The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 23, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Speaking of an erratum, and ships, we have discovered that our note accompanying the pieces of November 10, regarding the coincidence of names of the two Soviet ships, 22 years apart, the one in February, 1940 bringing gold for copper with which presumably to make bullets, and the other, the one approaching the quarantine line during the Cuban missile crisis, the Kim and Kimovsk, respectively, contains one. It is that the Kimovsk was not the ship alternately starting and stopping in advance of the line, only to stop at the end of the crisis. That was the Graznyy. The Kimovsk was the first ship to approach the line on October 24, 1962, before turning around, prompting Secretary of State Rusk's famous comment regarding their having blinked. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, consider it duly noted. It does not change the coincidence.

Tillie Eulenspiegel speaks out on the page today, on the tacky and the dead Christmas decorations of the city. It is, however, save for the last line, barely discernible as her work; far too straightforward and mundane. Of course, this piece preceded by four months the beginning of her relationship with Cash.

And, don't forget to purchase those Confederate dollars. They're hot, says the Fayetteville Observer. They make swell Christmas gifts, we hear. Bound to appreciate in value by the end of this War--that is if this war, now longer than the Civil War by a year, longer than World War I by a year, short by a year of being as long as all of World War II, and over a year longer than the United States involvement in same, ever ends. But, there is always the comparison to Vietnam, our longest war to date, and the fact that we were there for eight years. We have a whole three years left to match that record, after all. And, just think, the Japanese were fighting in China for 14 years.


It has been pointed out to us that in our review yesterday of the legislation passed by this special session of Congress, we were in error in saying--and at that in very small type which seemed to be trying to hide something--"nothing at all." There was, it happens, one bill passed by both the Senate and House in precisely the same form, and our informant asks us to make a correction accordingly.

We are glad to do it. There was one bill of some importance passed. It was the appropriation of $225,000 for the traveling expenses of the members of Congress to and from the special session--at 20 cents a mile.

Conrad Comes Through

Conrad is alive and well today. And we are glad of it. Somehow we like Conrad.

Conrad, if you didn't read the story, was ship's kitten on the square-rigger, Joseph Conrad. And in an inadvertent moment, he had forgotten to hold on to the rail and so had gone overboard. The sea was all around Conrad, rolling most dismayingly. And ahead of Conrad, the ship held on her way, with the distance steadily widening. For to stop her, it was necessary to back the mainyards, an evolution which, in a heavy sea, might easily capsize her. And the writing man who was her captain, Alan J. Villiers, had about decided that though Conrad was a great kitty he was hardly worth that risk. Worse yet, and to cap the climax, an albatross was hanging over Conrad and eyeing him, obviously with a thought to dinner. But was Conrad downhearted? There is no record of it. A little frightened maybe, for it is set down that Conrad mewed once--just once. But when the albatross swooped down to get him, he "lifted up a small ginger paw and smote him heartily upon the nose." Wherefore the albatross thought better of it.

That decided the case for Captain Villiers. Seeing Conrad's pluck, he backed the mainyards anyhow and picked Conrad up. And quite rightly, for Conrad, we submit, had sealed his title to live by behaving worthily of the philosophy of old Joseph Conrad, the writing man whose surname he bears.

Behind England's Move

England, which a few weeks ago dared not remove a battleship from the Mediterranean for duty in China, is apparently preparing now to steam a great part of the grand fleet east of Suez shortly, and she is strengthening her garrison at Hongkong.

What accounts for this astounding change in tactics? Is Mussolini any less loudly determined to break the back of the English empire than before? He isn't, of course. What has happened, however, is this:--that the Spanish government, which was supposed to be all but completely sunk a short time ago, has suddenly taken the offensive against General Franco, and, in a great blizzard, has stormed and captured Teruel. The veteran Madrid correspondent of the New York Times, Herbert L. Matthews, calls that the most important government victory since the war began. For Teruel was the spearhead of Franco's lines in Aragon, and it was from there that he was expected to leap off a few weeks ago into an offensive which would give him a final victory in Spain. With Teruel in the hands of the government, says Matthews, Franco will now be totally unable to launch that offensive before Spring.

And there, in all probability, is the explanation of Britain's change of front. Signor Mussolini may rant and rave and roar to his heart's content, but he can't do anything to help the puppet, Franco, and to upset England's interests further than they have already been upset, until April. And so England, which never yet has been disturbed by mere words, will have a breathing space of three or four months in which to bristle up for the edification of the Nipponese.

To Hew the Line

The Senate Civil Liberties Committee might well take a tip from the committee of eminent persons that has been formed to go to bat for the restoration of constitutional rights in the bailiwick of Mayor Frank (l'Etat, c'est moi), Hague of Jersey City. This committee, on which are to be found such middle-of-the-roaders as Walter Lippman and Edna Ferber, has swung into action not because it esteems the injured party, CIO, but because it is devoted to civil liberties even for those of whose principles, and behavior it may heartily disapprove. The Senate committee, La Follette's plaything, evinces no such detachment.

And for that reason, this committee's disclosures yesterday on the subject of industrial espionage and strike-breaking, deplorable as such tactics are, do not quite carry the weight that they would had La Follette et al. ever showed the slightest concern over the violated rights of the employers of labor, and the tactics, equally deplorable, of strikers. The committee may dismiss such an allegation of bias by saying that the bosses are altogether able to look out for their own rights--in fact, we can hear the committee saying as much right now. And again it misses the point, for the point of a civil liberties committee is that it shall defend neither this side nor that, but that it shall defend civil liberties wherever it learns of their violation.

The Reason of It

The peace negotiations between AFL and CIO having gone the way of the Brussels conference and all parleys between major powers in our time, we are moved to reflect that, so far as an outsider can see, there seems to be no conclusive reason why they shouldn't as organizations get together. There is the question of vertical unions or craft unions, to be sure, but that, after all, would seem in common sense to call for a compromise under which there would be room for both. And surely this question is secondary when compared to the things which the sides have in common.

Why, then, don't they get together? Ah, messieurs et mesdames, that's a superlatively easy one. There is, you see, on the one side, Mr. William Green. And there is, on the other side, Mr. John Lewis. And they don't get together for the same reason that two prima donnas in an opera company don't get together. For the reason that Mr. Green glowers and demands to be first. And for the reason that Mr. Lewis glowers and demands to be the same. For the reason, in short, that it is quite impossible to have two firsts in one organization.

Not-So-Foolish Fears

In telling the newspaper boys of his conference with a couple of utility moguls from up Pennsylvania way, the President was what he seldom is--inane. To be sure, the Federal Government has not gone into active competition with private power companies in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas. To be sure, many of the companies have hollered before they were hit, and to be sure if they have a hard time persuading investors to put money in their enterprises, it's partly their own fault. They have made out altogether too sad a case for their plight.

But what the New Deal has done in the Valley of the Tennessee, it could do as easily along the Susquehanna, the Delaware, the Allegheny and the Monongahela. In fact, hasn't their been a concrete proposal for "seven little TVA's," at least one of which would tap this rich market for power? And instead of fear, isn't it prudence--in fine, the prudence of investment that the President extols as a basis of fixing utility rates--which keeps investors from putting money into the securities of power companies, even into those with which the New Deal is not yet in direct competition?

If the power men's fear is overdrawn and fanciful, there is at least some basis for it in what has happened and what may happen.

After Graham, Morgenthau

By the same constitutional provision that prevents the Federal Government from taxing the salaries of state employees, the 10 per cent admission tax on football games at state universities is held to be invalid. A Federal appellate court has so ruled, with the reservation that where athletes are hired by the state institution, admissions are taxable.

This last, obviously, may bring on complications. It may compel the Bureau of Internal Revenue to do a lot of snooping about on campuses to determine if star players are paid either in money or in kind, and as it might result in a series of discomfiting disclosures which would subject the offending institutions to payment of the tax on admissions and get them in warm water with their opponents. And that would be a come-off, for the universities in this neck of the woods would find themselves free at last from the Graham Plan only to be under a more rigorous Morgenthau Plan, with the FBI having come to mean Full Back Investigations.

Maybe it would be the part of wisdom just to go ahead and pay the dratted tax.

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