The Charlotte News

Monday, February 7, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Who Goes There?" tells of a white-fringed pest doing to the crops what the government wanted done, reduction in growth, though by whimsical statute, the impetus for which was known only to the pest; not nearly in so orderly manner, says the piece, as the government subsidy program. Well, who was it? The beetle, that's who.

And, day before yesterday, February 5, 2008, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi passed away. As we have suggested, things transcendental transpire perhaps at times.

Not that the Maharishi was a pest, nor any of his friends all those years ago.

Well, come to think of it, we don't know what we mean; but it's somewhat interesting nevertheless.

The rest of the page is here.

The Nub of It*

One who listened in on the Charlotte pulpits yesterday might very easily have got the notion that grave moral and religious issues are at stake in the Blue Law dispute. Indeed, one might have got the notion that the town was not only threatened with going to pot religiously and morally, but also civilly. One of the ministers devoted a great deal of time to proving that there is such a thing as a "civil Sabbath," and that everybody is entitled to one day's rest out of seven days.

We aren't quite sure that, if called upon, we can define "civil Sabbath." We are positive that in any head-to-head argument with the ministry on the morality of Sunday observance, we would lose out and be flustered by the fervor of their speech and the Scriptural references they would cite to prove their points.

But in the end we would come back to this: that, practically, the questions involved in this instant controversy are--

1. Shall the people of the city be allowed to play golf and tennis and go to baseball games on Sunday?

2. Shall they be prevented from doing so by the cops and the threat of fines and jail sentences?

And somehow, all the eloquence of the ministers and their exegesis and their high-sounding references to the civil Sabbath and morality and all that do not conceal the fact that they are willing--nay, determined--to call out the cops to keep people from diverting themselves harmlessly on Sunday.

No Place for Charlie*

The Associated Press's "informed persons," which is to say some Government official who knows quite well what he is talking about but can't disclose his identity, are authority for the report that Charlie West, ex-Congressman who has been serving as the President's contact man on Capital Hill, is to be made Comptroller of the Currency. Charlie at present is playing at under-secretary in Mr. Ickes' Interior Department, but by firing his brother-in-law assistant and transferring his office help to another department, Mr. Ickes indicated quite rudely to Charlie that he had worn out his welcome. "I like," Mr. Ickes said, "to see that the people in my department earn their salaries."

And of all the positions where people ought to earn their salaries, that of comptroller is foremost. The office has charge of the national banking system. It grants charters to new national banks, supervises the operation of national banks, liquidates busted banks. The comptroller is an ex officio member of the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and is required to act as liaison man between Congress and the national banking system.

In short, the office of comptroller is the last place in the Government for Charlie West, whose genius is mostly political.

They Like Company

Nathan Straus, administrator of the National Housing Authority, told New York architects last week that he does not plan to attempt to re-build slums in the larger cities of the country but to replace them with two-story houses for one or four families each, on large sites in new outlying areas, where land is comparatively cheap.

It seems a good idea on the face of it. But there is one question--will the slum-dwellers move to these outlying areas? In the first place, there is a transportation problem, a major one in a really big town, where cheap lands can be had only by going out an inconvenient ten, fifteen, or twenty miles. And ten, fifteen, or twenty cents a day for transportation back and forth will be a heavy drain on the resources of such people as dwell in slums.

Another thing that ought not to be overlooked, either, is that slum-dwellers, by and large, are a gregarious lot, liking to be amused when the day's work is over. One of the very good reasons they are so often found jammed up in the middle of town is probably their love of crowds and their desire to be close to cheap entertainment. That need in then will have somehow to be met if they are going to be persuaded into the "outlying districts."

Anger in Nippon

Japan's resentment over the joint query of our State Department and the British and French Governments as to her building of ships over the 35,000-ton, 16-inch ton limit, is natural enough. To be caught trying to pull a fast one usually begets resentment in most of us. And that, of course, is what must have happened to the little brown brother.

Our admirals keep their faces straight when they advise Senate committees that our spies have been quite unable to find out whether or not Japan may be building 43,000-ton ships with 16-inch guns. But the rest of us aren't bound to look as though we believed everything. Japan is so certainly building the ships in question that the newspapers of her ally, Italy, have been assuming that all the world knew as much.

And our note, of course, is not by way of eliciting information--but by way of advising the Japanese that we are wise to their proceedings and that they can stop--or else. Mr. Hull says in effect, "You will either abandon the building of the ships or we shall proceed to lay down two for one." And what puts the little brown man into a rage is the knowledge that Dr. Hull holds the winning hand. This Government can, if necessary, pay for almost any number of 43,000-ton ships with 16-inch guns. Japan can't.

Two News Items

William D. Anderson, cotton mill president of Macon, Ga., and a Phi Beta Kappa, made a speech to the Montgomery, Ala., Chamber of Commerce Friday in which he said, quite happily, we believe, that government should lay off regulation awhile and give free rein to--

"... something which I think is boiling in the breast of every business man and citizen. I refer to a keener and deeper appreciation of the spiritual values in life and in business."

This restored sense of fair dealing is one of the things for which Mr. Roosevelt, when it comes time for his record to be summed up, must be given full credit. Yet almost as Mr. Anderson spoke in praise of business's enlightened conscience, the Federal Trade Commission in Washington filed a complaint against fourteen manufacturers of steel office furniture and equipment, charging price-fixing and monopolistic practices. There will be "hearings."

The two items are incongruous and the second rather stultifies the cotton mill man's lofty sentiments. And yet, we know he spoke sincerely and we believe he spoke truly. The trouble is that his attitude contradicts itself.

For if business has acquired a keener appreciation of its responsibilities, what's wrong with codifying it? In that case, chiselers would find the law, instead of mere bungling public sentiment, confronting them: and business men who had seen the light and then lost the vision would be held to the faith nonetheless.

Who Goes There?

Whether it's an invention of the devil or Henry Wallace himself, a curse or a blessing, friend or foe, the fact remains that the South has a new pest. It is an insect pest, a white-fringed beetle. It is horticulturally omnivorous, feasting with loud smacking of its lips on practically everything the farmer grows, even spinach. It came in from South America, though how, the entomologists can't imagine. At any rate, it is here.

And truly, so perplexed we are these days over what is sound economically and what is unsound, we don't know whether to say, "Greetings, Pest!" or scram. Nature, in an amorous mood, has been overly kind to us, and we are cursed with a glut. There are bellies that cleave to backbones, to be sure; but that's Distribution's fault. Actually, according to the established system by which produce is marketed, there is a glut.

And to eliminate this glut, the Government is proceeding, at some considerable cost, to do exactly what this little beetle with the white toupee would love to do for nothing and thank you too. That is, the Government is going to reduce the supply of farm stuffs.

There is a vast difference in intentions, of course, between the Government and this pest. The Government is beneficent; our pest malignant. Furthermore, the Government proceeds in an orderly manner according to quotas between farms, whereas the pest attacks willy-nilly, wherever he can pick up lodging and free meals. And the pest, once started, cannot be easily dissuaded. The Government...

On the Distaff Side*

That illuminating story in Sunday's News on a typical 100 unemployed persons in Mecklenburg County--unemployed persons, that is, who are registered with the State Employment Service--emphasized again what most people are likely to overlook; that our unemployment problem is both bi-sexual and bi-racial. The average 100 persons were divided, according to race and sex, like this:

















The Federal census of unemployment confirmed the large proportion of women among the unemployed. It did not go into the division by races.

At any rate, we may as well be forewarned that, even were all the unemployed machinists, bricklayers, carpenters, farmers, plumbers, painters, etc., etc., to be put back to work, we'd have about two-fifths of our unemployment still with us in the shape of females, a few more than half of them white and slightly less than half of them colored.

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