The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 6, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The "Lady in Distress" appears to have been perhaps merely making her way up the down staircase.

Crook's Paradise appeared later to have moved to the area of which Mr. Broun mentioned yesterday, only a bit north of Largo--you know, where the Chevys parked. But we haven't the vaguest where Krum Elbow went.

Ida B. Wise woulda been wise to stay home, raise her children temperately and otherwise say less in public.

As to O. N. Looker--hmmm-hmmm, yes. Ah, yes. (Boom-a-locka-locka-locka, boom-a-locka-locka-locka)

"By the way, Scarlett, fear not the fall of Sumta. It will not spell the end of Charleston as we knew it, and still do, even in the occludity of such an unfortunate fortuity which has befallen us. It is always and forever our dear Charleston, Scarlett, always, always and forever. In fact, though you do not know it now, dear Lady, take cheer from this that in a mere 103 years, on August 9, 1966, at the Fox Music House at 525 King Street, to be right there in Charleston affixed, there will be a purchase of a voice recording by someone; and, believe it or not, Scarlett, m'Lady, dear, the last song on the voice recording, of the muses unconfused, shall bear the title which only you and I can believe in now in this our most treacherous hour declaiming our infirmity as yet we draw from it, by the power within us gathered from the torturous fires which have bestruck us, our insuperable strength--'Tomorrow Never Knows'."

How Certain the Cure?

Mr. Robert L. Johnson, former relief administrator of Pennsylvania, yesterday told the Republican program committee at Chicago that "the administration of relief to the needy should be returned to the states and the counties," and that "until this is done there will be no end to the present wastefulness and corruption."

All right, it sounds fine. States' Rights, you know, and the old Jeffersonian principles. We are all in favor of them. But nevertheless, the fact remains that "wastefulness and corruption" as practiced in the WPA is everywhere the work not of the Federal authorities in Washington but of state and county authorities. In the Kentucky case, for instance, is it Mr. Harry Hopkins and his immediate assistants who are guilty, or the local administrators in the state? The Senate investigating committee says that it's the local administrators, and so do all the reporters who have looked into the case. What is Mr. Johnson going to do about that?

Lady in Distress

For 27 years Miss Myrtle C. Heywood, of Brooklyn (we discreetly refrain from inquiring if there is anything significant in that address) and substitute teacher in the public schools of New York, has been trying to obtain a position as a regular teacher without success. And now she asks the State Commissioner of Education to direct the Board of Examiners to give her the desired license pronto and willy-nilly, on the ground that the board has disregarded the merit system, and showed "malice, bad faith, prejudice, and discrimination." In retort to which the board says that she has failed 20 out of 28 examinations in the period.

At first glance that seems to dispose of Miss Heywood. And yet--and yet--we pause to wonder. However did it happen, when you think about it, that the lady could pass eight examinations and fail 20, all presumably calculated to give her exactly the same sort of test? And however did it happen that having failed 20 and being adjudged unfit to be a regular teacher, she was yet continued as a substitute teacher? And ah, now, we remember, too, the kind of idiotic stuff that Schools of Education have decreed that teachers shall learn to the exclusion of anything which ever could possibly be of any use to anybody, and to the exclusion of the branches they are supposed to teach. Could that have had anything to do with the case?

Come to think of it, Miss Heywood may, for all we know, be an original genius.

Tempest in a Teapot

Maybe we oughtn't to pretend to take Mr. Howland Spencer seriously, but he does seem to be an excellent example of the puerility in the Opposition to the New Deal upon which we have remarked before. And, to say, the truth, we aren't sure that the President looks much better in that controversy with Mr. Spencer over who shall have the use of the name Krum Elbow. You see it was this way. Once upon a time there was a British merchant who came over to the Hudson River country to live. His name was Crooks, and his estate in what is now Hyde Park got named Crooks' Paradise on the old maps. And when President Roosevelt came to power, somebody proudly unearthed the news that that estate is the same one he now owns. That promised to be a natural for the jokesmiths, and the President, in an ill-advised moment, asked the newspaper boys to speak of his place under the name of Krum Elbow.

That was where Mr. Spencer--a New York importer who is husband to the daughter of the late Oliver Harriman and the sister to Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt--came in. Mr. Spencer said loudly that Krum Elbow was properly the name of his own estate just across the river from the Roosevelt's, and that moreover he thought Crooks' Paradise was a perfectly beautiful name for the Roosevelt place. Then, to make his dislike for the President more pointed, he practically, according to his own story gave away his own estate, with the name Krum Elbow, to Father Divine, the Negro voodoo man of Harlem, in order that the latter might turn it into a "Heaven" directly under the President's nose. And went on to tell the world that Father Divine's crackpot notions are far sounder than Mr. Roosevelt's.

Mr. Spencer looks like three-years-old in a screaming tantrum, and is only making his cause ridiculous. But the President has added nothing to his stature by ever getting involved in the squabble, and has added less and less to it by solemnly bothering to keep it up.

Why Not This Swap?

"Uncle Joe" Garibaldi and his grand jurors said a whole lot when they declared that little is accomplished by keeping sixteen women suffering with venereal diseases at County Industrial Home while hundreds of prostitutes roam the streets of the city. Besides, said the grand jurors, the average cost of keeping the sixteen is $403 a year. He recommended that the County Commissioners abandon the institution as an Industrial Home and convert it to better uses.

Well, a year or so ago someone--we can't recall offhand who it was--proposed that juvenile prisoners be kept at Industrial Home and that women prisoners with venereal diseases be kept in old County Jail on South Mint Street, where juveniles are now lodged. The reason for the proposal was that at Industrial Home boy and girl prisoners would have ample room in which to play and get proper exercise. We recall, too, that County Chairman Henry Harkey was opposed to the plan.

Last year more than 300 boys and girls were lodged in the old Mint Street jail. Since 1919--when Juvenile Court was established--more than 14,000 boys and girls have been prisoners of the gloomy place.

It may be that there are valid reasons for not converting Industrial Home into a Juvenile Detention Home. If there are, let the County Commissioners say so. If there aren't, let them make the change before the new budget is adopted.

Non Sequitur

A very fair example of the non sequitur logic of the WCTU is that of the speech delivered in San Francisco Thursday night by Mrs. Ida B. Wise, its national president, in which she argued that "a rapid increase in venereal disease" has resulted from repeal and the consequent "renewal of the old alliance between prostitution and the saloon."

It is quite possible that there may be some correlation between intemperance and the incidence of venereal diseases. Thus the Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are among the most and genuinely temperate in the world, and none of them are given to teetotaling; and they are also precisely the countries in which syphilis has been most nearly stamped out--the rate being about a fifth of that in the United States. Yet not one of these countries is a prohibition country. One of them, Norway, did indeed try it once, but, like the United States, Finland, and New Zealand, abandoned it as unwise. Well, and has the syphilis rate gone up in Norway since repeal? On the contrary, it has come down most rapidly in that period.

But in reality, the correlation in temperance, prohibition, and venereal disease is very vague and uncertain. What mainly explains the extraordinary high incidence of these diseases in the United States and their swift increase, all the authorities from Dr. Thomas Parran down are agreed upon. It is the fact that we have squeamishly refused to face realities and to deal with them as such--that, as a people, we have insisted that because we thought a thing ought not to be we could do away with it by passing harsh laws against it, driving it under cover, and thereafter steadfastly ignoring the obvious consequences of that policy. And of that attitude the most perfect extant exemplar among us is precisely the WCTU.

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