The Charlotte News
Thursday, December 9, 1937
Site Ed. Note: From flower power, (including the laying down, in Elizabethan and Biblical verse, of goobers), grows the subject of Dorothy Thompson's piece of the day, in relation to the avocation of Vermont's Governor Aiken, and his call, ascribed by Ms. Thompson to its botanical zen, for a revitalization of the principles of the stodgy old Republican Party.
We don't like to be in a position, candidly, to say that we told you so, for that sounds, Zounds! like one of the Rushing Lamebrains themselves, but nevertheless, in the case at hand these days, we will say it this once: we told you so. And, likewise, as with the 1930's, it is time for the Republican Party again to take stock of itself and its stodgy old Cold War ways and rhetoric, and once and for all come into the latter Twentieth, early Twenty-first century for a change, we opine. Having opined on the matter amply before for the past seven years, we shall resist lengthy opining yet again, for fear that the re-opining will chop too much spare wood such that it will only rot during the long warm winter ahead, rather than be of service to any necessitated warming fires, as the planet slowly melts away in its lassitude, unheedful and thus unneedful of any extra winter warmth by which to roast its chestnuts.
Flower power! Maybe it works after all. That is, when its naturally warmed product, giving breath to its spinning life cycle, is not unduly supplemented by that of which either of the little pieces from The Fayetteville Observer acutely remarks--albeit the latter being consciously aware of that which the former only states with bitter irony towed through the prism of time. The Winston-Salem Journal had it exactly right, fully 30 years afore the cause celebre which gave rise to the flower-power generation, did it not?
It all runs together, of a piece.
Wait a minute. Then, check it and see, one more time, for thee--the sooner, the better. Oh yeah.
It is not, truly, beyond understanding.
National Intelligence Estimate? The answer is Zero, and by any quotient.
And, we further opine, that, while in most places and in most cases a grand jury would not hear at all, or scarcely little, from the defense during its deliberation whether to indict an individual accused before it, as to Officer Bowlin's stumble, there was, in the way he moved, though not, in accord with the two tree-apple songs of the latter flower-power era, (given itself at times, we admit, to far too much syrupy treacle), springing therefrom anything resembling affection; nevertheless,...
Finally, we have thought of something to say about the grand jury's clearing of Officer Bowlin, who shot and killed a Negro. It hasn't been divulged yet, and probably won't be, whether the grand jury acquitted the officer (1) because the fleeing Negro had stolen a suit worth, as the defense precautiously established, $35, thus making him an escaping felon, or (2) because, as the officer pled, he stumbled and his gun went off. In other words, we don't know whether the grand jury took the view that it was a justifiable homicide or an accident.
But this we do know: that both the coroner's jury and the grand jury took cognizance of the case; and that while, the officer came clear, it was by due processes of the law and not simply by his superior officers' remission. That would seem to establish the principle that the police are as accountable as ordinary citizens to some higher authority.
1933 All Over Again
Lammot Du Pont, putting forward a program for the "the elimination of poverty and unemployment" the other day, took care to say that he was criticizing nobody directly, or by implication.
"What has been done, wisely or unwisely, is behind us," he said. "It is no time for post mortems."
But hold on there a minute! It sort of looks to us as though Mr. Du Pont, in his zeal not to be set down as a carping critic, bent himself over backwards. The "nobody" he was careful not to criticize was, of course, President Roosevelt and the New Deal. And among the things done wisely or unwisely--well, there was AAA for one thing, and NRA for another. And that being so, why, it seems to us that, so far from this being the wrong time for postmortems, it is really the ideal time for them.
For the farm bill now pending in the Senate and the wage-and-hour bill--these are essentially AAA and a skeleton NRA all over again, aren't they? At least in their major features?
The most serious condition in the County jail to which the Federal Bureau of Prisons has directed attention in its letter announcing that it will no longer keep prisoners there, is that there is no segregation of prisoners with communicable diseases. The charge that the personnel is incompetent and inadequate is a serious one, of course. The interests of society lie in the direction of rehabilitating the criminal when it is possible. And to place him in the hands of men who do not understand the handling of prisoners does not help.
But the question of segregating the diseased, and particularly the venereally diseased, is a crucial one. For syphilis, at least, is intimately bound up with the crime picture in this country, as in all others. The disease tends to attack the nervous system and to upset the body's glandular balance, with the most appalling results in twisted psychology. As high as 40 to 50 per cent of the most vicious criminals are afflicted with the disease. More than that, at one stage it is readily transmissible. And to put uninfected men into the same pen with men who have it in that stage is beyond understanding in a civilized society.
An Idealist Abroad
"An ambassador," Izaak Walton quoted Sir Henry Wotton as saying, "is one sent to lie abroad for his country." Which explains pretty well why our Tar Heel William E. Dodd is slated to resign as envoy to Germany. Dr. Dodd is in many ways admirably suited to the task which has been his. In a long line of brilliantly educated and accomplished American ministers to Europe, he is one of the most brilliantly educated and accomplished. He knows and understands the history of our country as few men living do. And he knows the Germans very well, having been educated at Leipzig and having passed a number of years in the country afterward, before taking up the duties of his post. There have been insinuations, indeed, from various quarters, that he is a mere pedant--learned but dull, but such insinuations have been made by people who simply haven't read such books as "The Cotton Kingdom"--a work which twenty-five years ago set forth the main outlines of that most modern view of the South which Odum represents.
But with all his advantages, Dr. Dodd has one great fault. Like most decent men, he reacts to the obscenities of the Nazi regime with disgust and anger. And--he can't lie about his feelings. The trait does him honor, but it unfits him for the role of ambassador.
The Government's attorneys argued before the Supreme Court yesterday, in the Buzzards Roost-Duke Power case, that the outright gift of $650,000 and the lending of $2,200,000 to Greenwood County was both justifiable and constitutional in that it would promote the "general welfare" by relieving unemployment. This, it seems to us, was a swell opportunity for the power company's attorneys to interject, if the rules of the court permit interjections, "What unemployment?"
There is a textile mill or two in Greenwood County, to be sure, and the chances are that the workers are putting in only two or three days a week at present. Otherwise, the County and the counties surrounding it are predominantly rural, which is to say that they do not suffer acutely from unemployment. Furthermore, if the textile mills are running, the county's power plant will lose the very customers to whom it expects to sell a great part of its current. And beyond that, the application for this loan and gift, which the Government contends is for the purpose of relieving unemployment, was made and approved and has been fought for in the lower courts during times of accelerated business activity. It would have been the height of absurdity in those busy times, as it borders on absurdity now, for the Government to have attempted to have convinced the Supreme Court that it wanted to build a power plant in Greenwood County in order to relieve the unemployment that wasn't to be found there.
He Had It Coming*
The taxpayer by ordinary has good reason to groan when the salaries of public functionaries are increased. The best he can usually hope for is that he'll be paying more for the same services, which probably were somewhat over-valued in the first place. And very often it happens that as salaries go up, all other expenditures go up accordingly. It might almost be laid down as a rule, indeed, that the fatter a politician's personal reward, the more prodigal he will be with the public purse.
But one salary increase that the taxpayer can lie down with in the most perfect complacency is that given City Manager Marshall by the Council yesterday. In the single matter of the current water works projects, Mr. Marshall has already saved the City some $130,000 by the organization of his own engineering corps in place of paying the fancy fees demanded by the firms which made the survey. And even with the increase, that will cover his whole salary for thirteen years! Elsewhere he has done the same sort of thing, too.
The man is a treasure of efficiency, free from any political taint, and as a matter both of fairness and self-interest on the part of the City, he should be paid accordingly.
The Finns Again
Once again Finland, as it does every six months, steps up to Uncle Sam's window with the installment due on its debt. And once again it is being pointed out, as it is pointed out every six months, that Finland stands alone among European nations in meeting its obligations as they come due--with the implication that the contrast is entirely one of the morality of Finland as against that of Britain, France, et cetera, et cetera.
As for that, we have no notion of attempting to detract from the honors due Finland in the case. To pay a debt, you have to have integrity as well as the ability to pay. Nor are we inclined to enter any determined defense of the morality of England, France, et cetera, et cetera. All the same--
It is worth observing that Finland is in position to pay with the greatest of ease. In the first place, Finland's adjusted debt to the United States--and it's a post-war debt, not a war debt--is small enough to make the semi-annual payment come to less than a quarter of a million dollars. And in the second place, Finland sells the United States almost twice as much as it buys from it. In 1935, for instance, the value of our imports from Finland was $12,188,000 while the value of our exports to Finland was only $6,106,000. It is pretty easy to pay a half a million dollars annually out of a favorable trade balance of six million.
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