The Charlotte News

Friday, February 2, 1940


Site Ed. Note: The judge mentioned in the first piece, while presiding over a Senate Select Committee, would later encounter and collect evidence, issuing subpoenas aplenty and occasionally threatening with his ample power of contempt, on some racketeers of the first order--no doubt an enterprise against numbers rackets which would have set Cash alternately to cackling with glee and bemoaning the sad state into which democracy had, by the numbers, guttered by the 1970's. (For more on the busting of the numbers racket, go here. For more on Judge Sims, go here. For more on Mr. Massey, go here.)

"Conversation" is informed by the dangling knowledge that only the Shadow knows who the eggmen were and about which all the mania was. (For more on mania, go here.)

For more on Senator Key Pittman of Nevada, as mentioned by the Sound of "Silence", go here.

It was, not surprisingly, in this time that the warlords of Japan began to float the idea of a flotilla to be dispatched somewhere, sometime to attack in east wind rain, that is, as with Jonah.


But The Case May Lead To Capture Of The Whales

The public generally will applaud the accuracy of Judge Ervin's sense of justice in refusing to punish a minnow for a whale. The young woman convicted of selling lottery tickets told a pretty straight sounding story. The rackets' employees are often people who just don't like to work, pool room habitués and the like, but many of them are undoubtedly inveigled into the business because they are in need.

There is but one thing to be said against the suspension of her sentence. It was plain that the rackets, snide to the core, meant to abandon her to her fate, and hence were not to be got at by fining her. But sending her to jail would undoubtedly have thrown alarm into many other employees and made it harder for the rackets to secure runners. But the others have no guarantee that they will get off so lightly. The convicted person here was a woman who obviously was not used to this sort of thing. And even she got off only on condition that she stay out of court for five years to come. So perhaps if they are wise, they will feel a certain amount of alarm, anyhow.

Netting of the whales continues to be hard. Everybody knows who these racketeers are but proving it at law is another matter. But there are now at least two openings. First of all there is the man who acted as agent for the racket in persuading Eloise Wilson into the thing. If he can be rounded up and clapped into jail for the maximum sentence, it may be possible to persuade him to talk. And then there is the fact that the man called Kantor has ignored a subpoena and so may be got at for contempt. The contempt powers of a judge in such instances are great, and, it seems to us, might justifiably be employed to their full extent in this case.


For Which The Japanese Diet Had Good Reasons

Yesterday, when Foreign Minister Arita addressed it on the subject of Japan's international relations, the Japanese Diet sat in dead silence. A year ago the Diet applauded wildly his announcement of plans for "a new order in Asia."

It had reason for the change. War Minister Hacha had just finished admitting that the negotiations with Russia over the Manchukuo border had broken down, and attempted to explain the development on the ground that Russia had committed many flagrant offenses against Japan even while she sat at the conference table.

And the news coming out of London indicated pretty clearly that Britain had no intention of giving up 21 German sailors seized from a Japanese liner--that the Japanese foreign office had simply got itself out on a limb in making the demand that they be given up.

Worse, only two days before the trade treaty with the United States had expired, and Washington was clearly in no humor to negotiate a new one, was playing with the idea of adopting the legislation, sponsored by Senator Pittman, which would allow the President to clap an embargo on exports to Japan at will.

And--the Japanese industrial machine was jolting to a standstill as a result of the army order cutting down the use of power to save fuel. And as a result of that and the uncertainty of relations with the United States, Japanese business was more gloomy and panicky than it had been in many a year.

The Diet had reason for its silence. The United States had acted as everybody had confidently assured it the United States would not act--and had become the potential master of the situation. The collapse of the Russian negotiations removed the threat of the coalition with Hitler and Stalin against the democratic lands, which Tokyo had been holding as a trump card in her dealings with these democracies, which she had expected to play an important part in her fencing with the United States. Both Britain and America were heartened, more confident.

There was still the hope that, in the showdown, the United States would not have to give up its rich trade with Japan (her third best customer) and suffer the industrial and commercial dislocation which would be sure to follow. But it was not certain that she would not conclude that the thing had to be done and had as well be got over with--clap on the embargo. And if she did that, then the adventure in China was done for, unless--unless the United States could be whipped in a swift war.

The army, full of confidence, wanted to risk that. The navy, which would have to do the fighting, was unhappy over the prospect. It was a long, long gamble. And if it failed Japan stood to be reduced to the status of a relatively unimportant group of Pacific islands.

More Delay

Council Seems Unable To Make Up Its Mind On This

The City Council seems to have a great deal of trouble making up its mind to do anything about the oil truck menace. Wednesday afternoon the majority of the committee set to draw up an ordinance turned in a report proposing one which seemed pretty well adapted to the purpose.

It recognized that local deliveries must go on, and that through trucks constituted the main part of the menace which could be got at. Through trucks, therefore, were required to go around the city. Local delivery trucks were required to enter the city by designated highways, presumably selected with a view to the fact that they offer the least hazard to life and property, and to proceed by the shortest route to their destination. Such trucks were forbidden to park in the street, and were not to exceed a capacity of 1,800 gallons.

But Councilman Hudson, member of the committee, turned in a report on his own account, recommending that through trucks be allowed to pass provided they kept a distance of ten blocks away from Independence Square. But, obviously, such a provision would very largely destroy the effect of the proposed measure. It would simply shift the hazard from business to residential districts. That might reduce the property risk somewhat in the case of streets in which the houses are set far back, though it would by no means eliminate it. But it is doubtful that it would reduce the risk to life at all. In those districts where houses are set directly next the street, as in all the Negro areas and many of the white ones, the people would be in constant danger from some such accident as those which happened at Fayetteville and Albemarle. And everywhere children who play on the sidewalks would be threatened.


The Groundhog Talks Things Over With His Familiar

The groundhog peered cautiously out of his hole, scanned the sky thoroughly, and emerged--leaving one foot on the threshold of his dwelling, however.

"Shadow," he observed, without taking his eyes off the sky, "whether you may be visible or not I do not rightly know and have not the time to find out. Anyhow, I am perfectly aware that you are there, and so I have never understood why it should be held that I would be afraid of you if I happened to glimpse you on this particular day every year.

"There is, you know, a kind of animal which goes about somewhat idiotically on two legs when it has four, which does hold that. A creature called, as I have heard, Homo Sap. To be strictly accurate in the case, what it seems really to hold is that whether or not I see you has something to do with the weather for the next 40 days. Did you ever hear anything as stupid as that?

"Now, it is certainly true that I shall in another moment pop back into my hole for quite a while. But not because I've seen you or failed to see you, but for the obvious cause that I observe signs of recent snow here about, and deduce quite reasonably that the Winter is not yet over.

"For that, and another reason. That these curious creatures (which seem able to sprout wings at will) have a mania for dropping a curious kind of egg out of the sky. Not an egg fit for eating, mind you, or for any other useful purpose. But one that flies into pieces with a dreadful thundering the moment it hits and blows a lot of these Homo Saps into a red paste. No, apparently those who get blown up don't like it, though all of them keep right on playing the imbecile game. And so they have taken to imitating us and diving into holes. Which I must say seems to me the only sensible part of the whole performance. Let us go..."

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