The Charlotte News

Friday, January 5, 1940


Site Ed. Note: We think Cash's idea of a port for the Navy on the Yadkin at High Rock Lake in North Carolina would undoubtedly, had it been implemented, availed this country of a strategy for avoiding the U-boats which would have hastened the winning of the war by certainly a matter of decades.

In fact, so sure of it are we, that we highly recommend it presently to the Federal government as a distinct possibility.

For, as any native to North Carolina is certainly aware, there's Spies within a short driving distance of Fort Bragg--always have been. Never could see any other way.

It is therefore necessary to keep the fleet on the ready; if not the ships, a few missiles neatly tucked at the bottom of the Lake, in the hay.

For more on squirrel shooting among North Carolina boys, go here.

Once, we were in the North Carolina mountains visiting a friend. We were helping our friend build a rock retaining wall under a covered bridge. (Ourselves, we already had such a wall.)

As we built the stone retaining wall, up stepped a young lad into the misting midst of our afternoon labor.

"What's ye all doin'?"

"Oh, just building a wall. What are you up to?"

"Oh, I'm just out here looking for something to hunt."

"Oh? What you hunting?"

"Oh, squirrels, rabbits--

"Look there, I'll get him."

Just then, the young lad, having spotted a fer-de-lance on the river running down, took up a stone and hurled that stone in a perfect lateral direction, traveling with the piercing effectiveness of a laser streak guiding its trail, having issued it from the snapping space between his thumb and forefinger with a deadly lightning unknown to most mortals.

Bam. That rock hurled with such a swelling force as to catch the fer-de-lance right beneath its head, decapitating it instantly.

We figure that is what they mean by the phrase "Fire from the Flint".

Suffice to say, especially given that this was 1973, we felt it best not to continue the conversation with the lad for fear that, inadvertently at least, we might suggest something with some hint of political or social awareness subliminally attached to it, which he might perceive as mildly noisome, such as: "Wow, that was quite a riveting rock, knock of the neck to that fer-de-lance, young lad." And, then he might decide to take the hunt to us, figuring it might be exitious to the term, one less foreign phrase with which he might have to deal.

In any event, with a few such deadly aimers and the Navy on the Yadkin at High Rock Lake, and well, we probably would have never needed to bag Hitler, un-domino Ho Chi Minh, Afghanistanize Osama, or hang Saddam--or even Chad, for that matter.

Of course the problem with such resources is ultimately that they do have a tendency to occupy the manger, by the hunter and the hunted, who were often once the hunter.

For as it says in Isaiah 59:5: "They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper."

And it saith also elsewhere: Но́вая Земля́, which is the land where the caniculars are never seen; and thus no silliness in thee wean. The venomous worm which sits upon the cock's egg during the caniculars is gendrid the cockatrice, that which kills with its looks, but when seen must die, that witch-thrill, kith-fits cook the rolladice with kindred smiles. The cockatrice, and its cocker-spaniel in the nest, nevertheless was seen in the land where the caniculars fan your chest, but could not otherwise be spied, in Great Balls of Fire, except by eyne from eyndland with lettres dire.

And those who once hath figured out this game, this same tamed once can say to them who launch it, right to their fame: You can crunch it, else you'll Die twice, and the second Death of the Deer dubbed by its upended limbs of fear, cocked thrice: it be not so nice.

It seems to us that it is a far, far better thing to do to acquire and then seek to enable a better understanding of a given system or group or individual designated inimical to interests of our own, for the point of preventing the worst emanating from that system, group, or individual, such as that conveyed by "Decisive Year".

They used to have horses, incidentally, on the Yadkin, poetic ones. But, things aren't what they used to be. At least, when last we saw it, they had taken down that damned Confederate flag.

On second thought, park the Navy at Ararat; that way, when the Final Battle comes, we'll be ready to float 'em downstream.

Naval Refuge

For Florida's Ship Canal We Want This Defense

The advocates of the Florida Ship Canal and its pork barrel--, who have been heard of for quite a while are coming out of hiding again.

[Indiscernible name] 0wen, of Florida, plans to [indiscernible word] lead a fight in the House [indiscernible words] for the ditch [indiscernible words] many millions have [indiscernible words] have been buried. And [indiscernible words] which he proposes to [indiscernible words] is that it is necessary for our defense.

It is hard to follow, that argument, for, we are sure, if a superior naval power met up our navy in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, the fleet would be able to run out to sea through this canal. Or if some enemy was making it hotfoot down the coast, it would be able to gain a few hours by sailing into the Gulf through the Canal. But all that seems a bit improbable, to say the least.

However, far be it from us to protest too much. Merely, if $200,000,000 is to be salted in this canal for defense, then we want a large hunk for our own pet port of High Rock on the Yadkin, and its approaches. We have it on the high authority of the Federal Power Commission that the Yadkin is navigable. And, supposing our fleet is pursued off the South Carolina coast, what better refuge could it find than to duck into the Pee Dee and come on all the way to the Yadkin and High Rock? D'ye think any blasted enemy would have the nerve to follow it there, with the banks lined with the boys with their squirrel guns?

However, navigable though she may be, it is reasonable to suppose that the Yadkin would need a little dredging to pass the heavier battleships. And of course the port of High Rock ought to be made into an impregnably fortified base. So here and now we put in our application for, say, a couple of hundred billions to do the job.

Site Ed. Note: Once, nearby a rivulet of the Pee Dee, when we were out in the swamp reconnoitering, a long, long time ago, we came across those lost pups, as we have mentioned previously. We wanted to show the pups to our friend; and so we took him to see their hut.

We reached into the hollow of the tree trunk where they were and started gently petting the little things.

Seeing the foreign hand of fate extended in a gesture with which they were not yet familiar, they started squeaking and tumbling hurdy-gurdy over each other, setting up such a fierce ruckus as the dins of Hades had never heard, just rustling about in a most hurly-burly manner within the puddle of water in which they were situated by their mama so they would keep cool in the misty, hot-as-Hades ranges of the Pee Dee swamp there. We knew from prior experience that this was a normal reaction for such little pups, to squeal and squirm like that upon the first extension of foreign hands, especially being as they were out in the hollow of the tree in the swamp, without their mama. So we just continued to pet the little things.

Our friend, however, became suddenly agitated and sorely distressed. "You're drowning them! You're drowning them!"

We replied that certainly we were not drowning them, but only extending the hand of friendship to them such that they might become better acquainted with the domesticated animals of the kingdom, and thus leave the swamp with their mama when the time came to join the living breed up at the Big House by the broad, sandy-pine green yard.

Nevertheless, the young friend continued his protest, and eventually ran home crying to his mama, screaming the whole way, "He's drowning them! He's drowning them!"

Well, we had to smile to ourselves. "Poor boy 's gone insane."

We continued to pet the little things and, eventually, the pups directly settled down and stopped their squirming, and went right off to sleep, just purring away, no longer squealing and putting up a racket.

Eventually, just a week or so later, the mama brought all the little pups out of the swamp and up to the domesticated region of the land, where they all grew up to be straight and strong doggies.

That's just a little story about a true incident off a rivulet of the Pee Dee River.


Concerning The Character Of The Late Benjamin Sledd

Benjamin Franklin Sledd, late professor of English Literature at Wake Forest College, was no Mr. Chips. He had the saving grain of poison in him to rescue him from that sentimental fate, which he would not have liked. A whimsical and often a sardonic man, his favorite mode of addressing his students (in a curious, high-pitched, mocking voice and with a brooding smile in his beard) was to alternate, "Now, young gentleman," with, "Now, young jack-[indiscernible looks]." And for all the later generations of them, at least, he was, as he knew and did not at all mind, "Old Slick." Often he referred to himself by that name.

It sounds a little crude, perhaps, in that telling. But it was not so. Sledd was a great Virginia gentleman of the old school and never allowed either himself or anyone else to forget it. But he was human to the core and shrewdly knew how to command the enthusiasm of students for a subject which, by and large, they were congenitally disposed to dislike almost more than any other. A thousand prideful, chuckling, more or less broad student legends clustered about him--most of them perhaps apocryphal, but all of them in character and all of them testifying to their great admiration and love for him.

Few teachers have succeeded better at getting a rudimentary appreciation of literature into heads which were not naturally inclined in that way, and few have turned out more distinguished men in the fields of English, writing, and journalism. Wise, witty, tolerant, urbane, and learned, he might have fitted easily among the ancient Greeks he so greatly admired--if he has his just reward, is smiling in their company under some shadowy portico now.

No Envoy

Taylor Is Merely Personal Representative Of Mr. R

The various Protestant churches seem to us to be unduly alarmed when they protest the President's appointment of Myron C. Taylor as his representative for discussions with the Vatican.

If Mr. Taylor had been appointed formally as an envoy of the United States to the Papal court, then they certainly would have ground for protest. For the overwhelming Protestant population of the country has always held rigidly against any recognition of our formal relations with the Papal state.

But Mr. Taylor is no regular envoy. He is merely the personal representative of the President for discussing peace proposals and measures with the Pope. The latter's ideal for the settlement of European affairs probably differs in some respects from that of the great majority of Americans and the President himself. But all are agreed on the desirability of restoring peace with justice to Europe, and of arranging a settlement which has some chance to be lasting.

Moreover, the Pope is the single most influential person in the European scene.

Would anybody object to the President holding direct conversations with the Vatican as the best way to secure these things? We hardly think so. Yet there obviously is no real difference between conversations direct and conversations through a personal representative.

Site Ed. Note: At the time, Justice-designate Murphy was Attorney General.

For more on him prior to his tenure on the Supreme Court which lasted until his death in 1949, see "Mr. Dies' Americanism", October 24, 1938, "A Deserved Spanking", October 27, 1938, and "Man for the Job", January 2, 1939.

He was one of three dissenting justices, with Justices Owen Roberts and Robert Jackson, in the infamous decision, Korematsu v. U.S., upholding the quarantining and stripping of all constitutional and property rights of United States citizens of Japanese ancestry, in the wake of Pearl Harbor. (See Note accompanying editorials of November 7, 1940.) There he cited the rule for determining the ability of the government to exercise such overriding jurisdiction over freedoms assured under the Constitution:

"The judicial test of whether the Government, on a plea of military necessity, can validly deprive an individual of any of his constitutional rights is whether the deprivation is reasonably related to a public danger that is so 'immediate, imminent, and impending' as not to admit of delay and not to permit the intervention of ordinary constitutional processes to alleviate the danger."

It had not, he posited, in the instance cited, that of the declaration of war on the Empire of Japan.

It had not, of course, either in the instance sought by the current Administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 incident, primarily undertaken by 19 crazy men, out of a wedding to religious principles which were in their intended result anything other than religious, obviously, as no religion except that of madmen seeks destruction of the spirit, or any part of it, as inevitably any murder, whether of an individual or mass of individuals, does. (Having accepted that, however, one must also of course temper it with the notion that for generations this country, at least those not wedded to the Confederacy, honored John Brown as a misguided madman who nevertheless in his self-immolatory act had something ultimately salutary to the nation to say.) Regardless, short of open rebellion by a whole faction of the country, as occurred in the outbreak of the Civil War, justifying President Lincoln in suspending habeas corpus, such extreme measures would not be justified, would only stultify freedom and have the tendency to sanctify the acts of the madmen. Harper's Ferry, for instance, did not result in curtailment of movement or freedoms of the general population.

Justice Murphy, by contrast to madmen seeking justice of one sort or another, whether under an officially sanctioned aegis or as quislings responsible to no one but themselves, was quite sane on all accounts such that one need not bend over backward, as one must with some, to find in his decision-making, both as a public official and as a Supreme Court Justice, a person with judicial temperament and equanimity.

Murphy, J.

His Nomination Is Likely To Go Through Easily

There probably will be few voices raised in active protest against the President's selection of Frank Murphy to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court bench.

The adherents of the far right will naturally fume privately against it, would have wanted, if they could have had their way, to replace Mr. Justice Pierce Butler with another man of the same conservative sort as Mr. Justice Pierce Butler. But that, of course, was out of the question.

And by now it will be generally admitted that, of the New Dealers, Frank Murphy is one of the best. He is not, to be sure, a greatly learned lawyer. And there will be people who will still hold it against him that he refused to resort to the militia in the Detroit sit-down strikes in 1937, when he was Governor of Michigan.

However, the event has justified him there. At least, the sit-down strike has disappeared, as an obviously mistaken policy on the part of labor. And, if labor relations in Detroit are not all that might be wished, it is still safe to guess that they are a great deal less bitter than they would have been had there been bloodshed that wild Summer three years ago.

Indeed, it is Murphy's calm behavior in any case which most clearly entitles him to claim the judicial temperament. And there is no doubt that he brings to the job a great integrity and a great industry, somewhat marred perhaps by a certain tendency to fanaticism--but not enough, in all probability, to keep him from making an excellent judge.

Decisive Year

Lord Lothian Sees Hitler With Good Chance To Win

There is not much wishful thinking in Phillip Kerr, who, as Lord Lothian, now serves Britain as Ambassador to Washington. In a speech at Chicago Thursday evening he calmly envisaged the probability that with the coming of Spring, Germany will strike by land, sea, and air, using every weapon at her command--her primary objective being the destruction of Britain's sea power and the successful establishment of the counter blockade.

More, he calmly confessed that Germany had a much better chance of winning this war than the last one. The prize of world domination, he said, may well be within her grasp.

He ought to know. In the last war he served old Lloyd George as private secretary and so saw the struggle from a choice ringside seat.

Of one thing, however, he seemed confident--that if Germany does not succeed in this drive, she is through. And in that he seems to have the support of Hitler himself, for the latter did not climb out on a limb by promising the German people victory in 1940 for nothing--probably felt that he had to risk all on this one cast of the dice.

That is not necessarily to suggest that if the Hitler drive fails, England will come in for the fruits of her victory this year. If Hitler cannot win after the coming of next Winter, he can still drag the conflict out indefinitely--and, out of consideration for his own hide, probably will.

Site Ed. Note: A funny thing happened on the way to the forum for the producers of this fiasco.

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