The Charlotte News

Friday, February 18, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The letters to the editor column presents an intriguing proposition to persons who fancy themselves familiar with North Carolina's geographical configuration. We admit that when we first read "From Blue to Blue" we stopped a moment at that notion of the extremity of north to south being Virginia's boundary "to the Inland Waterway" at five-feet-four-inches on the big Raleigh map. The letter writer carps sarcastically that his map shows the Inland Waterway running north to south, not east to west. Well, before you look at either the map or the letter, give it a whirl in your mind. Who is correct, the original editorial's limitations in colorful array or the letter writer's dry, acerbic reply? Or is this all just an odorous comparison, aspicious, but without palpitiable meaning in the palabras thus excommunicated?

As to the extrapolation performed expertly in "Oceans of Beer", it nevertheless fails to take into account that, in the average college town, the average person consumes probably three times that average per capita per year, about twenty per day in other words, thus taking up a good bit of the slack, and possibly lending credence to the WCTU's seemingly bloated figure. In any event, the figures, padded or not, appear to have provided, instanter, the answer to the question posed in "No Substitutes", that is that the appropriate replacement crops for cotton were, in combination, obviously barley, oats, corn, hops, and rye. In any event, may the dog burier be the merrier ferrier that met you.

Hint to Dictators

The long cruise of our eight great bombers around South America somehow intrigues our speculative faculties. Altogether, the round from Miami to Lima to Valparaiso, back across the Andes to Buenos Aires, and up the east coast to Miami, will come to 10,000 miles--a flight that outdoes anything we have ever done before, including the recent flight of 32 of them to Pearl Harbor.

Maybe it is all a matter of good will. We have sent good-will fliers to South America before, though they were not one million-dollar bombers and they made no such perilous flight as this 10,000 mile epic. But ourselves we remember that Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini and even their little pal, Japan, have been more and more represented of late as having designs on the great and almost untouched reservoir of natural wealth which South America is. And so, remembering that our Government is not normally too risky with its valuable machines and the lives of its airmen, it is our guess that the flight is by way of advising the European strong men that the Monroe Doctrine still holds as a part of our national policy, and that unpleasant things are likely to happen to anybody who might try to forget it.

Congratulations to Six*

The day before yesterday we carried a letter from a Charlotte citizen which suggested that the six City Councilmen opposed to Blue Laws had got cold feet almost as soon as the fight waxed warm. But, according to the record today, the charge is plainly not justified. Mr. Sides, indeed, flirted for a while with the idea of passing the buck to a non-official poll, but seeing the purpose of the opposition to demand an official poll and so to delay action on the matter for eighteen months, he reverted and, along with his five colleagues, stood manfully by his original position.

The spectacle of elected persons standing firm to their convictions before the activities of organized pressure-groups ought not to be the occasion for any special congratulation, we suppose. But everyone with any realistic knowledge of American politics knows that it is rare enough. And so here and now we formally extend our congratulations to the six Councilmen for their courage--with the added hope that it will stand the test of the second and third readings of the repeal ordinance next week.

What Makes the Rose Blush*

Sometimes we wonder at the low esteem in which politicians are held, and again we don't wonder at all. For look ye, now, at the never ending disclosures of graft and forthright embezzlement by the politicians at the expense of municipal governments. And look ye at how the Democrats predominate in this roll of dishonor.

Go back to Democrat Jimmy Walker, the lock box kept with his agent Sherwood, and the hasty trip he took to Europe. Go back to Kansas City and the Democratic machine which governed that city according to the slightest wish of Boss Pendergast, a paving contractor. Go to Chicago and its incredible tolerance of the dishonesty under Mayor Boss Kelly, another Democrat. Drop by Jersey City and take a peep at the pile Mayor Boss Hague has accumulated out of a fairly modest salary and a political dominance so complete that he became Vice Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in recognition of it. And go to Boston, where Democrat Curley, who used to be mayor, has just been jolted by the decision of a court ordering him to return to the City $30,000 "corruptly accepted" in the settlement of a suit.

And these gentry, mind you, with the exception of the unfrocked Jimmy Walker, are the Democratic commanders in the field who go to work at election times in order to maintain in power in Washington a Democratic administration consecrated to High Ideals and Clean Government. Ah, well; they say that every rose must have its manure.

Took 'Em at Their Word

There is a possibility that the South Carolina Legislature, in making compulsory the 40-hour work week for textile workers, may have hamstrung the industry in that state, closed the doors to further migration from New England, and invited the unregulated competitors of South Carolina mills to step up and get the lion's share of orders. And it may, quite easily could, work out in just that way. But maybe it won't.

Textile associations, North and South, have long been championing the 40-hour week for employees. Before us at the moment is an excerpt from the last annual report of the Secretary of the American (Southern) Cotton Manufacturers' Association, and it reads:

"...The 40-hour work week for labor, the 80-hour week for productive machinery, the minimum wage, and the elimination of persons under 16 years of age from employment are fundamental and vital..."

The South Carolina Legislature evidently took the ACMA at its word, proceeding to give force of law to a practice which the association recommended. Now if the rest of the states will but follow suit, the 40-hour work week will become a fixture in the whole industry, binding upon the enlightened and unenlightened employer alike, and averting the probability of Federal regulation, which the industry doesn't at all want.

Oceans of Beer

In a bulletin which the National WCTU sends us, and which advises us parenthetically that the sale of beer accounts for 90 per cent of the "liquor" traffic in the United States, we find a statement that, on a basis of "Federal official figures translated into retail costs," the "Nation's Drink Bill for the 56 months from April, 1933, to December, 1937, was--approximately $12,417,790,860."

We haven't any "Federal official figures" or any other kind at hand to refute it. And yet we confidently announce that we don't believe it. More, we think it can be proved not to be so, on the face of the matter. The parenthetical statement that "the sale of beer" makes up "90 per cent of liquor traffic," we take to be an allegation that 90 per cent of the $12,417,790,860 went for beer. And 90 per cent of $12,417,790,860 is, according to our mathematics, $10,877,011,774. Ah, well, then, and the price of beer is ten cents or fifteen cents a bottle, which is to say, roughly, ten or seven bottles for a dollar. Multiply that, and you'll find that it is alleged that in 56 months the beer drinkers of this land have, in round numbers, swilled somewhere between 79,000,000,000 and 106,000,000,000 bottles of the stuff! Or, we should say, about 2,500 bottles for every adult, man and woman, in these states!

Now, ladies and gentlemen, we ask you!

The Tide Advances*

Government regulation of freight rates on coastwise shipping received approval today of the Senate Commerce Committee. --Associated Press report.

Very well, and probably that's a fair and excellent thing, since the railroads, with their rates rigidly fixed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, have to compete with these coastwise boats. So do the motor carriers, whose rates are also fixed.

But it is interesting to observe that we have now, in addition to Federal rate-fixing of coastwise ships and the railroads and trucks, these things also:

Federal price-fixing for coal.

Attempted Federal price control of five principal agricultural commodities, through crop limits and penalties for surplus production.

Attempted Federal price control for electric power, through Federal competition with private power companies.

Bad? We hate to say that outright about any of them, though we might quarrel with the method in the last instance. But for the rest, it is clear that a good case can be made out for all of them. Indeed, it would be difficult to say what else might be done than what has been done.

Nevertheless, it is not to be blinked, either, that we are quite heavily drifting in the direction of national price-and-rate fixing, if only because every part of our economic system is closely articulated with every other part.

No Substitutes

In 1937 Brazil produced 2,565,000 bales of cotton, of which over one million were exported to Japan, France, and Germany--that is, to markets which have hitherto belonged almost entirely to the United States.

That is one important factor in the prices the Southern farmer is receiving currently. For, with a crop of 15,000,000 bales on hand, a full half of which represents a surplus over domestic consumption, the loss of a market for one million bales is a very serious matter.

Such being the case, we'd be inclined to whoop it up for Dr. J. W. Bateman, Director of the Louisiana State University Extension Division, when he says that the South ought to get away from the production of cotton beyond the limit of domestic needs--only, what are Southern farmers going to produce instead? Wheat? Corn? Truck? Beef? Pork? Dairy products? Every one of these is already over-produced in the nation almost as greatly as cotton. If the Doc will step up and tell us the answer to that one, we'll guarantee our support for his proposition.

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