The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 13, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, after we wrote that note on "Grizzly Man" yesterday, we realized that it had won an award at the Sundance Film Festival, the Alfred P. Sloan Award, Alfred P. Sloan having been, as the editorials in the past few days have explained, the chairman of General Motors at this time in history, and receiving for it $183,000 annually, after taxes, when at least a fifth of the country could barely afford to eat. Just why, only a week ago, we came upon this 2005 film of which we had never before heard, we cannot explain. Though an admirer, as we have before made comment, of Werner Herzog's films since 1976, it is as often as not the case that his films, not being mainstream, come to us a few years after their original release, as we don't make a point of chasing down films typically. Besides, it is more interesting at times that way, that the film finds its way to us, at just the right time sometimes for various reasons, than that we go out of our way to see it. We have seen some people who would probably run over a child as soon as be late for some idiotic movie somewhere. We take our time. Moreover, it's more fun, in certain fare, to come in at intermission and figure out by the imagination what the first half was about--or to watch the whole of it out of order. Good exercise for the mind on occasion. For, after all, we all are born into things transpiring thusly anyway. We haven't yet seen the Mona Lisa in person either.

Faw maw on the appawntment as a Senata of Granny Miss Dixie Graves, wundaful puson and awlso wive of the guv'na down yonda, ya'll go heya. She 'as jus' the sweetest li'l dawlin' eva, jus' as sweet as suga an' summa wawta-mellon. In jus' fauw munths, she got us a bridge acrossed the riva. Can you imagine? Fauw munths. She 'as presurvin' the white race from the des-truction by all those lib'rals up in Washin'ton.

The rest of the page ain't here yet.

A Horrid Word*

That 1% charge for old age insurance which comes out of employees' pay envelopes each week is not, the Treasury has ruled, an allowable deduction for income tax purposes. In fact, technically, the charge is an income tax, hence is no more deductible than last year's income tax.

The ruling is all right, but the 1% charge is badly called. Most wage-earners and salaried persons would realize, if they stopped to think a moment, that it is in reality an insurance premium and that insurance premiums paid are not deductible from income. But they will not like its being called an income tax. Coupled with reports that the Government is expending these premium receipts, for its daily bread, putting up its own bonds in exchange, it may sound very much as though the Government is the one which has forgotten that they are insurance premiums and not taxes. In any event, we'd feel much better about the ultimate safety of our old age insurance if it were in the hands of some private insurance company which some government required to maintain legal reserves.

Bibb's Wife Looks Back

Senator Miss Dixie Graves, the Governor's wife whom he appointed to the Senate to hold Hugo Black's seat until Alabama Democracy could nominate a successor, has resigned just as Bibb promised she would when the time came. She hasn't done a great deal to distinguish herself, either for virtue or mischief. She was noted for the regularity of her attendance during the special session and the ten days of the regular session. She made one speech, lasting 30 minutes, in opposition to the anti-lynching bill. She got one bill through, having to do with a bridge across the Tennessee River at Florence, Alabama.

But Miss Dixie didn't try to save the country in the few months of her allotted term, and perhaps the country ought to be grateful for that. At the same time, Miss Dixie was well paid for not trying to save the country. For these four and a half months her salary came to something more than $3,500; her allowance for clerk-hire to something more than $2,500; her stationery allowance to a couple of hundred additional, we should guess, and her mileage allowance from Montgomery to Washington and back, twice, at 20 cents a mile, to some $500 more than the actual cost of the trips. Altogether, Miss Dixie hasn't done badly either by the country or herself, who they say is charming.

Asbestos Ben*

The accident of geographical boundaries has thrown this city into the Carolina of the North rather than of the South, and though it is hardly more than a good sustained gallop from the limits of this city to the state line, and though Columbia is nearer than Raleigh, we naturally keep closer tab of what goes on in the capital of North Carolina than that of South Carolina.

And it has so happened that for the last several years one could put down the reading of current events in South Carolina and take it up sooner or later without losing the thread of the narrative. The whole action has been, Olin D. Johnston, Governor, vs. the State Highway Commission, Ben Sawyer, Chairman. Governor Johnston has been gunning--sometimes literally, as that time he called out the militia--for Ben Sawyer and the Columbia Ring. In his message to the Legislature yesterday, the Governor returned to the attack upon the "wealthy, powerful department" and its "domination" of South Carolina by "a dictatorial influence."

Well, it may be. But surely an outsider may be permitted to observe that under Ben Sawyer and his Columbia Ring a notable improvement has been wrought in South Carolina's system of highways. While the Governor has been building fires, which always went out under Ben Sawyer, Ben Sawyer has been building roads. Machinator he may be--at any rate the Governor swears he is--but from this distance the fellow looks like one who tends strictly to his own knitting in the face of constant harassment.

Back Into the Oven*

It is doubtful in the extreme that the House Rules Committee, by refusing last session in the special session to permit a wage-and-hour bill to reach the floor, had in mind the uses of obstructiveness. But they are great. The whole genius of the democratic system of government derives from the trait. That is why this democracy is divided into political parties, the minority of which acts, and is supposed to act, as obstructor to the impetuous will of the majority. That is why we have a constitution which can be amended only by tedious procedure involving delays of years. That is why a House preponderantly of the same lodge oftentimes produces half-baked and freakish legislation.

And it is directly because of the obstructiveness of the House Rules Committee, aided and abetted by the simple obstreperousness of Southern Democrats, that the House Labor Committee has decided to write a new wage-and-hour bill. How good the new bill may be, no one can tell; but it may not be any the worse for having been obstructed in its original form. Indeed, the chances are that it will be a great deal better, for its authors know what they are up against.

Suffer the Little Children

It's a marvel with what aplomb civilization receives the most tragic statistic, the most dreadful warning of what fate certainly has in store for some of us, and passes on unmoved and undismayed. For example, this newspaper carried the other day a terse item to the effect that of the 174 pedestrians injured in automobile accidents in this city during 1937, 63 were children. The number of children in the eighteen deaths by automobile was not stated.

But 63 children injured is bad enough--in at least two heart-rending instances that we know of, worse than bad enough. If we cared to be emotional about it, we could describe the suffering of some these children in such manner as to make fathers and mothers call their own broods about them and appraise their straight young limbs and sound young bodies with prayer for gratitude. But we prefer to be matter-of-fact in discussing it, and, as a matter of fact, if 63 children were run over by automobiles last year, it stands to cold reason that the same number, more or less, will this year be similarly injured. It is not, either as motorists or parents, a happy prospect.

And, yet, the automobile is a necessity, and it is necessary that we go speedily about our business or our pleasure, and if a child darts before and goes down under the wheels, it is admittedly an unavoidable accident, and the responsibility is not ours. But children are not responsible, either in law or in fact, and that is fundamental, and it antedates the non-responsibility of the motorist. Besides, we believe that when 63 children are injured by automobiles in a single year, it is high time to fix responsibility, and to exact--well, what is there to exact in return for a broken child?

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