The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 15, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The first piece marks the only mention we have ever yet run across, and likely the only one we shall, during Cash's tenure at The News, of the man who would eventually become the longest serving Senator in modern times, maybe ever, including Roman times, J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

That he was unknown at the time is evident by the misspelling of his middle name, making him sound as an adept at the guitar--and he would do a good bit of strumming of something during his long tenure, but we leave that aside. (We seem to recall viewing on C-Span about a decade ago a Washington Press Club affair in which the pressmen and presswomen got to approach an open mike for stand-up comedy, and, from the dais thusly constructed, one particularly memorable bit by Tucker Carlson remains indelibly strummed into our memory anent Strom's strumming--but we shall let that pass, too, as we bumptiously bump the bureau dresser on the way out in the dark.)

In any event, there it is.

We beg to differ in the aftermath with the prediction in the piece; and should it have been by Cash, all indicators are that he would have long ago likewise differed, by 1948 anyway, when took place the staged Dixiecrat walk-out of the Democratic Convention, led by Strom the Strummer-boy, over the introduction into the platform of the civil rights plank, the first of a major party.

That South Carolina did not get better as a whole state from the malady besetting it since before some of its people started the Civil War by blowing the hell out of a Federal fortress in Charleston Harbor, is evident from his continued re-election so many times to the post of Senator, or alternately Governor, that somewhere along the line we lost count, except that when he began, we could barely talk and walk, or even sit down with pacific ease, and by the time he ended, we could barely count.

We could go on, but we would only run up our blood pressure unnecessarily as he is no longer; and, hopefully, his kind are passing away into the nightmare of the past. We may hope, anyway. For whatever else he may have done of any count for his state, his single most enduring record, and that for which he was best known nationwide, was that of segregationist.

And, we have long suspected, though never confirmed anywhere, by way of suspicion aroused from our courtroom attuned sensibilities, made sensitive to the acting that people sometimes do, especially when they are lying, (there's always, before giving answer to a simple question, that bold preface to the Big Lie, such as, "Do you want to know, Mista Sue-and-Sew, why I did that, is that what you want to know?"), that, in viewing his part in the confirmation of Justice Thomas in 1991 and the testimony of Anita Hill, it was Strom who was the tipster creating that bit of post-main-hearing sideshow, his strained prepared readings in the chamber, seeming to approve the nominee's credentials, being loyal to party fealty, to the contrary notwithstanding. But, again, that is only our strong hunch, after seeing those hearings, which, in an ironic manner, provides a mirror image of that political cartoon appearing on the page from the other day regarding the uproar in the aftermath of the confirmation of Hugo Black regarding his brief past KKK affiliation.

Perhaps, all that, the tediously personal confirmation process of judges and justices, is passing from the scene also, although occasionally we think it healthy to have such a sideshow probably, for the heightening of sensitivities of the public to the Supreme Court. But, not so much so that every disgruntled pouty face who knew the nominee for 15 minutes ten or twenty or thirty years ago can come forth and yell "victim" and "harassment" over unconfirmed wild-sounding stories of Coca-Cola cans culled from The Exorcist, so that every other spoiled sport who thinks life ought be one big hi-yiing Shirley Temple dance with Bill Robinson can then twist their hips and heads around about 369 degrees south, southwest and then sport a bumper sticker saying, "We Believe You, Anita", even if they never met Ms. Hill or Justice Thomas or have the slightest idea in the whole of Ideation as to how lawyers interact typically in ordinary settings, other than by watching far too much tv, either the fictional variety or the supposedly non-fictional variety, and who have never darkened so much as the foyer of an average law school--where the rule, we can inform you, is not typically altogether one of high-minded discussion and debate re the intellectual poetry of the law and the epistemological aspects of Oliver Wendell Holmes's defense of civil liberties, or who had the better of the argument in Inherit the Wind, the teacher or the monkey-man begatting us. We could tell you a thing or two, such as the first in-chambers conference we ever attended with a judge, long deceased, who used more four-letter words anent whether a client ought be admitted to drug rehabilitation than we would normally find bleeped even at Comedy Central; but out of discretion, we shan't. But it is no polite parlor game, as often idealized in the public's usually naive mind.

In short, lawyers are not priests or ministers; neither are judges or Supreme Court Justices, tv representations to the contrary notwithstanding. Nor are they typically crooks and thieves, the same of another stripe notwithstanding. Vocabulary and language, wholesome or not, is part of the law and the legal system, polite usually in front of the public, not always so in other settings, and understandably, should you have ever had much experience in dealing with typical clientele lawyers and judges encounter in the highly emotional frame in which they are often encountered with rights and property interests at stake.

Our experience is that they are basically human, like the rest of us, as all lawyers and judges were, before they became lawyers anyway; expected in their public and professional lives to behave in a certain way, but, in private, allowed to, well, throw a book now and again, if you will. Try it sometime, the law that is, before you take to your private judgeship pedestal as a non-lawyer and start throwing the books at lawyers, even your own, or judges, who themselves were once lawyers. Then, get back to us on it. As Ringo once warned: "It don't come easy."

And, for the second time, we run across a little piece, below, orphaned without a title in the column, and yet again regarding a publicity director's job, though this one on sports. Maybe The News had something about not giving titles to pieces about recently hired or resigning publicity directors at colleges. We don't know, but there it is. The other one, we happened by coincidence to reference you to on another topic just the other day, from January 11's pieces, and so you can go back and find it if you've an abiding curiosity.

This one, we shall lend title as follows:

Eyes On State, Ison to Wade On

(Mighty Shipp Stays In Lit. Dept. While Cash Registers Sails)

* * *

Incidentally, should any of the above offend you, then go to Dupont Circle and strum your guitar.

And, while doing so, in light of that below, consider: Edgefield, 11th, 12th, L. D. Lide. South Carolina. Hidell. ...Holland of eight shillings an ell. Bell & Howell. Hertzsprung-Russell.

They All Do It

The South Carolina Legislature was faced this week with the task of filling two vacant circuit judgeships, and this it did with little lost motion. The procedure was simple: the lawmakers simply elevated two of their own number to these judicial posts.

Senator J. Strum Thurmond of Edgefield, quickly and without opposition, was elected judge of the 11th district judicial circuit court; and Senator L. D. Lide of Marion won the 12th district judgeship with almost equal ease.

Now, Senators Thurmond and Lide may turn out to be first-rate judges. Chances are they will. But it is worth noting in passing that the South Carolina Legislature has once again availed itself of that time-honored privilege of all lawmaking bodies, be they city, county, state, or national: i.e., promoting one of their own members into a steady job whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Better Aim Next Time

A great defect in the United States Senate and in Senators was exposed yesterday when Senator Bailey threw a book across the chamber. The Senator was angry, perhaps justifiably so. There is no reason to chide him for his anger or for throwing the book. All of us, Senators or whatnot, at some stage in life throw things. Even brides of a few weeks' standing have been known to throw things, and among confirmed "battleaxes" it is standard procedure.

The defect is apparent, however. It is that the Senator didn't hit anything with the book. The place was full of deliberate Senators busy deliberating over the nation's troubles, yet there wasn't anything approaching a bullseye. The book that was hurled hit the floor, which didn't even know there was a Senator Bailey, much less that he was outdone.

And when Cotton Ed Smith, another Senator, picked up the book, he hurled it, too, but still there were no casualties. He hurled the book down on the floor.

Life could be lively among Senators, but it won't be until they improve their aim. Bailey may lose a few votes on account of the incident. Had his aim been good, he would have received the cheers of a nation. As it is, only the book was damaged, and it wasn't any good to start with.

We Look At A Star

There is a new star in the heavens--Epsilon Aurigae. That is, there is a new star in the heavens as our astronomers, peering through their telescopes, know them, though how many millions of years it has been wheeling there in its appointed place no one may say. Three thousand light years away from us it lies. And light, you will remember, travels at the rate of 186,000 miles per second. And there are 86,400 seconds in every day. Multiply that by 365, and that again by 3,000 and--it's a little dizzying, isn't it?

Three thousand times as great as our own sun is this star, too, with a diameter equal to 20 times the distance from the earth to the sun, or, roughly, 1,860,000,000 miles. Placed in our solar system, it would fill up the whole, with only Neptune and Pluto lying outside. But we call it a star, and in reality it is two--though acting as one because both revolve around the center of their common mass.

Quite a fellow, this huge rolling double ocean of undying flame lying out so far beyond the frigid darkness, you will observe. And yet not the greatest and not the farthest. And not by any means alone. Millions of his kind go pacing their stately way through the mystery in which we dwell and live and are--have gone pacing for this last million aeons. And do you still feel, little man, that you really are the center of the universe? Ourselves we don't right now, though, being what we are, we probably will recover that comforting belief within the hour.

One By One

In the beginning, the utility holding companies affected by the death sentence in that act which they resisted with all the breath, which is to say air, that was in them, would have nothing at all to do with SEC. Did SEC say, "It is a nice morning," they would not reply, else would mutter that it wasn't. They relied on the Supreme Court to confirm their low opinion of the weather and the times.

There were two procedures which the act directed utility holding companies to perform. The first was to register with SEC. The second was, in due course and as ordered, to dissolve. But so great was the antagonism of the industry that they would not even register. A few unimportant companies stepped up, but the big ones stayed away.

Since that time, however, SEC has had a hundred registrants, including some of the giants. Last week American Water Works signed up, and this week Columbia Gas & Electric whipped out its pen. When it did, SEC gave it a friendly greeting, complimenting the "realists" in the industry in promoting that "in co-operation with the commission a constructive job can be done while meeting the requirements of the act."

We would not go so far as to say that this presages the utility holding companies' willingness to lay down their lives for SEC, but we believe it does show that they are resigned to the inevitable and that it isn't going to be so dreadful as they thought.


This afternoon's sports pages in The News are the first in many years that have appeared under the direction of someone other than Wade Ison. As has been announced, Mr. Ison has accepted a position as director of sports publicity at State College, for which he is well qualified both by nature and training. And he will do well, if energy and application and ability count; and they do; but that will not alter the fact that a long and congenial association between The News and Wade Ison as its sports editor has been terminated.

The Smoke Professor

Charlotte might well borrow Salt Lake City's William L. Butler, self-styled "smoke professor." Butler it is who is conducting a gigantic class in the art of building smokeless fires and now promises that with the graduation of thousands of these pupils the smoke pall of the Utah city will be reduced not less than 50 per cent.

"It's all a matter of improper firing," says Butler, chief engineer of the Smoke Abatement Bureau. "Improper stoking reduces the degree of combustion, causing a great deal of waste. Most people, from the inexpert housewife to the veteran fireman, put on too much coal and have inadequate draft. Most of our smoke forms there. In just one hour we can turn out firemen, or firewomen, able to maintain a smokeless fire."

To appreciate the smoke pall which is Charlotte's, one has only to ascend to the upper reaches of any downtown office building. From innumerable chimneys and smokestacks it belches forth to hang above the city like a dun-colored blanket. Nor are industrial plants the worst offenders. Apparently, many firemen in the business district endeavor to impress the boss with their industry, as evidenced in exact proportion to the amount of smoke which they are able to produce. We have in mind a particularly fine specimen of smoke production in the grand manner, emanating from a small building in the immediate vicinity of Independence Square. When that fellow is in the mood, and he generally is, he can turn out a thick yellowish column which, for quality and quantity, is worthy of General Johnson at his best. He is without a peer, but competition among his neighbors is keen--so keen that in damp weather the street below is all but obscured to the watcher above.

Yes, we undoubtedly have need of Mr. Butler. It might be well, however, to give him specific directions as to how he may reach the city. We fear that he will never be able to penetrate our pall.

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page will soon be here.

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