The Charlotte News

Sunday, December 5, 1937


Site Ed. Note: The editorial cartoon of this date inevitably conjures up curling, as well other things. Just why, we have no idea.

As we said before, Elmore James ‘s got nothin’ on this, baby.

We are most impressed, speaking of lumberjacks, with Mr. Hoover’s liberal sounding jailhouse care policies. As we learned not long ago, he was opposed to the rubber-hose treatment. Now, we see where he was favorably disposed to the proper feeding and housing of prisoners as well. Of course, as time went on, Mr. Hoover’s extended tenure perhaps caused him pause in his liberal policies, thus to enter the realm of self-deception to extend his tenure yet further, and give rise to his apparently self-deceived belief that, while prisoners should have basic human rights bestowed on them after entering prison, the full panoply of constitutional rights before entering the jailhouse was not necessarily always to be accorded those to whom Mr. Hoover did not personally cotton.

As to the income tax investigation of Herbert Hoover, we cannot imagine any presidential administration targeting its political enemies by use of the IRS. That is indeed despicable conduct and grounds in our estimate for impeachment. We are glad that no other administration since has ever done such a dastardly and low thing as that.

And, seeing that profligate nude shows proliferated even so far as Arkansas in the 1930’s, we ourselves stand shocked to learn of such. We had no idea such was the case until the 1960’s. We had been quite naïve enough to have thought our parents’ generation pristine and clean as the proverbial hound’s tooth in such matters. And, now, now we find that all the time they were equally as much given to the filthy metier of exhibitionism and visually feasting themselves on same as our own filthy generation, indeed, every bit as filthy as that filthy end-scene of that filthy Broadway musical of the latter 1960’s—what was it, "Leaves it to Beaver", or some such rubbish? And to think that such was no more than old hat, albeit one dropped away completely by 1968, to these dirty old-bag, pretending-to-be Simon-Pure, deceivers, to let the sun shine in where the moon ordinarily failed to go. Dirty old men and ladies. Goodness gracious. Naughty, naughty old buggers.

In any event, just how references to J. Edgar Hoover, Andrew Mellon, (though not to his Foundation), power production, milk production, and nude shows, all wind up in one column for this day here in early December, 1937, we haven’t the slightest notion. But, perhaps, Auld Hornie had paid a little pre-Christmas visit to the News offices this particular Sunday, 'ey?

The Starr in the East… The three wise men… Camels... Donkeys in the stable... Sin tell... Arkansas… Well, we draw a blank.

As for the Village Cop to the Motorist, we wished we had known about that item and had read these editorials some 40 years ago. For there was this Motorist who used to motor by our village window, sometimes, in the afternoons back in the springtime of youth. Oh, and, oh, what a motorist, top down and all. We don’t mean to sound as an old harper, you know, but, quite, quite the Motorist. In fact, the birds just seemed to sing more sweetly every time we saw this particular Motorist.

And, one day, we noticed the Motorist’s auto had its muffler blown, apparently.

But, no matter. We weren’t about to report the Motorist for it, even though about there was a rather strict noise ordinance. For it gave us, too, a greater clue of when the Motorist might pass our window of the village wherein then we lived, such that we might catch a glimpse of the Motorist passing by our window, top down and all.

In any event, if we had only known, we would have certainly liked to have played Traffic Cop with this Motorist and would have definitely warned not to cut it out, but would have gladly lent our red muffler to the cause, top down and all.

Not that any of that latter relates to anything above it, or below, or afore. Just came to mind, for some reason. Don’t mind us. We just ramble on sometimes about this and that blue and red gibberish.

Steady Does It*

In October, the value of American supports of merchandise was greater than for any month in the last seven years, which means that good year 1930. True, the 58-cent dollar had something to do with it, and probably the quantity of exports would not have made so favorable a showing with 1930 if the comparison had been expressed in identical terms. But the lessened value of the dollar does not alter the fact that under the Roosevelt Administration foreign trade, including imports as well as exports, has been climbing steadily.

Month by month the record of this commercial progress has been given out, pridefully, by Uncle Danny Roper's Department of Commerce. But everybody knows that it is but organizational routine for Uncle Danny to have the pleasure of making station announcements, and that the credit belongs chiefly to the Department of State and the undeviating, undeterred, non-New Dealing Democrat in charge there. Secretary Hull, unlike many of the confreres in the administration, has had the advantage (1) of knowing precisely what he wanted to do, and (2) of not being in too big a hurry to do it. That may go far toward explaining why his department, almost alone of the whole shebang, has made a lot of friends and very few enemies.

"... To Know"

On this page today appear two letters from prisoners in the county jail, in which charges are made (1) that undiseased men are compelled to live with diseased men, (2) that living conditions in the jail are insanitary, and (3) that the food is not of a nourishing sort, and that only two meals are served daily.

About the truth of these charges we don't pretend to know. None the less--

J. Edgar Hoover, F. B. I. chief, made a speech in New York Friday night. He is no sentimental theorist, this Mr. Hoover. His business in this world is the subduing of the toughest criminals, and there is no record of his ever proposing that prisoners be molly-coddled. But out of much experience he does understand what things go to encourage the breeding of these criminals. And what he said in part was:

"It is a distinct matter of public health to know whether prisoners are housed in unclean surroundings; whether they are being forced to remain in the same cells with other prisoners suffering from contagious diseases; whether the mental unfit are being housed with prisoners of normal mentality..."

That, we think, is it precisely. We don't know what the facts about conditions at the county jail may be. But we think it "a distinct matter of public health to know..."

We Survive the Shock

Professor Dr. William Starr Myers of Princeton a little breathlessly informs us that he is "authorized to say that the present (Roosevelt) administration has investigated the income tax returns of Herbert Hoover for three weeks to try to get something on him."

"Think of that," he says. "Investigating the income tax returns of a former President of the United States!"

Well, we think of it. We think it's pretty shabby if the New Deal is trying to smear Herbert. It does not seem improbable, in view of the record, but it does seem a little improbable that it could count Herbert still of sufficient political importance to be worth smearing. We think that in any case it isn't proved, since the Professor Doctor neglected to advise us who "authorized" him.

On the other hand, we think that Herbert couldn't be much smeared, anyhow, if his income returns are in order. Furthermore, we think there is no such crime in the American code as lese majeste, and that an investigation of the income tax returns of even a former President is, in itself, no reason to tremble for the dignity of the State. After all, and without the slightest innuendo against Mr. Hoover, there have been questions about income taxes in the highest official circles before now. Has anybody forgotten the late canny Andy Mellon?

Site Ed. Note: The substance of the principle governing the case at issue was decided in the companion case of Alabama Power Co. v. Ickes, 302 US 464 (1938), holding for the government that the power companies had no standing to sue on the lawful making of a loan and grants by the government even though injurious to their profits and even if not authorized by law, though this latter question was deemed by the Court as unnecessary to reach by virtue of its holding on standing. Thus, the power companies' suits to enjoin the loans and grants were dismissed. The particular case was decided in Duke Power Co. v. Greenwood County, 302 US 485 (1938).

Legal, Maybe; But Advisable?

Lawyers for the Duke Power Co. and the Public Works Administration will argue great constitutional questions and abstruse points of law before the Supreme Court Monday, when the Buzzards Roost case comes up again. Counsel for the company will contend, with some fervor, we take it, that PWA's project in Greenwood County is an usurpation of powers not expressly delegated to the Federal Government and therefore reserved to the states; that the whole intent of PWA Administrator Ickes is to chastise the company for its resistance and to offer it direct competition for customers. Counsel for PWA will retort with equal heat that it ain't so; that the Federal Government has the right under the general welfare clause of the Constitution to do exactly what it is trying to do; that Mr. Ickes likes the Duke Power Co. not less for liking Greenwood County more. Whereupon the Justices of the Supreme Court will take the case under advisement and in due course hand down a verdict.

So be it. Once a quarrel gets in the courts, the courts must arbitrate it. But has anybody ever stopped to ask himself, in the last few years since this Greenwood County project has been in a state of suspended animation, the simple, commonsensical question, "Why should the Federal Government bestow an outright gift upon Greenwood County, in particular, the rather princely sum of $657,000, plus a loan of $2,195,000?" The right of the Federal Government to do this is one thing, upon which the Supreme Court will pass. The wisdom of doing it is something else which seems to have been lost sight of in the shuffle.

Note for One Miffed

Fox-furred and veiled, the beaut[e]ous Dorritt Merrill sailed for London recently, somewhat miffed. The French Casino, at which she had been playing, had to close up shop. Yet, said the golden little one, she had put on the very best nude show ever put on in New York. The darn town simply didn't know a good show when it saw one, and it had intolerably affronted her with its indifference?

But maybe La Dory was feeling a personal slap where no personal slap was intended. What she did not take into account is that man, after all, is a creature of restless imagination. Whatever is going to fetch his interest long must have in it some little something of mystery. And above all he demands variety--the shock and zest of the novel. Back in the early 1920's a nude show was practically a four alarm fire, with a couple of earthquakes into the bargain. But in this gracious year of 1937, nude shows are old stuff even in Arkansas, and they're simply all over the place. To expect, therefore, that man should go on being excited about anything so essentially unmysterious is to expect the preposterous. You might as well expect them to stay excited about the refrigerating racks in the warehouses of Swift and Company. Well, almost.

Maybe it wouldn't work, but we have a hunch that if La Merrill really wants to knock 'em dead and hang out the SRO signs, she might try reversing the whole process and put on a floor show where all the cuties actually wear clothes.

In Bar of Hossy

Representative Boileau's amendment to the farm bill--"to keep the Government from subsidizing the South's entrance into the dairy business"--the House adopted by the unconvincing and apparently unconvinced vote of 114 to 96. Mr. Boileau, a Progressive, comes from Wisconsin, a great dairy state; and it was his fear that the Southern farmers would take to planting dairy feeds instead of the cotton and corn they were to be paid for not planting.

Nothing we can think of would be more beneficial than for the South to do exactly this--to start planting dairy feeds, which it now imports in quantity, and to procure the cattle to consume them. Take Wisconsin and North Carolina for examples, two agricultural states which are about the same size. Wisconsin in 1934 was milking 2,104,533 cows; North Carolina, 352,782. Wisconsin produced more than one billion gallons of milk; North Carolina, 136 millions. Plainly, North Carolina is a long way from Wisconsin in the dairy business. In fact, North Carolina is not even self-sufficient in this agricultural enterprise.

And beyond that, the principal merit of cotton and tobacco control as it affects North Carolina is that it forces our farmers into types of farming which, in the long run, will serve them better than the old cash cropping. The demerit of Representative Boileau's amendment is that, insofar as dairying is concerned, it compels them not to practice what all their well-wishers have been preaching.

Site Ed. Note: Got milk?

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