The Charlotte News

Sunday, July 31, 1938


For them the Ceylon diver held his breath,
And went all naked to the hungry shark;
For them his ears gush'd blood; for them in death
The seal on the cold ice with piteous bark
Lay full of darts; for them alone did seethe
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark:
Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel,
That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.

--from "Isabella, or, The Pot of Basil, A Story from Boccaccio"

faire le diable à quatre

And yet they laugh, and yet they laugh:
But our eglantine fragrance nonetheless
Spreads full the earth over, spiny and thorny
And prickly though it be, especially when misused
To peal you rotten until we crack--
Sometimes, 'twould seem, that be our muse...

"Oh, Scarlett, what a little funny cello. Look. Look. How funny it plays. Shall we go to the concertintimento, now, to hear the lovely midsummer night's stentorian charivari of which the children plan to play for us spritely? This dinner particulate has me all in a maze, my dear Scarlett, yet but for whom I lay forth my greenish-red cloak so shiverously."

--from Charley's Uninterpolable Impressions of the World Indefinite

And remember: if you are like us, possessed sometimes of an over-tendency in the mornings to taste of the sublime beans, then you can, at midnight, seek to kick the bucket; or, just sit at the bar in your beret and say...well, enough for today.

The other ditchdiggers' offerings by which to pray...

Problem in Ditchdiggers*

Before filing away the final report of that census of unemployment (which a new depression made out of date before the figures had been run up), let it be set down that 42 per cent of all males registered were classified as unskilled. The great majority of them were farm and day laborers, and in addition to them a considerable number, nearly 20 per cent of the male unemployed, were classified as semi-skilled, a term which could cover a multitude of inexperience.

But never mind the semi-skilled. The totally unskilled are enough to think about. The existence of all these people who have no work and who know how to do nothing but the most common, back-breaking work, warrants the conclusion that always, even when industry and commerce hum, this country will have an unemployment problem. It will take a dual form--(1) the problem of work for the people, and (2) the problem of people for the work. After all, we can use only so many ditchdiggers.

Runciman's Job

The Associated Press correspondent at Berlin reports that German official circles and journals generally regard the acceptance of Mr. Chamberlain's "mediator," Viscount Runciman, by Czechoslovakia as a fatal surrender of sovereignty by the little country and the beginning of a great victory for Germany. And the overt facts seem to bear that view out. For the little country has already published laws giving the Sudeten Germans equality in office-holding, language, schools, etc.--granting all that Konrad Henlein has demanded, in fact, save two things: autonomy for the Sudetens and "complete liberty for Germans who profess German nationality and German (i.e., Nazi) philosophy."

Naturally, the Czechs haven't wanted to grant these two, for they mean, in reality, the surrender of sovereignty over the Sudetens to Germany, and, since the small region these people occupy is the territorial key to the whole Czechoslovakian land, the beginning of the end for their country. But, since they are the only ones left, it does seem that the Germans are right and that it is Runciman's job to bully the Czechs into giving in to them without a fight.

Mr. Chamberlain's first diplomatic maxim grows clearer and clearer. It is: If you keep feeding the hungry wolf with meat from other people's pantries, he isn't so likely to bite you in the leg.

Railroad Acrobatics

It is somewhat curious news that the Interstate Commerce Commission has granted the railroads an increase in Pullman rates. For it was only a short time ago that they granted the Eastern railroads an increase in basic passenger rates. Reduce that spread by increasing the coach rate, and these people would go back to the Pullmans; so the argument ran. But now, having increased the coach rate to make the Pullmans more attractive, the spread is once more restored by increasing the Pullman rate!

That is somewhat strange economics. But no stranger than the whole proposition that the way out for the railroads is to raise passenger rates. Nobody doubts that the railroads need more revenue and need it badly. But is it plausible that the best way to get it is to raise the charges for what they have to sell--in a time of depression? Certainly, that does not fit with the laws of economics as they have worked out in the case of other businesses, and we somehow suspect that it won't pan out here, either.

A City Limited*

They say they like it fine and wouldn't move back for anything, those numerous people who have left their 60-foot lots in the city and taken proprietorship over acres in the country. And we don't blame them, for it sounds fine--that blessed quiet and fresh air and whole woods and fields for the children to play in, probably with a stream meandering through. In any case, roads like Providence and Briarwood, Wilkinson Boulevard and Selwyn Avenue Extension are now lined with houses of Charlotteans who went to the country to live, and there are whole sections, like Thomasboro, Hoskins and Club Colony, which have grown up outside the corporate limits.

Mention to the residents of these contiguous areas the possibility of taking them into the city, and they protest at once and bitterly. They don't want to pay City taxes, and we can't blame them. Nevertheless, it doesn't make much sense that a house immediately this side of the line should be taxed by the City and receive its services, whereas the house next door, immediately beyond the line, should be out of reach. And it doesn't make much sense that thousands of people who work in the city, who register, when they go away, from Charlotte, whose children go to city schools (for a moderate charge) and who are in all ways part and parcel of this urban community, should be exempt from the requirements of paying for the upkeep of the municipal government, many of whose benefits they enjoy and could not do without.

Seems to us as though there is a certain manifest answer to the question of city limits. As the city grows, its limits should be extended periodically to include that growth. Once, the city stopped at Trade and McDowell, but surely the residents on Elizabeth Avenue did not feel that they were forever entitled to remain outside the city and to contribute nothing to its upkeep. How far the limits should be extended now is a matter not of opinion but of visible fact. Those areas which are part of the city in all but name should be included. Those areas which are still rural should remain without until the growth of the city resistlessly swallows them.

When Thieves Fall Out

There's nothing like a politician for catching a politician. Politician Dan Talbott of Kentucky, for instance, is convinced he has caught Politician Senator Logan and Master Politician President Roosevelt pulling a fast one on old Politician James Aloysius Farley. Talbott says that in 1937 he went to Washington at the request of Senator Logan to see about getting Senator Logan a cushy Federal judgeship. It suited Farley, who knew the Chief wanted to make Kentucky safe for Dear Alben Barkley, and that the way to do this was to retire Logan and give Happy Chandler the place he coveted in the Senate. So, Talbott says, Farley took it up with the Chief, calling Talbott back the next day to report that the Chief had three places he could put Logan, and not under any circumstances to let Happy run against Dear Alben.

But Talbott was Logan's emissary, not Happy's. Anyhow, the deal didn't come off. In fact, Senator Logan denounced it with high indignation, and the President, on his barnstorming tour through Kentucky, righteously denounced Happy for ever proposing it. But as far as we know, Jim Farley has never denounced anybody. On the contrary, he has kept discreetly quiet...

And up in Pennsylvania, Politician Lynn G. Adams has accused Politician Governor Earle of depriving him of his job as commissioner of the State police because, frankly, Politician John L. Lewis "wouldn't stand for" his reappointment. Politician Earle has denounced Politician Adams for a "politically-minded henchman" of his enemies, but Politician Adams sticks to his story.

Somewhere in all this, the men in the observatory on the hill with the big telescope may be able to perceive government of, by and for the people at work.

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