The Charlotte News

Friday, December 3, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Well, not having seen the elucidatory material below until today, after writing that which we indited yesterday, we stand elucidated on that bit of nonsense proesy we set forth. Maybe it wasnít so nonsensical. Maybe proesy has its place sometimes. For "Elucidating a Lady" appears perhaps to be the gray finger from the grave we elucidated without realizing it. Thank you, Miss Greenbeck, and, as well, the cheery magistrate who was possessed of a nice Christmas spirit, worthy of "Miracle on 34th Street". We like the ladyís spirit, and the magistrateís understanding.

Maybe thatís what the gent was doing at Independence Square blowing his horn repeatedly, expelling the burdensome humours bedeviling his disquieted soul, blowing out his frustrate being at Auld Hornie, excoriating the malefactious, cloven-hooved personage back into the fiery depths from whence he arose and cameth to freeze menís souls and toss them as barks on the tempestuous waves.

In any event, we have to wonder whether Miss Greenbeck ever found a Dollar to marry on the other side of the new frontier. (Sorry, we could not resist.)

The rest of the dayís editorial page is here. Q. E. D.: Thereís the Ghost again. Maybe he was Sherlock of the Spirits.

Somebody Else

Here, from the monthly review of one of the leading banking houses, is an interesting comment on business conditions:

No marked change has been apparent in the industrial and trading conditions in this country during the past month. There has been evidence of further seasonal expansion in some directions and heavy industries have continued to experience considerable pressure on their productive capacity...

That's something to write home about--so many orders and heavy industries that it's a job filling them. But, alas! the bank commenting is Barclays of London, and it's conditions in England they are talking about, not the United States. In the United States something has happened to cause the heaviest industry of all, steel, to operate at only a third of its productive capacity.

Let's Not Brag--Yet

In the first eleven months of 1936, according to police records, Charlotte had 33 murders. In the first eleven months of this year it had 25--a drop of eight.

That's something, but before we begin to crow about it, maybe we'd better pose the question to ourselves: how much of something? It gets us practically back to 1935, when we had 29 for the whole year. Yet in 1931, it had been only 29, too, and in 1932 it actually fell to 24--to climb in 1933 to 41, and in 1934 to 43! Looked at from that perspective, our drop this year may conceivably be nothing but one of those fluctuations in an upward trend.

But hoping for the best, we still have our work cut out for us. In 1936 the murder and non-negligent homicide rate (and non-negligent homicides are not included in these murder figures for Charlotte) for all New England towns with more than 10,000 people was only 1.1 per 100,000. We have the Negro to complicate our problem, to be sure, but New England towns swarm with aliens, including Italians, who are supposed to be criminally inclined. Again, even the towns of the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountain States, swarming with Mexicans, Japanese, and Chinese, had a rate of only 6 per 100,000. Yes, and we are still greatly overtopping the Southern rate, too. For in 1936 all towns in the South with more than 10,000 people averaged just 18 to the 100,000!

Treats and Training

Dr. Walter L. Lingle, president of Davidson College, said something the other day that is eminently worth repeating. The question of subsidizing athletes in order to gather together better football material had been brought up--in fact, and always is up--and The Davidsonian, the college newspaper, had come out frankly for athletic scholarships. Dr. Lingle didn't think it was possible for Davidson to raise enough money to compete with the schools having six or eight times as many students, but that was only his superficial objection. His essential objection was that,

"Worst of all, such a policy would change not only the spirit of the team but the whole atmosphere and spirit of the college."

Of course it would have been a treat to Davidson alumni and all other football fans, a treat beyond compare, to have seen Quarterback [indiscernible name] Lafferty function this year behind the line of full-grown men, and undoubtedly he would have gone to town, with that change of pace he has, many, many times. But we are thinking at the moment more of Lineman Frank Purdy, Davidson's 140-pound center, who played the season through against opposing numbers in the 200-pound class, and never cried for quarter. Somehow we can't help believing that what Davidson missed in not having Maronics and Brunanskys in front of Lafferty was more than made a up in having Purdys on the varsity. That, in all probability, is what Dr. Lingle had in mind.

Wanted--A Superlative

Writing in his official organ Il Popolo d'Italia, Signor Mussolini yesterday had to say:

"In a supremely idiotic dilemma--butter or cannon--we have made our choice--cannon."

Well, it is a supremely idiotic dilemma, granted. Butter is good for satisfying the bellies of men and making their faces grow round and merry. And cannon--cannon are only good for killing poor niggers in Ethiopia and poor Spaniards in Spain, and for getting the men who fire the cannon killed in their own turn. Butter multiplies the living, cannon multiply cadavers.

But that is hardly the sense Signor Mussolini had in mind, of course. What the Signor really meant was that Italy doesn't have enough butter, and to get it Italy was resorting to cannon. Well, and does that work? Has Ethiopia and the Spanish adventure brought more butter to Italy? The answer is that they have made butter much less plentiful than it has ever been in Italy--that the price is around 60 cents a pound, more than a day's pay for many Italian workmen. The answer is that Ethiopia and Spain are costing the Signor ten dollars for every one he gets out of them. The answer is that the only thing Italy is getting out of Ethiopia and Spain is more material to build more cannon--to make still less butter in Italy.

The dilemma is idiotic, granted. But what is the word for the Signor's solution of the dilemma?

Q. E. D.

The House undoubtedly had its own canny reasons for voting down the proposed investigation as to how sufficient signatures were obtained to force the wage and hour bill to the floor from the hands of the Rules Committee. But it is just as well. Investigations, as experiences have shown, cost money--a lot of it--and don't always prove anything.

Besides, everybody already knows how those signatures were obtained. The Associated Press and the other news agencies have been telling us plainly for the last ten days how it was being done. In brief, it was by the familiar American parliamentary device of rolling a log, or, to change the figure, swapping a hoss. Many--most--of the Southern representatives are keen for the subsidies for cotton farmers which the farm bill provides. Many--most--of the Yankee representatives from industrial districts, and especially from New England, want the wage and hour bill which the Southerners don't want. All right, then, said the frustrated ones: if we can't get our measure, be sure you won't get yours, unless you listen to reason... That's how it was done, and the discovery hasn't cost a cent.

Elucidating a Lady

Magistrate Mark Rudich of Manhattan missed the point.

This week they haled before him Miss Margaret Greenbeck, described as 26 and pretty. The charge was that upon receiving a ticket for too much using of her horn in morning traffic she advised Copper Fred Schweyer that he could "go to hell."

The Magistrate graciously dismissed the lovely, and told Copper Schweyer somewhat sternly:

"In the ordinary course of our life... it is quite possible that you can go to hell. Miss Greenbeck's remark wasn't a command or a wish but a simon pure statement of fact."

But, for reasons of feminine psychology we are not going into, we are practically certain that the magistrate missed the point. What Miss Greenbeck really meant to tell the cop, we trow, was that he could go to hell for all of her--that if she should see Auld Hornie toting him off alive to the pit she'd never by so much as the lift of a finger or an eyebrow remonstrate with him. Nay. Miss Greenbeck insinuated darkly, we suspect, that she would be delighted to see the cop get what was coming to him.

All that the magistrate missed--probably, we suppose, because he'd never been told to go to hell by a lady.

Straight Stuff

Once before this we have remarked how Washington Merry-Go-Round, front page feature of The News, had undergone a gradual transformation from a gossipy, keyhole column into a reliable inside governmental news service. Which is not to say, necessarily, that the Messers Allen and Pearson are psychic or even infallible, but that they are frequently Johnnies-on-the-spot.

A sample in point. In a Merry-Go-Round release received in this office last Saturday, the statement was made that the ballyhooed conferences between the President and a couple of power magnates weren't as resultful as they had been cracked up to be, that Roosevelt had really promised nothing at all. A tentative agreement had been reached on only two points: the "prudent investment" rate basis and the throwing out of all valuation "write-ups" disclosed in a study made several years ago by the Federal Trade Commission.

That was given to the printers last Saturday, mind you. Wednesday, came an AP Washington dispatch quoting "informed persons" to the effect that some of the terms proposed by the power magnates were acceptable to the administration and that the only meeting of minds in the conferences was on the "prudent investment" rate basis and the elimination of valuation "write-ups" as disclosed in the FTC study. That's precisely what Merry-Go-Round had said, only it said it several days earlier and on its own authority.

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