The Charlotte News
Monday, April 1, 1940
When you awoke this morning, for all you may know, a neutron bomb hit somewhere in the world during the night, maybe two blocks from you, to wipe from it a part of humanity, leaving behind the buildings and the scenery. For all you know, it wiped out some of your neighbors who were then replaced by the warring company who displaced them. For all you know, it wiped you out, too, in a flash, without recognition of it, and you awoke to some new plane of apparent being, only approximating what it was before last night, better or worse or seemingly almost the same. For all you know, we donít exist. For all you know, you donít exist, at least not to us. For all you know, it is all a dream. For all you know, you are asleep.
Does that mean that you can do whatever, therefore, that you wish, without consequence to yourself, to others?
Does the answer only lie within your own relative perception?
Nevertheless, regardless of whether you choose to try to answer such imponderables, in the meantime, best be mindful of what you do while sleeping, even so. For you might also be wide awake, even if you are a little fogged within your plane.
And we might be real; so might you.
Fitness, Not Politics, Ought To Determine Candidate
The story out of Washington now is that former Lieut.-Gov. A. H. (Sandy) Graham has the inside track on W. S. Creighton, of Charlotte, as a candidate of North Carolina politicoes for the appointment to the vacant seat on the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Which suggests very pointedly that politics is the determining factor in the choice. Mr. Graham is pre-eminently a politico on his own account, Mr. Creighton isn't.
That is not to suggest that Graham might not make a reasonably satisfactory member of the commission. The man is able and quite probably would be helpful in policy-making, once he had familiarized himself with the problems before the body. On the other hand, he is certainly no traffic expert, probably cannot figure out the tariff from Charlotte to Gastonia.
Mr. Creighton is such an expert--probably knows as much about freight rates as any man in the South. However, men who are steeped in the knowledge of the technical details of transportation sometimes do not make the best members of a policy-making commission, and that argument might be used against him.
But one thing seems to be clear. The appointment ought to be made purely on a basis of fitness and merit and not on a basis of politics. Should that principle govern, we have an idea Mr. Creighton would be a hands-down choice.
Economy, Off To A Brave Start, Breaks Stride
A few cynical observations are in order on all this "economy" the Congress was going to write into its appropriations. The process actually did get off to a sort of start. A few millions were clipped off here and a few hundred thousands there, and finally, when the farm bill went from House to Senate, it bore the unmistakable mark of the shears.
Economy advocates had rolled up a total of some $300,000,000 in reductions of the President's budget estimates.
But, alas! The Senate, whatever its motive, cannot stand to see handouts to the farmer curtailed, especially in an election year. And so back into the bill went not only the 67 millions that the House had cut off but the 200 millions over and above what the President, no mean spender, had proposed.
That bill is now in conference, and the outcome of it is pretty clearly indicated by the action of the House this last costly week in indulging a warm mood towards NYA and CCC by adding to the appropriations of each beyond their estimated requirements.
Economy, that is, appears to be done for, and the big money bills, such as the appropriation for WPA, are yet to come.
The essential nature of politicians has asserted itself again over the better judgment which a bloc in Congress has the independence to express and the courage to begin to carry out. And yet, what else could have been expected?
The national finances have been allowed to run so long in the red that moderate savings do seem altogether pointless. Furthermore, business in Congress is done by party organization, and the majority party is so badly disorganized, so lacking in any genuine leadership for economy, that its advocates for a counter-line to that set by the White House were foredoomed to failure.
A Speech By Bob Wagner Goes Unchallenged
Nearly two weeks have now gone by since Senator Bob Wagner arose in the Senate to deliver a speech against the so-called "ripper" amendments of Rep. Howard Smith and two other like-minded members of the Smith Investigating Committee. But nobody has yet attempted to answer the version of the facts he put forward. That is curious. Here is what Senator Wagner said:
1--Fewer working days were lost in January 1940 for strikes than in any month since February, 1933.
2--The proportion of workers involved in strikes to the total number employed, was lower in 1938 than in any year since 1933, a good deal lower than the average for the last 30 years.
3--In 1938, average working time lost on strike was less than in any year since 1933.
4--In the last six months of 1939 the number of strikes was 20 per cent lower than in the corresponding period in 1938. That trend continues.
5--The National Labor Relations Board, under its present procedure, has settled 93 per cent of all cases in the last four years without resort to formal proceedings, complaint, or trial.
The first four items absolutely contradict the claim of Smith and his followers that the Wagner Act has not decreased but enormously increased labor strife. The fifth item is hard to reconcile with their claim that the NLRB is an incompetent, deliberately trouble-making body.
We are not here interested in defending the Wagner Act. Our attitude upon it has been one of reserved judgment, pending the establishment of facts. But as facts go at present, Bob Wagner seems to have the overwhelming best of it. Else why that heavy silence in the Smith camp?
County Attorney And Tax Supervisor Take On The Field
County Attorney J. L. Delaney has a way, we have noticed, of getting out on no limbs of the law. Hence, when he says that the question of taxing municipal housing is "wide open," weight must be given to his opinion despite the Legislatureís clear intent to exempt local housing authorities from taxation and despite the State Supreme Court's decision in the Wilmington case.
A paragraph from that decision, incidentally, is both interesting and useful to show which way the mind of the court is leaning:
"The same necessity that prompted the subdivision of political authority and the creation of cities and towns, to the end that government should be brought closer to the people in congested areas and thus be able to deal more directly with problems of health, safety, police protection, and public convenience, progressively demands that government should be further refined and subdivided, within the limits of its general powers and purposes, to deal with new conditions, constantly appearing in sharper outline, where community initiative has failed and authority alone can prevail." [Emphasis ours.]
Tax Supervisor J. Arthur Henderson disagrees rather vigorously with this philosophy as expressed by the court. And so in line of duty he is not only going to put the property of the Charlotte Housing Authority on the tax books, but he is going to do so contentiously, as though to show his disapproval of such new-fangled stuff as low-cost housing to compete with investment property--that is, shotgun houses.
County Attorney Delaney, as we say, has a way of looking thoroughly into the law before he gives an opinion, and his opinion in this case is that the question of taxing housing properties is "wide open." Mr. Henderson is a capable tax adviser, though his extraneous declaration in this case is only of extraneous interest and carries no weight at all.
Yet both men are to be given pause by the thought that in moving to subject the Housing Authority to taxation, they are going in the face of the State Legislature, the Federal Government, the City Council, and perhaps in the face of the State Supreme Court.
With authority so arrayed against them, the burden of proof would seem to rest heavily upon them alone. We would counsel that they be sure they are right beyond a question before they commit Mecklenburg County to going ahead.
Hitler Does Not Burn His Badge On The Flesh--Yet
Adolf Hitler is making little effort to conceal his purpose of reducing the Poles to slavery.
Latest move is to order the Poles who are being "hired" to work in Germany--that is, being forced to work in Germany by combination of German-created starvation and direct application of coercion--to wear diamond-shaped badges of yellow, the color of cowardice, under penalty of imprisonment in concentration camps: a sentence always involving medieval tortures and often death.
It differs from the customs of ancient barbaric societies in only one respect. Such societies usually branded the badge of slavery on the flesh of a victim, often on the forehead or cheek. The purpose is the same, to prevent the escape of the condemned. And no doubt Adolf can be depended on to go all the way as soon as he makes up his mind that branding is more effective.
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