The Charlotte News

Friday, July 29, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Today, since much there not be in the regular column, aside from some verities about Biscuit salesmen in Texas and canoes on the Potomac and Ohio, (partitioned from the rest by a wall of idealism?), discussion of attacks on political opponents with literal vitriol out in Kentucky having apparently (or not) been used on the Hon. Happy, (as our observations this day as we write turn up only virulent ram strikers on the silicon chips by some boob in Connecticut--play fair or stay home and off the computer, one rigged election being quite enough through which any one candidate should have to suffer in a political lifetime), we begin with the other shavings from today's page.

And from it, we understand, among other things:

That, first, it is okay to pummel a drunk at the ballgame and beat his head to smithereens when dare he utter an obscenity against a police officer. We believe we read that one alright, right out of the First Amendment--wherein it expounds to the effect that "Congress shall make no law..." which therefore by perfectly logical inference, since it didn't say anything about a police officer, we can ferret means that it is eminently permissible for anyone else to make such laws. In fact, in the very next paragraph of that document it talks about the right to bear arms and, since we believe that it all flows together like that, we have our victory. Balance of power, you see. What Congress cannot do is left for the people and the police to do, the police being part of the executive branch, all within those police powers of the Tenth Amendment. You do understand that? For, you see, it is quite alright to be a little drunk in public but let not thy self then cuss in the general vicinity of the tender ears of a police officer; else thou shalt have thy head split wide open and that, sir, is quite well acceptable under our system of government whereby, on the streets there is the little known but always well-recognized doctrinal exception to every law and every rule ever made, that is cuprumprudence.

Thus, next time, when you are in your place of worship and a copper in shiny boots bursts in and tells your congregated gathering immediately to disburse because you are offending his personal tastes by kneeling like that, well, then, you do just as the copper says. For you would not wish to be socked in the face and pummeled to the ground and hauled away, just as if you were trying to attend a Sunday baseball game after services. Just remember the old caveat by which all electroplaters must perforce operate--pot metal will not accept chrome.

Second, the danger of producing a fire by introducing too many shavings into the hearth. We need not expound on that one; besides, it could be dangerous to our health, for there is another old caveat as to what might occur, as with Carton, should one's thoughtstreams be seen.

And so... (again, from August, 1941)...

Many uses for pine, indeed.

...And, don't forget to thank the cook.

(From National Geographic, July, 1938, Michie Tavern, Va.--on which issue, incidentally, we had never clapped eyes until last night, after the epexegesis of all of the previous matter.)

Say, "Cheese."

Tips for Passengers, Motorists and Pedestrians

If you must tangle with a dime-taxi, always pick out one that is operated independently. It will be bonded for $5,500, whereas the average coverage of chain cabs decreases sharply with the number of units in operation.

If you suffer injury or property damage from any cab, chain or independent, lose no time in reducing your claim to judgment. The ordinance is so ingeniously drawn that only final judgments are a lien on the guarantees deposited with the City Treasurer, and obviously, if there are many claims ahead of yours, in lengthy process of being reduced to final judgment, the guarantee of a few thousands isn't going to cover them all.

If the worst comes to worst and you doubt that you will get your money, it might be a good idea to sue, in addition to the cab operator, the Mayor, the City Council, the City Manager and the City Treasurer. They probably wouldn't be liable, but they aren't sure of it, and the chances are that you'd throw a good scare into 'em and at least cause them to inquire of each other how they ever got buffaloed into passing that ordinance against their better judgment, anyhow.

Borgia in Kentucky

There is a very high and unpleasant odor about the affair of the "poisoning" of the Hon. Happy Chandler, Governor of Kentucky and aspirant to the toga of Senator Barkley. And the case plainly ought to be inquired into by a committee of disinterested doctors, and afterwards by disinterested police.

The Hon. Happy himself says he was poisoned, the clear inference being that the stuff that nearly got him was prepared by the friends of Senator Barkley. One of the doctors called in says he (the Hon. Happy) was poisoned, too. And so does Happy's campaign manager. But on the other hand, another doctor who attended the sick man says he found no trace of poisoning. And the chief of police and the chief of detectives in Louisville report that they have investigated the case and found the story of poisoning to be "a political bedtime story" and "a publicity stunt."

Trouble with all these reports is that they plainly come from partisans on one side or the other, and the public is entitled to know the truth. If somebody has actually tried to poison the Hon. Happy, then the fellow and all those who may have prompted him ought to be run to earth and given a particularly vigorous dose of the medicine that is ordinarily dealt out to murderers. And if nobody has--if the Hon. Happy and his partisans are so irresponsible that they have put out the story by way of discrediting Senator Barkley and making votes for Happy--then it certainly ought to mean that the Hon. Happy shall be summarily and permanently retired from politics.

Teach 'Em a Lesson*

We would probably back up the Republican member of the Mecklenburg Board of Elections, anyhow, since he is in the minority, and minorities need backing up. But he is eternally right, and we are sure that his Democratic colleagues will see it that way, when he insists that the honesty of elections is the thing, and not merely the question of whether Mr. Howard or Mr. Hilker was nominated for judge of County Recorder's Court.

If there were irregularities in the primary, they should be exposed. If there was fraud, it should be prosecuted. If absentee ballots were certified improperly by notaries public, they should be de-commissioned. For only by punishing violations to the election laws can the authorities ever teach the politicians that they are not to be trifled with.

Toward a Pogrom

Benito Mussolini seems pretty obviously to be warming up for a pogrom against the Italian Jews, or at least to be preparing the ground for the use of one at need. For two weeks his newspapers have been howling up the theme, and now he has ordered off the Roman correspondents of the Christian Science Monitor and the Jewish Telegraph Agency--both seasoned and bold fellows whose reports on the developing crime have been vigorous and forthright.

What lies behind this move toward Jew-baiting is probably not any hatred for the Jew per se, such as distinguishes the German, Julius Streicher. Italy has less than a hundred thousand Jews altogether, and the body of the Italian people are even yet apathetic toward the business. But Benito has observed from the German case that a race myth is perhaps an even more effective device for inflating boobs than his own razzle-dazzle about being the reincarnation of Nero--or Caligula's horse. That was undoubtedly why he came out three weeks ago with the astonishing news that "scientists" have abolished history and proved the Italian to be one of the non-existent and eminently superior "Aryans." But it is not only the value of race myths that Benito has observed. He has observed, too, that the persecution and spoliation of a helpless minority people, particularly one so bright and well-heeled as the Jews, is one of the best ways of stirring up belief in and enthusiasm for those myths...

Paid Is Not the Word*

Secretary Henry Wallace made the astonishing statement in a speech at Des Moines this week that total debts in the United States today, despite the New Deal's vast borrowings, are six billions less than they were in 1930. There is a catch to this, however, as the Secretary's own figures will show.

Private debts, he says, are now twelve billions under 1932 and 28 billions under 1930. This is another way of saying that between 1930 and 1932 sixteen billions of private debts were paid off. Some were, undoubtedly, for there is much truth in the old maxim that people make debts in good times and pay them in bad; and heaven knows the times under discussion were bad enough. A large portion of these decreased debts, however, weren't paid at all. They were defaulted; charged off; settled for so much on the dollar or canceled by foreclosure and repossession.

The same is true for public debts. Why, at one time in this 1930-1932 period, 60 of North Carolina's 100 county governments were in default, as were 144 cities and towns, 22 school districts and two drainage districts. Asheville alone had a debt exceeding $20,000,000, not to mention Buncombe's $18,000,000. Pro rata settlement of these defaulted obligations alone would have made a dent in the statistics, but not one to which Cabinet officers should now be pointing with pride and in explanation of the New Deal's extravagance.

Old Stuff

Mr. W. Lee O'Daniel, who got himself the Democratic nomination for Governor of Texas by herding a hillbilly band into a bus and traveling over the state sandwiching encomiums of the Ten Commandments in between the Cracker tunes, is no new phenomenon in American politics, but simply the last term in a long series of terms. Everybody will think at once of the antics of such showmen as Blease, Vardaman, Jeff Davis the Lesser, Cotton Ed Smith, Tom Heflin, Huey Long, Ma and Jim Ferguson, the Man Bilbo, etc. But the tradition is not strictly confined to such dubious fellows. For what all such tactics are primarily calculated to do is to convince the "wool hat boys" that the great man on the platform is just another one of themselves, plain as an old shoe and addicted to the simple, homely verities. And they are at least as old as the campaign of 1840.

William Henry Harrison was the son of Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, who had been a member of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, served as head of the War Board of the colonies, and been Governor of the Old Dominion. And the son was anything else but a commoner. But as a young man he had moved to Ohio, lived for a while in a house partly built of logs, and fought the Indians. He was alleged to prefer cider to wine at his table. And so when the Whigs put him up for President, and found themselves without any very clear issue, they hit on the notion of running the campaign purely on the "Log Cabin and Cider" and "Old Tippecanoe" slogans--of presenting Harrison as the rough and ready unlettered man of the frontier, as against the sleek Van Buren crowd.

It worked wonderfully. And ever since, even men of great dignity have often taken a leaf from that book. Our own Zeb Vance, for instance, posed all his life as a sort of homespun hillbilly on his own account, though in fact he had an excellent family background and was one of the most completely literate men who ever figured in North Carolina politics. 


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