The Charlotte News

Friday, December 31, 1937


Site Ed. Note: "They Need Missing Practice" would be supplemented in "They Need Missing Practice", August 31, 1938.

For Cash's early take on Nazi spies, see "Nazi Spies in America", a book-page piece of January 29, 1939. He would scarcely alter that view or the one contained below in "It Was Time", as time passed. And, indeed, spies, both Nazi and Japanese, both within the continental United States and in Hawaii were doing and did do, right up until the attack on Pearl Harbor, precisely what the latter sentence of the editorial suggests they could do with little stricture. But, in reality and practicality, it was difficult without becoming what the forces seeking that information had become, to prohibit photography and drawing in and around military installations in those times. They did not have video monitors and it was impossible fully to monitor every area of ground on large expanses 24 hours a day. And at Pearl Harbor, one only needed to climb one of the high bluffs with a pair of binoculars.

On another plane anent these editorials, we ask again: was their author a man who, three and a half years later, conjured up Nazi agents strictly from within his imagination and thereby, from such ghouls, went "by his own contrivance...stumbling into eternity"? as an unfortunately uninformed Ralph McGill stated it once in a 1948 editorial in The Atlanta Constitution.

We don't blame Mr. McGill for that statement, as the fuller, and therefore truer, story was not one easily ferreted even by normally skilled-at-ferreting newspaper men or historians, especially after such a war as the one the country endured. Dust to dust, let the dead bury the dead, got to get on with it. But, the notion might be taken quite too far over time, after the rebuilding was fully accomplished, until, cynically, the Nazi mentality is allowed to resurrect itself with impunity such that their virtual incarnation rides and rules once again, by stealth, in our own society, not Germany.

We are all for that holiweek, incidentally, contemplated by the editorial below. Of course, then the after-Xmas sales would have to wait until early January, and all the shopping malls would be devoid of all those gas-guzzlers, and people might instead get out of the house into the fresh air and walk a little, to get rid of that Christmas tummy, and the television networks would have to give it a rest, newspapers would cease publication, the environment as a whole might have some rest, and, come to think of it, with all of that in play, rather than not in play, we might sooner get peace on earth, good will among humans, than we ever thought possible.

But then, inevitably, there'd be some Terrorist somewhere, undoubtedly, some crazy bunch of rebels, with too much time on their hands, thwarting the government, all led by some nutty fellow with wooden teeth fancying himself a general for goodness sakes, crossing the Delaware to spoil the whole thing for everyone...

The rest of the page is here. We are glad to know, after all this time, who it was that thought up the idea for the middle class to rule society. You did one helluva job there, L.L.K. Divide and conquer, yessir, divide and conquer. That's the way. Keep all those lower class radicals tamped down, the high-brows tamped up in their Ivy League Ivory Towers. Yessir. Nose to the grindstone, don't give 'em time to think, no leisure. The ones to have leisure are the ones who'll go along with us, L.L.K., only those who think precisely and with precision like us. Swell idea. The rest will be nose to the grindstone. Nose to the grindstone, alright. Thinkin's dangerous. Right you are, L.L.K. Yessir, divide and conquer, class against class. That's the way, alright. By the way, L.L.K., as a point of interest, d'you get those swell ideas more from the book by Adolf or was it Benito's? Swell reading, huh? Glad to see you're one of us, boy. Now, then, let's us get down to business. About that little matter of the irrevocable contract you'll be signing directly and the collateral to seal the deal, that is that foolish thing you mortals call the soul. Now, now, L.L.K. Why do you recoil so? You said you were one of us. Surely, you wouldn't think of renegging now? Why, the thing is practically afoot and won already...

Happy New Year.

Don't make any resolutions you can't keep. In fact, if you're like us, you won't make any resolutions at all. Too many firm, intractable year-long resolutions abounding among us during the year already--put her on auto-pilot and rove; part and parcel of the problem historically and hysterically, we opine.

We look forward this year to Leap Year Day.

They Need Missing Practice

We get fearfully tired of commenting ironically about the way our City police officers hit what they aren't shooting at, but, honestly, now, how about these examples:

September 15, 1937:

Patrolman Ritch drew his gun and ordered the Negro to halt, whereupon the Negro started to advance upon him, but as the officer shot, the Negro wheeled... and the bullet struck him in the back.

November 13, 1937:

Officer Bowlin took his pistol out and started to shoot in the air, and as he did he stepped in a ditch, and the bullet hit the Negro in the head instead.

December 30, 1937:

Finally Officer Herrin shot at one of the three to halt the speeding car, and the bullet ricocheted, striking the driver in the arm.

Apparently, our guardians of the law need practice in how to miss targets.

Batting About .500*

A. D. 1938, says Roger Babson, is going to be a prosperous year. Things will be pretty bad for the first quarter, but after that there'll be "a substantial revival." And by way of backing up his statement he offers the contention that he called the turn on 1937, prophesying that the mineral business level would go up eight per cent, whereas it did actually go up eight per cent.

We ardently hope Mr. Babson's right about next year. But in 1928 Mr. Babson ventured into prophecy by saying, "The election of Hoover and a Republican Congress should result in continued prosperity in 1929." On October 12, 1929, he said "I believe that many who have been caught could recoup... by now buying some good bonds." In 1930 he said, "The corner has been turned in the Middle West." In 1931 he said, "Everything indicates that general business has turned the corner." In 1932-33-34-35 he repeated himself, in each of these last years fairly accurately calling the count; but on December 31, 1936, he said: "Stocks--higher but good selection vital."

We trust for Mr. Babson's sake that he selected to get entirely out of the stock market early last fall.

You Said It, Professor*

The College Physical Education Association was meeting in New Orleans. In the chairman's seat sat W. J. Livingston of Denison University. Mr. Denison opened his mouth and spoke, and what he said was that football was "becoming quite a problem in some colleges" and that "professionalism was creeping in."

Which seems to us to be about the most marvelous example of understatement we have seen in a long while. Creeping in, Professor? Actually, it's coming in boldly, and with the ratiocination that "it's honorable to do openly that which it is dishonorable to do by subterfuge;" improvements to the contrary notwithstanding. But, boy! they're going to have some pretty teams to watch.

For a Holiweek

There is a calendar-reform association which has a scheme to divide the year into thirteen equal months of four weeks each. The thirteen months would account for 364 days, leaving an odd fellow which would be called New Year's Day. It would be a holiday. In leap years, there would be a second day roving out of any month. This would be called Leap Year Day, and it too would be a holiday.

As for some added new holidays, so good. But we have an even better idea than that. Between the day that is Christmas, and a holiday, and the day that is New Year's, and a holiday, is a whole week which is not, officially, a holiday at all. During that time, trade languishes, to be sure, and many people only go through the motions of working--the lucky stiffs! But those unfortunates with office hours to keep and editorials to write have to perform, however disinclined, almost the same old chores that comprise their lot in life the year 'round. It isn't fair.

So why wouldn't it be a simply swell idea to call the whole thing off between Christmas and New Year's Day, to stop the wheels, to close up the banks (after you'd drawn all your money out), to slack off on production and catch up with consumption, returning to the fray at the beginning of a new year with renewed bodies and minds and outlooks, not to say depleted pocketbooks? Do we hear a motion?

Sixty Against the Government

One of the means by which Adolf Hitler restored the insufferable self-esteem of the German nation and strengthened his hold upon it was by inventing an excuse--alibi is the slang term--for Germany's failure to win the war and to come back after the war. The Jews were IT. No matter that they had gone down fighting alongside Aryans or had given all they had to Der Vaterland. No matter, least of all, that no more than one per cent of Germany's post-war population was Jewish. The whole explanation of Germany's fall was the Jews.

Secretary Ickes has gone handsome Herr Adolf one better. For his alibi is chosen the "60 American families." They, by conspiring together and acting in hateful concert, brought on this recession. Indeed, they brought on the other depression; but it got out of hand and they had to call on Roosevelt to right things for them. And then Roosevelt "had the business of the country turning over so well" that he thought he could safely take a rest for a while; and what happened? Why, the "60 American families" went on a sit-down strike. They went on a sit-down strike after they had things going their own way!

It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make a nickle's worth of sense. It is unbecoming to a Cabinet officer. It is that age-old defense, the alibi, brought out, brushed up and brandished around. It was Johnny's fault, Mama. Johnny made faces at me.

Hypothetical Speech*

From Dunn comes a story to the effect that Mayor Taylor has closed up the slot machines in his town, despite the injunction of Federal Judge Meekins against their confiscation, by the simple process of calling in the storekeepers who operate them and "talking to them." The story says that "not once did he speak of indicting them for operating the machines," and that "the business men gladly consented to the Mayor's request..."

That sounds perfectly ducky, and we have no intention of entering any defense for the slot machine. All the same, and all the same, it hath a most curious ring. So curious that we have been guessing as to what the Mayor might have said. He might, we thought, have said this:

"Boys, I can't do a thing, right now. But all of you are in business here and all of you want to stay. And, well, boys, there are a lot of dusty little ordinances on the books that most of you violate because you don't know about them, and too, we have a lot of power as a municipal corporation to levy special license fees and taxes, you know. No: no threats, boys, but we sure wish you'd cooperate."

In short, sirs, as you have heard before now, there are more ways than one to skin a cat. And some of them, we suspect, are more dangerous than to allow the slot machines to stand until the law has had time to determine what should be done about them.

It Was Time

When Congress meets again next week, the House will have before it a bill, which has already been passed by the Senate, to forbid unauthorized sketches, photographs, or maps of "vital military and naval defensive installations and equipment." The bill was originally requested by President Roosevelt and the Secretaries of War and the Navy.

It seems one of those things which in common sense ought to have been done a long time ago. We are a democratic people, with a violent dislike for "Keep Off the Grass" signs. But even for such a people, we have been extraordinarily lax in this matter. One may not believe in all the spy scares to recognize that spies do actually exist, and that the Japanese, in particular, are very active on the West Coast. And as matters stand there are almost no regulations about the photographs and sketches. More than that, the government itself will furnish to the public maps, profiles, and elevations of our principal fortifications. It is quite true that these maps cannot reveal vital military details, such as gun placements, etc. But given them, a little casual photographing and sketching on the part of a spy would serve to produce a very accurate picture of just what the fortifications are like.

Site Ed. Note: Case in point: We received at our offices from a reader, just yesterday, a photograph of these two Japs, cleverly disguised in undercover garb as tourists. At the time, they were in and around one of our prime naval reserves, in an undisclosed location, for national security reasons, within our mountains, in turn cleverly disguised as a tourist resort in order to catch this sort of noxious spy. These Japs were snapping pictures everywhere, our source disclosed, not by use of a camera, but via a microchip implanted within their brains, a clever ruse now being utilized by the Japs.

The little one, who goes by the name "Shorty", is especially dangerous, feigning to be "cute", while carefully hiding sinister designs and purposes all the while, to examine our naval facilities. The big one, known in the ring as Big Bubba, a.k.a. Little Elvie, equally dangerous, by pretending to be "sociable", is believed by our intelligence chieftains to be one of the chief lieutenants within the combine.

The dead give-away, of course, the thing they did not count on, by omitting careful research of our culture, is the foreign clothing and haircuts, as well the foreign car they were quite too stupid to disguise as they drove up to the pumps for gas, Shorty doing the driving, with a radio blaring some foreign musical tune, sounding like something out of Africa, sung in Japanese. The tune went: "A wop-bop-a-lu-bop-a-lop-bam-boom," refrained over and over in the code phrase "tutti fruitti", which seemed to be some sort of tribal war chant used to summon up help.

One thing, however, that these Japs, in all their affictitious displays of feigned innocence and ingratiation to your service, may never disguise: that is those slanty eyes, always looking at you with that contemptuous, serpentine smirk, as if they know something you don't. That, they cannot hide.

One of the G-Men was clever enough, not to mention extraordinarily brave enough, to move in close and catch them offguard in this captious pose, as he feigned a pretense of being an afficionado of Oriental culture. He was lucky to escape with his life.

Make no mistake of their pretentious awe of the world around them; they are armed and dangerous, as is evident in the picture. The stuffed animal, for instance, thought to be a tiger, which Shorty is carrying, masks, in fact, an incendiary device of highly lethal content. You will note also that Shorty has few teeth left, indicative of his deceptively passive, yet volatile nature; he lost them in a brawl in a bar called "The Peter Pan". Shorty got into a fight with some of our sailors, after he claimed that his sword was much bigger than theirs.

In short, they came here to do one thing: spy on you.

So, should you see one of them,--or hear that contemptuous African music they play, "tutti fruitti", which after the ONI decoders finally decrypted the Latin of which, was found to mean "bone a Rudy", which is another way of clearly indicating their sinister intents on Red China,--be sure and report it to us here at The News, and we shall be happy to forward your report to the appropriate authorities.

Good night and good luck.

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