, have consigned the poison peddlers to oblivion. And, for all the fact that these are stressful times, we guess that, soon or late, the Rev. Gerald will suffer the same fate.

Meet Mr. Snitch

Because his Colonel wouldn't make him a loan, another one, the Reserve Lieutenant reported him for drunkenness and testified against him at the court martial which resulted.

Men have no use for such sorehead informants as this, whom they call snitches. The admitted motive for reporting his superior officer would have, among men when they behave as men, sufficed to quash the charges instanter. But with institutions that men set up to represent them, no such nicety of code prevails. It's a queer thing, but courts of law, military or civil, while they do not admire the snitch, tolerate him and cock an ear for his tales.

And this, while it is comparatively unimportant in the instance cited, is one of the reasons that the law will never have the full respect of individuals. It doesn't follow the same code. It makes a virtue of what every child is taught to shun as a vice. It accepts the snitch as though he were really doing his duty by society. But men know better, and rate snitching ahead of many offenses for which the courts will put you in jail.

The South's Benefactor

It took Eli Whitney about ten days to invent the cotton gin. He never got anything out of it, for, while the device was ingenious, it was simple, once hit upon, and could be duplicated by any good mechanic. But the cotton gin had its effect, nonetheless, on the South's economy

Since that time, no discovery has been made which has for the South the potentialities of Dr. Charles Holmes Herty's work with slash pine. The investment of millions of dollars in craft paper factories traces directly to Dr. Herty's patient experiments. The establishment of a newsprint mill in Texas came as a result of his discovery that the fast-growing pine, properly treated, was as good material for newsprint as the northern spruce, which takes its time about maturing. Even fine book paper, Dr. Herty learned after awhile, could be made from pine once you took the fats out of it--and the fats were useful in making soap, in mining flotation processes and medically.

Potentially--for the discoveries have not yet been put to anything more than a tentative commercial exploitation--what Dr. Herty learned about the slash pine means a new prime cash crop for the Southern farmer. The great chemist died yesterday, comparatively unknown by those he labored to benefit. But in years to come, schoolchildren will recite: "Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and Dr. Charles H. Herty discovered many uses for pine."


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