The Charlotte News

Monday, November 1, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, as to our retrospective on the Cuban missile crisis, we should note, for historical accuracy, that the President first announced the goal of placing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s during an address to a joint session of Congress, May 25, 1961.

This address occurred the month after the April 12 initial manned space flight by the Soviet Union of Yuri Gagarin, which in turn preceded by days the failed Bay of Pigs operation to overthrow Fidel Castro, occurring between April 17 and 21. The address occurred just 20 days after Alan Shepard had become the second man to exceed the earth’s atmosphere, the first for the United States. (We ourselves, in the second grade, saw it from a trailer classroom. It was fun. So we bought a Mercury space capsule piggy bank.)

The first speech was designed to enunciate policy for the space program and obtain funding for it. The address at Rice on September 12, 1962, which reiterated the goal and was the first speech devoted to that goal, was to inaugurate the construction of the Johnson Space Center, command post for the future Apollo program, for which Rice had donated the land.

Thus, we might ask why it is that these two events, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis of a year and a half later, appear linked inextricably, in close proximity in time anyway, to the two major enunciations of the policy goals set by the Kennedy Administration of putting a man on the moon and to achieve first place in the space race, in which America had lagged behind the Soviets since the beginning of space exploration in 1957.

To answer the question, one has to understand that the origins of the space program derived from an effort to provide a peaceful means of application of missile and rocket technology, to wean the Cold War mentality from bellicose uses of that technology: to afford some means of conquering the world’s seeming appetite, including that of major political forces within the United States, for warfare, for nuclear warfare, for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

Every generation of Americans born since the Revolution had seen some major war involving the United States: the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I or World War II. Those born in 1800 or thereafter who had survived the considerable mortality rate generated by either birth or disease during youth, adolescence or middle age, or the major, or lesser wars interspersing them, to beyond the age of 60, had memories embracing two of those major wars.

And, now, by 1960, since the latter months of World War II, thanks to our own technology letting Pandora out of the box to combat those threatening to let out Pandora first, the stakes were dramatically increased.

The world could not survive another world war without global holocaust.

Some nevertheless plainly wanted it.

It is unfair to pick on a child, but we could not help but notice that piece from the Florida newspaper of October 29, 1962 which indicated that the young boy was disappointed that he was not going to get to see any "fireworks". One can only imagine—and we can because we were confronted ourselves with the resulting mentality on occasion—the parental guidance, or adult guidance somewhere, or lack thereof, which led to such a flawed perception of matters, so casually embraced as if the young boy would have fancied himself Francis Scott Key on the bowsprits off Fort McHenry watching the rockets’ red glare—or perhaps a real sure enough version of the animated fanfaronade emanating from Disney Castle each week on Sunday night tv.

The mentality was plainly held by many, many of them adults, many of them even holding responsible positions.

There was an inevitability in the air, that World War III was just a matter of time and that we might as well provoke it so as to be ready for it when it came, rather than being caught by surprise, not looking. No one who held that view much regarded the reality of those statements, that a nuclear war of the type that would occur in such matters would not leave Henry Fonda alive, while Moscow disappeared in vaporous ecstasy, signified only by a sustained high-pitched blast over the red phone. We would, anyone not slightly irrational realized, likewise become evacuated from the habitues of the province.

But there were those, and not reserved only to the idiotic, who believed in a literal Armageddon prophecy; and so decided that this myth should be fulfilled to fulfill the Biblical dictum, at least as they interpreted it, as God spoke to them personally via channel 12 at 1:00 a.m., every evening--some with the Kentucky rye flowing freely over their rocks of ages Biblical prophecies.

In any event, the mentality coexisted with sanity in other respects of life among many people, even prominent politicians, even Presidents sometimes.

And so the mentality needed to be overcome in some manner.

We suspect, therefore, that President Kennedy’s view that the moon presented itself as a goal appeared much preferable to that of Armageddon as an alternative, for those so inclined.

And, at that time, we ourselves thought it a first-rate proposition, the space program that is, still did when the United States landed that night in July, 1969—stayed up all night to watch it. (And, while we weren’t there ourselves on the lunar surface, we do believe that the coverage was quite real and that man did land on the lunar surface, not on a back lot somewhere in Hollywood. For all one need do to confirm that is to look to the state of special effects available in those space movies of 1969; you will readily discern that there was no relationship between the two. We say that only because, should you not be aware of it, there are many people these days who doubt it. Internet sites proliferate debunking the moon landing "myth". They even wrote a song about it a few years ago--not a bad song, but a stupid lyric, (that often being the case).)

But as to whether, once the Soviets gave up the goal of reaching the moon, that goal should have been seen through anyway to its conclusion, we can only offer speculation--which is useless, as it was seen through to the goal anyway. It was, after the attainment, however, very boring. The next day, after we bought our moon globe at Rich’s in Atlanta, which we still have, though its phosphorescent coating ceased some years ago to glow in the dark, the whole of it seemed, after a few days anyway, a bit inconclusive. Just a lot of gray dust and rocks, less gravity permitting bouncing about freely, not much to write home about. Not even a single bit of green cheese. (Excepting, that is, perhaps some poetic names. (That being often the case.))

Then, in rapid succession, came some other events of note and notoriety, as if everyone had suddenly gone to the moon.

And the wolf stood howling his long, baleful call to the wilderness beyond.

The images of earth taken from space are indeed illuminating, and to know that a human photographer took them is somehow comforting, we suppose. But, beyond that, candidly, after the space ride to win the race, to provide peaceful uses of missile technology, the space program, we posit, has ceased its tenure in our consciousness to afford practical reasons for existence; and so we remain quite uncertain that the space program any longer does much besides waste money better spent on earth. It conveys to few even symbolic meaning these days, ceases any longer to evoke patriotic pride among the masses; and we do not miss it, not even a little when it ceases to exist for years at a time, as after each of the two failed Shuttle missions. It is at best background noise, and, unlike the space pioneers of the sixties, whose names still reside in memory, few could tell you who flew the last Shuttle mission or what it was about, or even the last several since the last disaster. Indeed, we haven’t followed the space program much since about 1970. It is an outmoded thing, as outmoded as the Models T and A, or even the 1955 Starliner, were in the automobile industry by 1961.

In any event, it is noteworthy, perhaps, in conjunction with the eloquent speech by the President at Rice on September 12, 1962, that the summit of Everest was first achieved by Edmund Hillary on President Kennedy’s 36th birthday in 1953.

Each day=2.74 years x 1,037 days=2,841.095 years=October 19, 879 B.C. as inauguration day.

There are 879 miles to Interstate 10, begun in 1959, running from Santa Monica, through San Antonio, to Jacksonville, Florida.

If you are capable of understanding the conceptual basis of what we just computed and why, you may well qualify for N.A.S.A.

Also, in 879 B.C. there was founded as the capital of Assyria the city of Nimrud on the site of Calah, on the Tigris River in present day Iraq.

And, as to one of the sons of Noah, Ham, Genesis 10:6-12 says:

And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Miz'ra-im, and Phut, and Canaan.

And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Hav'ilah, and Sabtah, and Ra'amah, and Sab'techa: and the
sons of Ra'amah; Sheba, and Dedan.

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty
hunter before the LORD.

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land
of Shinar.

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nin'eveh, and the city Reho'both, and Calah,
and Resen between Nin'eveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

Leaving aside the fact that Che Guevara’s tour of South and Central America as a young medical student in 1951 to 1953, during which he hooked up in Guatemala with members of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement, was accomplished, at least through the initial stages of the journey beginning in his native Argentina, on a motorcycle dubbed "The Mighty One", you will recall that Isaiah 6:8-12 warns those who "rejoice in Rezin and Remali’ah’s son" that the waters of the river will come up against them, even to the king of Assyria. And, moreover, the waters of that river "shall reach even to the neck."

So, we conclude, given what we have done to the earth’s atmosphere in the past 100 years, first and foremost with the automobile and the industries which serve to manufacture its constituent parts, the airplane, and rocket propulsion, not to mention A-bomb and H-bomb testing for a number of years, we recommend strongly building your Ark, and forgetting for now about outer space travel, or even quite so much interstate, or even intrastate, travel, save by electric means.

Stick to the easier earthbound tasks, such as climbing Mt. Everest—or using that same thrust, that same creativity and scientific wherewithal which got us to the moon and back, to wean us from fossil fuel burning automobiles and industry by the year 2017. That ought be the goal of the Teens. The 1960’s were nearly 50 years ago. They are equally as old and out of date to us as were the Teens of the last century in 1962. As President Kennedy observed and counseled, and with good rationale, we must always look forward to progress, not behind us—while not forgetting the lessons of the past or our history, as he was also quick to point to Plymouth Bay Colony 340 years earlier as example. New times require new thinking and new goals, not stubborn reliance on the past, to commit the same mistakes of the past over and over again ad nauseam until finally we do end the planet, not by a bang, but with the steady slurp, slurp, slurp of the rising tide of discontent, resulting from the restive movement over the course of a century, in turn coming from centuries before that of nomadic movement first by foot, then by cart and sail, then horse and wagon, to elsewhere, and faster with each generation passing in the last century, the stubborn sense of outer adventure, never stopped to realize the broader vistas occasioned by being still, at least for a time.

Had he lived until the ripe young age of 90, as he would be today, we strongly suspect, judging by the newspapers then and now, anyway, that President Kennedy might agree.

It was about this time, November 1, 1937, that Cash became Associate Editor of the News. The exact day his employment in that capacity began is unclear. It appears that he was contributing fairly regularly, if not daily, to the editorial column, and a goodly portion of it, during the latter half of October.

It is not without a great degree of dark irony--though Freudians who accept the theory of Cash's own hand being his final end will have no problem with making it into a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps--that one of his first pieces after starting the regular stint at the News, "Excellent, But—", involves a report on medicine from Mexico City, and specifically from an address on Paseo de la Reforma, the same avenue on which The Reforma Hotel, (in 1937 but a year old and subsequently a many-hallowed place of visitations and portents), was located; the Reforma is where Cash died July 1, 1941, just a few hours after, at the insistence of his wife Mary, he had visited a doctor from whom he received a B-1 shot for his thiamin deficiency, thought to be the precipitant cause of his disjointed behavior during the previous 24 hours since alerting Mary to his belief that he was being followed by Nazi agents. He came away from that visit to the doctor telling Mary that he had been "poisoned". Of course, whether he meant that literally, or, more likely, figuratively, no one really knows. In any event, there it is, perhaps bearing a title which could also serve as a parenthetical sub-caption suiting much of the posthumous criticism of Cash.

"The Magic Island" would prove to continue so; "The Lost Colony" still continues in production after 70 years, one-sixth of the time since the birth of Virginia Dare. FDR had attended the play on August 18, during this year’s first summer run, begun July 4.

And, though 75 years ago this day, the enemy had been seen crossing the Potomac at Berlin, the same would not be reported 25 years hence—as much as some within the Confederacy might have so hoped and found its absence as woefully disappointing, to the purpose of once again engaging the fight, as did Longstreet bemoaning the failure of the Union lines once again to charge to after the day was lost on July 3, 1863.

Moreover, it would become apparent within five days that yet no other former President within the territory of the United States would subsequently become a Governor, albeit what might have been, had it not been for the candidate wanting so badly to tell everyone, according to his opponent anyway, what he was going to do to them rather than for them, in this case would have been so solely for the temporary acting of the part of driver of the coach-and-four, while the President was in the hospital.

Houston, however, would play a major role yet in his becoming President, quite miraculously, but also quite disturbingly, before the end of the decade.

Sour joke, indeed.

Also, however, this piece from the page of this date:

Tit for Tat

(Winston-Salem Journal)

The Union Republican hears that New Yorkers plan to build a skyscraper as high as the national debt. We can think of no undertaking so gigantic in scope, unless it were the digging of a subway as low as the national Republican hopes.

The Magic Island

It looks as if Roanoke Island, in addition to its fame as the site of the Lost Colony and the birthplace of Virginia Dare, might get itself celebrated as the occasion of the rebirth of rugged individualism in these States.

For now comes forward the Roanoke Island Memorial Association of Manteo to reject a proposal that the island and the restored Raleigh colony be turned over to the United States as a Federal park, and to demand instead that it be made a park belonging exclusively to North Carolina, and it can be made self-supporting, they say, by annually repeating the Lost Colony pageant authored and directed by Paul Green.

Alas and alack! There is some doubt about that last. The pageant did indeed pay its own way last summer, what with considerable aid in the way of free labor from the WPA and the CCC. But then it was a novelty. Next year it will not be so, and five years from now--no, it wouldn't work.

For all that, we cannot erase the impression that there must be something primitively American about that island which infects everybody who has to do with it. Else how explain the spectacle of a body of modern Americans actually opposing a Federal handout and wanting to do something for themselves?

Sour Joke

There were two items about WPA in yesterday's paper which didn't seem to gel. One of them was the statement in Washington Merry-Go-Round that "obviously 1,650,000 WPA workers couldn’t be maintained over an entire 12-month period on only $1,500,000,000"--which is to say at an average outlay of about $900 per WPA worker per year. The other told of the settlement of the strike of 20 WPA wheelbarrow-pushers in Lincolnton, this State. They had accused the government of making them work too hard, of "stretching them out," at sixteen cents an hour.

Now, sixteen cents for eight hours' work comes to $1.28 a day, so that if these North Carolina WPAers put in five days a week, they'd draw $6.40. And a year's work at $6.40 a week would come to about $320. But against this we have Merry-Go-Round's assertion that "obviously" Messer Harry Hopkins couldn't get by on $900 per man per year. Surely the difference of $580 doesn't go far for overhead.

By no means. Were Messer Hopkins to offer sixteen cents an hour to WPA workers in the more populous, politically uncertain Eastern states like New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, he'd have it flung back in his face. He'd have anything under 50 cents an hour turned down cold. And the reason that his $900 per man per year isn't enough to last the year out is solely this: that after taking care of administrative costs and paying Eastern WPA workers a real living wage, there isn't enough left over to take care of Southern labor at sixteen cents an hour.

It's one of the supreme jests of the day, and we'd lie back and laugh at it if the joke weren't such a practical joke and the South its butt…

Excellent, But--

Foreign Information Bureau, National Revolutionary Party, Paseo De La Reforma 18, Mexico D.F., favors us with a report entitled "Toward Socialized Medicine." It delineates what "advanced students of medicine in the National University have accomplished through their organization in Sanitation Units for Work Among the Ejidos (communal farms)." Some 900,000 communal farmers were given medical assistance by the organization during the last six months; 6,946 cases of contagious diseases were treated and 17,154 tests of various kinds were made.

That's fine. Medical costs, through nobody's fault in particular, are admittedly too high, and as a result the masses nowhere are able to get the proper care. That has been especially true, we reckon, in Mexico.

Nonetheless, there are questions that persist in asking candid answers. As for instance, how many cases were there which the University students were assigned to treat and forgot to treat? How many times did communal farmers hammer on the doctor's door at three o'clock in the morning, to be told to go on away, that he wanted to sleep? And if they forget, if they won't come, how do you go about making them remember, making them come, under a socialized regime? By appeals to bureaucrats while somebody dies? And if you don't like the doctor assigned to you--and it's important that you do--can you get him swapped for another? And how quickly?

Site Ed. Note: For a brief history of Mexico's Revolution, beginning in 1910 and officially ending with the Camacho election in 1940, which established socialized medicine and the ejido system, as well as producing the March, 1938 oil expropriation, read this Time piece from April, 1947 on the rise to the Presidency of Miguel Aléman, son of the original revolutionary of the same name. The article also mentions his 1946 opponent, Foreign Minister Ezequiel Padilla. It was to Padilla that Josephus Daniels, Ambassador to Mexico, wrote on July 12, 1941, eleven days after Cash's death, seeking, without particular explanation, the arrest of three named Nazi agents, a first in his eight year tenure as Ambassador, despite the fact that throughout his time as Ambassador, Mexico, and especially Mexico City, swarmed with Nazi and fascist agents and saboteurs, and in greater numbers than they subsisted by summer, 1941; by then there were, judging by the number eventually arrested and deported back to Germany after the occurrence at Pearl Harbor, something over 250.

One Yard Equals 27-Inches*

In order to lay the bitter complaint that Federal "yard stick" power plants operate on about a 27-inch measure, the President has fixed interest rates which they must pay at 3½%, the period of amortization of their capital debts at 40 years. This is fair enough. Private power manufacturers can borrow money at 3½% and take 40 years to pay it back, if they choose. But wait a minute.

Most of the Federal power projects, like Bonneville and TVA, began either as flood control projects exclusively or chiefly as flood control plus navigation plus irrigation projects, with power production as an ostensible afterthought. Hence, in order to determine what part of their costs is to be charged against power production, it will be necessary to determine first how much is to be charged off for flood control, navigation and irrigation. A classic example of how the Government goes about this is available.

Of TVA's ultimate cost of $520,000,000, it appears that $330,000,000 will be put down to navigation and flood control. Army engineers reported, however, that manageability of the Tennessee could have been assured by building low-head dams, instead of great hydroelectric dams, at a cost of $75,000,000. This would have left $255,000,000 for flood control; and the same engineers also estimated that the average annual loss from floods in the Tennessee was less than a million dollars.

That's the catch. Obviously, if the Government is going to charge up to flood control 250 times the average annual flood loss, and to navigation the extra cost of hydroelectric dams, the remainder chargeable to power production will be by so much reduced and the notorious "yard stick" left still a good bit less than 36 inches.

Let Him Begin It

Italy has proposed most generously that her companion in dictatorship and arms, Germany, must be restored to her place in the African sun--which is to say that Britain and France must hand back the colonies in the dark continent taken away at the end of the World War. That, said Italy's spokesman, was simple justice.

Very well. But there is this to be said. Signor Mussolini's country got no part of Africa under the Treaty of Versailles. But in lieu of that, she did get something--the Trentino, an Austrian district inhabited almost wholly by people of German culture and speech. And more than that the Signor and his Nazi compatriots have in Europe a stooge country, Portugal. And under the Versailles Treaty, Portugal got a sizable hunk of German Southwest Africa.

Everybody will agree that justice, like charity, often begins at home, and that there is no better way to awaken generosity in others than by setting the example. So Signor Mussolini, if he really believes in the ideas of Compatriot Adolf, might very well begin by stepping up like a little man and handing over to Adolf the Trentino--for of course one of the chief ideas of Adolf (himself an Austrian) is that everything that is Austrian and everything that was ever Austrian are a natural part of Germany. And more than that, the two dictators might bring pressure to bear on Stooge Portugal to begin the process of handing back in Africa.

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